Running With Asthma


I Am Running With Exercise Induced Asthma
At the top of The Beast, 5 miles up!

“The difference between running and jogging is not speed, but intent.”            –Tara Schiro

The comments coming in from readers all over the world are amazing! You are telling stories of courage, tenacity, frustration, and triumph from Africa, Australia, Brazil, Asia, Canada, and the United States! I’m so grateful for your insight and transparency. Your stories push all of us to keep climbing that hill. Thank you!! I finished the 1/2 marathon in November, picture below, and now I’m gearing up for one or two more this Spring. Running with Asthma, “Oh yes we can!”

This blog was started because of pure frustration at not being able to “keep up” with other runners.  I love to run but my lungs–and my head–constantly hold me back.  The information I’ve found around the web is not helpful.  Generic comments such as, “run with your mouth closed to warm the air before it enters your lungs,” don’t tell me how to push up hills, or run a 5K or half marathon, especially since the air is always warm in California.

I have made many discoveries over the last several years about asthma; how it manifests in my body, how my symptoms compare to your symptoms, and how impatient we all are in dealing with this “problem.” I also discovered how to run a 1/4 of a mile on four medications and then run 13.1 miles without any medication at all!  We are all stronger than we think.

In the post, “…It’s All in Your Head,” I discuss the frustration at being dismissed by someone who does not have asthma. In the post, “…You Have Trust Issues,” I discuss the difficulty in trusting a trainer or partner–who does not have asthma–when they want me to run faster or harder. In the post, “Asthma Cured with Long Distance Running,” I discuss the reality of stronger lungs based on consistent regular running. It is very tempting for me to go back and edit many of the posts here–some as far back as 2008–but I refuse to let myself because they show the raw frustration and the sometimes naive thought processes that I went through as a beginner. Running with asthma is a process; it is something that requires navigation. I will live with EIA for the rest of my life but it won’t own me like it used to. Heck, I even traveled to Lira, Uganda, in July, 2011 and still did not need any asthma medication!

Judging by the number of visits and comments I’m getting, there are many of us who want to run with asthma. We can. It just takes a little patience, a lot of education and understanding, and most importantly, discipline. We may not be able to “keep up” with other runners, but should that really be the goal? We need to “keep up” with ourselves first. Once we have a solid foundation to stand on, then we can compete with the rest of the pack.

As I prepare for the next 1/2 marathon, in Spring of 2012, and you prepare for your next event, I hope you will be encouraged to stick to a consistent running schedule that will move you forward in all areas of your life.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

At mile eleven

Running the SC 1/2 Marathon in November, 2011. It rained the entire first hour!

Me running the Spirit of Columbus 1/2 Marathon in 2009.


266 Comments so far
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Thank you for your post it was very inspiring.

Comment by Aron

Your story is very inspiring, it shows that we can achieve whatever we want. Keep on doing the great job you do!

Comment by Buck

This is so interesting to someone who loves to run and has asthma, my asthma is only mild so doesn’t bother me too much but I know what a frustration it is when it does pop up so can only imagine what it would be like on a regular basis. Take a look at my blog http://swanseaunifashion.wordpress.com/ to read all about a recent fashion show put on by my University in order to raise money for Asthma.

Comment by Emily Pumford

Very nice article!!!

Comment by drjawaharshah

Hi Tara,
Well, since my last message to you I’ve knocked in another few races. But asthma always catches up. Here’s what happened yesterday:

http://tentsmuir.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/asthmatic-runners-are-like-stammerers-who-sing/

Anyway, keep up the inspirational work :)

Comment by Tentsmuir

Hey there,

I’ve been running since 2009 with exercise induced asthma. I started off small by training for six months for a 10k.

Gradually I stepped up to a 10 mile run, then half marathons and finally completed a marathon last year.

The key is building up gradually and understanding your asthma.

I must say I was a bit scared at first but now, four years in, I understand my body and my limitations a lot more.

Comment by runmoderatelysizedmiddleagedduderun

hi I have been asthma since I was a child I am now 52 women and running every week I love it but just lately if I run fast for
1 minute then 1 minute run slow I can not talk all day? any suggestions

Comment by Susan

Hi Susan! Sounds like you already know about the concept of walking and then jogging. Try to walk more at first, then jog slow for one minute, then walk, and keep alternating until you are comfortable doing more. If you are symptomatic all day then you are probably going too fast too soon. Keep up the good work! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hell Tara,
I’ve had asthma since I was 8 and am now 34. I’ve been inspired to start training for marathons. (I want to start small with a 5K) I was wondering with having asthma, what is the best way to start? How often should I be running and for how long each time?

Comment by Krista

Tara,
I just found this site and I have to say I love it!! I wish I had found it when I started jogging 4 months ago.. I have EIA and had a very hard time when I started jogging – it took me some time to realize that I was running too fast! It is so true that people with EIA might need some extra time to get to the point they are looking for, but with perseverance (I run 3 times a week every week and right now i can jog 1.5 miles) it will happen!! I love running and feel so good after my run! I do use my inhaler before I start, but am hoping in time I will not need to do that. I read a lot of things online that said I should be able to run within 6,8,10 weeks – but it took me longer.. i just had to let all those benchmarks go and listen and respect my own body and know that if I kept with it, I would get to where I want to be!
Thank you for this blog – I am going to read more, but was so excited for what I have seen already I just wanted to post and say thank you!!!

Comment by Ellen P.

Thanks for breathing with us Ellen!

Comment by TaraSchiro

I’ve just recently found your blog. I found out my allergies, had them since I was 12ish I’m 34, were out of control and I have allergic asthma (I think that’s what the doc called it). I ended up with 4 prescriptions and after starting them I can actually run outside, I’ve never been able to do that before. I think I may have pushed to hard to many days in a row this week, I got to the hitch/wheezing point while breathing in and had to have my hubby start a steam bath to help. Since then I’ve been hoarse and it seems to get worse in the afternoon. I don’t go back for my 1 month follow up until next week. Have you encountered this type of reaction before? I’m not sure if it’s normal or something I need to worry about.

Thank you
Amy

Comment by Amy C

Hi Amy, thanks for writing in. I’m not a doctor so I can’t really give you any advice on your situation. I don’t know if you just started running or if you’ve been running inside on a treadmill or what your allergies are. The once piece of advice I can give you is to keep a diligent log of your eating and exercising as well as the time of day you exercise and what the weather was on that day at that time. Self education/awareness is key to understanding your triggers and then living a life in control of asthma and not letting asthma control you. Hopefully you will see a pattern emerge when you are having days of high symptoms and then be able to implement a plan of attack to work around the trigger or learn to avoid it altogether. For instance, I had to learn to avoid steam altogether: showers, saunas, jacquizzi’s, because the pattern of symptoms became clear (sometimes for 3 days after!) Journal, journal, journal everything. How far and how fast you ran and how long before or after you ate and what it was and did you struggle or not during exercise, etc. Be super diligent for a year, go through all the seasons. You will learn a lot about yourself, things you never knew! Best wishes, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi there, just wanted to say, I loved this blog post. It was inspiring.
Keep on posting!

Comment by strength workout routine

Hello I’m kaitlin. I run cross country and have EIA. When I run long miles, my asthma is fine (if I take my inhaler, which I do every day). However, when I do track workouts I feel my airway is closing off, is there a reason for this? What should I do for it?

Comment by Kaitlin

Hi Kaitlin! Long runs are usually at a steady pace and the lungs can tolerate this fairly well after you have a good base (which you do) but by track workouts, I’m assuming you mean speed work, intervals, sprints, leg work, etc? And usually the coach is yelling go faster, push harder, etc? There’s two things that happen here: adrenaline as you try to make whatever goal is in front of you, which is nerve wracking, and nerves and anxiety can cause the lung to squeeze. The second thing is that speed requires strength. Your lungs are a muscle just like your quads. Speed work is to the lungs what lifting a weight is to the biceps. It hurts. The difference is that we don’t breath through our quads or biceps. When these muscles are taxed, we can’t lift our toothbrush or climb the stairs but when the lungs are taxed, we can’t breath. Hopefully you have 15 or 30 second rests after heavy speed work, this will help. Don’t worry, you will get stronger. Your lungs are getting stronger. Just keep an open dialogue with your coach. Keep up the good work and thanks for writing in! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hello I’ve had asthma all my life I’m 38 yrs old and I have to run a obstacle course and I’ve been told by different people which way to breathe. I have to run 220 yds twice with a obstacle course in between the two 220 yds. I have to be done in 6mins 4sec. How should I begin. Should I sprint or run as fast as I can? Also do I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth. With deep inhales in my nose. I have to take the test on september 20, 2013. My fear is having a asthma attack while running the 220yds like I did two weeks ago. I need to know the best was to breathe. Please and help me. Thank you.

Comment by niki

Hi Niki, thanks so much for writing in but unfortunately this is not the type of advice I am able to give; I am not a physician or a trainer. Everybody breathes differently according to their comfort level and its something you need to experiment with to determine what’s right for you. As far as the obstacle course, the only thing I can say is the standard advice that you need to have a strong running base under you in order to go faster on short distances. So, make sure you are running several times per week for endurance and then doing speed work with a trainer for specific exercises to make you faster. Also weight training would be good. Hope that helps a little. Good luck!

Comment by TaraSchiro

I too am running w asthma. I was diagnosed at 38 yrs. I have run countless half marathons and am training for a full. Some races go great others…. Once I had the bicycle medic follow me making sure I was ok to complete the half. I learned no trail runs or runs in the rain. It is always a learning experience. My fellow runners do not understand that my lungs sometimes do not allow me to run as fast as they. While I tend to train and run alone I know I am still exercising and working my lungs. I am so happy I found you.

Comment by Marie

Thanks for writing in, Marie! Blessings to you!!!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi, I’m 32 yrs old and have had asthma most my life. 4 yrs ago I was a smoker (14yrs) on top of it. Thank God I was able to quit! I have 5 mn old twin boys and a 13 yr old son and I’m just really ready to get in shape! I decided to do one of these couch to 5k running plans and today was day two. It’s 30 mins of running: 1 min running and then walking 1 1/2 mins. I’m feeling discouraged as today was really hard to get through. I can’t really even talk while I’m running and it takes that whole minute and a half walking break to catch my breath. I don’t feel wheezy at all, just really out if breath. Afterwards I felt a little dizzy/tingly for about half hour. I don’t know if I’m overdoing it or just need to push through as my body gets used to it. Not even sure if its my asthma making it hard since I’m not really wheezing or feeling constricted just panting like a hot dog! Advice from others who have been through it would be great! The lady I’m running with is not having the hard time that I am and she’s older then me by like 10 years! I hate to be the one to slow down the process and not be able to follow the plan with her :/ Thanks!!

Comment by Jesse

Hey Jesse, I feel your pain. Been there, done that! It sounds like you might need to cut the running in half; do 30 seconds rather than a minute of running and also, you might be running too fast when you run. Try a slower pace for a while, more like a jog or shuffle. And if you have to walk the whole 30 minutes until you get used to the motion, then by all means walk. My most recent post explains what I’m currently dealing with, so, last night I went for a run and it was terrible! It was muggy, I did not eat or drink properly during the day, I sat at my computer all day writing, and when I tried to run I couldn’t do it. I had to walk the while two miles. Sometimes this happens and you just have to go with it. So make sure you are eating and drinking properly and getting plenty of rest. I’m sure it’s hard with the twins. Also, you may news to go out alone for a while rather than with your friend. I wrote a few posts about this. Sometimes we get pushed to run harder or faster or longer than what is good and then we feel frustrated and ashamed we can’t keep up. Don’t let yourself go there. It’s miserable, trust me. You are doing great. Don’t give up! Maybe just take it a little slower at first to let your body and mind catch up to the new routine. With consistency you will improve, I promise. Hang in there and let us know your progress. Hugs!!! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thanks Tara :) My next run will be just me anyhow so I’m going to try the 30 secs and maybe only a min walk breaking between. And if that goes pretty good then maybe I’ll even go longer then the 30 mins. We’ll see. I’m bummed to not be able to keep up with the plan. I thought something called “from the couch…” would start out slow enough for me. I worked a pretty active job before the twins and considered myself to be in average shape. I’m not overweight and although I’m not 21 anymore I figured I would still be plenty young enough to start a plan like this with just a little effort. Ha! I think I may have romanticized running a little in my head… I’m not gonna give up though. I really do want to do this! So the being out of breath so easily is a pretty common asthmatic complaint when it comes to running? I guess I’d rather think its that then just me not being able to do it. Anyhow, I will update after my next run :)

Comment by Jesse

Haha Jesse! Being out of breathe right away is a classic symptom of EIA. Start with a five minute walking warmup before you attempt to run. I just read an article in Runners World and the interviewee said he started with the couch to 5k and couldn’t do it either so he walked and walked for a few weeks until he got used to it and them he implemented the jogging. Now he has lost 160 pounds and completed a half marathon. See? Piece of cake :) You can do it! Keep us informed. Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thanks Tara! So it’s been going much better since I decided to start at 30 sec intervals instead. I’ll be trying to go up to 60 secs next week to see how it goes. If its too soon I’ll just give it more time. I’ve been able to still run with my friend so far for some of the days we just use a track and go at our own pace after our warm up walk. But I don’t mind going on my own either. Definitely think that running is for me! Just have to cut myself some slack and take it slow :)

Comment by Jesse

Up to what extent you are recovering asthma?
know about effects of traffic pollution on asthma

Comment by themedguru19

Thank you so much this is such an encouraging article. I was always told I could never run with my asthma I just started jogging recently and at first I could only jog for 30 seconds and now I’m up to 9 minutes. My goal when day would be to complete a 1 mile marathon without stopping to catch my breath. So now I know this can be overcome. So thank you for the inspiration and encouragement.

