Running With Asthma

Asthma Runner Improving with more Running

Well, so far, my theory is proving to be correct.  It has been quite a challenge to become a runner with exercise-induced asthma.  All of the asthma information I’ve seen says that certain sports, such as running, puts more of a strain on the lungs than sports like swimming.  Go figure I would pick the most challenging sport.  Welcome to my world.  In my last post in this category, I expressed frustration at my seemingly lack of improvement and the possibility too much down time in between runs was the culprit.  I experimented over the weekend and I think my theory is correct.

When I first started running, I could not run a full mile without stopping.  I had to walk-run the entire mile.  I gradually worked my way up to three miles.  I could not run two days in a row.  My lungs stayed swollen for two days and then I would run and start the whole process over again.  This went on for months.  This spring, I think I’ve finally crossed a threshold.  Now, if I rest too much, I begin to experience asthma symptoms.  If I sit at my desk too long the fluid begins to build up, I start clearing my throat, my breathing is labored.  So last Thursday I decided to see if my lungs were trying to tell me something.

Tuesday: hills (3 miles), Thursday:  road walk/run (4 miles), Friday: dirt path (2.4 miles), Sunday: dirt path (2.4 miles).   This is a first and a major improvement.  I’ve never been able to run two days in a row before.  Especially after doing four miles.  I’m thinking that my lungs have caught up to the three-runs-per-week schedule and now go in reverse if I sit too long.

This is good.  My speed isn’t improving but I definitely feel stronger.  I’m sure the speed will come with the added runs each week.  I’ll keep you posted.

Running with Asthma
May 14, 2008, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Asthma | Tags: , , ,

I want to run.  I don’t like to be told I can’t do something.  My lungs constantly fight against me.  I have exercise-induced asthma.  The higher the intensity of the workout, the more the airways swell.  But, the more I rest in between runs, the more the airways swell.  Figuring out the proper balance, while trying to run longer and faster, is mentally and physically painful.  It has taken years of trial and error to learn to navigate this disease.  I hate having asthma; it just stinks.

To clarify, I currently use Advair, Singulair, and Allegra on a daily basis and then albuterol before a run.  I run 3-4 days per week, 2-3 miles each time.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I do the hills; Fridays I run the track; Sundays I run on the treadmill and try to run a longer distance.  I run in the evening  because once my lungs are inflamed, everything becomes exercise: walking across the room, making dinner, going up the stairs.  I pretty much have to sit still and rest for a long time if I push myself during the run.  I am a mom and wife; sitting still is not easy when people are hungry.

My current dilemma is that I want to run farther and faster.  Eventually I would like to run a marathon.  There is a local event in November but the way I am (not) progressing, it seems that even the half-marathon will be out of the question.  The 5K runners series starts here in late June or early July.  Last year my best time was 36:34.  It has been almost a year of practicing and I have not yet been able to beat my time.  Although, I do have to acknowledge how far I’ve come.  The first time I ran the series my time was 46:00.

Frustration is an understatement.  But, in typical Tara fashion, beating this topic to death in my mind, reading Runner’s World, trying to figure out a solution, I am going to try to change my strategy.  Instead of running 3-4 days per week, I’m going to try to run 5 or 6 days per week.  I think that possibly I have too much down time in-between my runs.  As a writer and editor, I sit at my computer for hours on end, everyday, which might be causing my lungs to go in reverse.  Then, when I run, my lungs go into shock because they have been ‘dormant’ for two days in-between runs.  The information I read about increasing mileage and speed all say that running 4 times per week is plenty but I think the rules might be different for exercise-induced asthma.

So, I’m going to try this:  Tuesday:   3 miles cross country track;  Wednesday:  1 mile on treadmill;  Thursday:  3 miles cross country track;  Friday:  1 mile on treadmill;  Saturday:  1 mile on treadmill;  Sunday:  4 miles on treadmill (walk-run instead of run).  If my lungs agree to this, then I will slowly increase the in-between runs.  I would love to run the cross country series this summer in 26 minutes.  A major long shot, but again, I don’t like to be told no.

If you run with asthma, I would love to hear how you navigate through it.

UPDATE (9-9-15): This is one of the first posts on this blog, and, therefore, undeniably “green”

–Tara Schiro is the author of No Arms, No Legs, No Problem: When life happens, you can wish to die or choose to live NOW AVAILABLE on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

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