Blune Day 16: Lets talk, running with asthma

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.

Happy Running!


Blune Day 8: Lets talk: Doubt

We have all known about the classic runners body for years, slim hips, small chest, long legs. None of which I have. Women are constantly bombarded with images of who is the ideal fitness person, who the ideal runner is, who can run, that only certain bodies can exercise, that if you are a bit on the heavy side you must be trying to lose weight. There is doubt from so many sides of the coin that runners, specifically in this context in which I am writing female runners.

Running isn’t always about being the fastest, sprinting, and being the best. It is a lot more than that. For many it’s a time alone for an hour, it’s a sense of accomplishment, it’s the adrenaline you have from running a race or it’s simply something you like to do with your time. This post is going to outline the doubts that are real in the running world and that should be discussed. People will tell you you don’t look like a runner and you have to remember that spoiler alert: we can all be runners.

My mom who has been running forever, was when one of my teachers said to her “your finally skinny, now you look like a real runner”. Excuse me sir? This isn’t old news, women’s bodies being policed by men. What sparked this post was a memory I had of teachers always telling me I could never run and reinforcing the chubby kid mentality that I had. I read an article in self about a runner who was always “too big” for running despite being an exceptional athlete. She recognized her privilege in the outside running world as being a small woman, but inside the running world it’s a different story.

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Why do I relate to this? Who on a good day can maybe do 7:00min per km? (always working to improve) because I understand this and this is a large feminist issue. Running is for certain bodies. I have a friend who is a lot smaller and faster but that doesn’t mean we both aren’t real runners? This idea of “i’m not built to be a runner” is a myth we all must bust.

I only came to this idea after starting running on my own terms, there was always a rhetoric in my personal life that the only purpose for me to run was to lose weight, and for some it is, but for me running means getting to a career I want, it means a time to myself, it means helping  my lungs get stronger. I am used to people not believing me when I say I’m a runner, but I’m getting more used to meeting runners are who are just happy to meet other runners. Two of the professors in my department run the blog fit is a feminist issue and it is a space to critically assess the fitness world and beautifully write about the being fit and female. The expectations and doubt surround women daily, you wear too much makeup, you’re fat, you could never do that etc. These are the things women hear and absorb through various avenues of life and thus police their every move whether they are aware or not. Yes certain body shapes can give you an advantage but that doesn’t mean you can’t run or call yourself a runner. Running doesn’t have to mean training for a half, there is not set way to be a runner, if you just want to do two runs a week just do two!

I wanted to write this post because I get it alot, “how can you run so far”, and I catch myself doubting myself, saying “omg why can’t you go faster” and especially before I began running on my own terms, I was very hard on myself just for not being the ideal runner. To me running is not about your body or how you look, if you only clock a few miles a week then so be it! It’s about consistency and different goals for different things and different goals to fit YOUR lifestyle.

Here are a few fun articles if you fancy a read. If you want me to post more about this topic, women in fitness and running, shoot me a message or leave me a comment!

https://www.self.com/story/im-not-built-for-running-myth-need-stop-perpetuating 

https://www.self.com/story/my-weight-has-nothing-to-do-with-how-good-a-runner-i-am


Let’s Talk Motivation

It’s snowing. It’s raining. It’s too hot. I’m tired. All excuses we all as runners have used before. Lately in my city, it’s been so snowy, and guess who doesn’t plow the sidewalks? The city. They are markers for ankle sprains and sore hips.

I have been missing more runs than I’d like and the reasons have been two fold: I’ve been lacking motivation to put my layers and hit the road and its hella snowy here and they don’t plow. I have been doing more HIIT workouts at home, going to the gym etc, and maybe running 2 days a week and at that shorter recovery runs. I have done a few above 5K.

However, I am starting half marathon training next month (pray for me folks) and I want to try and do as much running as possible.

My first tip: adjust your expectations for the length of your runs. Especially if you live in a city where they don’t plow anything. Even if you just get in 2km tempo run or 4km, it’s still a run, it’s still exercise and it’s still training.

My second tip: adjust your speed. I know, as so many runners know, when you are going slower than usual this is mentally tasking. Its hard, its not easy, I don’t care what anyone says, asthmatic or not, running is difficult. When the terrain is rough you have to slow it down so you don’t injure yourself, yes it’s frustrating if a 5K takes you 5 mins longer than usual but that’s the nature of the beast.

My third tip: enjoy the slight break from running. Add in more HIIT workouts to get cardio and keep your lungs going. Do cardio at the end of your strength workouts. YES none of these replace the feeling your lungs get when running. Also you can hit up the treadmill, but the treadmill is just not my cup of tea. I’d rather hit the storm outside! (and yes I have done this multiple times this winter).

Remember, sometimes not having motivation as a runner can be your body saying slow it down. Maybe that’s not true, but with this terrain my muscles, shins and knees are a lot more sore then when my terrain is smooth and I think it’s good to shorten distance when you are lacking motivation as to not get even more discouraged.

What do you do when you find yourself unmotivated?


Running: the Winter Edit

The main question I get from non-runners: how do you run in the snow? How do you run in the cold? And it got me thinking, how do I run in the cold? I have grown up with a mother who ran in -30 at 5:30 am with a head lamp…so you could say I had an advantage in terms of having someone to go to for winter running advice. But many people don’t have such a person, so I’m here to shed some light on the big bad world of winter running.

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Shoes: I hate to break it to you but you will have to purchase a new pair of winter runners if you don’t want to fall and break something.

A hat: you should get yourself a running hat and a headband in case it’s a bit of a warmer winter day. A hat is a must when it’s freezing. You need to cover your noggin folks

Gloves or mitts: keep those hands warm. I recommend the Lululemon ones (as I always do) but you can get great pairs at Marshalls or Winners. My mom got me these ones for Christmas  My friends. Trust me you’ll thank me for this.
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A neck warmer and a buff: covering your neck is essential to keeping you warm and also when you cover your face with them it warms the air, which is especially good for those with asthma.

IMG_0601.jpgA base layer long sleeve and a jacket or a vest: depending on the weather I like to wear a vest and base layer long sleeve like this one for the days that are -6 Celsius however say it’s -25 Celsius I will wear my base layer long sleeve, my fleece half zip and my thinner running jacket that is a nice added layer. It really depends on where are you located because where I live it is warmer then where I am from so I don’t need as much as say my mom wears, but the key is layering. Layering and base layers are essential to running outside in the winter.

Lastly: safety and reflective wear: I don’t usually run when it’s dark but even so it’s very important that your are seen! I have a bright orange vest and bright purple pants with reflectors on them in case it gets dark while I run or is grey and overcast.

Thanks for reading this post ma friends! Happy winter running!