Possbile Exercise-Induced Asthma

Hi Guys,

So, I've decided to get back into running & have been running for 3 weeks now. All my runs apart from today's were in the aerobic zone (~145-150bpm).Today I did a fast run instead (22 mins @ ~160-170bpm) & as is usually the case with a fast run, I was fairly out of breath. However, I could only inhale/exhale a very small amount of air no matter how hard I tried. I'm not sure to what extent it is normal, I'm sure breathing will be harder when running hard but to that extent?

Anyway, when I got back, I was noticeably wheezing & coughing. I also had a tightness in my throat/top of my lungs. It was bad for half an hour & took around 2 hours to disappear completely. It was about 1C with a cold wind this morning - I read that can make a difference.

I've had wheezing after intense exercise ever since I was a teenager. I just never brought it up because it didn't happen all the time. I wasn't really doing intense exercise often though.

I called the Doctor & he said it might be EIA. A Nurse checked me over & I've been given an Inhaler (Salbutamol) & a Peak Flow Meter + Diary.

Currently my Peak Flow is 520 but I'll have to wait until Saturday to see what happens after a run. It will be Wednesday before I do a fast run again though.

I'm not going to use the inhaler before exercise for a couple of weeks until I have some base readings for post-exercise. It will be interesting to see if the I inhaler makes a difference; I've always just thought I was unfit but possibly EIA is affecting my performance.

So thoughts / do you have EIA & how does it affect you?



  • No-one? I found an old thread here discussing Peak Flow, so there must be someone!

    I ran 6.5 miles today, although it was all in the aerobic zone, so it wasn't hard at all.

    My Peak Flow before going was 540 & when I got back it was 520. I'm not sure but I read your Peak Flow should increase following exercise but clearly the difference between the two readings is negligible. I didn't have any symptoms.

    I will have to wait & see what happens after an intense session that causes symptoms.

    Interestingly, my maximum Peak Flow has been 560 yet this morning on waking I had 480 which seems a bit low in comparison. I did feel ever so slightly short of breath but it could have been in my head.

  • I'll keep updating this in the meantime in the off chance there is someone out there with something similar!

    Now, I got up this morning & felt a bit short of breath. I got a peak flow of 530 (best of three) but of another 10 readings over the next 10 minutes, it was around 470. So, I decided I would try the inhaler for the first time & see what happened.

    My Peak Flow went up to 640 after using it. Forget EIA, looks like I have mild Asthma that only really gets bad enough to take notice during intense exercise & perhaps this morning due to the rainy weather.

    It might make sense considering how my resting heart rate is 49 yet I don't seem particularly fit. I've got a feeling I am a lot fitter than it appears -. It will be very interesting to see how using the inhaler before exercise helps my performance.

  • Have you got an update on this? Did you ever get diagnosed with EIA?

    I have exercised all my life (now 27), played football for years and now recently joined a running club last October. I noticed pretty early on that when racing that my breathing was often heavier than others around me, but it didn't phase me as my times were OK and I have been consistently getting faster. (5k - 16:50, 10k - 36)

    Come April/May this year, the coaches started to notice that instead of the long distances 5k and above that I had a natural talent for the middle distances. My training changed and I have been now racing 800-1500 meter races.

    Since then; after training and races I seem to be suffering a lot of the symptoms you mentioned above. For example; Finished my 800m race on sunday and the pain in my chest was agony, felt so dry, breathing was uncontrollable and for the remainder of the day, I coughed up mucas, sore throat and cold like symptoms - this was sunday and I am still coughing today.

    I seen the doc about this a couple of weeks ago and was given the inhaler you mentioned above, but tbh I don't get any relief or benefit using it before or after training.

    Was wondering if you have had any other inhalers as I have read their are a number of different solutions for this and it isn't one size fits all.

    Hope you are well.



  • I have asthma and EIA and am now on Montelukast daily, Symbicort twice daily and Ventolin as required - the combination of which controls it for everything other than open water swimming - where I can't get to the ventolin if symptoms start. It's possible that you are being affected by pollen too - lots of people have reported asthmatic symptoms this year linked to the high pollen count.

    One of the clinical indications of asthma is diurnal variation in peak flow - which is why you're supposed to monitor it twice a day at the same times each day when keeping a diary.

    If you have an asthma nurse specialist at your surgery it's worth making an appointment to see them.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • Hi there, 

    After posting on your page, I went back to the doctor and explained that the blue inhaler had little to no effect. He has given me the brown inhaler to try (Beclometasone dipropionate), I have to try this for a month and see if there is any improvement. 

