Running With Asthma

If You Are Running with Asthma, Keep a Training Log
March 10, 2009, 3:10 pm
Filed under: Asthma

I was about to say that running longer distances makes me faster in shorter distances.  But then a cross country runner responded to my one of my posts and she says she’s getting slower, not faster.  This is perplexing to me.  She says she is running the same as last year but I suppose to really see if she is running the same as last year, she would have to show us her running journal.  By the way, I highly, highly, highly recommend tracking your miles, however few, in a running journal or log.  Sometimes we don’t think we are improving but once we check the log we realize we are light years ahead of where we were last year, or even last month.

So back to the cross country runner.  Maybe there is some new element in the air this year that is causing her to run slower.  Or maybe she isn’t logging as many miles overall that she used to.  Or maybe she lost some of her base over the winter that she isn’t aware of.  Or, maybe, she has just stayed static in her runs and so her body has not been challenged to improve.  Let me flesh this last theory out a little bit with my own story.

It is not news for me to say that in the summer my husband and I run a 7 week long 5K series; one of the miles is through the hills.  I am trying to improve my time (see previous posts on this to catch up if you’re new).  I have run two 1/2 marathons and have goals to run more of them, including a full marathon.  But, I really want to get my 5K down to 27 minutes this season and 24 minutes next season.  So far my PR is 31:31 and my slowest overall time is 46:00 on the same course.

I have realized, and this is true for all runners, not just those of us with asthma, that the more I push my body, the more I improve overall.  Let me tell you why I am pointing out the obvious.  Many people have written to me that “I am doing the same schedule of exercises and I’m posting slower times.”  I can’t answer them specifically because I haven’t met them in person to get all the details and I am not a physician or trainer.  I am a runner trying to figure it out like everyone else.  But, I do know, that in my own training, if I stay the same, I don’t improve.

Last week I came home from a six mile run and I told my husband that it was “one giant suffer-fest.”  I hated it.  Everything hurt.  I struggled.  The chatter in my head was loud.  I really had to buckle down and force myself to keep going.  Why?  Why was it such a struggle?  Because, as the responders to my posts have said, I’m not really doing anything different so why all of the sudden am I struggling?  I’ve been doing 6 mile runs once a week for a year now.

One look at my watch gave me the answer. I have a Garmin that connects to the satellite so it tells me how many miles I’ve gone and how fast.  It also breaks it down per mile.  And therein was the answer:  my first mile was a 9:20!  Coming up the hill I posted a 14:30 mile.  Overall, I arrived back at the house in about the same time as all the previous six mile runs.  But a check with the watch told me I was running two minutes faster in the beginning half of the run than I was a few months ago.

Also according to the watch, my overall average mile had dropped from a 12:00 minute average pace to an 11:00 minute average pace. This is progress people! However, had I slowed the first few miles a bit, I would have had more energy in the last three miles and most likely would not have struggled as much. Too fast at the start = twice as slow in the back half. It should be the other way around.

So here is my adivce for today for those of you who can’t figure out why you are running slower than before.  Get yourself a running journal/log (mine came from Runner’s World with the subscription) or you can make your own on the computer.  It needs a space for every day of the week, distance, time, course, and notes.  In the notes category, put information such as weather, heart rate, temperature, mood, lungs, etc. This is especially key if your asthma is affected by the environment.  You can record the weather and if you struggled that day, put that down as well.  You might see a trend emerge.

Second, get yourself a Garmin and start tracking those miles.  If I hadn’t had run with the watch, I would not have known that I was actually getting faster.  My overall time was the same on the six miles, 1:08:30, but I struggled a lot more because my first few miles were much faster.  I would not have known this without the watch to tell me. I would have just thought that I was struggling much more than I used to and I would have come to the false conclusion that I was getting worse instead of better.

Record keeping is the first key to understanding how you run with asthma.

