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Asthma and running/jogging

Hi all newbie here :-), I'm Emma.

I'd describe my asthma as mild-moderate - I usually need my blue inhaler at least once a day and find my chest is worse at night, in the winter months and during exercise. Having failed to get inspired by the gym (too busy) or various fitness DVD's (too monotonous) I'd like to start a running/jogging programme to improve my overall fitness and hopefully stabilise my asthma. But I have a couple of questions:

1) Are there any regular runners out there who started as beginners (like me) and have found that running's really improved their asthma? and;

2) I'm planning on training using the interval approach, so jogging for 1 minute, walking for 2 to start with and gradually building this up - is this the best way to tackle it or can anyone suggest an alternative method?

I've seen a few negative posts from asthmatics who have tried running, but would still like to give it a go so I've entered a 5k race in June as a kind of 'target' to spur me on. I've been wanting to do this for a long time but have never committed myself due to worries about my health and it potentially making my asthma worse rather than better.

I guess what I'm really looking for is some postive 'success' stories from asthmatic runners to give me some inspirtation :-)

Thanks, Em x

14 Replies

hi emma

Welcome to the boards! When my asthma was a little better controlled i did running and jogging for increasing my fitness levels as i was training for the run for life 5km fun run im my home town and also my duke of edinburgh awards.

Its not something i can contemplate doing now but i wish you all the very best - it did help me to get my fitness up and also loose some weight at the time but as i said my asthma was fairly well controlled at the time.

If your in doubt as to how your chest will get on with the running then id see your dr and have a chat with him/her about it see what they say! Also i found running for a minute walking for a few was a great place to start and you can then gradually build it up to say running 5mins walking 1 etc!

Hope it helps and good luck with the run and the training! Feel free to pm me if i can help further!

Lotsa lv kat Xx


Cool, thanks for replyin, its good to know that it can and does work for ppl, its a shame you aren't able to do it now tho :-(

I'll def check with dr before I start, and glad you think the interval training is a good way to go, I'll keep you posted!

Em xx


yes please do keep us posted on how you are getting on! Good luck with it all! Lv kat Xx


Hi Em,

I've done a lot of running over the years and have generally found that I get to a certain point and I physically can run no further, my best is about 6 miles. Think carefully about the time of day you train, avoid those times when you know your asthma is worse. Also, ensure that your asthma is well managed, do you regularly go to asthma clinic and watch your peak flow? I am on a lot of medication to control my asthma - but it is WELL controlled, do not suffer, make sure you are getting the treatment you need. I only use my blue inhaler before exercise because I am so well controlled. Also, never train when your chest is not quite right, this is really counter productive.

Lastly, GOOD LUCK, asthmatics can exercise and keep fit, it improves gaseous exchange so your body has a better uptake of oxygen, I also find that when I'm training, if I do have a bad spell with my asthma, I recover quicker.

I am also thinking of taking part in the Three Peaks challenge (see my postings) you could always join me for that!!


I regularly run, bike and swim, but find running to really lower my peak flow readings for the evening and next morning, but then recover. Not sure why, could be cold air, or just running too hard, but then I do 5-10K runs, cycling (30K-120K) and swimming (1.6K+) are fine, but I do use the ventolin now before exercise, never did, but it does help, and I'll also use it after running, so you may need to experiment wit when to use the vetolin, and keep an eye on the PF readings to see if running has any adverse effects.

I remeber my GP telling me before we knew I had asthma, when I was complaining of shortness of breath and severe chest pains, that I should not stop doing any of the exercise, funny I could have had something serious (I know asthma is serious, but you know what i mean)

If you want a runner to inspire you with asthma, then look at Paula Radcliffe, and there are a few pro triathleats with asthma, who are at the top of the field.

Good luck, and remember, exercise is good for asthma, if you are well.



Hi Emma,


But first, consider an appt with your GP or asthma nurse...if you're needing to use your blue inhaler most days, and waking in the night, this suggests that your asthma is not completely under control. Looking at your profile, I'd guess there's plenty of room to be adding on to your asthma management - this should give you better control, and means you'll be less likely to suffer Exercise Induced Asthma (EIA).

I am now very much a regular runnist, and what you describe as a starter routine is perfect. Make sure you take your reliever inhaler about 15-20mins before you start and when you set off, do so slowly. If you warm up thoroughly, again, you're less likely to spark off any asthma symptoms.