    I do suffer with allergies and this would not surprise me if this was another reason why my breathing is difficult during exercise. 


    Lets see what happens. 


    Thanks again.

  • Pete HoltPete Holt ✭✭✭

    I have exercise induced asthma. use the brown inhaler clenil modulate morning and nigh every day and then use ventolin inhaler 15 minutes before intense exercise.

    however, this will not absolutely fix the problem.  if racing you'll need to do a 15 minute warm up @ steady pace before you start.  if it is a high intensity race 5k or shorter you will need to do a set of 3 to 5 strides during the 15 minute warm up.  then recover for a couple of minutes prior to your race.do this and it will not effect your racing. 

    I read this from a Paula Radcliffe interview who also suffers from the same.


    oh and if it is cold use a snood over your mouth to warm the air.  you'll be able to remove it after a few minutes.



  • Thanks very much Pete. The doctor said that it can take up to a month to notice any difference with the Brown Inhaler, did you feel this was the case?

    I've always had difficulty with my breathing 5ks and 10ks (my friend says he can always tell it is me coming behind him), but noticed it is extremely bad when I am running all out in a 800m, 1500m or mile race.

    I've been using the brown inhaler for 7 days now and have a couple of fast races this week, so will be interesting to see if there is any difference. 

  • Pete HoltPete Holt ✭✭✭

    Hi David,  yes it will take a while to kick in, but you will still need to use your other inhaler too and the 15 minute warm up jog (as previously mentioned).  If you don't you will still have some difficulties. You will notice improvements over the course of the time so by next week you should notice a significant difference if not perfect.

    hope it goes well.




  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    I just don't buy this EIA blag. If you can run a 16 min 5k then you are not suffer g with breathing difficulties.

    I always have a very tired feeling in my chest after a proper all out run, so does that mean I am asthmatic or does it just mean that I tried?

    I think it means I tried.
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    There's a difference between a tired feeling in your chest after an eyeballs-out run, and a mucus-producing wheeze during exercise at various intensities.

    The GP told me that I have EIA but I suspect that's a catch-all diagnosis for respiratory discomfort during exertion. Being an ex-smoker might have something to do with it as well.

    I didn't find the inhaler much use but haven't been back to the GP. As advised above, warming up properly and wearing a buff or bandanna across the mouth when starting out does help - I lower it from the mouth to round the neck after a mile or two. It's a nuisance and I put up with it.

  • Thanks Guys.

    VDOT51 - I would never have thought anything was wrong, I only noticed there were issues when I started doing speed stuff and not just fast, I am talking 25sec 200m reps etc.

    There is a big difference between "Ow I am out of breath" and "I physically can't breath and then coughing, wheezing for two days after a workout" Paula Radcliffe had EIA she is the fastest female marathon runner EVER. 

    Trained tonight and not seeing any difference with the current brown inhaler but going to give it the month the doctor suggested. However, the doc said I wouldn't be in pain with EIA and after my race last week I was certainly in pain. So maybe it is just over exertion or something else.

    Muttley - 2 mile warm up and strides is what I do before every rep session. Do you use the bandanna during every session, even in summer?

    Has any one any experience using a mask for allergies etc?




  • I was only diagnosed with EIA after full spirometry  tests. Maybe not everyone with a diagnosis has it but it definitely exists.

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    Myttley, I am always Flemmy/mucusy and get wheezy when running in cold / very arid conditions. The first five to ten mins of each and every run involves my airways relieving themselves of all manner of sticky stuff. I have even been diagnosed with allergy induced asthma, yet I do not believe EIA exists in very fit people. I think of it as having a slightly weak link. If someone who trains hard and is a healthy weight yet struggles to do 5k in 25 mins due to wheezing then I would call that an issue. At less than 20 mins? Nah. At less than 17? Having a laugh! No Farah? Paula Radcliffe? Taking the piss.m

    Obviously I am not medically trained. I just look at it from a common sense perspective and in the wake of the Salazar expos??.
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭
    David Scott2 wrote (see)
    Muttley - 2 mile warm up and strides is what I do before every rep session. Do you use the bandanna during every session, even in summer?

    No, only in winter. The asthma, or whatever you wish to call it, bothers me year round but particularly in cold and dry conditions. On a frosty winter morning I sound like a 60-a-day tramp for the first couple of miles but it does ease after a while.


