The doldrums - no running, asthma and general apathy :(

Hi everyone, I need a fix of positivity and friendly encouragement, please! I haven't been running for a while. I've just come back from two weeks in Japan and for the first time, didn't take my running kit abroad with me. I thought it wouldn't matter and I wouldn't be bothered, but oh, I wish I had! I'm struggling at the moment - I've quite suddenly developed asthma and I'm sulking because this doesn't seem fair! After all, my lung capacity is greater, my recovery rate is much faster and I'm a lot fitter than I used to be so why should asthma strike now? I can't see me getting out for a run any time soon, as any form of movement seems to make me cough and wheeze.

I know many other people on here suffer with asthma and seem to manage it well. Any handy tips? Or tips on dealing with general apathy, of the type that says, 'well, you weren't a proper runner anyway so it doesn't really matter'? I'm sorry this is such a whinge :( Any help or suggestions gratefully received!

26 Replies

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  • Hi, I'm periodically thought to have asthma.... and then it goes again. So don't despair. Most recently my problems were called 'exercise induced asthma' i.e. when I started puffing doing exercise, I then coughed for days on end afterwards. I've tried a breathing scheme called 'Buteyko' which seemed to help, and I've had no trouble with the first 4 weeks of running. But this week I've been feeling much tighter in the chest and worried about running ... but once going, it has been fine. So I guess I'm saying just try - take it very easy, and see how your breathing goes. Buteyko may be worth a try - it was developed specially to help asthmatics and I believe has proved highly successful.

  • Thanks for that, NewlifeLil, I'll go and look up Buteyko now. It's good to know that you are okay once you start running. I'm due back at the clinic soon so I'll ask them what else they can recommend.

  • Hi there,

    I've only just started the C25K program (first run of week 2 was today), but I've had asthma all my life.

    Go to the doctors and they should prescribe you proper medicine - I take mine just before I start to run, and it gets me through it

  • Thanks, riddler - I do have ventolin, and a couple of puffs before I went out used to be all I needed, but suddenly I need to take it 8 times a day and even walking makes me wheeze and cough. Perhaps they'll be able to give me something else. Glad you're managing, though!

    Sorry, forgot to say, welcome to c25k! I hope the rest of week 2 goes well for you :)

  • Ouch - 8 times a day?? That sounds awful.

    Just wondering if it's a climate change thing having just come back from Japan.

    Ventolin only relieves the symptoms, it does nothing to actually control the condition - for that you want Seretide or something. That should be taken regularly 2 puffs twice a day, with ventolin only used as needed.

    Definitely get yourself down to a doctor

  • It could be something to do with all the pollution in Tokyo, I guess - it won't have helped anyway. They put me on Ventolin and everything was fine for a while - it worked as it should do, but I have made another appointment at the asthma clinic next week so they will review everything there. Thanks again, Annie

  • Could you have a chest infection that's making the asthma worse? Have the docs investigated causes or just labelled you as asthmatic, therefore that's what this problem is?

  • It could well be, Beads. I had whooping cough very badly when I was18 and have been bronchial ever since, then had pneumonia a few years ago and things have gone downhill from there! I have a cough at the moment as well so I guess that's not helping. I'm sure none of this used to happen when I was younger!

  • Anniemurph that sounds really miserable. You definitely need to be on a steroid preventer rather than taking lots of ventolin. My daughter was asthmatic but touch wood seems to have grown out of it at the moment. But the medical thinking seems to be that you shouldn't be using ventolin more than a couple of times a week. To do so means your asthma is not under control, and your lungs could be getting damaged. The pollution in Japan esp if you were in Tokyo with the traffic there won't have helped, and maybe you've picked up a chest infection from the flight? Be grateful you weren't in China, the air quality there is so poor that the sky is brown or grey most of the time,. even when it's sunny. terrible for those living there. It's actually probably just as well you didn't run in Japan. Really hope the clinic can help you with a hefty steroid inhaler and that will calm your lungs down so you can get back to running. All the best!

  • Thanks, annasee - hopefully the asthma clinic will check me over and let me know if I need the preventer rather than just the reliever. I guess it was a good job I didn't run while I was there but of course this made me fed up too because it was the first time I have been abroad and not even bothered to take my kit! Anyway, fingers crossed that someone somewhere can sort it out. Thanks for your reply :)

  • Oh dear Annie, I do empathise. I graduated in March and since then the year has been terrible. Mental health problems, pulled muscles and asthma. My last run was 2 weeks ago, I pulled a calf muscle and, as the air was cold and damp for the first time in a very long time, had an asthma attack after getting home. Two weeks on and my peak flow is only just back to normal.

