Running with Asthma.. How do YOU do it?!

I've read on hear how some of you run with Asthma, I've seen some folks in the Park Run use their inhalers.

My question is How??? How in the world do you do it?

For about 5 weeks I've felt a tightness in my chest and finally went to the Doc today. She told me it was most likely I have a bronchial irritation from the cold I had back in January, my peak flow was way below the lowest it should have been for my age - so unto an inhaler for a couple of weeks, and have to keep a record of my peak flow and hopefully it will just disappear.

I'd already decided to have this as a "rest" week, so reducing my long run and only doing 2 runs instead of 3, but now I'm kind of wishing I hadn't run at all as I've found it really tough to run the past couple of weeks, and today I just couldn't get the oxygen into my lungs that I needed and so my legs refused to work. I ended up slowing right down, and then mixing running and walking, and home feeling cheated.

I miss my adrenaline speed rush - but hopefully the inhaler will work wonders, my chest will clear and I'll once more come home high from running!

It has left me with even more admiration for all you guys who regularly run with any sort of asthmatic condition. Good on you - I always thought you were great, now I think you're amazing!

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13 Replies

  • My asthma is largely controlled by my preventative inhalers, 2 puffs night and morning. Sometimes I use the relief one as well before I run but that's it. What you have is different, hopefully it'll go soon xxx

  • This is only my personal experience - giving medical advice without an MD licence on the internet or taking such advice is rather hazardous imho :)

    Was diagnosed with Asthma - both Cold and Exercise Induced - several times when being assessed by new MDs.

    I was never able to run as a kid, and picking up a nicotine habit at age 15 or something surely did not help. I could always swim extremely long distnaces though (became too boring when I moved inland though so quit that yonks ago. Pools are monotonous).

    apparently the humid air helped.

    Anyway - took up this C25K lark on June 1st last year because stone bored with walking - tho ONLY exercise I took - and diminishing returns. Was walking further for longer but proportionately less benefit and taking a LONG time out of the day to do so. That attitude, plus messing around on a new phone and coming across the 'prposterous' C25K programme and sheer boredome/curiosity/I'll show them this programme is BS led me to try Day one.

    How can I describe it? Age 55, had only given up a twenty plus per day cigarette habit a year or two earlier, had not run more than a hundred yards in my life literally, forty or fifty pounds overweight and asthamatic.

    Ever feel like you are having a ehart attack while trying to breathe through both ends of your body while your head is exploding and someone has peed liquid fire down your throat? :)

    That was me - doubled over in agony.

    but - curiosity got the better of me - could I make it to the end of week four ever? - and I mean that's exactly how I thought of it, can I EVER get to where I can run like it says in week four?

    Well - you do see the 'Graduate badge' right? :)

    I rarely use my inhaler now. I found what I have heard happens a lot of people with Asthma - exercise and particularly running really helps with it :)

    I regularly run 5K now (takes me forty minutes or so, best ever was 33:45 but what the heck :) ) and just this morning finally made the inner commitment to go for the 10K.

    did day one, Week one of that programme just now. It's bloody cold out there this am too - wore several layers and needed them. Ran the forty minutes on a hilly route and breathed hard but not painfully.

    So much for 'Cold' and 'Exercise' and 'Asthma'

    I take it - as everyone at EVERY level in these programmes should 'Slow - then slower still and then slow and steady as you build up stamina'

    The ONLY advice I heartily give is - have a qualified Doctor give you a check up and follow instructions that they give - and take this programme slow and steady and keep it fun on at least some level.

    Believe me - if I could do it, just about anyone can. Read the early posts of present day Graduates and you will see we all share so much in common when it comes to the fears, hopes and aspirations we had back when we were beginning what turned out to be a genuinely life-changing journey :)

    I wish you every success :)

  • Breathing at both ends! Do enough of that while running!No wonder I run on my own!😂

  • Oh dear Davoda. I'm sorry to hear you're not doing too well. I hope the inhaler kicks in soon and that you're back to full fitness. I know what you mean about missing your adrenaline high. But a rest week will do you good. X

  • I use a Seretide inhaler before I go out and use Salbutamol while running.. I do suffer with the extremes of temperature though especially some of the very cold mornings have had an impact but overall I've been surprised I've been able to achieve what I have, graduating in the 9 weeks. Not sure how my asthma compares to others, but I was told it was 'mild' but that without salbutamol in initial tests I had a third reduced lung capacity. Will be interesting to see if the dr sees any improvement on my next check up.