–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

Finished a 1/2 Marathon with Asthma
February 4, 2009, 7:35 pm
Filed under: Asthma

Start line for the marathon. I’m in there somewhere…

The short answer is that I finished the 1/2 marathon in November.  If you read my previous posts, I was really anxious about whether I would be able to go the full 13.1.  I did.  The longer answer is that as soon as I crossed the finish line, I went into a full blown asthma attack!  It wasn’t pretty.  The medics came over with a gurney and wheeled me over to their first aid station, but not before I had  my finisher’s medal around my neck.  Priorities!

The reason for the attack? Emotions. I saw the finish line and couldn’t believe I had accomplished my goal. I broke into tears and all I could think about was, “Did I just do that? Did I really run 13.1 miles?” The lungs cannot multi-task. They cannot run and cry at the same time. I pushed forward to run across the finish, as I cried, and the lungs closed up in a nano-second. It was a classic attack: gasping for air, gasping for the inhaler, terrified I was going to pass out.

I ran a second 1/2 marathon in December.  I wasn’t going to sign up because I was afraid.  What if it happened again?  The day before the race in December, my husband talked me into running.  I hadn’t been training, just doing my normal runs.  My goal for the run in November was to finish; this time it was to finish without passing out!

Goal accomplished.  I had a little more fun the second time around, took in the scenery and just relaxed.  However, once I came to the finish line, my emotions started to get away from me again and my lungs threatened to close again.  My husband said it looked like I was running backwards and forwards at the same time.  I think I was because that is what it felt like.

The ambivalence of seeing the word “finish” and then having to run under and across it is uncomfortable.  I suppose that is why it took me so long to add this post.  I’m just not sure  what to think anymore.  Obviously I can run 13.1 miles. Obviously the asthma isn’t holding me back to the point of not doing what I want. But what?

My neighbor said to me it’s all in my head.  The whole asthma thing.  I rolled my eyes of course, because that is what I do when I hear something silly.  He thinks it is my body’s response to some mental blocks of “not being…” (fill in the blank: not being good enough, not being able to keep up, etc. etc.) Okay, whatever. Maybe it is organic as he says.  I don’t think so.  But I’ll keep thinking about it.

I do know that short runs seem to exacerbate my lungs more than long runs; the harder I push up a hill and force them to open up, the better I feel. Metaphor?  The more long runs I do (5 or more miles),  the faster I become and the better my breathing is. One of these days I’ll figure this out; when I do, I’ll let you know.  In the meantime, read Runner’s Word Magazine.  It’s amazing.

UPDATE: Reading this post in 2015 makes me wonder what all the gloom and doom was about. This post should have been shouting with joy that I ran a half-marathon with asthma! I answered the question “Can I?” with a resounding “Yes! You can!” It amazes me how deep the negativity and insecurity was. Why was I not willing to be joyful in a success?

–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

How I Run with Asthma

This post is two fold: A response to Ashley’s question/comment and an update as I train for the 1/2 marathon coming up on Nov 2.  I’m starting to get really nervous!  For the first time, I am doubting that I will be able to go the distance of 13.1 miles.  Here’s why:  It took me two years to build my running foundation so that I could begin to increase my mileage beyond 4 miles.  I began adding mileage about 8 weeks ago.  I was fine with the increases until I did 8 miles.  I’ve done 8 miles two weeks in a row for my long run and my body (and lungs) is rebelling.

A week ago, I did 6 miles around my house and then 2 on the treadmill.  During the week I tried to do 5 or 6 miles but this was too much. My legs were killing me, my body was tired, my lungs were done.  So I took a 4 day break.  This past Monday, I did 8 miles which included 3 miles of hills.  I felt pretty good the first 7 miles.  The last one was tough so I walked a bit.  I felt the familiar expansion and tightening in my lungs so I just slowed down.  Tuesday, I was exhausted.  I rested.  Yesterday, Wednesday, I did 3 miles around the track for speed/interval training.  I took 1:30 off my PR for a 5K (yeah!) for a PR of 30:00.  But, today is Friday and I’m still paying for it.  My lungs really, really do not like speed.