    As far as managing asthma goes, I hope you have been prescribed a steroid 'preventer' inhaler. I prepare my lungs for running by using Ventolin once or twice during the day and then immediately before setting out. I run with it in my hand, 'just in case', and I usually need to use it again as soon as I get back home. My lungs tend to go into spasm when I stop running and usually take 24-48 hours to get back to normal. I'm hoping that things improve slowly once I get back to running regularly. For various reasons I haven't had a recent period of regular running since graduation.

    Good luck Annie :-)

  • Thank you, Sian. Everyone on here is very kind and encouraging. I'm so sorry you've had such a bad year and I hope it will pick up from now on.

    I've only been prescribed the reliever up until now. I was managing just fine with a couple of puffs before I went for a run and didn't need it at any other time. It's frustrating that I don't know what has changed, but my eczema has worsened as well, so I must be doing something different. This forum is called Health Unlocked - I feel like I'm Health Blocked at the moment :D Oh, well, hopefully they will sort it out soon.

    All the very best for your running :)

  • Don't give in Annie, with the right combination of medication you'll be running again in no time.

    I've got to wait another 2 weeks to ensure my calf muscle is healed then I'll be back out there, enjoying running in cooler air.

    Stay motivated :-)

  • I'll keep my fingers crossed for you, Sian :) And yes, looking forward to the coolth :D

  • Anniemurph - have you explored the asthma uk website? They have a lot of very lively forums and I'll bet there are some runners on there who might have advice or experiences that could be helpful. And re the eczema worsening, I wonder if it's your body's auto-immune system kicking off for some reason? All these things: asthma, eczema, hayfever, and oral allergy syndrome can occur in a person, at different times. If you haven't got them all, it may pay to look out for things which can develop in the future. Oral allergy is particularly annoying, and is where my daughter is at the moment. Over the other 3, but now allergic to most fresh fruits and a lot of nuts. Gets a rash round the mouth and very itchy mouth, sometimes swollen too. There's not much you can do except try to avoid them. Very boring and not what you want when trying to follow a healthy diet for your family. I hope you can get some help from the asthma clinic and be back running soon.

  • Annasee, I hadn't even thought of that (too busy sulking!) so thank you very much for the suggestion. There will be some great advice and information on there, I'm sure. Guess what I'm doing this morning! I hadn't come across oral allergy - I hope your daughter grows out of this one as well. It sounds really tough.

  • Gosh Annie - sorry to hear your news. Others know far more about running with asthma than me but I would say just take your time and see how you go. Keep reading on here as even if you aren't running it keeps you in the right frame of mind for when you are able to really get going again. As for - weren't a proper runner anyway - rubbish. We know you are. Keep your chin up. Linda ps - hope Japan was good anyway.

  • Thanks, Linda - I'm feeling a bit better about it because of all the sympathy and support here :) You're right about keeping reading on here even if I can't run at the moment, it really does help, hearing how everyone else is doing. And Japan was great, thanks!

  • Hi Annie. I don't suffer from asthma myself but I have friends who does. They are still doing ironmans and marathons but the correct medication is key. As mentioned several times before your doctor should help out here.

    One thing I can recommend now when it gets colder is Lungplus. It is a a mouth-worn humidity and heat exchanger that can help when it gets a bit colder. I don't know where in UK you live but if you suffer from cold weather it can make a big difference, but again it doesn't replace the proper medication. More info at lungplus.fi

    There are also other solutions with the similar function.

  • This looks really interesting - I wonder how it feels when you use it? It can get a little chilly in the Derbyshire Dales but isn't normally too bad. Thanks very much for the suggestion :)

  • It feels a bit strange the first time but as everything else you get used to it. I have used it for about 20 years. As said I don't have asthma but get a bad dry cough after exercising in cold weather, e.g. -5C and colder.

    What you can argue is a bigger problem than how it feels is how it looks :) Not cool but not cold :)

  • Ah, well, my theory is that no one really looks at runners anyway, except other runners, and they might all want one too :D

  • Hi Annie, wish I had some words of wisdom for you but sadly not - it must be really frustrating. My teenage son appeared to have grown out of asthma, stopped using his inhalers, then this summer began running regularly with me and bingo it started again. Not sure if it was the running triggering or coincidental, his eczema flared up after a long good spell too so perhaps it was the warmer summer - but unfortunately it's put him off running. Anyway, I do hope you can sort this one out - you're a determined lady, I'm sure you will. :-)

  • Oh and OF COURSE you are a proper runner!

  • :D

  • Like I say, I'm just sulking that it's hit when I'm so much healthier! I'm sorry to hear it's put your son off running. I can totally understand that, what with the coughing and the hacking etc. And it seems to take so long to get things investigated. Oh, well - there are plenty of people worse off than me and I'm sure I'll get it all sorted out and get back to running soon. Thanks for your support :)

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