Running with Asthma

by Holly
(Arkansas )

I am a teenager with asthma. I used to love to run (I never did it in an organized manner, however) until I got asthma five years ago.

Do you have any tips or strategies for an asthmatic to begin one of your programs?

Answer by Dominique:

Hi there,
Thanks for your question about running with asthma. Before I try to help, please keep my site disclaimer in mind.

I am not a doctor, I just know a thing or two about running. I don't know how severe your condition is, nor if there are any situations specific to your situation that should be considered (e.g. sensitivity to dry weather, pollen, windy conditions, etc.).

In other words, I can help, but can't replace your doctor and in case something happens, you can't sue me!

As asthma is a respiratory condition it is extra, extra important to do your runs at an easy pace.

As you are running you should be able to have a conversation with a running partner (if someone is running with you). If you feel dizzy or have difficulty breathing take a break and walk for a little while. To avoid an asthma attack due to temperature changes, it would be good if you would take longer with warming-up and cooling-down.

I would start off really easy, keep to the walking breaks, add in extra walking breaks if necessary and build it up from there, in mileage and in intensity, if you wish. At all times, listen to your body.

If your asthma is of a mild kind there is no reason why you should not be able to run, but again, you need to check this with your doctor. From memory this really good female runner in the 80s/90s had asthma as well, Jackie Joyner, the lady with the very funky nails. She won a few olympic medals I believe, so she did alright... :)

Other than what I have already said I would consider it important that you have got your inhaler with you at all times and that you have a "Plan B". I.e. if something goes wrong, make sure you are able to get help. This may mean running in areas where there are generally people around and wearing a RoadID which describes your medical condition and emergency procedures required.

I hope this helps a little bit.
Kind regards,

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