If you're new to exercise, then your workouts probably involve a lot of huffing and puffing and end in exhaustion. Although it will take time to work your way up to an easy run, there are some steps you can take to breathe better and finish your workout feeling energized.
Fuel up. When you eat a carbohydrate, it is broken down into small sugar units that enter the bloodstream. Any glucose not used immediately is stored in the liver and skeletal muscle in the form of glycogen. Sugar stores are essential for athletic performance, since your body is dependent on glucose for energy. Tiredness during exercise may be due to inadequate carbohydrate consumption. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach recommends a carbohydrate-dense meal -- such as a whole-wheat bagel and cream cheese or fruit and yogurt -- two to four hours before your run. One to two hours before you exercise, drink a carbohydrate-based sports drink or a eat a piece of fruit or a few crackers.
Exercise at a rate appropriate for your fitness level. A common mistake made by beginners is trying to run too far, too fast. To avoid breathlessness and tiring out quickly, calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you are 20 years old, your maximum heart rate is 200. Start exercising at 65 percent and work your way up. For a few weeks, keep your heart rate at 130 until your stamina improves. You should be able to run relatively easily at the low percentage. Increase the intensity and duration of your runs very gradually until you are able to run at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate without getting winded. Track your heart rate with a monitor or by checking your pulse several times during your run.
Practice proper breathing techniques. In order to get your muscles fully oxygenated and avoid lactic acid build up, it's important to structure your breathing. Stew Smith, a former Navy SEAL, recommends a 3:2 ratio for breathing: Inhale over three strides and exhale over two.
Sleep. The value of a good night's sleep for athletic performance is inestimable. Aim for at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep each night so you'll be well-rested for your run the next day.
If you are new to running, start small and build. If your goal is to run 5 miles, start with 1 and then begin to add miles as your endurance increases.
Talk to your physician. Chronic lethargy and shortness of breath may be symptoms of an underlying health problem.