Thanks for generously fielding questions as you do on the OnTheRun website. It's a great benefit having people like you share their expertise. I wanted to ask you about a breathing problem. I'm new to long-distance running, and for the last 3 months have been training for my first marathon. All in all it's gone very well. However, on several occasions, in the last miles of long training runs, I have a problem with my breathing. My throat closes down and goes into semi-spasm, which keeps me from breathing deeply and regularly. I can control it by concentration and it's not life-threatening, but it makes my breathing a bit ragged and costs me air, energy and concentration I really need elsewhere (needless to say). I can sometimes make it relax by quickly and forcibly exhausting my entire lung capacity several times through my mouth, but not always. Since it happens when I'm trying a new personal longest-distance I'm concerned that when I push up to full marathon distance in my first race in December I'm going to have a real problem at the end of the race. Any suggestions or ideas? Thanks in advance!
Tim - It sounds like you are psyching yourself out. Try and use positive visualization to help psych your self UP. See yourself sucessfully running the distance you are working toward, and visualize yourself breathing easily and deeply in a relaxed fashion as you approach the end of the run. Try writing "affirmations" that you can read to yourself each day to help mentaly prepare for the run. Read them aloud to music, and as you approach the distance during your run, you can hum the tune. Often this will trigger your brain to remember the affirmations. An example might be "I breath deeply and easily at the end of a run", or "As I approach my personal best (distance) I feel myself drawing deep and full breaths". Try these solutions, and let me know what you think.