If you want inspiration, how's this: When I first came to these message boards back in 2003, my asthma was having a bit of a ""do"", and I'd virtually stopped exercising because of it. Over the last two years, I've built it up after getting my asthma back under an iron-grip, last summer I broke my PB for 10K (57mins now), just before Christmas I did a 10-mile race, and now I find myself doing the London Marathon for Asthma UK.

So go for it, because from tiny acorns, mighty oaks grow.

Good Luck!


1 like

My brother who also has asthma has done several marathons and has started triatholons. He thinks it helps keep his asthma under control. I did the Race for Life and a 10K before I got asthma and I'm struggling to get back to it (I now know why I could never run for long). The run / walk method is great. It's gives you a chance to recover. You can do it by time or the other way is to run until you have to walk and walk until you can run which is sometimes better as though you don't push yourself too hard.


Hi all, thanks for your replies, I've been away for a few days so haven't been able to get online.

Ok, so I took the plunge yesterday morning and went for my first run...and it wasn't as bad as I was expecting! I took my blue inhaler before I left home and I managed about 2.5k on a walk/jog pattern, jogging until I needed to walk and walking until I'd recovered. I tackled a few hills to :D. I took me around 20 minutes so I won't be running any marathons soon lol but I guess its a start, I actually quite enjoyed it in a weird way?!

I'm going to get to the doctors this week as deep down I know I could be doing alot more to control my asthma - I don't take peak flow readings at the minute, so I'd like to start that up again. I think my main problem is that there's alot about this condition that I don't understand, I've always just accepted that I've got asthma but never really looked into controlling/understanding it properly, just seeing it as a burden that I try to ignore. So at 24 I think its about time I took some responsibility!

Cathbear, your PB is brill, I'm starting small, entering the 5k as a taster but hopefully next year I'll be on course for a 10k, that's the plan anyway! Kirstie I'd love to do something like the 3 peaks challange eventually, that's my ultimate goal, I've always wanted to do something like that, good luck with it!

Thanks again everyone :D - I'm feeling pretty positive about things at the mo!

I'm planning on jogging every 2-3 days, always trying to improve on the previous run, should I keep to the same route so that I can gauge progress better (as the route becomes easier) or should I change my route every time?

Em x


Hi Emma, glad your first trip out went well!

Whether you keep it the same or not is probably down to personal preference. It's good to be able to compare your times/distances over the same course, but I find doing the same course every time gets boring and can actually slow you down (because you're bored, if that makes sense!). So I tend to vary my routes, and then once in a while I'll check back against an old favourite just to see how I compare.

Good luck with it all, and I hope you have a productive visit to your GPs if you do go (and I would certainly encourage you to go, for the reasons I mentioned in my first post).



I started running 3 years ago and found that I was wheezing and finding it hard to breath. I was switched to Seretide and now there is no stopping me. 2 London Marathons 5 Half Marathons and at 40+ I get faster and faster!

Listen to your body and get the Asthma firmly under control and you can kick it's nasty little wheezy butt.

So saying cold air still gets me puffing a bit so I need my Ventolin prior to running in the winter.


Footpad - one way to stop breathing in so much cold air is to wear a buff to cover your nose and mouth. I have several, and they work great this time of the year.


Hi Emma,

It's great to know you are keen to take part in more running activities and that you have entered the 5k race. It's definitely a great start and I'm sure you will do extremely well especially having read about your training plan.

Asthma UK also offers a wide range of running events, which may be of interest to you. Please refer to the following link: asthma.org.uk/what_you_can_...

Should you wish to find out more information about any of these events, please contact our Supporter & Information Team on 0800 121 62 55 or email events@asthma.org.uk.

Good luck with the training!

Best wishes

Michelle Chan

Events Team



hey em

its graet that you wanna get into running etc

My husband was diagnosd wiv asthma as a child and took up running to strenthen his lungs he still has to use his seretide every day and take his ventolin on races but he now has a larger lung capacity has completd british age group triathlon championships and has done his first IRONMAN

Some inspiration for you

And not forgetting paula radcliffe who also suffers bad wiv asthma



Hi Em, I run and it really really helps my asthma Why don’t you join a local running club? It’s great to have friendly running advice, training runs, company AND if you do have an asthma issue there’s others around. Jo


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