It is no secret that I have allergy induced asthma. I get the question a lot from people who want to run “how do you run with asthma”? Well folks read on. I wanted to outline ways that I run and help myself keep motivated and my lungs healthy when doing a sport that is literally about your lungs.
Okay, first make sure it’s actually asthma. I was diagnosed way back before I even started running when I was around 11. So I have had it forever, regardless of exercise it is triggered by allergies and things in my environment, certain smells, pollen whatever. It has greatly improved since moving to a gluten free lifestyle and taking probiotics! I often see this in people who say “I went once and my lungs felt like they were bleeding”. I hate to break it to you but it may not be asthma and you should go to you doc to actually get a diagnosis. The likelihood is is your lungs aren’t used to the running and working hard. If you don’t have asthma this feeling generally goes away once you consistently run. Also, this is from inexperience of starting too fast (which I STILL find myself doing).
Now onto actually running with asthma. I take my blue inhaler before I leave, and usually again after I get back if I am feeling like my lungs are having a struggle. Then, understand that when I run, I go very slowly in the beginning to get my lungs work, think of it as lung activation.
So what do you do when it gets hard? Well folks, running is a mental game. You mentally must keep yourself going, I like to listen to music so I don’t get distracted by my own breathing. Yes this sounds odd, but when I would try to run in my highschool days I never had music and would get so mad that I couldn’t go faster and then just give up entirely. I also have been dabbling into the podcast world while running which I love doing because it’s like I’m learning whilst running! Recommendations: the daily, Breaking beauty, full coverage, The Bustle Huddle, The Female Struggle is real! So many good ones!
Also, one key piece of advice at least in my personal experience is run alone. If you have a system, if you have a way that you keep yourself in check, run alone. Sure, I do races, I would because you are literally just running but in a group and aren’t actually running like partners run, but its tough finding a partner that you vibe with breathing wise or who don’t have asthma or experienced with asthma. My mom runs with her friend who also has asthma so running together makes is good for both of them because neither feels judged by the other. Not that a non-asthmatic person would be judgemental because in all likelihood they aren’t, but if you prefer your system then go for it!
Lastly running with asthma is a great deal more difficult then running with regular lungs. I have great days and bad days. when the pollen count is out and about it can be very hard but when the weather is good my lungs are generally fine and don’t hold me back. The biggest thing to remember as an asthmatic athlete: David Beckham has asthma and he is a world class soccer player. Just because asthma can slow you down it doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong runner, it just means you have to train a bit differently and give yourself the time for your lungs to build up strength.