Thank you,

Angie

Comment by Angie smith

Yay for you, Angie!!! I’m so excited for you! This is a great, great start and you will accomplish your goals. Just remember that sometimes to reach an immediate goal, you must stretch farther than you want. What I mean by that is this: in order to run one mile well, you have to train by walking/running 2 or 3 miles. There are people that try and try and try to just do what is front of them, like running a great mile or running a great 3 miles and they just do the same thing over and over again. It is when you go a farther distance that the shorter one becomes successful. So try and walk, jog, walk, jog, a little farther than a mile and then you will see that the first mile becomes a piece of cake. Make sense? Keep up the good work and let us know your progress! Best, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi tara!
I have asthma since childhood(when I was in 3rd standard). I had been taking a quick relief inhaler without any research or knowledge being a kid. I continued on that for around 12-14 years. Dosage increased as the years passed by. Then I consulted a specialist and he started a course which I quit feeling better after 15 days. And now life goes smooth as I daily take a long term inhaler(formoterol furmate and budesonide powder). I daily take one dose and I am 22 years old. I used to run and achieved 40-45 minutes straight running but all that disturbed me was” I am on drug” I take the medicine and then go for the gym or run. I just cannot work without the dose every day. It might be psychological but some days go well without the dose(when not exercising) but after 2-3 days I need one. And just can’t ignore the dose when it comes to running as me too has the same(exercise driven asthma).
So Tara it would i would be very thankful to you if could help me answering my doubts please. :
1. I am planning to start running again and I have patience and can even start with walking to gradually increase my lung power, but what do you suggest me to strictly stop on the medication and go for jogging without any dosage(cause honestly I have not tried but I think I might could)?? To never think of it while going for jogging??
2. Is it okay to continue one dose on daily basis and keep exercising cause I have a lot of confidence if I have taken the precautionary inhaler?? What do you exactly suggest me Tara?
3. And in both case scenarios how to manage my week. I have a huge work load, I don’t get time in the morning but I have to start as soon as I can but I am very confused, so how shall I exactly manage my week. How many days shall I go for the jog(including weekends). I ll do it patiently but how many days I need to go. Do I have to go for jogging daily??
And please the ” duration of the jog”.
Please Tara I thank you! and I am waiting for the reply.

Comment by jason

Hi Jason! Thank you so much for writing to me. What country are you writing from? I will answer your questions but first I need to say that I am not a doctor. I am not authorized to give personal medical advice. I can answer you based on my experiences, but you should not take my words as authorization to change your medications. You should take my words as my personal opinion and then check with your doctor to see what is best for you.
First, you mentioned that you are frustrated about needing medication and would like to stop taking it if possible. You said, “I cannot work without the dose…it might be psychological…” The first step in all of this is to know your body. If you cannot go without the medication right now, then stay on it. Your first question was, “When do you suggest me to strictly stop on the medication and go for jogging without it.” My answer is this: not until your lungs are strong enough to handle it. Again, I am not a doctor but here is how I weaned myself off. It took me two years of running consistently, 3-4 times per week, every week for two years. The lungs are a muscle. When you don’t exercise they get weak. The medicine opens the airways for a short time so you can breathe but the medicine does not strengthen the lungs. The medicine helps you breathe for a short time and then you need more medicine to breathe again. Exercise makes the lungs stronger. Consistent exercise makes MY lungs strong enough so that they were not as susceptible to allergies, to running, or to rest. (When I rest too much my lungs start to get weak and close.) When my lungs were really strong, this is when I began to slowly take myself off the medication. I did not do it all at once. It was a three month process because I was on four different medications. So, in regards to your first question, start by walking and then running, and build up to 3-4 times per week, one hour each time, and then talk to your doctor about your improvements and work together to wean off the meds. I would not stop taking them for at least a year. I cannot answer your question 2. because this is for your doctor to answer. I cannot say how much medication you should take per day. For your question 3. start slow and build up. If you can only do 10 minutes once per week to start out, then do that. My advice is to start small and build up as your schedule allows and as you get stronger. Work your way up to 3-4 times per week and one hour each time if you can. Keep a running log of your progress, right down what you do, so you can see how you are progressing. Last, as for the psychological part, we all have a hard time with the mind. We are all weak in our confidence of ourselves. As you run consistently, you are not only strengthening your lungs, you are also strengthening your mind. It will get stronger and more confident and after a while you will not want to quit. You have to train your lungs and your brain that you are capable of running. It is a long process but you can do it! Let us know how you are doing, I would love to hear updates! Thanks again for writing and good luck to you, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thanks for the ADVICE .. VERY INSPIRING

Comment by JOSE PAREDES

When someone writes an piece of writing he/she retains the image of a user in his/her mind that how
a user can know it. Therefore that’s why this piece of writing is great. Thanks!

Comment by kat proxy

Hi! I have some questions I was hoping someone would be able to answer. I’m 18 and I was diagnosed with EIA when I was probably 10 or 11 but it wasn’t a hige deal then. I swam but my coaches knew and it was hard trying to manage my asthma. the following year I gave up competitive swimming, 5 years of it and I was sick of the Athsma attacks and I just didn’t like being in the pool. I then starting dancing which was exponentially better for my asthma. I went from having attacks every day to having three or four every month and I danced 5 days a week. I still got a great work out but it wasn’t too strenuous because we would work hard and do our combinations but then take a breather after; my lungs rejoiced. Well now, I’m working over 40 hours a week and I don’t have time for dancing. I still need a good workout and walking doesn’t leave me feeling satisfied and I have a huge desire to run, I just can’t! I’m great at stretching because I know what works best for different muscle on me. Now we have all the back story, here’s my question. How do I warm up most effectively and what helps me achieve long distance running? My legs screaming for a break isn’t the problem, my legs can be pushed, I just need to know how to build my lung endurance so I’m not doubled over with my lungs burning and wheezing like a two-pack-a-day smoker after fifteen minutes (which is what happened this morning)
Anything helps, I just want to be able to run and not be begging for death after.

Comment by Emily

Hi Emily,
Thanks for writing in! I feel your pain! You need to slow down (if you haven’t already since you wrote in June). EIA people cannot start off with running. You have to start with walking. Walk for 5 minutes to let your lungs warm up a little. Then jog for 30 seconds, walk for a minute or two, jog 30 seconds, etc. and then increase as you feel comfortable. You need to teach your lungs what running looks and feels like. You need to teach your brain the different feelings your lungs and body will go through when running. You all (all body parts including head) need to listen to each other and decide what’s comfortable, what’s not, what’s whining, what’s a real symptom, etc. Starting slow is the HARDEST thing to do because it involves the ego but I promise you will make great headway in the long run if you walk/jog/run in intervals so your lungs can catch up.

I run a cross country 5K series every summer and it’s hard for me to do the whole thing without stopping. During the week I like to do intervals one or two nights a week: full out run for 30-60 seconds, walk, run fast, walk, etc. I do much better in the steady pace for the 5K after doing the intervals during the week. My lungs like that kind of training. But then on my long run I need to practice the steady pace.

The best way to achieve long distance running is consistency. 4 times per week, slow and steady start, and then gradual increases. Runners World has great schedules to follow and a ton of good advice. Keep at it, you can do it! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

This has inspired me to improve. I, too, have asthma and have had it as long as I can remember. I ran track in high school with some issues, but I could never do anything long distance. I let myself go for several years; I gained a lot of weight, and I believe for years that made my breathing worse. In the last year and a half, I’ve made a commitment to losing that weight and I’ve seen significant progress in my breathing.

This Saturday, I’m running my first every 5K (the farthest I ran in competitive high school track event was 400 meters). I’m thinking this is more of a gauge to see how I handle that distance with my breathing. But it’s very nice to see someone who is basically wanting to do the same thing as me. I want to be able to get up and run whenever I want without the worries that 2 miles down the road I can’t breathe any more. And I think your comment “I also discovered how to run a 1/4 of a mile on four medications and then run 13.1 miles without any medication at all! We are all stronger than we think.” really spoke a lot to me about the ability to conquer this.

Thanks for this!

Comment by lwisdom43

Hi “the wisdomeoflee”
Thanks so much for writing in! How did the 5K go? Are you still running? Please let us know how you are doing! Best wishes, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi Tara, the 5K I ran went really well for being my first. Actually, it was The Color Run, and I’m signed up to do a second one because the first was so much fun! I’ve been focusing more on working out and losing weight than I have been running, but my goal for the next race is to walk less than I did the first time. So, in the next week or so I plan on adding more running to my workout in order to help get ready for that.

Thanks for checking in on me :)
– Lee

Comment by lwisdom43

So glad to hear this, Lee! Keep up the great work! Thanks for breathing with us!

Comment by TaraSchiro

I have had asthma since I was 3 and am now 36. I was told I could never join the army cause of this medical disability, but with a few white lies in a medical I got in. I have served in Iraq and Afghanistanwith my infantry unit. Althrought my career I have still passed all fitness, my most resent was 2 days ago were I done a 1.5 mile run in 8.58 mins. I also do races were I can beet non astmatics over anything from 5km to 13 miles. My PB for a 5 mile is 33.42. So if anyone is concerned about running with asthma it is possible and if I can do it anyone can.

Comment by Mooncat3765

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Comment by Asthma Complications

I also have asthma, and it’s great finding this site, I never knew so many others like me run with this disease .I thought I was the only one who was told to give up running and take up cycling or some other sport. But I haven’t and will run, it will be slow but running is running . So thanks, for you guys who have preserved and stuck it out. Good luck and God bless runners..

Comment by Jim pillow

I also have asthma, and not wanting asthma to shut down my running career, I’m determined to run and run I will. It’s tough, and at times difficult , I’m not trying to win a marathon, just run a marathon. So I will continue to run 4-6 miles a day in training and build up miles slowly. And I shall and will win this battle,

Comment by Jim pillow

I too found this site to be so inspiring. It has helped me so much in my mental “game” when it comes to running all types of distances. But, mostly, it helps me during half and full marathons to take care of myself and pay attention to my lungs. I have said it before, and will say it again, if it was not for some of the stuff written on this site, I might have thrown in the towel.

Comment by Elisa

I concur. ahahahaha!

Comment by TaraSchiro

when i read this blog, i almost cried. i have had EIA for as long as i can remember so i have kept my exercise levels away from heavy cardio. i did weight lifting, light running, body pump, and P90X. however, i have now been diagnosed with bursa in my shoulder. so running is my best option. the last thing i wanted to hear was that i would not be able to keep up with the other runners. i start with 3 miles and would really like to get to 10 miles at a 8 minute mile. when i run, i hurt! i cant talk, i can’t breath, my lungs burn, i wheeze, gag, dry heave, gasp for air, and just keep running through all the pain. i have to often close my eyes to keep from passing out. i eat extremely healthy, get good sleep. i do not take meds although i have occasionally taken a decongestant 20 minutes prior to running (it helps with the ear pain/pressure). right now i am at a 10.5 mile pace and that is pushing myself to my limit and beyond at a 3 mile distance. i do interval running 2 out of the 5 times a week that i run to help increase my speed. i am so tired of being dismissed by people w/out asthma that i have decided to run to build my lungs to a capacity that would allow me to “keep up.” i love running before the pain hits (1 mile). i am very discouraged and frustrated to say the least. i know overweight people who run faster and farther than me. how can i be so fit and so pathetic at running? (i am 43)

Comment by dani

I know I am not the writer on this site….but try not to be so hard on your self. If anything you get from reading this blog, I hope you take away the idea to be gentle on yourself.

Comment by Elisa

Hi Dani!
I agree with Elisa; don’t be so hard on yourself! It sounds as if you are pushing a little too hard. Listen, if there is anything I have learned over the last several years it’s that I CAN run and participate but I must be okay with a gradual increases in speed and strength and endurance rather than quicker advances that those without EIA enjoy. We can still do it, our lungs will still get stronger, but it takes a less aggressive path in the beginning to build a stronger base from which to leap from. If you are doing a 10.5 pace, you are no schlelp. If the pain hits after one mile, than slow down a little, let your lungs catch up, and then speed back up. Sometimes it takes 2-3 miles for the lungs and heart to really get warmed up and in sync.

And, about being “so fit and pathetic at running”…During the summer cross country 5K series that I do every year, I am regularly beat by the following types of people: 80 year old men and women, a women with crooked legs, overweight and short people, kids, etc. If you want to be a better runner just be consistent, run 4 times per week, do some cross training in between, and gradually increase what you are doing. Read Runners World magazine, they are the best resource. Best wishes and let us know how you are doing! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I am glad there are dedicated people out there like you who don’t give up. I’ve had asthma since I was 3 (I’m 27 now) and was diagnosed with chronic bronchitis in my teens even though I never smoked. I can relate to some of the posts about how frustrating it is to actually find a decent doctor and to figure out how to control your breathing when medications don’t seem to help. Unfortunately I’m not sure if my bronchi or lungs will ever get better even at my age, but I will not give up and keep trying to get more fit.

