Wheezin’ ain’t easy

This morning was a glorious pretty awesome one! My ol’ pal B.o.B. joined us on a run! I haven’t seen her since her since her Shape up for Summer 5k in June! (She has, indeed, been one busy bee training for Ironman Augusta!) I owe B.o.B. a lot for getting me into running more (the group I run with is her old gang crew) and, of course, she’s a blogger as well.

We decided to stick with a parkway closer to her and work with a 5 mi route I hoped was accurate (OCD runners need exact miles!) P-funk and Beks came along for the festivities as well.

Tuesday’s workout: 5 mile run

We chatted, and laughed, and sweat….a lot. Each traffic ‘pause’ was time to stretch and catch our breath. We actually did really well pace-wise so seeing a couple of minutes drop off from last week’s run time (same day of the week) was pretty stellar 😉

Today I decided to write something I’ve been getting a lot of questions about: Running while I have asthma.
I never like to use it as a ‘crutch’ or a reason to hinder anything, but it’s something I asked a lot about before I delved into more miles. It’s no fun, as to be expected, but it’s something I have to constantly be aware of so that I can successfully be fit and avoid an attack if and when at all possible. My body can sometimes go harder and push through, but I have to understand that my lil lungs aren’t so lucky in that respect (Plus – it’s not cute to see a chick run and then have a breathing issue bring her down…no bueno for race photos!)

I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned, living and running with asthma, (to avoid the wheeze while also working on still increasing my pace at the same time):

1) Don’t go out the gate too fast!
When I did the Gasparilla 15k, that’s what I did and it messed me up the whole race. I tended to do this a lot in the beginning of my running journey, not too smart of Kat. My body takes time to get its cadence with my breathing, so I have to start out slower rather than faster…warming up is crucial. As I feel okay and leveled off with my breathing (in through the nose, out through the mouth for the most part) I feel I can increase speed steadily. If you go out too fast and don’t warm up as an asthmatic runner, you can trigger a bronchial spasm or an actual asthma attack that takes much longer to get over than just warming up would have taken. No need to compromise your breathing!

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Yeah Kat, don’t listen and you feel like hell ..oh hey, cheese!
2) ALWAYS carry my inhaler with me.
ALWAYS. I didn’t do this in the above race and that, too, messed up my thinking. It psyched me out once I felt a bit of tightness in my chest and remembered “Crap, Gar has my inhaler in my bag…dangit.” Now, I always carry my inhaler in the safest possible place, between my girls. If I feel tightening, I can take a quick puff of the ol’ albuterol and be on my way. Most of the time I use my inhaler pre-run, but lately I haven’t had to use it as much (mostly I have allergen-induced tightness.)

the safest place for an inhaler, imo
3) Listen to your body!
I have many running pals who understand that asthmatic or not, in the heat for example, you definitely have to listen to your body and not focus solely on pace or speed all that much. If I feel a bit winded or am unable to talk, I immediately slow down a bit. Sometimes my legs can carry me farther than my lil lungs can and I have to be aware of that. That’s the main thing: awareness. Not even in relation to asthma and breathing, but with form and proper landing you have to listen to your body and not just go about mindlessly running or working out. You may even have to stay inside. I have had days where the pollen count was just too icky to be outside and had to stick it to the dreadmill treadmill, but it all works, you know?
4) Make sure to take your medication!
My asthma is a bit different as it’s more allergen-induced (for me allergy season it normally a long stretch between March-July/August here in Florida) & other times it is exercise-induced. So, on top of having my inhaler I have to use a nasal spray to clear my sinuses up my nose as well as take an allergy medicine with a decongestant to ward off pollen and prevent congestion. I don’t notice it unless I stop taking it or forget a dose. When we were in Antigua, there was NO pollen…it was wonderful! So I stopped taking my meds for the week we were there. When I came back, I forgot to start taking them before we headed home and it took me a few days to rebuild my tolerance level to zee pollens.
5) Wear some sort of medical ID.
I have my handy, dandy Road ID (still with my maiden name but it’s all good 😉 It has my name, hub’s info, an additional contact’s info, and my condition. I usually don’t run solo that often unless I’m indoors, but in the event I do I want to be sure if something happens and I need medical attention it’s clear what may be the culprit.
I strongly advise peeps who think they do or know they do have asthma to be in constant touch with their doctor. Your body changes and its needs may also change, so why play a guessing game when you can depend on someone who knows what they’re talking about to help ya out?
*I’m not an asthma expert, which is why I depend on my doctor for advise and guidance. This is just a post from my perspective as someone living with asthma and trying to also workout and run at the same time. If you have symptoms or might not even be sure if you have asthma or some other ailment, be sure to consult your physician for the best course of action or treatment.
Happy Tuesday!
What special things do you keep in mind when running?

HI! I'M KAT - I am a pug-mom, wife, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, & Fitness Coach focusing on living the fit life while tackling work, coaching others - doing it all! My blog is to hold me accountable for all the goals I plan on accomplishing and also a way for me to try to inspire others through my own experiences - if I can do it ANYONE can! Fitness is a huge part of my life as well as travel and seeing all that life has to be lived! PAY IT FORWARD!

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7 Comments
  • Reply
    August 7, 2012, 3:00 pm

    Great tips, my friend had asthma but was an amazing runner. She just had to learn to work with it. Do you live in the DC area? I just saw your tweet at me so wondered if you did.

  • Reply
    August 7, 2012, 3:27 pm

    I have the problem of going out the gate too fast too. Pace myself!! I have the wonderful Allegra D and Flonase going too 🙂

    • Reply
      August 7, 2012, 6:24 pm

      Me too, what would I do without those meds? I also should have stock in tissues..

  • Reply
    August 7, 2012, 3:53 pm

    This is great – thank you so much for the info! My doctor, predictably, said my symptoms sound like exercise induced asthma and I now have an inhaler. I’m trying it for the first time tomorrow. Thank you for all the tips! I’m hoping it helps because my race saturday I started out too fast (uphill, no less) and my chest hurt SO bad.

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  • Reply
    August 8, 2012, 11:15 am

    Aww thanks so much! You’ve come so far and have become a great runner! Great tips for everyone. Keep on truckin sister. Can’t wait to watch you at you first half and then your first full!

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