So now I’m in a pickle.  I need to run today, but, my lungs are still symptomatic from Wednesday.  The 1/2 marathon is only 3 weeks away.  I need to get a least 10 miles under my belt, in one run, before the marathon and the ideal time to do that is this weekend.  But, I have a business trip to attend to.  And, there is also the possibility that since it took me two years to build a foundation, that it will take me another year to properly increase mileage so that I can do a 1/2, and eventually a full, marathon.  The thought is occurring to me that maybe my exercise asthma is not going to let me advance the way normal runners do.  Maybe I need longer than 3 months to train for a 1/2.  Maybe my lungs require more time.  I’m really not sure what to do.

So for now, since I can’t answer my own question, I’ll answer Ashley’s question that she left on the Home page of this blog.  The experience I have to offer to your situation, Ashley, is this:  I was diagnosed with EIA (exercise-induced asthma) in my 30’s.  The Dr. told me this was a typical time frame to develop “adult asthma” as he called.  He told me that childhood asthma, which is typically allergen related, is usually outgrown by the time a child reaches 18.  This was the case with my father.  He was terribly allergic to dust and dander but “grew out” of the asthma.

As I look back, I see that I had EIA as a child but did not realize it.  The only symptoms I had were not being able to keep up in Gym class.  In High School, College, and in my 20’s, I tried several times to run but was immediately tired, out of breath, chest tightened, and so I would stop again not understanding why I was “so out of shape.”  In my 30’s, after having kids, I had slowly and progressively decreased my activity level. Not intentionally, it just became a way of life.  This is when my lungs finally caught up with me.

Not only did I have symptoms with exertion, now I was having symptoms with no exertion.   The day it finally came to a head, I kept saying to my husband how tired I was.  I had to keep taking deep breaths.  “I’m just so tired!”  Every movement was a chore.  I went to lay down on my  bed and I started to pass out.  I quickly crumpled on the floor and each time I raised my head I got light headed. 

Mind you, I am not the type of asthmatic that starts gasping for air like you see on TV.  I melt.  Like a flower. First, I can’t stand up straight; I slouch.  Then I sit down.  Then I can’t sit up straight.  I’m just so tired. And eventually, if I ignore all the signs, I would just quietly pass out. Fluid also builds in my lungs, so my voice changes and I have to keep clearing my throat.  My shoulders hurt around my collarbone area. My chest and back feel like there is something really big inside of me, pushing, trying to get out; like there isn’t enough room inside of there.

So, long story short, Ashley, I think there might be something to the inactivity that makes exercise asthma worse (read previous post, Asthma Improved with Exercise).  I have never seen one medical report to this effect, this is just my personal experience and something that I believe needs exploring.  A friend of mine suggested that it was because the body is more efficient at producing and moving blood/oxygen at higher rates of exercise, or something like that.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that finding the balance between not enough exercise, which causes symptoms for me, and too much exercise, which causes symptoms for me, is very difficult to find.

There are also certain times of the year where my running efforts are sabotaged by allergies.  Spring, somewhere around March, and Fall, October, are the worst months of the year for me.  I’m not sure what I’m allergic to because I’ve been too busy to go get the skin test, but running is harder during these months because of the air.  Smog also hits me hard.  Since I am writing this in October, maybe the air has something to do with me still feeling the effects of Wednesday’s run.

Speed is not my friend.  My lungs hate speed.  I want to run, go fast, but every time I do, my lungs immediately expand, tighten, swell, whatever, and I am forced to slow down.  I really hate that.  So I do intervals.  Go fast, then walk.  Go fast, then walk.  This helps my overall pace, and strengthens my lungs in general, but isn’t as taxing on the lungs during the actual workout.  If I give them lots of breaks, they seem to like that better.