Comment by Chris M

Hi Chris,
No, I am not giving up and neither should you. Consistent exercise is the miracle cure for asthma. I am more and more convinced of that every day. Start slow and small and build up. You can do it. Good luck, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi

I’m really inspired by your blog. I’ve suffered from chronic asthma since age 7 and have spent most of my life on steroid tablets/inhalers/nebulisers. I started running about 6 weeks ago and could barely manage 1k without wheezing but I’ve increased it to about 10k. I really really struggle on hills, no matter how small, my lungs seem to give up, more like I can’t get any air into them as opposed to wheezing , and was hoping for some words of wisdom from you :). I’ve entered my first 10k in July and really want to do my best. I think you’ve done amazingly well so and advice would be welcomed :) thank you. Fi

Comment by handmadebyfi

Hello “handmadebyfi”
Were you able to participate in the 10K in July? How did you do? We would love to hear your progress. Muscle building/cross training will really help on those hills: squates, lunges, bodyworks classes, yoga, pilates, take your pick. Don’t give up! You can do it! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Do you mind if I quote a few of your blogposts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your
webpage: http://taraschiro.wordpress.com/.
Please let me know if this is okay with you. Thanks!

Comment by Bishopscourt

Sure. Quote away, with credits. Thanks for asking!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi Tara – I also have asthma and am commited to fitness and running inspite of the challenges. I feel fortunate that as part of my job, I am currently helping to raise awareness of exercise-induced bronchospasm (EIB), which you may have heard called exercise induced asthma. The campaign features a high-profile athlete who is speaking publicly for the first time about his struggles and I think the campaign is really powerful and help all those peple out their struggling to stay active with asthma and EIB. If you would like more information, please contact me. Thank you for maintaining this blog and being a source of motivation and information for others.

Comment by SP

Hello ive recently decided to gointo the military but i have asthma but im having a very hard time controlling it when i run I’m currently on meds but no longer want to be on them i want to kick them to the curb with some hard work and dedication.im very inspired by your storybecause i feel like im doing all this research and no solution.i would really love to hear more about your story and how you over came this day to day struggle. Thank you for listenin.

Comment by Chris

Hi Chris, thanks for writing in. You can see my journey by reading through all the posts here in the blog and through all the answers to the questions in the comment sections. It’s all there. You can do it! Just be persistent and never give up. Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Tara,
My husband is a senior officer in the U.S. Marines. A few months ago, he came home disheartened because a young enlisted female in who is assigned to him was recently diagnosed with EIA and the folks in Navy medicine have not been able to get it “managed.” This girl apparently has a lot of promise professionally but will sadly be booted from the Corps if she can’t pass a PT Test (Sit ups, pull ups and a 3 mile run). I am forever the closet “home remedy” girl and told him I would start scouring the Internet for homeopathic ways to get this girl past her hurdle. Unfortunately, she will probably not be granted a couple of years to get this under control. Any tips I can pass on to her would be greatly appreciated.

Comment by Marine Wife

Hello Marine Wife, first thank you for your service to our country. Much appreciated. Second, I can give you a general answer since I would need some more information to give you a better answer. My questions are, 1. What was her running schedule like before she went into training (this would tell me how much of a base she had before Marine training) and 2. What is the kind of training she is having on a daily basis at camp? This would answer if she is doing too much too soon. My general answer is that the lungs are a muscle and just like we cannot short circuit building our biceps with homeopathic remedies, we cannot short circuit running faster or farther without a good base to build on. If she did not have a good foundation to build on before camp, them she might not make it. If she did have a good base, then there might be hope. I am not a doctor, so can’t recommend anything specifically but I would wonder if she is using any types of inhalers, or if she is eating and sleeping properly. I would have her check out the vitamin store, they usually have homeopathic stuff to aid the respiratory system and lungs. But really, it is just steady exercise over a long time that will make the lungs strong enough to build on. I wish I had a better answer but I don’t. There are no shortcuts in life for stability and honest growth. If she doesn’t make it this time, can’t she try again? Thank you for writing in. Best of luck to her. Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Your story is phenominal! I hope that by posting your success it will encourage more people with respiratory difficulties such as Asthma to achieve something as amazing as you have. I don’t have Asthma or any other form of respiratory complication but I can only imagine how difficult it may have been to achieve your goal. You should feel very honoured.

Comment by mcn9

I was recently diagnosed with EIA, and being a 15 year old in competitive cross country, it’s been very difficult. It’s really hard to keep my mind where it needs to be, especially when there were girls on my team that I used to be faster than passing me by. I’m still struggling with it, and it can be stressful in my position, as I am ALMOST varsity, but my asthma sets me back just enough that I can’t reach it. I want to believe that it’s all in my head and that I should just be able to power through it, but that’s a difficult thing to do. I am working on controlling my breathing, and my mind, and hopefully getting my speed back up to where it should be. This blog is really cool, and I love reading all the stories of people struggling with issues similar to my own.

Comment by Halee

Hi Halee, how did your season go? You are on the right track with all your efforts and I want to encourage you to keep working at it. Run all year long and sign up for track this spring. Steady , continuous training will catapult you for next year. Keep your base strong. Try not to compare yourself to the other girls. It’s hard but remember that ultimately, you are running your own race. You are competing against yourself, always striving for a better time than your last race. Put some music in your ears if you can and block it out. On my long runs I like to listen to Rick Warren or Beth Moore; they both talk for an hour at a time:) Keep running! Thanks for writing in. Take care, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hello Halee, my name is Daniel and I am 18 years old. I did three years of highly competitive high school cross country as well as four years of competitive middle distance track. I have sever EID and I know just how frustrating it is to not be able to keep up with your teammates even when you are training just as hard, if not harder than most of them. The main thing you need to do is just not give up, I have actually collapsed during one cross country race, during several track meets, and even at a few track practices, yet I always came back the day after or sometimes two days after depending on how bad the attack was. I started my freshmen year in track with a 2:20 half mile and sophmore year cross country (3 mile) with an 18:25. I could hardly finish the races, but I kept visiting my allergist and eventually got on all of the proper medications and my senior year I was actually ranked number one in illinois for a long time in the open half mile and I got to run at nationals in NC, (1:53.78 for the half) as well as finishing cross country with a 16:05 for three miles. If you stick with it, you can accomplish your goals and you will keep improving! Don’t get discouraged if you have a bad day, I sure had a lot of bad days, I didn’t complete quite a few practices because of my breathing, but I never gave up. I know you can succeed in making your varsity team, so train hard and go get it!

Comment by Daniel

Wow! Thanks Daniel! I hope she sees this! Thanks for breathing with her!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi

Thanks for your reply.

I ran a 10k race in May and another in July, I finished them both I’m just under an hour which I’m really pleased with.

It’s been a long, hard slog with many moments of disillusionment but I’ve persevered and I’m treating my lungs like a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly to become efficient.

I’m now running 3 x 5k and 1 x 10k every week and I’m only taking a seretide inhaler.

6 years ago I was regularly on steroids, had to have a nebuliser at home for daily use and was hospitalised regularly due to my asthma, I could barely walk upstairs and never dreamed I could run so I’m really happy that my hard work is paying off :)

Thanks

Fi

Comment by handmadebyfi

Yay for you, Fi! This is great news! Thanks for letting us know!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Well good for you, running is tough and when you have asthma running get’s a little tougher..So hang in there and have fun running asthma and all the other problems runners face..

Comment by jim

Hi, after signing my daughter up for 5k training at her school, I found out she needs a running buddy. They will assign one to her if I can’t run with her, but it would be so much more special to run with her. I came across your story while looking for tips to help me train at home over the next 3 months before the “big 5k”. I have asthma that is worsened when I run (although I am still able to play sports like softball because it doesn’t require consistant running). I am on ventolin, advair, and singular, but am still nervous about the daunting task of trying to build up my lung function to run with my daughter. Do you have any tips to help me overcome my asthma? I live in AZ, so it is pretty hot, and we are in monsoon season now bringing occasional humididy…but I do have an indoor treadmill at my home that I walk on for exercise. Please let me know if you have any advise that can help. Thank you so much!!

Comment by Karen

Hi Karen, I’m sorry I didn’t get to you earlier; I hope you did the 5K? How did it go? To answer your question, steady, consistent work is the key. Only raise your workouts by a small percentage each week to go a little faster or farther. There are many reputable workout routines (running schedules) on the Internet so I would check them out. I would also get Runners World; it’s fabulous. Keep running! Thanks for writing in. Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Tara,
Welcome back from hiatus…..I missed this forum to hear how other runners with asthma are doing.
Your timing is perfect because I wanted to share a story from this past weekend. I live in mid-state NY, and the summer has been hot and humid. However, this past Saturday I had a 10 mile race, and the weather was perfect….meaning no humidity. Anyway, I felt the way I used to feel when running, before my diagnosis of E.I.A. I really needed a day like that to remind me why I run. Anyway, I ran my own race, and did not stress about who was in front of me, or behind me. As long as I kept to my own race, any anxiety that would have triggered an attack was kept at bay. It was your advice that keeps me thinking that way, so a big thanks to you!

Comment by Elisa

Elisa, you are so sweet! I hope someday our paths cross in person. Thank you for your kind words and congrats on your recent run. I cherish those runs as well, the gift of having all the planets aligned to “remind us why we run.” They don’t happen often enough, but when they do it’s magic. Blessings to you, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thank you for this blog. I have been living with Asthma for 30 years. While I have always been very active asthma has held me back. I am recently discovered a love for running and I am planning to run my first 1/2 marathon in November. While my body always feels like I can run farther my lungs think differently. I refuse to rely on my asthma medication to accomplish my goal. I plan on running my first 1/2 marathon without any medication!

Comment by Danielle

Thanks for writing in Danielle! Good luck to you in November! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Some more asthmatic runners coming on stream (begginers to veterans). Worth a read and some encouragement :)

http://hecticlifehealthygirl.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/exercising-with-asthma-how-i-manage/

http://asthmawontwin.wordpress.com/

inactivazma.wordpress.com

http://asthmaontherun.com/top-fives/excuses-made-by-asthmatics/

Comment by Prof Steve Murdoch

And the newby to running… http://asthmaticontherun.wordpress.com

Comment by Prof Steve Murdoch

Thank you for writing in, Prof Steve Murdoch! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I’m struggling with my asthma. I find that it is worst on high allergy days, after being sick, and on extreme humid/cold days (which I wear a ski mask in the cold which works).
I’m currently training for my first half marathon which is a really hilly course. I was told its the worst course in Illinois. Today it was 104 degrees and humid but I went running anyway. As always I took 2 puffs before running and began my journey. Within the first half mile up a steep hill, I began having an asthma attack. My coughing and wheezing was to the point that I almost started puking. I took a puff and began walking instead of running. I calmed my breathing down, but it still felt like I had a lump in my airway. The coughing never went away. Once calmed a bit, I ran again. Every time I went up hill my breathing got worst. I felt so crappy that it actually scared me. Never has my asthma been this bad except after being sick. I felt like my airway was bleeding. 2 hours later and I’m still coughing and taking shallow breaths. I feel better now, but I’m worried. I don’t want to quit my training. I’m in a good place with my running and I don’t want to “back slide” so to say. Have you ever had this issue? If so, what did you do? I can’t take Symbacort due to an allergy to it. I’m on Singulair, but I don’t think it really helps. I do see my Dr on Monday, but I would like to know what other long distance runners think and do for their asthma.

