Started C25K but really struggled with my asthma

So I've decided to do a 5K run end of July and started training today! Thought it would be a good way to loose weight, since im overweight, however I have asthma and today was hard it was freezing outside and I couldn't do the full 30 mins (done about half) because I had to stop a few times to use my inhaler and got a headache. any starter tips for this ? Because I really want to get to the point of running a full 5K without stopping 


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15 Replies

  • Hang on..... are you just starting Couch 2 5K.... ?    Because if you are.. you should only be running/jogging  for the set intervals, week by week... The programme is about running for thirty mins after nine weeks... If you are starting, no wonder you struggled, anyone would...

    E,g. Week one 

    Begin with a brisk five-minute walk, then alternate 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking, for a total of 20 minutes

    Plus you go really as slow as you like to start, and particularly with your Asthma?

    So, not sure where you are on this ? :)

    Have you downloaded the week by week info?

  • Yeah I got the app and it gave the exact information you said for week one and It was as I was doing that first thirty minute with the jogging/walking intervals but couldn't finish it fully because of my asthma ... I've just re-read what I put originally and I didn't make that clear but yeah I'm doing the warm up walk followed by the minute of jogging 90 seconds of walking and had to stop at just under half way because I needed my inhaler and had developed a headache (possibly due to the slight lack of oxygen) :-/ but I'm fine now. But because of that I didn't fully complete the first day so I'm gonna try again tomorrow 

  • Okay.. sorry... well.. you take it really really slowly..think snail on ago slow... slow is very good and slower is better. :) Make sure you are hydrated too, may help the headache.

    As long as you have the medical all clear to do this, you should be fine..lots of posters on here, with the same or similar issues.!

    Good luck anyway for tomorrow and keep posting :)

  • Hi, hope you're feeling better now. 

    The advice I got from the asthma nurse was to make sure to use my steroid inhaler at morning and night. And to use the blue inhaler (rapid release) about 20 mins before exercise. Then as needed while exercising. There's no limit to how much you can use the blue one, so no need to worry about that. I tend to take it 20 mins before I go out and then again with 2 puffs before the first running section. 

    Your asthma will get better the more it warms up outside and also as you get fitter :-)

  • Hi thanks for that advice from reading a lot of posts on here about asthma that seems to be a running trend (pun not intended ha ha) to use the steroid inhaler and have the blue inhaler before running itself (which I didn't think of before today) so I'll try that tomorrow thanks for the advice :-) 

  • No problem :-) good luck, I hope it feels better tomorrow with no horrible light head or dizziness :-) 

  • I don't have asthma so I am very proud of you for running.  I have gone from being a non runner to being able to run for over an hour and a maximum distance so far of 15 km.  this is only thanks to the C25K programme and I wear my t shirt to advertise the programme with pride!  My lung capacity has improved so much.  I can well remember struggling to run for 1 minute and know the places where running from 1 tree to another was very very hard indeed.  There is no rush to get through the programme but remember we all found it hard and often thought it would be impossible.  Trick is to run nice and slow, as long as you do the run time you have done it.  Going fast, gasping for breath doesn't gain anything at all.  I used to run so slow, I used to say I was almost going backwards.  Breathing is a little tricky though.  I always start to breathe slowly and deeply on the warm up walk, I keep reminding myself on the run to breather well and I think that makes all the difference.  If I feel I am flagging or maybe there is a hill, I focus on breathing to try and flood my lungs with air, really gives me a boost.  I never run at a speed that leaves me gasping for breath but naturally as my fitness improved, my speed has gone up without trying.  While on the programme though, just relax and plod, breathe and plod again.  Take your time with the programme and if it takes longer than 9 weeks, that is fine, graduate in style!!

  • (Hopefully this isnt repeated because i think i clicked the wrong button)  Hi thanks for that comment it was greatly apreciated and the 15K is very impressive! :-) I wasn't going that fast and the heavy breathing was due to the asthma which when it happens means I can't take a deal breath which is gonna become annoying through this but I'm gonna, as you say, "plod breathe and plod again" thanks for your advice and hopefully I start to see an improvement in the future :-) 

  • It is very surprising that I run at all and trust the programme, try to enjoy it, be yourself and looking forward to more news from you.  As an overweight 52 year old, I love Laura and the programme because it has truly changed my life

  • I have asthma too and have to say it hit its absolute worst it has ever been in November last year. I literally couldn't go up the stairs at home without triggering a frightening asthma attack and ended up hospitalised several times. However I went to see the asthma nurse late November and it literally changed my life.

    I got put on a tablet a day and my usual seretide & salbutamol inhalers were binned in favour of a tablet once a day and a fostair inhaler. I haven't had an asthma attack since November, I can now run without triggering an attack and am about to kick off week 1 day 3.

    If you've not been for an asthma review recently I'd highly recommend doing so and even mention to the asthma nurse that you are exercising more which is triggering attacks and you might have your meds switched up. They've now found the right balance for me and I'm feeling better than I have in years.

    Just take it slow, take your meds as you need them and maybe go for a review if you've not had one for a while :)

  • Wow that's really good advice :-) I'm sorry to hear your asthma got that bad that's the worst case I've heard of! But glad its clearing up now and in all honesty I didn't know you could get medication for asthma in tablet form? When I first started having breathing difficulties I went to the docs and they said it was allergies! And prescribed me with hay fever tablets!!! Hay fever tablets!!! I got prescribed with an inhaler a year later but thats doing OK for every day life but not for running I haven't been to get checked out since October so I think I should go sometime soon but I don't wanna be told "nah sorry you should stop running" I know they won't but I'm running this for a sponsored event and already got some sponsors so that would be a kick in the teeth if that happened! Thank you for your advice I hope your asthma doesn't return to its worse cos that sounded scary! 

  • Yeah if your inhalers aren't cutting it, then your asthma nurse should "move you up the treatment ladder" which means they might change your inhalers, give you a montelukast tablet, or both.

    There's no way they'll tell you to stop exercising because exercise is supposed to improve your asthma over time. I'd definitely get in for a review as soon as you can then they can adjust your meds until they've got them balanced just right.

    Fortunately since my meds change, my asthma has more or less gone away. I was on 5 courses of steroids over 2 months because it was that bad at the tail end of last year but the med change did the trick and the asthma nurse is actually pretty thrilled at the exercising because it means my lung capacity should go up!

  • Wow I didn't click until you said it there that's a short space of time for asthma to improve! Its like you've went from one extreme to the other ha ha :-) And I always get the nurses confused when I get my lung capacity checked because my lung capacity is bigger than average but it reduces when I have an asthma attack and can't take a deep breath in :-( I'll try and get an appointment booked in soon then and see what they say :-) 

  • Yes I'm the same. My 'usual' lung capacity is much greater than normal (years of playing clarinet as a youngster I reckon) but it plummets when I have an attack. I agree with everyone else -the end of last year and the start of this one have been particularly bad for my asthma too and I've hardly run at all. I'm having a review with the asthma nurse next week to try and get things on a more even keel. Fingers crossed we both get sorted out! Definitely persevere with your running though, the benefits are enormous 😀

  • Thought I'd let you all know as you all gave really good advice and support yesterday that I tried again today and went further before needing to use my inhaler :-D it was warmer than yesterday which helped still didnt do the full 30 minutes but i went further which is a step in the right direction :-) slowly but surely ill get there thanks for your help and support yesterday guys 

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