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Running with asthma - possible?

Has anybody with exercise induced asthma managed to get it under control enough to regularly run? I'm just back from a 1km run - spent more time recovering from the subsequent attack than I did running. Other days it goes alright and I get my hopes up but then the next time will be as bad as ever. I've tried starting slow, long warm ups, etc but it's always the part where I try to run without stopping when it goes wrong. I get so jealous when I see friends posting their 5k/10k times like its nothing - right now that just feels completely unattainable for me. Maybe I am just not meant to run.

9 Replies


I know how you feel .I love walking and cycling .Some days I can go for miles and the next can't go the length of myself .I don't have an answer for you but just keep going as I find the more exercise I do the easier my asthma gets well mostly lol .I get frustrated like you watching other people manage no bother but just have to go with the good days and bad days .😃🌺🌻🐝


Like Missytess I know how you feel. I've never been able to do sustained running. My younger son (another asthmatic) was able to run enough to partake in most sports at school, and he got better as he got older.

There are other forms of exercise that can be done. I have been able to take part in circuit training (if I felt my chest beginning to tighten I stopped whichever exercise I was doing at once, and the person taking the session was aware of the situation before I started). I also used to do a lot of classical ballet; the stop/start format of a ballet class not only suited me very well it also got me extremely fit! I also do three plus mile walks on a regular basis.

It is frustrating though. Both my elder son and my husband do cross country running, and I would love to be able to to that, but have never been able to.


With the help of steroid inhaler medication used regularly (2 times twice a day) my asthma is controlled enough to enjoy running regularly with occasional use of my blue inhaler if a reaction is triggered. Sometimes a neck scarf for running e.g. Buff has been helpful to deal with wind chill and generally keep my lungs warmer.

Good luck and don't give in!

1 like

I agree with Nick. I have been running for many years, even did a half marathon! I take a combined steroid/reliever twice a day and a couple of puffs of the reliever before I run - I always take it with me!! I built up VERY slowly: run 30 secs, walk 4.5 mins for half an hour and then gradually built up to more running every 5 mins and less walking- I never run if I have a sniffle and try to avoid rain etc. I believe Paula Radcliffe is asthmatic, but could be wrong. Try finding a Couch to 5k plan online (free) and go for it! Good luck.


Never use to enjoy just running, but played squash 3 to 4 times a week, (3Hrs) and always had good dose of Salbutamol inhaler first, and after. Cycled a lot as well, but avoided cold air..

Had to give up squash in 1982 after serious infection landed me in hospital. Remember the day we'll, was at work, 2nd April and started to get progressively shorter of breath, Salbutamol pump didn't work.

Phoned up GP, seen straight away, nebuliser didn't work. So GP arranged for hospital admission, remember her words, "Not having you die on my watch" Was in 10 days plus another 4 weeks before returning to work. End of physical sport, but still cycled, until 2 years ago, now rely on Mobility scooter, as not permitted to drive.

Enjoy your physical activities as long as you can, helps your lungs and mental wellbeing.


All the time my asthma has been under cntrol I've been reasonably fit & active, but I never could run properly at any time in my life. I always get a severe burning in my lungs/airways which is so uncomfortable I tend not to bother trying.


Exercise-induced asthma caused me to give up running when I was 37 (39 years ago), but I did not know what it was at the time. I just seemed to lose my stamina. I was a "middle of the pack" club runner before that - ten miles in 57-60 minutes. 28 years later, when 65, I went to my GP and said that I wanted to run again. I now use a Symbicort Turbohaler preventer (budesonide + formoterol fumarate) twice a day, and Ventolin before running. Since then, I have been quite a successful Vets (Masters) competitor, although I don't attempt long races any more. Up to 8 miles in training, and 800 metres to 5 miles in races. My best advice is to find a GP who is sympathetic towards sport, and to join an Athletic Club with a wide range of ages and standards - they usually a have beginners' group to run with. Saturday morning 5 km "parkrun" is also a good place to start.


You could try walking breaks. Have a look at Jeff Galloways training website, he is a great advocate of always taking walk breaks no matter what speed/distance you want to run.

Hope you find a way to keep running.


When i was a child / teenager my mantra was "I don't run - i've got asthma", back then it was a good excuse cos i didn't want to do it anway LOL

Probably about 9 / 10 years ago i decided i wanted to run. My first ever run was 2.5 miles run 1 minute walk 5 and then spend 3 days coughing / recovering!

Eventually i got to a point where i *could* run 10k races but would spend the rest of the day and the next 2-3 days coughing and EVERY single run regardless of distance i would spend at least a good few hours coughing if it was a short one.

And all that was with taking a regular steroid preventer inhaler and 2 puffs of ventolin before i started the running.

Last year i was changed onto seretide (combination steroid / 12hr reliever) and what a difference it's made!!!! I've not tried 10k yet (was ill for a few months at the start of this year so was out of running for a long time) but now i can run and i don't spend hours coughing afterwards!! Not often but a few times i've even not needed my inhaler when i've finished - totally unheard of before last year!!! On Saturday i ran my 1st continuous 5k of this year and felt wonderful - and then went off and did a dancing lesson 4 hours later!!!

I think what i'm saying in a VERY long winded way is check you're on the correct medication for you - it may be that a simple change enables you to do more than before .


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