Comment by Syphronia

Hi Syphronia,
Thanks for writing in. I’ve been on hiatus so I apologize for the late reply. My advice to you is to be a little smarter in your training. 104 degrees with humidity isn’t the type of weather to be running in for EIA runners. You should go early in the morning or later in the evening, just before dark. If you are out in the heat and start having symptoms, this is a sign to stop altogether. You were right to be scared in that situation. It’s dangerous. This isn’t a “backslide situation.” People with EIA need to take extra precautions and learn how to navigate differently than other runners. We have more on our plate than normal runners, more things to pay attention to. You don’t have to quite your training, you just have to train smarter. Don’t put yourself in these types of situations. Build SLOWLY and SAFELY. Putting yourself in dangerous situations will do more harm than good. And if necessary, stay inside and run on a treadmill. Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Tara …God bless you. Thank you for your blog! I had a life changing event due to a work related chemichale injury :( I had extremely mild EIA prior to the injury. I always had my inhaler as I felt ” better to have it & not need it, than to need it & not have it”! I never emptied one or had any ER episodes.. I had always jogged and lifted weights regularly since I was 18..with hopes of running a marathon. Life finally set me in the direction of my first marathon training in 2007..one nasty divorce later & I had to give up my first dream of being a cross country truck driver. Taking a retail job I was lung injured.. And very lucky I didn’t die that night. God is good and not finished with me yet! With 7 months free of ER episodes ..many meds and high doses of vitiamin D i have slowly turned a healthy corner to my personal road to recovery. Slowly starting with walking for months. Some weeks less and some more.. But like you I refuse to let my injury defeat me!! I wont settel for what I CANT do!! But what I CAN do… In March of 2012 I was one of 10 winners of Progresso souper you contest. I lost 50 steriod lbs. and that helped me walk more and want more of the old me that I knew was being held prisioner in my damaged body. That contest was like taking a trip to a repair “me” shop. I continued my walks, i live on 2-1/2 acres and 10 laps around my house equals a mile!!! My overhal was not over.. In May of 2012 I won a mothers day makeover from KTLA channel 5!!! Oh what they did for my outside encouraged my inner me to fight harder. I now looked good on the outside and felt good for the first time inside too..in 3years since the injury!! In May of 2011 I weighed 197… Only an asthma suffer can understand the trama of steriods to breath to live- but excess weight :( well my goal was to get down to 150 for my 50th birthday in September of 2011. Instead I got 146!!! More walking. And the rebirth of my marathon dream. Ok revised to a 5K walk and “maybe more” i maintained 150-154 but still wanted less weight… So in came my best friend who also wanted to loose weight. I told her about Womens World magazine diet testers. They pay you 175. For doing a week diet test!! Its a win win. Out of the millions of readers Helen and I have each been picked twice!! And tomorrow Im being photographed to be in the 9/10 issue!! yes its been an amazing journey!! Im up to Walking 1mile in the morning and jogging one mile at night. Not easy with snobby lungs and living out…way out in the desert. So just add another challenge to my already long list. Im so encouraged by you. My gentelman moves back to America in september!! We discuss my dreams and his encouragement to go for them, with the added bonous of him by my side! And with each milestone I CAN reach I hope to leave him behind me but only to the finish line!! Like you Tara I simply refuse to let my asthma/COPD HAVE ME! & the more ahead of it that I am the happier I am. You mentioned that you were able to run 13 miles meds free. If you can share how you were able to accomplish this amazing chemical free run I would love to hear how you were able to do it !! This is my first search for a 5k run , for this asthma snobby lunged 50yr old woman. So any and all info on going medless and any up comming 5k info would just be the most amazing way to close out this God blessed healing adventure of a year!!! :) thank you again Tara for your amazing journey. I have asthma IT dosent have me. denise

Comment by denise Onofrio

Kudos to you, Denise! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Im a mom of a son who was always on an inhaler for asmtha and many other medications. I started my son on immunocal and has not needed a prescription for an inhaler or any other medications for 3yrs. Immunocal optimizes your immune system. Please visit the website.

Comment by Tammy Hoehn

I love your story ! I have done 6 halfs and really want to do a full marathon in the fall ! Just wondering how u got off the medicine ? My dr told me to try to get off of my steroid inhaler but I am nervous ! He said my lung function is good but I worry I can’t run without it :( any tips
Would be great ! I honestly think it makes it worse not better !

Comment by Amanda

My advice was to try to limit use, but not to run wothout the blue reliever, esp if going a distance from home (esp on trail). I’ve managed to significantly reduce use, but happily carry an inhaler in the backpack. Hope this helps Amanda :)

Comment by Prof Steve Murdoch

Hi Amanda,
Sorry for the late reply, I’ve been on hiatus. I’m not a doctor, so I cannot give you medical advise but I will tell you that weaning myself off all my meds was a mind trip. I was afraid I would pass out if I didn’t take them. I was consistent in my exercise, I ran several times per week, followed a regular, safe, schedule with slow increases in mileage, and eventually I got to the point that I felt strong enough to lower the meds in a safe way. I did not go cold turkey. I monitored how I was feeling with the lower doses and slowly took lower and lower doses and continued to feel strong in the process, which gave me the confidence to stop taking them altogether. Hope that helps. Thanks for writing in! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I’m hoping to complete a 24hr running challenge on 23/24 June 2012 the outcome of which I’ll post on

http://tentsmuir.wordpress.com

If I get 60 miles / 100k I’ll be delighted, but I should have enough in the lungs for a bit more. And any other asthmatics who want to sign up for the challenge can do so at:

http://www.longestdayrun.com/

Shall we show them what we can do :)

Comment by Tentsmuir Runner

Great to find so many other asthmatic runners out there. Inspiring stuff. And this is a gret blog too. I’m having a problem going over to Symbicort Smart regime but am loathed to leave the blue inhaler out of the running kit. Stay strong and keep going all of you!

Comment by Tentsmuir Runner

Tara – I meant add the next challenge is http://www.longestdayrun.com/ – a 24hr event which is free to enter and can be tackled from anywhere in the world (any races done on that two days count too!). I am aiming for 60miles/100k, but should have enough in the lungs for more. Shall we show them what asthmatic runners can do? For progress to this point see http://tentsmuir.wordpress.com/

Comment by Tentsmuir Runner

What’s smart challenge ?

Comment by Amanda

Kudos to you, Tentsmuir Runner! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hey, i’m 15 and a beginner runner with asthma. I just did my first 10k this Saturday and i hope to keep on, because if i stop it’ll be even harder to start again. You blog looks like the perfect motivation. Thanks :)

Comment by Katie

Hi Katie,
Thanks for writing in! I’ve been on hiatus, hence the late reply, but I’m happy to read that you are running through your EIA. You can do it! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Nice to find your blog and to read about others who run and have asthma. I just started running again within the past 2 months. I am using one of the run/walk programs which gradually builds up your running time. I sometimes have had to stay at the same level and not progress as quickly to the next level, but I do see progress and I can certainly run more than when I first re-started. I just hope to be able to keep making progress. Some days it feels really hard.

Comment by Gi

Hi Gi!
You are on the right track! We all need to learn from you…start slow and build a solid, strong foundation. You will improve if you stay consistent. It might take a little longer than you want, but you will improve and get strong with diligent training. Kudos to you. Let us know how you are doing! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Please please help me … I am a Breast cancer survivor, 30 year teaching- retired Runner!!! I have exercise induced asthma all my life. Perhaps COPD but…. I have begun training & running 5 K races…. At age 60 I began this..
I have no physical problems running– except I can’t catch my breath if I speed up,,,, the specialist told me I was the poster child for old women running… But I could walk & give up running!! I was nice … But HELL. No
I run because I can & I love running
I am having serious issues finding a physician here in Arkansas to help me breath better
I have been on accolade, advair &. Max air over 10 years!!!!
Please any help recommendations will be greatly appreciated

Comment by Vickie Wheeler

Hi Vickie,
Kudos to you! I’m sorry it took me so long to respond; I’ve been on hiatus. My advice to you is to remain consistent in your training. Walk, jog, several times per week to build your strength. The meds will open your airways but exercise will actually make your lungs stronger. Listen to your doctors, but, stay diligent in your exercise. Build your base SLOWLY, this will give you the most strength, and pay attention to your body. It’s okay to walk, there’s no shame here. If you go to fast before your body is ready you will do more harm than good. Walk, start slow several times per week if you can, and then build from there. Let us know how you are doing! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hello Tara, I was recently diagnoised with asthma. I have participated in 4 Half Marathons my most recent last weekend (DiVA Half Marathon Series in Myrtle Beach). It was a struggle but I finished 3:12 (my worse time ever). My next Half is this Sunday in Alameda, California (See Jane Run). What I have noticed is the first few miles are torture. Also, I’ve tried breathing from my diaphragm and that seemed to wear me out sooner (maybe I need to try it more) if you have any suggestions please send them my way.

Comment by Saundra

Hi Saundra,
I hope you did well in your 1/2 marathon! I have been on hiatus so I apologize for not getting back to you earlier. The first few miles are torture for everybody. It takes a time, especially with EIA, for the lungs to get adjusted. Don’t fret about this. Just take it as part of the deal and move on. Even the Olympic marathon runners have faster split times for the second half of the race. Allow your body to warm up before you expect it to go faster. 1/2 marathon success is totally dependent on the training you put in during the year before the event. Get a good running schedule to follow for the year and specifically for a 1/2 marathon. If you build a strong foundation, the event will be a bit easier to handle. It just takes consistent, methodical training all year long. Let us know how you did! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hello! I was searching for runners with asthma and came across your site. My daughter was diagnosed with asthma last year around this time and continues to deny it. She takes some meds and alot of vitamins but not her Advair puffer. She is one of the top distance runners at her school and in the area and has been to State XC 2x and State track once so far as a Sophomore. Her denial of having asthma worries all of us and i was hoping to find a way to get her to aknowledge it and get over this hurdle in life. Do you have any recomendations? She suffers so much but pushes through everything. Track season is the worst because the heat seems to affect her more or maybe its allergies IDK? Thanks

Comment by Stacey

Hi Stacey,
My apologies for taking so long to get back to you; I have been on hiatus. It’s really hard to watch someone struggle with a disease that we don’t struggle with ourselves. It’s hard to know if the person is taking proper care of themselves in how they manage their disease. I know that from my end, it is hard to communicate what I’m going through to my husband, family and friends because I am the only person I know with EIA. That is why I started this blog. Granted, I have received hundreds of comments so I know I am not alone, but in my immediate circle of face-to-face contacts, I am alone. I routinely dismiss advice from well meaning friends and family because they do not understand what it feels like when I run. They don’t get it. I give them lip service or feign appreciation, but really I’m thinking, “yeah, whatever, easy for you to say, you just don’t get it.” Keep this in mind as you talk to your daughter. Also keep in mind that asthma is a disease and any type of disease is a sign of weakness. Nobody wants to be weak. Especially a high school track star at the top of her game. I’m sure she does not want to give her teammates, coaches, or competition any sign that she is defective in any way. She is NOT defective, but I use that language because that is what it feels like to have EIA. I feel defective, like I can’t keep up. EIA can be a bit of a mind game. This is probably where the denial is coming from. This isn’t a hurdle that she can just “get over.” It is a journey that she will continue to navigate her entire life. My recommendation to you is to show her this site, if you haven’t already, and have her read through the entries and comments from the readers. It may trigger some internal “ah hah’s” for her but my suspicion is that she doesn’t want to be seen as weak or defective or less than. We all go through this. If she is going to state then she is strong. She is not weak. But she will need to learn to navigate this on her own. I absolutely hate being last, and I hate not being able to keep up with my running peers. It is embarrassing, frustrating, and sometimes, especially lately, I feel like quitting. It would be a whole lot easier than having to explain all the time why I am so slow or why I can’t join in the practice run because the air is to smoggy and humid and hot. Be patient with your daughter, trust her instincts, and have her read through the information here. There is a lot of pride that all athletes must deal with; I still don’t have a handle on it. But the good thing is that there are many Olympians who have EIA and they also have medals around their necks. We can run with EIA, but we don’t need to let EIA run us. Once your daughter realizes this, she will stop denying and start navigating in the proper way. I would love to hear an update; let me know how she is doing. Thanks for writing in! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hello, I felt like I should offer some help because I have had EIA my whole life, and it has played a huge role in my high school running career. My freshmen and sophomore year were both really bad,during cross country and track I basically passed out at the end of my races. my junior year I talked with my allergist who put me on a daily inhailer, along with an inhailer that I take right before I run, and then prescribed singular. These combinations helped me tremendously, I was always working much harder then my teammates, and once I started taking those it finally began to show. I was always an alright at running but my junior year I was able to qualify for state in the half mile, and this year I am hoping to be able to qualify for nationals. Let your daughter know that it is not a weakness to have asthma. I know how frustrating it can be to put in so much work and still not be able to keep up with your teammates, and I know that taking an inhailer might make you feel weak, but it isn’t a sign of weakness, people watch you warm up and do strides then they see you take your inhailer and they realize that they haven’t seen you at your full potential. Please if you have any more questions feel free to contact me at dgardin3@gmail.com

Comment by danny Gardiner

Thanks for your reply! Over the summer I forced my daughter to see a specialist at a larger hospital to help her with her asthma problems. It turns out that she was mis-diagnosed and she has something totally different. She has PVCD (Paradoxical Vocal Cord Dysfunction) and the asthma meds, that never really worked, actually made it worse. PVCD is commonly mistaken as asthma I found out, and I just want to spread the word. It will still be a struggle for her until she learns to control her stress and relax to keep the vocal cords open. So far so good! No attacks yet! We will continue to monitor your site and Thanks Again!

Comment by Stacey

Wow! Very interesting! Thank you so much for your reply; much appreciated. Best wishes to your daughter and kudos to you for being so diligent. Keep running! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I’m sitting here at my track meet waiting for my next event which is the 1600 and reading what you had to say inspired me a lot. I dislike my asthma but what you said about discipline is very true :) Thanks!