What I also know is that the pain of pushing through workouts, and forcing my lungs to work harder, is paying off.  My asthma is definitely better with the longer runs.  The only question now, is, is 8 miles my threshold or am I just entering another painful growth stage that I will have to push through to get to 13, or even 26.2 miles?  I just don’t know.  And, unfortunately, I will have to keep running, for longer distances, to find out. I’m probably going to have to suffer through the 1/2 just to see if I can suffer through it.  I hope I don’t pass out on the course, at least not before they take my picture.   No pain, no gain as they say; whoever ‘they’ are.

Asthma Improved with Running

Well, it’s official.  In my last entry I alluded that I might be on to something, that my exercise-induced asthma was actually better with more mileage.  This seems like an oxymoron because exercise asthma basically means I’m allergic to exercise.  But, I’ve noticed a huge difference between running 2 or 3 miles and running 6 or 8 miles. I’ll tell you the real kicker in a minute, but first, some context. 

Other kinds of asthma (“regular asthma” for lack of a better term) is allergy related.  If you are allergic to scents, dust, animal dander, etc., then for the most part, you can remove yourself from the allergen trigger and your asthma will subside; the airways in your lungs will stop swelling and will begin to relax.  Of course, you might need the aid of an Albuterol if the swelling is severe enough.

But, with exercise-induced asthma, in my particular case anyway, since my trigger is exercise, it is a little more difficult to remove myself from the trigger.  For example, if I run, the airways in my lungs react and become swollen, constricting the air flow. Once this happens, as long as my body is still in motion, my lungs think we are still exercising and therefore keep swelling.  So I personally have a hard time running in the morning or middle of the day because I still have to get through the rest of the day: straightening the house, vaccuuming, work, laundry, shuffling kids, grocery, etc, etc.  As long as I’m still moving, my lungs cannot relax and I cannot attend to my duties as mom, businesswoman and wife.  To combat this, I run in the evening and then sleep it off.

On a side note, my husband has prepared dinner many times when I’ve over-exerted myself and helped with putting the kids to bed while I laid on the couch or bed trying to keep myself from moving into a full-blown asthma attack.  God bless him and his patience is this area.  His other areas are not so patient but that’s another story and another blog!

Now,  here is the interesting part.  I’ve gotten to the point that if I don’t exercise my lungs begin to be symptematic.  I’ve also noticed that I am much more symptematic after running 2 -3 miles than I am after running 4-8 miles.  And, here is the real kicker:  I’ve decreased my Advair from 250 to 150.  More running, less medication!  My Dr. wasn’t too sure about me lowering the dosage but I insisted I wanted to try because I was feeling so much better.  I told her I could always go back.  But, 2 weeks later, I’m still feeling great. 

Last week I got myself into some trouble with all the increased running.  I discovered I was overtraining for the upcoming 1/2 marathon.  My legs were killing me.  My body was tired.  My lungs kept up, which was a welcome relief, but the rest of me couldn’t handle it.  This, I’m told, is a classic beginner mistake.  Too much, too soon.  So I took a break.  A funny thing happend.  By Sunday evening (3 days after my last painful run), and yesterday (Monday) afternoon, my lungs felt like they were closing!  Because of all the resting and taking it easy, fluid was building up, my voice changed, I had to keep taking deep breaths.  My lungs needed the exercise to open back up. 

So last night, for my long run for the week, I ran 8 miles.  This included 3 miles of cross country hills.  I did fine!  My body was rested, my lungs sucked in the air and for the first time, I felt like they were actually thanking me for the exercise instead of punishing me.  They want to work!  I like to run, but I guess I will  be running whether I like it or not because if I rest too much, and don’t get enough exercise, my lungs react by swelling the airways.