  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    I wonder like out of tune bagpipes in the cold.
  • VDOT51 - being fit and able to run fast does not mean that your airways cannot have an inflammatory response. I've completed a reasonably paced run at the end of a Half Ironman (1.50 or thereabouts) having had an asthma attack in the swim and ending up with oxygen saturation levels of 84 whilst on oxygen upon finishing. Being able to stay fit and fast  does require the use of medications - and more common sense than I used to possess (I don't do triathlons anymore after another couple of incidents where my oxygen saturation levels were at the doing damage level and interventions including iv steroids were required).

    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • I have just finished a 1 mile relay race and although I achieved a good time, my breathing still isn't right. I wish i could let you hear my breathing, coughing and wheezing  VDOT51. Pain from my chest right up to my kneck immediately after the race and it takes a good 5 - 10 mins to clear.... 

    Strange doesn't cut it.

    Back to the docs tomorrow. 


  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    If you suspect you have asthma you don't want to mess with it.  I spent a year or two trying to brazen it out and made myself very ill. Pneumonia-like symptoms and couldn't talk in sentences.

    With the preventer inhaler - typically a 'brown' one, although mine is a Symbicort 'turbohaler' 400/12 which is one of the strongest there is - you will not feel anything happening, but you should continue to use it religiously.

    The reliever, or 'blue' inhaler is then used as needed when you are short of breath.  Like other folks have said it is a good idea to have 2 or 3 puffs about 15 minutes before a race start, and carry it with you.

    The secret with asthma is to get it controlled.  At first you will nedd to blitz it with the strongest medication out - if you have particularly bad symptoms this will be via a course of oral steroids, and then the strongest preventer inhaler.  You then use a 'step down' procedure, reducing the medication until you find the minimum dose of it that keeps your symptoms under control.

  • Great advice T Rex thanks very much. 

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I'm not too sure about this 'exercise induced' idea myself.  It is true there is a trigger that will bring on symptoms but I'm not sure if it's exercise that actually does it. Although of course when exercising you are breathing in much more air than usual.

    I feel it is more to do with change of air temperature or humidity.  I only seem to get symptoms in winter due to breathing in cold air, although I also suffer in summer on very humid days and also throughout the year when doing things such as getting out of the shower.

    I've had to accept that I cannot race in winter.  I still train but like others doI wear a buff over my mouth.  This makes breathing a bit harder but allows the air that you inhale to be warmer. (I can't race wearing a buff like that ...)

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    You're welcome, David.  Asthma isn't a death sentence! 

    Anyone seemingly can get it - how fast you can run has nothing to do with it. I believe it can run in families but you can get it, like me, as 'middle age onset asthma'.

    Just one of life's trials.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    The mere fact that Paula had it makes my point. If it is a real disability she should have been in the Paralympics.
  • Pete HoltPete Holt ✭✭✭


    you are slightly mistaken.  The illness is not a massive issue if treated properly.  if not then it is debilitating as any illness can be. however the extent of that does depend on the degree of the attack. Paula would suffer attacks that meant she would black out, whereas I suffer attacks that mean I can run but the pain in my chest is very intruding when I race and my 5k time is impacted by 30 to 60s.  having now learned how to manage the problem I do not notice it what so ever.

    I hope this clarifies things for you.


  • I hope I can take another 30-60 seconds off my 5k (what this space lol) 

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    She should dodo have been in the Paralympics thenimage

    My point is that she only loses 30s over a 5k then that still makes her a very good runner, but using drugs makes her world class. That is unfair on clean athletes.
  • Pete HoltPete Holt ✭✭✭

    VDOT51, Radcliffe blacks out without drugs (I lose 30 seconds).

    Nevertheless, 30s over 5k on a track for a professional would be 300m back, that is a lot.


  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    It would be where nature intended.
  • VDOT51 – As you’ve admitted, you're not medically trained so how can you so easily dismiss EIA? 

    Oh, I forgot, you’re the self-proclaimed authority on all matters, aren’t you?

    You’ve suggested that the problem, experienced by those who’ve contributed to the thread, is attributed to a ‘weak link’. 

    Since you’re not medically trained, would you care to elaborate upon your suggestion of the suspected weak link, since you don’t ‘buy this EIA blag’?

  • Pete HoltPete Holt ✭✭✭

    Admit you are wrong and wind it in.

  • VDOT52VDOT52 ✭✭✭
    You tell him/her Pete.

    MG- your personal attacks would make more sense if you would be lbs enough to tell me which banned person you are.

    Oh and The weak link is the aerobic system which can not cope with the level of work that the body is admin of it.
Sign In or Register to comment.