Comment by RaeShelle

Hi RaeShelle!
I have been on hiatus, hence the late reply, but I did see your note when it came through. Very cool that we were able to inspire you at your track meet. I hope you accomplished your goals! Keep running, stay strong, and stay disciplined. Kudos to you! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

What a wonderful place to meet. I found the site by accident earlier this afternoon and have enjoyed reading a lot of the posts and written stories. I was born asthmatic, spent the first 5 years of my life in and out of hospitals. From the age of 5 through 21 had weekly visits with an immunologist who had me on allergy shots and heavy medication. It didn’t lesson ER visits but kept me alive. As of 2001, my asthma worsened and steroid, antibiotics along with all of the other medication (sometimes 21 pills daily) was mainstream until I was on constant medication for ALL fo 2010. In January 2012, I finally decided that enough is enough and that I no longer wanted to be restricted during the summer months because of my breathing issues. Contrary to professional advice (something I seriously and honestly do NOT suggest anyone else do) I began walking 3.5 miles 7xs a week until I could begin jogging. My daughter calls it walk-jumping. LOL The only challenge I have with jogging is that my lungs are on fire at different lengths of time — I guess it depends on what’s in the air. I am allergic to just about everything and also have food allergies as well. I love the jogging and the feeling after I’m done as well and after having read this site and comments, I realize that the burning senstation in my lungs is because I’m asthmatic and probably also due to the 30 plus years of using steroids to regulate the function of my lungs. To date, I’m down from 21 pills, steroid inhalers and sprays to just taking one allergy pill daily — only if I need it. Pretty amazing. Even better — well for me that is — is that I’m prone to bronchitis infections during the Spring and am doing incredibly well during allergy season. The bi-weekly appointments with the immunologist also confirms this. I want to thank you for this site and for all who have posted. I realized that with patience I will meet all of my goals as I develop as a runner. Thank you, to everyone.

Comment by zindy01

Hi Zindy,
Thank you so much for sharing your story with all of us. You are an inspiration of perseverance and determination. Exercise definitely makes the lungs stronger and less susceptible to triggers. I hope you are still exercising regularly and getting stronger every day. Thanks for writing in! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Tara,
I would be honored if you would write a guest blog on my new blog website at http://www.athmaticontherun.wordpress.com.

Sincerely,
Asthmaticontherun@hotmail.com

Comment by asthmaticontherun

Hi Asthmatic on the run,
I have been on hiatus but will check out your blog. Thanks so much for writing in! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I love your blog ! I have asthma and have been
A runner for 8 yrs .. I have done 6 halfs !
After I had my son my asthma started getting a bit worse :( I am looking for alternative methods such as diet and vitamins ..

Comment by Amanda

Yay for you Amanda! You are an inspiration for sure! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I am so thankful to have stumbled upon this blog… I needed to know there were others out there with this! I am running a half marathon tomorrow… And I feel ready… But I always over think my lungs… And then get angry at myself… And embarrassed:( thank you for sharing!

Comment by Jennifer

Hi Jennifer,
I hope you did well in your half marathon and I hope you are signed up for more! Let us know! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi,
I am a 56 year old male martial arts instructor.
I have always been reasonably fit because of my occupation and I was OK at distance running.
Last April I completed a 12 hour endurance day which included a 5k run followed by a lot more running up and down hills, jumping etc carrying logs, sit ups etec etc.
I did something similar in October, all with no adverse symptoms.
However I have been set a task of running 5k in under 27 minutes. In January along with a few of my students I did my first attempt and my time as around 32 minutes. Although I was first to finish I felt extremely unfit, which I put down to Christmas!
The following weej we all did the same run and I could not fnish it. After only about 1.5k I felt completely drained, my chest was tight and painful and my legs seemed to have frozen. However I had no cough or phlegm, just shortness of breath and pain.
The following week we took a different route and had a student with us who has been doing some more serious running. With his encouragement I managed a time of just over 29 minutes, although I was, literally gasping at the end.
The next week I set off at the same pace and had to stop after only 1k and just could not continue. I found it very embarrassing to be in this state in fron of my students.
Since then I have tried running with one of my students, who previously I had always had to slow down for, and find that she is now running much faster than I can manage and every time we go out I have to stop.
I have run on my own and my times vary from 30.26 to 35.36. Often I have to stop and rest and the start again. On some accasions I have stopped for 10 minutes and then decided to try again and find that I can complete 5 or 6 k from when I stopped without any problems although quite slow.
I have been to the doctor and had an ECG, 24 blood pressure monitor, and all types of blood tests including anaemia, cholesterol and diabetes. All of these came back fine, mostly excellent.
He said it was likely I have EIA and gave me a salbutamol inhaler. I am also due to have a lung function test but can’t get this done until next month.
I I have tried the inhaler and it makes no difference whatsoever.
I find that I can run indoors with no problems but outside I just cant do it. I have just got back from trying to run but coming to a complete standstill once again. I had a coffee and then spent 20 minutes walking/jogging up and down stairs without any problems whatsoever. I got very hot and sweaty but was hardly out of breath, even though my legs were screaming at me to stop. I am wondering whether it is only cold air that affects me which would explain why I can run indoors.
Has anyone else had any problems like this? And what can you advise?

Comment by John Ward

Hi,
I have a similar story to yours. Went through many, many tests and finally, after several months, an experiment with 1-week supply of prednizone helped confirm it was EIA. This prednizone allowed me to double the distances I was running every day for several days and then allowed intensity to go up too. I knew I had EIA before this, but I had been able to ignore it until now, so it was a surprise that this was the cause. Now taking advair,singular, and (rarely) prednizone. I hope to build back up to run my 8th marathon this fall.

Comment by bob

Hi Bob,
Thanks for sharing your story with us! I hope you are still running strong. Different times of the year will make your EIA flare up a bit but if you stay consistent all year long in your training you will be fine. Let us know how you do in your marathon! Thanks for writing in, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi John,
I have been on hiatus, hence the late reply. What you are going through is quite typical and touches on 90% of the questions on this blog. We all want to run a certain time without the proper training. It just doesn’t work that way. I wish it did. We do an annual 5K every summer and our times are fairly consistent from year to year; which is to say that if you want to improve your time you must train ALL YEAR LONG. In general, if a runner wants to improve their times, he/she must run 3-5 times per week, cross train in-between (weights, yoga, etc), and follow a running program that includes sprints, intervals, long runs, etc. all year long. You must run consistently and methodically in order to improve your times or the length of your run. You can’t expect to improve your 5K time if you are not running several times per week all year long. Also, running inside on a treadmill is much, much easier than running outside. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking they can’t run when they go from a treadmill to pavement. If you are on a treadmill and you want a closer simulation to running outside, adjust the incline on the treadmill slightly. You can do this (improve your time and quality of your run), but you have to change (hopefully you have by now) the way you are training. Go outside and walk for one minute, then run for 30 seconds, then walk for one minute, then run 30 seconds, etc. The more you incorporate walking with your running, the stronger your base will be and you will be a stronger runner. Work your way up to running more and walking less but be patient. Start slow and smart. I promise that if you develop a good strong running base, your 5K time will improve but not if you force it. That will give you a heart attack and sore muscles. Get a subscription to a running magazine. Good advice and inspiration in there. You can do it. Thanks for writing in! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I am currently I. The. National guard and just found out that I have EIA I need to be able to run two miles in 16.36 I am constantly running a 18 plus if I don’t get the time down I will be kicked out any helpful information I would appreciate it greatly. Need help with my run!!!

Comment by Larry

Hi Larry,

I’ve been on hiatus for a while, hence the late reply. I hope you are still exercising and still working on your goals. The key to running faster, or farther, is consistent, methodical training. I can’t stress this enough. I get many questions like yours from people wanting immediate results. Running doesn’t work that way, especially combined with EIA. You have to put your time in. There is no other way around it. But, the good news is that when you do put your time in, you will definitely see progress. It might be slow progress, but progress is progress and should not be taken lightly. Get a subscription to a running magazine. This will be the extra inspiration you need. Good luck to you and thanks for writing! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi,
I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?
David

Comment by David Haas

Hi David, you can ask any question right here. If you don’t want your question to be publicly posted, just indicate that in your question. I will receive it but won’t “approve” it. This will keep it private. I will be the only one who sees your question so ask away. Thanks for writing, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I just found your site and I am so relieved to hear that others are running without inhalers. I have adult onset asthma and cannot use inhalers. I have a reaction to the diluters that are mixed with the medication. I am just starting to run again and am starting slow. Any advice would be helpful.

Rita

Comment by Rita

Hi, im herson. im 18 years old and im suffering from asthma. i have an asthma since i was a kid until 16 years old. it usually attacks when my back is wet and leave it dry. after that, when i was 17, i was happy because i thought my asthma will not attack anymore, but now im 18 years old i was suffered again, Im not smoker and im very curios because i think its not normal anymore. i just want to ask if it is normal and how to prevent it. pls help me.

Comment by Herson

Hi Herson,

I’m not sure I know the definition of ‘normal’ anymore! However, if you read through the posts here and read through all the comments from the readers, I think you will soon discover just how “normal” you are. Asthma is not a death sentence, it is a way to discover your potential and just how strong you really are. Do some reading, and then come back and ask a question. Thank you for writing! Welcome! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thank you so much Tara. Im now starting reading some of the posts and comments from the readers. can u pls give me some basic tips to help my lungs stronger or not to attack by an asthma? coz it takes many times for me to read some of those comments and posts, and i didn’t read yet some of the tips.
i’m so thankful in this blog and this is very helpful.
Thank u very much for your time Tara and may god bless us all. :)

Comment by Herson

Hi Herson, you can make your lungs stronger through regular, consistent exercise. Check with your Dr. first, listen to his directions, and if he or she says it’s ok, then start walking everyday if you can. Start with 10 or 20 minutes and just walk. If you are tired one day, rest and wait til the next day but try to stay as consistent as possible. Eventually you will want to work your way up to an hour. When you are comfortable you could try a slow jog for 30 seconds at a time with walks in between and then work up from there. Regular, consistent exercise will strengthen your lungs but start slow. This is the key. Hope that helps! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

I have been exercising regulary for about 17 years, but never ran because I would have trouble breathing. In the past 3 years I have tried to “take up” runniing. I find that I can only handle running non stop on a treadmill at a slow pace. Here is what baffles me…even when I feel fine as I am running..the next day my lungs hurt and burn, sometimes even 2 days after. My doctor has tried to put me on an inhaled steriod to reduce the inflamation but the day after hard cardio, such as running, I still have the burning lungs. Has anyone experienced this? I am a 40 year old female, not overweight, with a healthy diet and regular exercise (I work at a gym), . I am doing the Tough Mudder in April and I would love to know if the burning lungs are something everyone experiences. I want to just push through so I can train for this event.

Comment by Lori

I can only say that the day after I “push” myself, I do find that my lungs hurt a bit more than when I do not “push” myself.

Comment by Elisa

I am a competitive runner of 17 years and was recently diagnosed with EIA. It is very frustrating that I can no longer maintain the running pace I worked so hard to achieve. I am trying inhalers in an effort to relieve the respiratory effort and wheezing I experience when I now run. Breathing literaly wears me out. My running friends are supportive, but you know how that goes…..I can’t keep up! I feel everyone’s pain. Someone mentioned letting go of the ego, I’m just not there yet! Glad to see I’m not alone… Thank you all for sharing your stories.

Comment by Cindy

Wow, accept for the competitive runner part, everything you said could have come right out of my own mouth.

Comment by Elisa

Hello everyone, In Dec 2011 I wrote about how I wanted to run again but couldn’t because of the asthma that suddenly come to me. Well I went to the doctor and told him I wanted to run again, please help me, I told him, what should I do.

He gave me Symbicort before I fun and bring a puffer with me. Also if needed he gave me Singulair which I have not needed yet.
I took the advice of Tara to start slow and let go of the ego.

Well now I am able to run up to 14km , and started training for a 1/2 marathon this May. I never thought I would be able to run again HONESTLY.

Sure my pace is slower but who cares I am running and I feel great. Thanks to everyone

Comment by Debra Santos

Good for you!
This has been a helpful blog for me as well.

Comment by Elisa

I just found your blog, and am so so happy I did. I had terrible asthma as a child- oxygen machine, daily inhalers, the works- then was asymptomatic, but was diagnosed with EIA in college. I’ve just signed up for my first 5K, and am so happy to see some real answers to my questions. I’m excited to read more and really kick myself into gear. Thank you!!

Comment by Kate S.

I am just starting to run with EIA, thought I’d try it out after years of not giving it a second thought. Now that I’m in shape I’m trying it, and so far I can do it. However, with using my inhaler ahead of time I ran 2/3 of a mile indoors without having an attack. But I was huffing and puffing while running. I keep reading that if you can’t hold a conversation while running, you should slow down, but what experiences do people with asthma have? I felt good running and am used to huffing and puffing while doing cardio, knowing that there is a clear line between breathing heavily and having an asthma attack. I feel like if I let not being able to converse while exercising stop me, I might not be doing much cardio.

Comment by Sara

I’m 22 years old and also have EIA. I was diagnosed in middle school because I was incapable of playing basketball without going into an asthma attack. During my years in high school, I was SOOOOO frustrated because the pain and psychological stress EIA gave me, especially in front of my peers who did not have asthma and my coaches. I would quit early and used my stubbornness as an excuse not to try harder.