The key for me, and the hard part because I’m impatient, is to go slow.  I tried really, really hard last night to keep myself at a 12 minute mile because I was going far, but I coudn’t do it.  My body wants to be at a 10 minute mile.  My brain and my heart want to do an 8 minute mile but that’s for the future.  I ran the 8 miles in 1 hour and 20 minutes.  Through the hills I did 12 minute miles so I must have gone faster than a 10 minute mile somewhere along the way.  The Garmin ran out of battery so I will never know.

If you’re struggling with this like I am, there’s hope!  I think I’m going to start my own definition of exercise-induced asthma.  Instead of being allergic to exercise, I’m going to say that my lungs are addicted to exercise and I have to feed the addiction or they will rebel.  This time,  not from exercise, but from the lack of it.

Running Farther
September 18, 2008, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Asthma | Tags: , ,

This week is another milestone and another epiphany.  My lungs feel better after running 5 miles than they did running 2 or 3.  Weird!  I’m tired, but, my lungs are more open and not the part of my body holding me back today.  Today my muscles are sore.  My short-term goal is the same:  to do the 1/2 marathon November; even if I have to run/walk, run/crawl.  This past Sunday I hiked 2.5 miles up a mountain and then jogged 2.5 back down again. I could hear my heart beating out my mouth!  It was clicking.  (I also have MVP) If I add the distance from the truck to the trail, it was a total of 5.65 miles.  Last night I did a slow run of 5 miles.  Two of those miles were cross-country through the hills.  My husband said he sees a difference in my asthma overall with the increased running. 

My pace isn’t much faster (12 minute miles last night) but I’m running farther than ever before.  For the past two weeks, I’ve cranked up my runs from 2 to 3 miles each time to 4 to 5 miles each time.  And, my lungs are tolerating the longer runs better than the shorter runs. This is news worthy because every article I’ve read about exercise-induced asthma says that the worst sport you could pick for this type of asthma is long distance running.  They always recommend swimming because of the ‘moist air.’  Baloney.  I’m going to take this as far as I can and prove them all wrong.  It took me 2 years to be able to run this far, and it might take me another 5 years to run a full marathon, but mark my words:  I’m going to do it.  And I won’t be wearing a skirt when I do.   I’ll keep you posted.

I Can Run With Asthma

Yes, I can run with exercise-induced asthma.  But not without a little bit of consequence.  On my last asthma post, I was gearing up for race #4 in the 7 week 5K series.  I posted a 31:45, a PR.  Last week, race #5, I posted a 31:31.  Not bad but I paid for it for 3 days.  Yesterday, for race #6, I came in at 32:25.  Ugh. It was very humid last night.  However, my lungs feel much better and not so stressed as compared to last week.

Why this obsession with times?  I keep asking myself why I can’t just relax and enjoy it.  The obvious answer is that time is a bench mark for success.  It is a tangible result of improvement.  But, so is being able to do the race in the first place.  I can’t loose sight of that.  Last week I spoke to a friend of my mom’s, who is also a cross country coach for one of the local high schools.  He asked if I did a 7 or 8 minute mile. I rolled my eyes and laughed and said no but that I was very proud of my accomplishments, which I explained to him that I had gone from a consistent 15 minute mile two years ago to a consistent 10:30 mile, and that my new PR was 31:31 for a 5K and that in the first mile I clocked 9 minutes.  He said, “Oh.”  He wasn’t impressed.  I was hurt.  For days.

Look, running with asthma is difficult but it can be done.  The improvements definately come if I am consistent but they come in baby steps.  I’ve gone from a 46:00 5K to a 31:31.  That’s improvement!  I can’t ignore it.  I’m not going to lie to you.  In order to improve you have to push and if you push you will pay for it.  Like, sitting still for two days.  If you can’t afford that (neithe can I so I am in constant battle with my ego), then don’t push as hard.  You still have to push to improve, and it will hurt, but the benefit is that my lungs are so, so, so much stronger than they used to be.  Now, they actually crave cardiovascular exercise.  I just need to find the balance between too little and too much.

