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Interval Training and Catching Your Breath

You Asked: Hard Time Catching Breath Between Intervals

Dear Fit,
I'm trying to get rid of belly fat and I've read that the best way to do that is by doing intervals. I've been jogging slowly for two minutes, and then I sprint for a minute, but by the next time the next sprinting interval comes around, I'm still huffing and puffing. Sometimes, I even have to stop running altogether. How can I recover faster between intervals?
—Catching My Breath

Interval training is a great way to get rid of overall body fat, especially the tire around your belly. But it's not going to work very well if you can't keep up. I have some suggestions, so


Sounds to me like you're doing too much too soon and overdoing it with your sprint intervals. Intervals are tough, and you need to give your body time to adjust to the new challenges you're placing on it. Make sure you have a solid cardio/running base before doing interval work. Keep in mind that when doing your sprint intervals, you should be moving at a moderate pace, but it shouldn't be so vigorous that you feel like you need to stop running. So change how you're doing your fast intervals by either slowing down the pace of your sprints or by sprinting for less time, like 30 seconds instead of one minute. You may also need more time to recover, so lengthen your slower-paced recovery intervals to three minutes instead of two.

Once you've built up your endurance and your body can recover quickly with this routine, gradually increase the intensity by either running your sprint intervals at a faster pace, lengthening the time of each sprint interval, or shortening your recovery intervals. And remember, not all your runs should be interval workouts. It may take some time to work out a way of interval training that best suits you. Be patient and remember the number one rule to follow: never begin the next sprint interval until you've stopped huffing and puffing, and feel strong enough to increase the intensity. Good luck!

Join The Conversation
MindBodySoul MindBodySoul 7 years
While training for the military with a friend of mine; one of the most important things becomes endurance. And for someone who had been very active and fit in every other way but running this proved really challenging. Like you, I was running out of breath wayyyy too fast; my lungs felt like they wanted to collapse. And I had to slow my pace; reset my goals and learn to breathe properly. i think the breath is one of the most important factors in achieving endurance.. Once you train your breath and get oxygen to those most needed places; your muscles will have you picking up speed in no time. So definitely follow the Fit advice about reducing your sprint time/speed and increasing recovery time. Always remember to inhale deeply through your nose and exhale through your mouth so that you are letting out twice the amount of carbon dioxide and inhaling more oxygen. This has helped me significantly... Best of luck reaching your goals!
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
I use Fit's pdf printout for working out on the treadmill and I switch up the speeds on the interval training when I need to. 6.5 is hard for me, especially after months after not running, so I adjusted my speed to a 5.5 and built up from there. I won't be starting at 6.5 anytime soon, but at least I know I can end with it.
inlove23 inlove23 7 years
I agree that you are doing too much too soon. I am a new runner myself (after being lazy for two years since I stopped doing high school sports) and I wanted to lose the extra weight around my stomach. I set a goal, and my goal was to run to a certain location and back without stopping. It was only a little bit longer than half of a mile, but I made it and everyday I have been running a little farther. Three days ago I made it to a mile without stopping, and now I'm doing that distance until I feel confident in it. Once you met your goal it makes you want to run again because you are proud. Also you could get a running injury due to doing too much at once, or it could burn you out which would make you want to stop running. Currently, I am going onto my second week, and I can already see a noticeable difference in my waist. I had already been committed to working out so my legs were pretty strong to begin (too many lunges and squats haha) with and the extra cardio is defiantly helping. Also try because you can see how much you eat, and this is helping me realize just how much I'm eating. I hope this helps and good luck!
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