After graduation, when I finally was able to exercise and run for myself, I discovered that EIA wouldn’t hold me back. I had to use my own will to overcome it. I run today without my inhaler, in fact I haven’t used one in years. I know that frustration you talk about and I can relate completely. To those without Asthma, we just use it as an excuse when we can’t run harder and when we fall behind. But in reality it is just another obstacle that we should overcome for ourselves. Not for them.0

Keep running hard and let the frustration lead you towards harder effort and more focused determination!! :DD

Comment by Rebekah

Hello my name is Krystie I’m 17 years old I have mild Asthma, my attacks can get severe and I feel that my asthma gets in the way sometimes when I’m training hard at track practice it’s frustrating having a coach who doesn’t understand asthma much 1 day at practice I had a mild asthma attack I was wheezing and coughing in that practice we had to run laps around the track then after each lap we had to do jumping jack’s, push ups, Superman’s, Bicycle Crunches, and dips. During the dips I was breathing heavy and having a lot of shortness of breath my coach said take some deep breaths!!! Stupid coach does he understand what an asthma attack is? Of course not he’s a 37 year old with  amazing records from high school cross country and track. It frustrates me I love to run and my coach points out to me my problem!! I use my inhaler before practice to prevent EIA and it works most of the time, but I feel my asthma isn’t controlled as well as it could be. My dad won’t listen to me about my asthma and I don’t want to have a severe asthma attack and wind up in the hospital a second time, what should I do? Please help I need suggestions.

Comment by Krystie Gruppuso

Hi Krystie! Thanks so much for writing in. I feel your frustration; I can hear it in your voice. There are a couple of things you can do. You can ask your dad and your coach to look at this blog, not only at my posts but also the many comments from the readers. Sometimes the people around us hear us through their own filters and this causes dismissals, lack of validation, lack of trust, anger and frustration. But, if they can hear the same message from other people, strangers, then it might allow them to lower their own defenses and hear with objective ears. Let this blog speak for you, let the other commentors be your advocate, let your dad and coach soak in the information on their own time. It is so, so, so frustrating to be in the position you are in. The other component is that you are wanting to please your coach and not look weak in front of your teammates, thus making it harder to be your own advocate. I’ve learned in my own running that when I get ahead of my lungs, the best thing to do is to slow down or stop and walk for a minute or two. My lungs respond to this little bit of respite and then I can continue my workout. But, if I don’t do this I pay for it. My workout is done early. And why don’t I stop and rest when I need to? EGO! I don’t want to look bad, or weak. Being your own advocate is really hard, especially if you are on a team and everyone is counting on you to do your best. I run most of the time by myself and I still hate to stop and rest because cars are driving by and I don’t want to be seen walking! Really?? Yes. Nobody wants to be the weakest link. That’s why I do this blog. To teach you and me to be our own advocate, go at our own pace, slow down if we need to, speed up if we’re being lazy, but most of all, just keep running because we can. In addition to your coach looking over this blog, explain to him that by taking a short rest you are not quitting or slacking off, you are just giving your lungs a chance to catch up and this will make them stronger in the long run. I promise. Keep in touch, I’d love to know how your season goes. Best wishes, Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

wow there are so many with EIA, I have done 1/2 and full marathon, in 2009, with no asthma only cough after I would be done training, but I didn’t think nothing of it. In 2010 I started training again. I would run about 2 km, and then I would have a hard time breathing. I am now on puffers. I am afraid to run again, but I really miss it. Could some please give me some ideas on what to do. ….What meds are you on? what do you do ? what helps? …please someone respond I am desperate. thanks

Comment by Debra Santos

I feel your frustration……read some of Tara’s previous responses where she gives suggestions on how to strengthen your lungs…..by running.
Good luck.

Comment by Elisa

Hi Debra
I have Asthma for last 20 years,and underwent same desires,attempts and failures and frustrations for an inability which physicians cant help with much.
However it is a past.One year back i turned to a Yoga instructor who helped me to become fitter in 8 months.
I don’t puff so much and feel more energetic.
Now I have a treadmill and i do little exercise and Yoga mix.The tip is dont let your pulse go higher then 130 at any moment.Pedometer is handy.as you feel even a bit
discomfort take deep breath in yogic posture.Calm down
trust yourself and do inhale and exhale exercise.
Love yourself and trust yourself and your Yoga guru.
You will get amazing results.Do write to me for any clarification.
Your friend
Lonee
loneehemant@hotmail.com

Comment by Lonee

Hi Debra! Welcome aboard! First, I have to repeat myself, I am not a doctor, just a fellow traveler. Second, I would say to be patient and go back a few steps. Slow your pace a little at the beginning of your workout, give your lungs a chance to catch up, and then run at a slow pace with some short walk breaks. Or, just start out walking and then incorporate 30 seconds of jogging every couple of minutes. You may have just gotten ahead of yourself but if you slow down a little, you can work your way back up to running 2k. Be patient, be consistent, and don’t be shy about “starting from the beginning.” It is hard on the ego to walk, believe me, but your lungs will appreciate it and they will get stronger. Build a strong base before you move forward, this is the key. You can do it!! Keep us posted on your progress! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thank you so much. I have been trying to get back into running after developing this type of asthma. Just reading this made me feel tons better. :-)

Comment by Tania

Welcome aboard, Tania!! You can do it!

Comment by TaraSchiro

This is a great blog. I battle a great deal with EIA. I’ve run 4 marathons (started a 5th but injury forced me out at the 26km – 14 mile? – mark), at least 20 half marathons and more 10km than I can remember. Over the years, I’ve found my EIA has got worse, not better, which is so frustrating. I suspect the meds I’m on are just not working that well anymore and I’m going through lung function tests with a sports doc (who intends to up my meds, which should help), but I still love my running. I’m fortunate to have amazing running friends who never put pressure on me or suggest I’m imagining it. I run with people and if they need to push on for training or any other reason I encourage them to. On good days, I’ll just keep up with them, on bad they often just drop back to run with me. I hope all of you find the running buddies I’ve been lucky enough to find.

Knowing there are a lot of others out there — albeit a long way away (I’m in Perth, Australia) — is very comforting.
Keep running and being kind to yourself,
Kim

Comment by Kim Ribbink

Wow…..thanks. I have been experiencing the same thing…EIA getting worse. I really needed to hear about your positive attitude thanks!

Comment by Elisa

I hope yours gets better, Elisa, but I know there’s no point getting angry about it. Best just to enjoy as much as you can. I cycle and swim too, which helps a bit, I think. I suspect mine is getting worse because I’m in my mid 40s and things fall apart :), but who knows

Best of luck and keep running

Comment by Kim Ribbink

Oh, that’s funny. I am in my mid 40’s too. But, I was only diagnosed with EIA less than two years ago. I too have run multiple marathons and almost 10 half marathons….and I do agree to just enjoy what I can do. Life’s a journey, not a destination.

Comment by Elisa

Sucks getting older :) I’ve had it my whole life but I know a lot of people who are getting breathing problems later in life, and these are all fit people

Comment by Kim Ribbink

Hello, my name is Danny, I’m 17 years old and this is my third year running. I have had EIA since I was born, and within my 17 years I have just dealt with it. Freshmen year track I had very frequent asthma attacks, which held me back in the 400m and the 800m. My sophomore year during cross country I changed my inhaler to an levalbuterol inhaler and I had way less asthma attacks, but I didn’t get rid of them. Then during my sophomore year track I had the same problem as I did freshmen year, I would only be able to go 1 or 2 miles before I had to stop to catch my breath, or I would go into a full out attack and it would be the end of my workout. But I am very competitive and my coach has been supporting me and pushing me to go faster for longer, and during my Junior year of track I finished with a season PR for the three mile of 16:54 with the help of a new medication called Singular. Singular should only be used in season because your body can build up a tolerance to it, but I am still doing competitive winter training with morning practice starting at 5:30am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I have an afternoon run everyday after school. With out Singular I see myself going down the same path as the previous 2 years during track. I have noticed that my asthma is much worse during the morning workouts and when ever I do sprint workouts. I currently am running about 60-70 miles per week. I’m looking to hopefully get around 50 seconds for my 400m this year and I want to break 2:00minutes in the 800m. Is there anything that you recommend to help me lower the number of asthma attacks I get? Thank you for your time.

Comment by Danny

I started running at the beginning of September – the first two months went pretty well. Actually “jogged” an entire 5k at the end of October with just under a 12 minute pace. I have hit a brick wall this month though – my asthma has flared up and I feel like I am traveling backward! Yesterday I wasn’t even able to jog a mile at a time – had to stop each 1/2 mile and “catch my breath!” Was feeling pretty discouraged…and then I found this blog – feeling more encouraged now. And I am finding comfort in the fact that there are people out there who understand what I am going through, have experienced it and have succeeded! My goal is to run a 1/2 marathon on March 17th – my first. I have accepted the fact that I may have to walk some – but my goal is to finish and do the best I can. I am happy to have found a site where I can get some encouragement and advice from people who understand my struggles. I have a very supportive husband and friends – none of whom understand though why sometimes I just can’t “push through it.” Thank you for this blog!

Comment by elizabeth

Finally I don’t feel alone! I feel the exact same way about not being able to “keep up. It’s frustrating to be running with one of my friends and having to stop and walk because it feels like something is sitting on my chest (and that’s after sounding like Darth Vader for a while). I’m inspired to press forward just knowing there are others in the same boat. I’m also glad I’m not the only in-shape 10:00+ runner out there! :-)

Comment by Jennifer

Learned a humbling lesson this past weekend…LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I was running a 15K and my body felt so good the first few miles that I did not listen to my lungs. By mile 5 I was stuggling to catch my breath, and at mile 6.5 had a full blown attack. I managed to finish the race after walking almost a mile. I know that if I had not ignored my lungs communicating with me, that race would have been so much more enjoyable.
Lastly, I wanted to just reiterate that because of this blog I will not quit running, I will not tell myself that I am not a runner, and I will persevere. I have a half marathon this upcoming Sunday. I will start off slower, and more consistent….and I am sure that I will feel better.
Oh, and congrats on your recent half!

Comment by Elisa

How did your half marathon go? Do tell! Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Tara,
Thanks for asking about my half marathon. I did great, and felt great during the race. I was only off of one of my best times by a few minutes, 2:17:38! ( and that was with taking the time to stop and hug my cheerleading husband) Slowing down when I hit the hills, and simply staying in the moment, led to a successful experience. I did not set myself up for failure by trying to go faster than my lungs are prepared for. I have a resolution for 2012 to keep running with asthma, and set “new PR’s with asthma”. When I read posts that people leave on your blog I feel very lucky that I can still run the way I do. Your blog has taught me to be patient, and to build up my lung strength. Thanks again.

Comment by Elisa

Elisa, 2:17:38?! Wow! Congratulations! You are a great encouragement, thank you so much. Tara

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thank you so so so much for your words…it is so dang discouragingand i feel that no one understands that i AM running as fast as i can at 9:20/ miles. I have been runnng for a while to even get to that speed. I have a sprint triathlon in the morning and i came across your page on hope for a little extra motivation. I found it!

Comment by Cheyenne

Hey Cheyenne! You’re making me laugh…I WISH I could run a 9:20 pace in an event! The fastest I’ve ever run is an 8:50 but only for one mile. Last Sunday I ran a 1/2 marathon and my first 5.5 miles were at an 11:36 pace and the last 3 miles I slowed down to a 12:36 pace! My knee was giving me fits and my lungs were on the edge. So don’t worry, you’re one of the faster ones in our club! Woo hoo for you! How did you do in your triathlon? You’re doing great if you can do a Tri. Keep up the good work!

Comment by TaraSchiro

First of all , THANK YOU so much for writing this blog, it’s been such an inspiration, and has helped me so much. I’m tired of people saying it’s just in my head and I need to try harder… Did you do any training to improve your speed, besides just running long distances? I went from a 20:30 1.5 mi, to 4 months later, 17:30 1.5 mi. I know this is a BIG improvement, but I have to complete a 16:00 1.5 mi for my job, and I need to drop that last minute/half FAST!!

Here’s a quick workout lineup

Mon- treadmill, run .4 at pace, walk .1, run .4, walk .1
Dance 2 hrs

Tues- 1 hour weight lifting (with laps) 30 min swim 1200yd

Wed- Treadmill intervals like monday, 1 hour core class

Thurs- same as Tues

Friday- 4.5 mi run total– jog 1.5, walk .75, job .75, etc.

Saturday same as friday.

I have episodes like you described earlier in your blog, where you were just wiped out, If I over do it and have an episode I try to only miss 1 workout session at the most for the week, somtimes it ends up 2, but I try to stick to the running ones, and skip the weights or swim, if I can’t get the energy.

I take everything the doc recommends, plus green tea, iron, magnesium, Vit B, (which I’ve read helps circulate oxygen to your blood) I don’t want to go on anything stronger. since I was dropping time, but I’ve seem to hit a wall

What else do you recommend I can do to drop the time?

Comment by brittney

oops, sorry the treadmill is run .4, walk .1, 3 times, for a total 1.5

Comment by brittney

Hey Brittney! Sorry it took me so long to reply. I’m knee deep trying to finish my book. First, let me repeat myself, that I’m not a Dr. or a professional trainer, or amateur trainer for that matter…I’m just a person trying to figure this out like everyone else. Having said that, here is my humble opinion. If you want to be a better runner, your main workouts need to be running and then cross train on the off days. There are many places to get running schedules that you can follow. Basically, the schedule will have you do a long run on the weekends and then during the week you will do hill repeats, intervals, sprints, medium pace runs, at pace runs, etc. etc. On off days they offer cross training workouts, but these are only to supplement the runs, not replace them. In other words, instead of dance and swim and weights etc, put your main emphasis on running, and make your cardio workouts your run workouts, and then incorporate something easy like a swim or core work to supplement, but not replace the runs. I’ve been doing some swimming also and what I’m realizing is that each type of exercise is a “sport.” In order to get good at your “sport,” you have to make that your main focus. If you want to develop your craft, you have to practice your craft. It just sounds like to me that you have too many things going on. Speed does not come “fast.” You have to work at it. . Hope that helps.