If you want to run with asthma, just do it.  Start small, take baby steps, be consistent, and just do it.

Run With Asthma
July 31, 2008, 4:42 pm
Filed under: Asthma | Tags: , , ,

I’m running a 5K race tonight and I’m tired.  It’s hot outside.  The air here in Southern California isn’t that great.  I’m trying not to psyche myself but a part of me can’t help it.  I can only do what my lungs will allow; I’m at their mercy.  But, if I keep pushing, my lungs will do more than I give them credit for.  This is the struggle.  Knowing how far to push, how hard to train.  There’s always the fear in the back of my mind of what will happen if I go too far.  Will I pass out on the trail?  Will someone find me?  I run with my cell phone but not always my inhaler.  On race night I take neither.  On race night I wear the Garmin to track my pace.  On race night the goal is to loose seconds, preferably minutes, off my best time.  Can I do it?

This particular race series is seven weeks long.  We race every Thursday night at the local college.  We start on the baseball field, meander through the campus, and then up and down the hills along the freeway for a mile before heading into the stadium for half of a lap around the track to the finish line.  Official results are printed each week.  My goal is to decrease my time each week.  Last week, the air quality was so bad it sabotaged my efforts and I gained an entire minute.  Am I being to hard on myself?  Why can’t I just run?

Two years ago my time for this series was 45:00 all seven weeks.  Last year I started the series at 46:00 and ended at 36:34.  This year I started at 32:12.  I’m still hovering there with four weeks to go.  I would like to end the season with a 30:something but this would require consistent ten minutes miles and through the hills, well, I’m not so sure this is possible.  My husband thinks I’m crazy to be so concered with times and scores.  He doesn’t have asthma.  His lungs don’t rebel against him.  His mind doesn’t say, “let’s go!” with his lungs laughing somewhere deep in a cavity of obstinance.  It makes me crazy.

I just want to able to go and do what I please.  However, the voice in my head is nagging me to look at the bright side.  Last Sunday I ran four miles without stopping.  This is a milestone.  I went slow, an average of twelve minutes per mile, but I did it.  I am running stronger.  I am running faster.  In my mind just not yet strong and fast enough.  Why am I so hard on myself?  Because I do not like being told no.  If I want to do something, I should be able to do it.  I’m thinking that there is only one brain in my body so if I am in charge of that brain, and I say to run faster and stronger, they why are my organs not listening?  Why can’t I make them behave?

They have a mind of their own.  They do what they want.  They will improve on their timeframe, not mine.  I have to listen to them, not the other way around.  I don’t like this paradigm.  In the January 2008 issue of Runner’s World magazine there was a quote by General George Patton, “If you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing.  You have to make the mind run the body.  Never let the body tell the mind what to do.”  I’m guessing he didn’t have asthma.

What will I do tonight?  Will I push to the liimits?  Maybe it is all in my mind.  Maybe I can run faster and stronger but my fear of consequences (passing out) holds me back.  Or, maybe I wouldn’t pass out at all.  Maybe my lungs are stronger than I think but my fear keeps me from really putting them to the test.  Another deep inhale; I keep doing this to see if the airways are currently swollen.  No.  Just nerves.  They seem to be fine.  But I am tired from this weeks runs.  Or do I just think I’m tired?

It is 9:30 a.m.  The run is at 7:00 p.m.  I have to announce the Junior Olympic swimmeet today for a few hours; that will keep my mind off of the race for a while.  But, I will be out in the heat sucking energy out of my body.  Announcing is exhausting; the ultimate multi-tasking job.  Maybe it will tire me out.  Or maybe it will energize me.  9 1/2 hous and counting…

(p.s.  the swim club is doing a live web cast this year of the 5 day swim meet.  they added an underwater camera which is pretty cool.  i’m on today from 11:00-2:00 and again on
Saturday from 8:00-11:00).

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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