Asthma and running

i am very new to running but have quite bad asthma. I am very fit - going to the gym several times a week but have only recently started to run. I often have chest infections etc but really want to become a runner. Has anyone any advice on running if you have asthma - thanks


  • Pamela, I have asthma and I run, well jog really and a bit crap at it. I always take my inhaler before setting out even if I feel fine. I always have my inhaler with me. I slow down to a walk if chest is tight. And I don't run if my chest is tight in the first place.

    Hope that helps.
  • Also have asthma. Find that first 5 - 10 minutes running OK, but then for next few miles feel I am going to die - experience (so far) has shown me that I won't. Eventually run - or rather plod through it. It seems body needs to adjust to adrenalin eyc. being pumped through it. Would advise starting slowly.

    This year seems to be particularly bad, was told at clinic that oil seed rape is being planted after an interval of 4 years and its pollen is particularly bad for asthmatics - if you feel this might be a trigger anti histamines also advised.

    Good luck.
  • That's why my hayfever is so bad this year then Bear!!

    Pamela - Paula Radcliffe has asthma so it is possible to run with asthma, you just have to be sensible like the others have said. I always take my inhaler before heading out too. when you first start out it might be a good idea to do small laps near to your house so if you do start feeling bad you are never too far from home. Then as your ability and confidence grow you can venture further from home.

    Just take things nice and steady and you'll be fine :o)

    Happy plodding
  • Thanks everyone for your help, it is useful to know that other people suffer from the same problems as me.

    I have also heard about the rape seed and I think that this is part of my problem.

    I will just carry on plodding and hope that I can build it up from there.

    Thanks everyone ;-)
  • CeridwenCeridwen ✭✭✭
    Hi Pamela,

    I too have asthma. For me, the most important factor was getting the right medication. I developed asthma at the age of 38 and spent 12 years on inhalers, which did not suit me at all. I had to use the reliever 10 or more times per day and still got out of breath all the time. Finally, I was moved to different meds in an accuhaler system and now only have to use this once daily. I have been a bit pollen-challenged this last week, but not wheezy as such.
  • Dear my brothers  & sisters. 

    My asthma was detected during infant stage.  I lost a lot of school days due to severe asthma attacks.  Admitted to the hospital for several days, especially during winter or rainy seasons.  (Now, I realized how much my mother suffered to bring me up). 

    You might be knowing the climatic conditions inKerala,India, Almost wet air (more water content in the air). And having more chances to get infected.


     When I was 10 -14 (during my 5th to 9th class), I used to play cricket with my friends in the school.  But at night, wheezing starts.  This was for almost 5 years.


    I concentrated in my studies during college days,  (didn’t aware of any physical exertion) completed my engineering at 21. 


    I came toDubaiat the age of 26, which is a dry desert.  The atmosphere / air is dry and having humidity.  My asthmatic symptoms gone totally.  I was happily earning and helped my parents financially to bring up my brother and sister.


    I married at the age of 31 and healthy twin girls were born after an year.  Both are not having any asthmatic symptoms, now at 10, (studying in 5th standard).


    After 40, the symptoms came up.  I consulted a doctor inKerala,India, He advised me to use inhaler. Two puffs a day gave me cure from wheezing and coughing.  Two years gone with the inhalers.


    I used to search the internet frequently for asthma cure and remedies.   And found that regular exercise can give relief from asthma.


    Now I am 43, I started walking at a slow pace around a park in Sharjah (approx 1.6 Km). Took  8 minutes initially, then slowly reduced the time to 6.5 minutes to complete one round.  Gasping heavily for air at the end of 4 rounds…..!!!


    A month gone.  I started walking at a moderate pace and jogging for 30 seconds in between.    A total of 7 rounds in 44minutes.  My heart beat raised to 108 – 122. and the rest rate reduced to 60 - 63.


    2 months gone now.  I stopped using inhalers.  No cold/cough during this winter.

    I am walking (+ jogging) 5 days a week. My weight reduced to 65Kg (from 75kg ). My pant size is 33 now (was 40 before).  My blood pressure and sugar levels are normal. 


    I will  continue my walking (+ jogging) and advise you to have a regular physical  exercise, It will give you immunity from  all diseases.

  • If you're just starting out running, go see your asthma nurse and ask for a review, mentioning your exercise plans. Last spring I got swapped from one inhaler to another and it made all the difference to me, especially in the summer. I don't have bad asthma in general, mine is allergy and exercise induced, but in the past I've had flare-ups serious enough that I've ended up in A&E and hospitalised for days...

    I'd say if you're just starting out running, always take your inhaler and mobile phone with you and wear a medical alert bracelet just in case. Run short loops by your house so you won't be far from home in case anything does go wrong. As asthma is often exacerbated by stress/worry/panic, minimising the risk of having things to worry about will also minimise the risk of attacks. Used to be if I forgot my inhaler on a run and realised it, that alone could be enough to trigger wheeziness. Sounds bonkers but there you go!

    Once you get more confident you can venture further afield but to start with stay close to home. Using the blue inhaler before a run works for me, as does taking antihistamines in the summer. I never have problems in cold weather, it's the heat that bothers me. I know some people with asthma are the exact opposite though...

    I was diagnosed in 2005 at age 32, been running marathons since 2008 and ultra marathons since last year. As I've got fitter, my asthma symptoms have decreased.


  • One thing I've done is use a lung trainer. Mine is a 'Power Breathe' from Amazon and it has a big difference. Haven't used my inhaler for a long time now and running around 30km/week at a pretty good pace..

    I'm tempted to go back to the nurse and see how much my breathing has improved!
  • I might give the lung trainer a go. I was diagnosed a few months ago, huge improvement in day to day stuff with preventer but struggled with running still, can only manage 20 mins before needing blue. I take 2-4 puffs 30 mins before a rin. Anyway nurse changed me to fostair a combined inhaler as the dilated is supposed to last longer.

    Would be interested to know if anyone else uses this, not sure yet as only been on a few days and I was told it would take about a week to take effect. I wonder if steroid part is not as strong as that 'ground glass' feeling in my lungs is beginning to come back.
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