Comment by TaraSchiro

I wanted to say that I ran my first 1/2 marathon strong and proud based on these posts! I realized I won’t be first, but I can finish and now I am going to run a full in May in Cleveland ONLY because of these posts. We are different, but we can succeed! Good luck every one!

Comment by Gina

Hi, my name is chris and i’m a 35yo male. I’ve had uncontrolled asthma since i was 11 and had tried every steroid inhaler on the market to no avail. nothing seemed to work for me. Everything from laughing to running caused an attack.
Recently i found a new steroid inhaler that has changed my life. I can now “lose my breath” without having an attack!
So now, i’m trying to get into running. I’ve begun the C25K program and am in my second week, but finding that i can’t seem to connect my breathing wit.h my running. The only way i CAN achieve a balance is running VERY slowly, like barely a jog it feels like. Also, if i find a balance, as soon as i come to a hill or any kind of incline, i’m wiped out. Do you have any advice for this? Is this just something that i’ll get used to when i’ve been running longer?

Comment by chris heberly

Hi Chris, yes, you are already figuring it out. Hills will take a long time to get used to but eventually they will get easier. I always walk up them and jog down. It’s good that you found to slow down to get the balance. This will improve as well with time. Just be patient. The stronger you get, the faster and stronger you will get. I know that sounds like a silly thing to say but strength brings more strength. Practice, practice, practice! It gets better. Keep up the good work!

Comment by TaraSchiro

I fel the exact same way.

Comment by Elisa

Hi, my name is Laura, I am 24 and I started getting asthma when i was 21. I am running in the Dublin City marathon on Monday. it is my very first marathon and im nervous. since Monday gone, my asthma has been triggered by the cold and damp weather. I am very frustrated coz i trained so hard and my breathing was grand. I have ran 19.6 miles within 3hr 38 mins and thats my max b4 the big day. i am worried with this frustrating asthma problem that i wont b able to do it on Monday. Any advice?

Comment by Laura Murray

Laura,
Just wanted to give you a little boost. I also have EIA that is made worse in the weather you described. I ran a marathon in New York two weeks ago, it was cold, damp and WINDY. Once I let go of the fact that I was not going to PR, and that I would need to walk at times, I adjusted for the asthma fear. I ended up having a great experience, not my fastest marathon, but one of my most enjoyable. A mouth protector would have been a good idea, but I had left mine at home. It sounds like you are trained, your body is ready. Just need to get your mind there too. GOOD LUCK.

Comment by Elisa

thanks, i went to docs today, he sed my chest was clear. But i still have a kinda warm feeling in my chest. I think its just nerves. I hope i dont get a cold b4 monday

Comment by Laura Murray

Elisa, thanks so much for chiming in! What great advice; I couldn’t have said it better myself! I’m happy to hear your recent marathon story. Very inspiring.

Comment by TaraSchiro

Tara, if it was not for this blog I would have thrown the towel in…so THANK YOU.
Elisa

Comment by Elisa

Wow, that’s humbling. Thank you, and YOU’RE WELCOME!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi Laura, I think Elisa gave you the best advice; it was the exact same thing I was going to tell you but she did it better with her recent story. I was simply going to say that as hard as it is to hear, you will most likely just need to slow down and concentrate on finishing only. Don’t worry about your time. It sounds like you are in great shape so just in enjoy the ride, or run, as it were. Please write back and tell us how you did; I’m anxious to hear. I’ve been thinking about you since your comment came through, my heart sank when I read it, and I feel your pain. I’m in the same spot right now and I don’t like it at all. I’m running a 1/2 next weekend and for the first time in five events, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to finish! It’s a terrible feeling. I’ll be thinking about you on Monday. Best wishes!!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi, i did my first marathon yesterday :D i completed it in 4hrs 55 mins :) i actually had a cold running it and i kept going, i didnt stop at all, i was at a steady pace, my nerves went away once i started to run and i legged it near the finish line :) my breathing is a bit better now, i have a cold, so thats a bummer :( but i think it was mostly nerves but thanks for the advice :) this is a great page

Comment by Laura Murray

YAY OH YAY FOR LAURA!!! CONFETTI FLYING! FIREWORKS SHOOTING!!! WOO HOO WOO HOO!!! HIGH FIVE GIRL!!! CHEERS TO YOU!! I was waiting to hear about this so thanks for letting us know!!!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Congratulations on finishing your marathon!

Comment by Jan Tesch

I “grew into” asthma when I was about 16 – exercise induced and mainly when running. I’ve been running (jogging) consistently for about 5 years. Did the Auckland half 2 years ago on the back of a flu – probably the worst thing I could have done. Since then i’ve been worse than ever.

I build up to being really strong and then get sick and have to start again. I have been really good and got a cold a month ago – i’m now back to the start. It’s do depressing! I took my inhaler 10 times on my run today – that’s terrible! When i’m good I don’t need it at all… And I take a preventer as well. I’m turning 40 in February 2012 – asthma and allergies getting progressively worse each year. Hopefully there are some tips on how I can get through these colds and allergies a little better on this page. Love hearing that this is normal – my partner has done so much running I feel useless because I struggle so much, mentally and physically.

Comment by Jo

Hey Jo! Don’t be discouraged, consistent running will make you stronger. Just make sure you take it slow and consistent. You took your inhaler 10 times in one run? Yikes. I’m not a Dr., and do not give medical advice, nor do I prescribe any formula or medication….but, sometimes the more medication you take the worse the lungs behave. Read through the posts that deal with the mental game, and remember that there is nothing like exercise to make your body naturally stronger. Don’t allow yourself to feel useless; that’s not good. Just take little bites at a time, slow and steady. Thanks so much for writing!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi Tara and All,
I am happy to finally find a popular blog on EIA after much Google surfing/clicking. Hopefully you can help me.
I have had exercise induced asthma since I was a child running cross country in 7th grade. I recently took up running and participating in my local 5k’s. My first 5k I ran a 7:53 pace and finished in 24:27. It was about 80 degrees and my lungs hurt the next day from breathing so hard. The next one I did was Chicago Half Marathon 5k and ran at a 7:23 pace, finished in 22:57. Looking back at the marathon photos, I could see how fatigued I looked as I struggled with every breath. Before this race I had 2 puffs of Albuterol. I have some questions for you and anyone who reads this.
1. Do you use your inhaler while running? Can this be done when running at a fast pace?
2. Is there a better medication then Albuterol to use before running without all the side effects of dry throat, nervousness?
3. Has anyone tried the supplement “quercetin”? I’ve been experimenting with it and noticed no improvements.
4. Any supplements you would recommend?
Your responses are much appreciated, thank you!
Scott

Comment by Scott

Hi Scott,
Wow, a 7ish minute pace? Kudos to you, my friend! You are way ahead of me but I am so so happy to read this. On the other hand, you are experiencing some set back…and this feels terrible no matter what pace you’re running. First I have a few questions for you: how old are you now? I’m wondering the time span between running as a kid and as an adult. Second, you say you “recently” took up running and then entered a couple 5K races, so, again, what is the time span between taking up running again and entering these two 5K’s? The reason I ask is because on the one hand you seem like a strong runner, given your pace. On the other hand, your lungs might simply be out of shape and not ready to compete at this pace, even though this might seem contradictory given how fast you are. In other words, you might be in shape enough to run an 8:06 minute mile without much incidence to the lungs but a 7:23 might be too fast right now, and so it is causing symptoms. Pace in EIA is irrelevant, we are all at different speeds. What matters is each individual’s lung capacity. When and EIA runner starts running, not just at the current hour, but at the start of a long term running program, it takes a while for the lungs to get conditioned. Your lungs might not be up to speed yet. Give it some time, slow down a little in your weekly endurance runs, let your lungs catch up and slowly get stronger, and then, you know the weekly drill…hill repeats, long runs, intervals, yada yada yada. I am not a Dr so I cannot comment on the usage of the inhaler and what is best for you. I’ve only used my inhaler once in the middle of a 1/2 marathon and it really burned so I did not try that again. I’ve never used quercetin, so maybe someone else can comment on that. Based on the look of fatigue you see in the pictures, I would guess you were just going faster than what your lungs were able to handle. I bet if you slowed down they would be fine. You might want to read my posts that deal with letting go of the ego. It’s painful, I know.

Comment by TaraSchiro

Scott…..i just wanted to leave a quick comment. I have needed to use my albuteral inhaler when racing. However, if I have used my inhaler before I start the race (b and I always do), it is only long races that I need it again. As a matter of fact my pulmonologist told me not to use it again for at least an hour or more. So, I have only used the “emergency inhaler” when I have run a half or full marathon. As for using it when running fast……I have to walk to get my breathing to a place where I can take a deep breath as I inhale, and hold it.
This is just my experience.

Comment by Elisa

hey i had really bad asthma when i was 2 until about 5 and my mom thinks it went away or i grew out of it but when i exerise during p.e i cant breath well and i get shortness of breath and i am overweight but lately its getting worst and i am not sure what it is… someone please help me

Comment by hailey

Hi, tell me a little more. Are you still in school? what grade? I wasn’t diagnosed with EIA until I was 34 but looking back, I can see that I had it as a kid but did not know it. I could not keep up in PE and thought I was out of shape or just not a person who was able to run. Also, there were certain parts of my childhood that were a little rough, I did not feel like I had a voice. Come back and read my post, “Running with Asthma, Is It All In Your Head?” It talks about how my mental and emotional struggles showed up in my running through asthma. It may give you some insight. If you tell me a little more, I might be able to give some more insight. Take care.

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hi!

My name is Ruth and I am also training for a 1/2 marathon in November. I was diagnoised with asthma15 years ago. The best thing I did was start running (well in my case jogging). It has really helped and I was able to come off alot of my meds. Since I got into running my asthma doesn’t really bother me. But there are days (and today was one of them) where my asthma acts up and brings my running to a halt. It can get very discouraging. Because my asthma is under control most of the time, I don’t take my inhaler before a run. But after reading the post, I will start doing that. Is there anything that I can do during a long run when I start having problems like today? When you have a side stitch, you run thru it. When you start feeling tired, you slow down. But what about when your chest gets tight and you start getting dizzy? Any comments would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Comment by Ruth

Hi Ruth!
Well, first off, I would say if your chest gets tight and you start feeling dizzy you should stop running immediately! That isn’t something to try and run through. It sounds like you are on the right track and doing well! It is very disheartening to be off meds and feeling fine and then have a set back. I am also having a set back right now. I have been med free for a couple of years now and just this past month of Sept, 2011, my allergic rhinitis has gone full speed ahead and I’m back on Allegra and Singulair on a daily basis. I had the post nasal drip thing going into my lungs, which forced me to stop running. This is terrible!! I feel your pain. Luckily I am back running now but it made me question whether I would be able to do the 1/2 in November. Unfortunately, when you run with EIA, you have to let go of your ego and your pride. Sometimes we just have to stop or slow down a bit to recover and this is hard to do. Thanks for writing.

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hello my name is chris, ive been a little over weight and suffered asthma when i was a child, since moving back to Cali i have issues running without having to stop every 1/4 mile to breathe. Im 5/11 and about 220 and i leave for the corrections academy in November and need to be able to run 1 1/2 miles in thirteen minutes, i can do it on a treadmill with no problem but when i move to the streets i run out of air and have to stop..I was hoping to get some tips to help me out, and dont say lose weight, lol. Im trying to;] P.S does using the inhaler help while running?

Comment by chris

Hi Chris,

First, I hope you have been running for several months now, and are not trying to reach this goal out of the blue in just a few short weeks. If you are, its going to be tough. The general rule of thumb is to establish a base, or foundation, first, before you try to reach any type of goal for distance or speed. It is so so so important for EIA runners to have a strong foundation of regular running before trying to compete at anything. The reason is because the lungs need to be strong first, and to get them strong, you have to run several times per week for several weeks or months. Here is what I would suggest: when you are running during the week, start by concentrating in distance before speed. Start your workout with walking, then incorporate a walk/jog walk/jog for the rest of the way. Start with a mile, work up to two miles and so on. One run per week, usually on the weekend, should be a long run, maybe 3 or 5 miles, depending on where you are in your plan. During the week you can do some sprints, or intervals. But, overall, if every time you go out to run, you are trying to beat your time or are trying to run 1.5 miles in 13 minutes, you will not be very successful. You need to get your body used to going longer before you go faster. Check out the Jeff Galloway schedules for newbies. He has great info. In general, if you feel the need to stop running after you only gone a short distance, this is an indication that you are starting too fast. You need to warm up first. Slow down, give yourself a break, go longer, and be consistent. Good luck!

Comment by TaraSchiro

Hello.. Everyone
im 16years old and i love sports swimming and basketball ..
but when i play sports quickly in 2mins i get tired i cant breath and i feel that my body cant move and throw up …. i had asthma when i was 2years and then it went … but now it came back??? when i play sports i get tired easily ??? WHY? please reply me Back !!

