Running With Asthma

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.

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.

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