  • Hi Davoda I have seasonal asthma, allergic to something from October to April but they don't know what it is, probs moulds from plant matter. Anyhoo, I always, always get chest infections this time of year and have done for as long as I can remember. Since starting C25K in Jan, my breathing has improved immensely. I haven't used my 'preventer inhaler' for a few days now, and don't feel I need it. When running my breathing is spot on, and I recover within 30 seconds of finishing the run now. I can't explain it, but it seems that making my lungs work really hard has improved them no end...xx

  • I have moderate/severe asthma and this was one of my main concerns when I started C25k.

    If I am well (while taking Symbicort 2 puffs twice a day + montelukast tablets daily), then a couple of puffs of Ventolin while getting ready and another couple of puffs when heading out the door seems to work for me. According to tests at my recent asthma review, with all the drugs I have the lungs of a 32 year old as I have an above average peak flow (mainly due to playing the clarinet from a young age) - not bad for someone who is actually 45!! She did say that it would be a very different story without the medications, when I struggle to even walk around!

    However cold air and colds are two of my triggers, so winter is not good for me and has disrupted my progress. I have had to stop during a run to use my inhaler and walk for a bit, especially if I go out and am not 100% recovered from a cough/cold. I have only had one asthma attack while out running, but then I haven't been doing it for long!!!! I'm still learning how to manage my asthma and run 😊 (and getting frustrated with not being able to run at the moment- never thought I'd say that!!)

  • There is a variant of asthma called hyperactive airway disease; I have it and I suspect you do also. Attacks are precipitated by a variety of stimuli like exercise, cold air, dust, pollen, and it gets worse in the winter months. I manage on 2 puffs of Symbicort every 12 hours, one tablet of Singulair (which is montelukast), plus 2 puffs of Ventolin 20 minutes before running, that takes me through my run without any attacks.

    Hopefully a couple of puffs of salbutamol pre-run every time should help you get through your runs.

  • Sorry to read this, Davoda. I was annoyed when I started getting fitter because it was only then that I was diagnosed with asthma :D I'd always been 'chesty', as it was described, but running really caused a bit of a problem.

    When all is well, I take a couple of puffs of Ventolin (blue inhaler) before I run and take it with me just in case.

    If it's cold outside, or if I've had a cold, I tend to use the preventative Seratide (purple inhaler) morning and night, then use the Ventolin before I go - up to 4 puffs as necessary. I don't run if my chest is tight - it's just asking for trouble.

    Mostly, running is fine, it's when I get back that I cough my lungs up :D There have been just a couple of occasions when I have misjudged it and started coughing when I was still out - in that case, I chug the Ventolin first but then warm up the air that I'm breathing, for example through a buff if I have one with me or through the neck of my top or sleeve if nothing else is available.

    I hope you can get it all sorted out. I'm sure you can and you will be back to running and your adrenaline rush soon :)

  • Thanks everyone. I know I don't have asthma - I just admire those of you who do!

    I've been on the inhaler for almost 2 days now & already feel my chest returning to normal. My peak flow is improving - so hopefully by next week I'll be finding running easy (ier!) again.

  • I've just had to have a few weeks not running following a cold and then a chest infection which left me with symptoms that were diagnosed as asthma following me recording peak flow. I have had what was described as post viral asthma before but the doctors at my surgery at that time were less worried about checking and just handed out inhaler prescriptions on a 'see if it works' basis (it did). A few things had made me think it miht not just be post-viral, but might be lurking there anyway. First was that my breathing was so shallow and irregular when I started C25k, but it improved hugely with taking things very steadily and concentrating on rhythmic breathing. When it was very cold i needed to warm the air by breathing through a buff. Also after a run I cough a bit but mostly it's that my airways feel as if they are closing up and being filled with gluey mucus. Even so, I was really enjoying running, and coping ok with the 'gluey' stage.

    However, I tried a few short runs pre-diagnosis and it was horrible - my lungs were burning and I was so slow (I'm normally slow but not that slow) and I found a slow 1-2k very hard work because I had no energy at all - hardly surprising because i was short of sleep - breathing properly in the night really does make a difference. I was prescribed a blue reliever straight away but it only deals with the symptoms when they happen, doesn't prevent them, so was still exhausted. I've had a preventer inhaler nearly a fortnight and once it kicked in the difference was huge - I'm back to doing a normal amount and I'm gradually building up my running distance and speed again. Phew! I was really missing it. I carry my Ventolin (blue reliever) with me in case I need it during or after, but haven't yet. So, for me the diagnosis of asthma actually meant I could get back to running.

  • From your more recent post I assume you're better now Davoda .

    Thank you for this post though. I had a bad run the other day. It was cold and wet and windy and my breathing was rubbish. Oddly, though, I found it comforting to think of your post. Instead of feeling like a failure because I was having to be EVEN slower than usual, I felt like a hero for pushing on through! So thank you very much. :) :)

  • You are a hero for pushing through!!

    As is everyone who runs with any sort of "handicap".

    (I'm glad it encouraged you. 😀)

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