Regard
Marah K

Comment by marah

Tara- Thank you for your blog! Congratulations on running another 1/2 in November – good luck! Thank you for helping to understand that my “small” increases (as compared to other runners) are really “big” ones for me!

I was diagnosed with adult onset EIA that worsens with allergies at age 40 – had symptoms earlier, and finally realized everyone else’s lungs didn’t burn when they ran and walked a 5K!

I joined a running group at age 45(!) because I thought I was just out of shape and didn’t realize how much my asthma needed to be managed. I realized quickly i couldn’t just begin running full out with experienced runners immediately – was out of shape and had asthma! Bad combo for training with serious half and full marathon runners!LOL!

Fortunately my running group also catered to beginners and used a run/walk program (like Jeff Galloway’s program) where you manage your run/walk times so that you run 2 minutes walk 1 and so on. This was a saving grace for me! I was getting the benefits of running but by walking I avoided running until my lungs burned and forced me to stop. I built endurance while not injuring my lungs. I completed my first half in May 2010 after beginning my program in January 2010. I continued with the running group doing the run/walk program and this year trained with the more advanced (3:1) group but ran my second half in May at the 2:1 run/walk and was 5% faster than the year before! I am scheduled to run my 3rd half this Saturday and I am scheduling to do a 2.30:1 ratio since I have been consistently training all summer.

As far as meds, I regularly use my ProAir inhaler as directed and then my rescue inhaler before the start and at mile 6. My doc is supportive of my running and we are working to cut out the mid-race inhaler but weather has been so hot and humid it hasn’t been realistic

I am still somewhat “slow” but I have seen improvement in both my lung strength and running times. My endurance is somewhat behind other runners that started with me, but I am focusing on my personal improvement rather than competing with others. My ultimate goal is to “run” the half, but I am taking it slow.

Thank again for your post and for building awareness that people with asthma can run, they just have to be aware of their bodies!

Comment by Donna Murphy

Hi Donna! Thank you so much for your note; you are my new hero!! I am so happy to see your words of awareness, humility, strength, tenacity…You’ve got it going on, girl! I am going to suggest to a few other commentors to read your note. Good stuff. Thank you so much for writing! Thanks for joining! T

Comment by TaraSchiro

Tara,

Thank you for the words of encouragement and also where I can find training schedules. I will let you know how the training is going in a month or so.

Jan

Comment by Jan

Hi Jan, I wanted to point you in the direction of a woman who wrote to me last night, here on the blog in the comment section. She is DMurphy and she commented on the “I Am Running With Exercise Induced Asthma” page. I think you will enjoy what she has to say. She also reminded me of the Jeff Galloway walk/run program, which you can google. Best wishes!

Comment by TaraSchiro

I have asthma due to a recent cold, do you think i will be able to run track still?, i mean i have wheezing but i dont think its that bad,went to the DR’s already an he juss gave me an inhaler.

Comment by Van Williams

Hi Van, I”m not a Dr. so can’t really give you any advice except stay in touch with your Dr. Pay attention to your lungs; if they don’t feel good, then rest. Wait until you are completely free from cold and infection and then reevaluate.

Comment by TaraSchiro

Thank you… Reading your blog has brought on tears, mostly in relief. I am a runner with EIA. I have battled the mental challenge of not being able to keep up with others, feeling failure, constantly getting sinus infections from pushing myself too hard etc. I have been running for 3 years and yes have improved but not near as much as the average runner. I have had so many questions / concerns throughout my experience, feeling like my medications are not working and mostly feeling “weak” and a “failure”. Your experience has validated so many of the thoughts and feelings I have experienced. Reading your blog is bringing so much clarity and releasing the tension. Thank you , thank you thank you…..

Comment by leslie

Thank you so much, Leslie! Nice to hear from you!

Comment by TaraSchiro

I am a 57 year old female with EIA. I am trying to train for my first half marathon in December 2011 in Las Vegas. This half marathon can be done by running or walking. I am really trying to jog part of the time and then walk but can’t seem to get very far before I can’t breathe. I use Advair and also albuterol, when needed. I get frustrated because others are able to jog around and not get winded. Do you have any suggestions or training schedule for someone with EIA? Any suggestions and comments would be appreciated.

Comment by Jan

Hi Jan, Runner’s World magazine recently came out with some training schedules. I am not affiliated with them in any way, I do not receive any type of compensation. I just love their magazine. Look for their 1/2 marathon training schedules for newbies and try to follow it as best you can. This will keep you on track as far as how many miles you should be putting in per week in order to survive the 1/2. If you are thinking that you will walk much of it (good for you!), then I would suggest that if the only way for you to keep up with the mileage in the training schedule is to walk, then by all means walk. Don’t get frustrated with thinking you have to run all the mileage. Your asthma might get in the way of the training; remember, slower is better on the lungs. Mileage is more important than speed. Don’t discount yourself because you are slower. You are out there doing it! Start slow, walk when you get winded, and then jog when you can. Eventually you will get stronger and you will be jogging for longer periods of time. Just remember to jog slow. I have had many runs when I start too fast and then the whole run is painful. Start slow and work your way up. You will progress faster that way. Keep going! Good luck!

Comment by TaraSchiro

So happy to read this blog. I have been running/biking/swimming the past year with EIA. I also did the 7 week 5k at COC in Valencia CA. Did two tri’s this summer and a couple mud runs. I still get SOOO frustrated being the last one in my group. In all categories…but the running is the hardest. I can keep up with them for about 5 minutes and then the “asthma headgames” start…and I soon start slowing down, and can’t keep up and always end up running/biking alone. I was looking for a really good Asthma Doctor who deals with athletes. All Doctors seem to give the same prescription, the inhalers and steroids…any suggestions…I’m guessing you live in the same area? I also just got information about Omega Fish Oils helping EIA. Have you heard about this? Thanks for the blog- great info. Melissa Kimberly

Comment by melissa

Hey Melissa! Thanks so much for writing. I wish I knew a really good Dr. around here that is sports minded and deals with asthma, but I don’t. You are right, the frustration with getting the same advise and medications is high. They just don’t get it. One of the hardest aspects of being an EIA runner is to get our ego out of the way. I am terrible with this. I don’t want to be behind everyone else, I want to keep up, but, sometimes this just isn’t possible. I will say though that the more consistent I am with training (easy runs, intervals, sprints, fast runs, long runs, hills), the better runner I become. It’s hard to navigate a regular running routine around the EIA but it can be done. Don’t try to keep up with your companions in the first 5 minutes. A slow warmup is much better on the lungs than a fast start. Start slower, let your lungs catch up, be consistent in your run (not fast and slow fast and slow, unless you are doing interval training), and then you will get stronger quicker. I have not researched the Omega’s. The COC run is a humbling experience! There are people with bodies who I look at and swear I should be faster than them but they beat me every time!!! Thanks for sharing and reading. I appreciate it!

Comment by TaraSchiro

I had been a runner for years-I am 55 years old. I am now not able to run and have started crossfit. This week I wheezed and had shortness of breath after a couple of the workouts. I live in Florida and not sure if it is the humidity or the indoor warehouse. It was so strange that it just came about. Any thoughts?

Comment by Paula Herron

Hi Paula! Thank you for sharing! What an inspiration you are, to still be running at 55! Woo hoo! But, my advice to you is to go see your Dr. Also, you say you “had” been a runner. Does this mean there were many years in between the starting and stopping? That could be your problem. Maybe you’re not as in shape as you thought? It could be the environment, a virus, chemicals in the warehouse, a stressful situation in your life, or, in light of your age, maybe you need a physical exam before starting a new routine. Start with a Dr. appt.

Comment by TaraSchiro

I’m so happy I came across your blog! I’ve been struggling with my terrible allergies for years which have been the cause of my asthma this past year. It has become such a issue that I’ve been having wheezing attacks at night as well as when I run.

I’ve only been Wogging/running since last Dec. but I have found that I really enjoy my mom time on the trails. My longest run was up to 7.5k but now with my asthma battles I’m back down to only 3k at times. I hope that some day I will be strong enough to make it back up there again.

Thank you, this post has given me hope to know that I’m not alone in my battle to concur my “EIA Monster” (as I call it).

Comment by run36run

Hi, i am a concern mom, my daughter just got into the cross-country in h.s. and has Exercise Induced Asthma . She started
running with her coach in school..and before she runs she take 2puffs of her meds….she runs 2times around the track
and get winded..should i take her out of cross country….is it safe for her to stay in this sport….im really concern.

Thanks

Comment by debbie

Hi Debbie, Thanks for writing! I have said this many times but bear with me as I repeat myself: I am not a physician and am not qualified to diagnose or treat asthma. That being said, I am a runner who likes to figure things out and that is why I started this blog. I wanted to record my own journey of navigating EIA as well as get feedback from as many other asthmatics as possible so we can learn together. Asthma should not hold any of us back. We can run and compete. The key is to know our own bodies well enough so that when an “engine light” comes on, we know immediately how to adjust.
In regards to your daughter, I can say in generic terms that there are many professional and Olympic level athletes who run and compete with asthma. The tricky part is when you are with a coach who does not have asthma or who does not have a lot of experience with runners on their teams who have asthma. It is really really hard to be in a position to listen to your coach but your body is short circuiting, i.e., the lungs are becoming symptomatic. The runner is left with the dilemma of, do I listen to my coach and keep going and risk having an attack or do I slow down and take care of myself and risk being cut from the team? In general, asthmatics need a longer and slower warm-up than non-asthma runners. In general, asthma runners can do all the same training exercises that non-runners do but the asthma runners may need to adjust a little bit depending on how their lungs are reacting. The coaches also have a dilemma on their hands. Some kids use the excuse of not being able to breathe, but the real problem might be that they are out of shape and just need to be pushed a little bit. I’m not saying that this is your daughter; just that coaches have a hard time figuring out which kids are “legit” and which kids are out of shape, lazy, or mentally and emotionally weak. The coach has records to break, meets to win, and championships to bring to the school. They are on an agenda to win. There’s nothing wrong with that but it makes the environment harder to navigate when a coach needs to push everyone to be better and the EIA runner might need to rest for a while.
Read through the progression of my posts. Start with 2008 and see the mind games I have dealt with, the boundary lines I have had to find within myself, the ego I have had to let go of, and the mental strength to realize I am stronger than I think. Your daughter will have to learn all this on her own. Running is a mind game for all runners, but more so in those with EIA. Good luck to you!

Comment by TaraSchiro

i am 39 and today was diagnosed with EIA. i have been running for 18months and in that time, i have completed 11 half marathons, 1 marathon and 1 50km ultra marathon. over the past 6 months my breathing has really played up and as a result, i have run my slowest times. a friend suggested i might have EIA and after 3 months of putting off seeing the doc (as blokes do), bit the bullet and made the trip today. and after a few tests and looking at what happens when i run, he diagnosed with me EIA and has put me on ‘symbicort 200/6′. i was a little freaked out when i read the possible side affects and have been searching the internet trying to find something positive about this drug.

Comment by Brett Sammut

I was also placed on a medication, Dulera, with side effects that were a little scary…..such as osteoporosis ( I am a female). I have considered the alternatives (homeopathic remedies), but I find this medication gives me relief from EIA. I guess all meds have payoffs and consequences.I think it is an individual decision as to which out weighs which. Good luck

Comment by Elisa

hi, i am soon to be a sophomore and i started cross country over the summer.. and my asthma came back. i had it 10 years ago but i fixed it buy becoming a vegetarian. now.. our family is trying litte by little some chicken & seafood etc. too much pressure from our church members? haha.. These days i have trouble breathing often during the day.. but i really want to do cross country.. :( i got prescribed a non steroid inhaler but im stil clumsy at using it.. what should i do? please help..

Comment by ana

Hi “ana,” There is not enough information here for me to be able to give you any advise other than the basics. What type of exercise did you do before starting cross country this summer? What type of climate do you live in? Have you been tested for food allergies? The thing about asthma is that it is very individual. No two triggers or symptoms are alike. There are general triggers and symptoms that we can see that bring us to the conclusion that a person has asthma, but every person is different. But the basics are this: cross country isn’t something that you can just “start” and expect to be successful. The lungs are a muscle just like all the other muscles in your body. When you first start working out, your muscles will be sore and you will limp around and not be able to lift your toothbrush. The lungs react by closing. The crazy thing about EIA is that if you don’t exercise, you get symptomatic (have trouble breathing). If you do exercise, you get symptomatic. The reason is because when you don’t exercise a muscle, it gets weak, and weak things break down. When you start exercising after having done nothing, it takes a while (sometimes many months or years) to get over the hump. Initially, your lungs will react and be symptomatic to the new stress of running. That’s because they are weak and are not used to the exertion just yet. Many people stop in the early phases because they think their lungs can’t handle it. But, if you start slow and let your lungs catch up, and continue with regular, consistent, moderate, running, your lungs will grow stronger and stronger and eventually you will be able to run a 1/2 or full marathon. You might not be able to keep up with the cross country team this year. That might be too much right off the bat. But, if you are serious about being on the team, incorporate running and cross training into your daily schedule. Make it a part of your life regardless if you are on a team or not. Then when something comes up like a 5K or 1/2 marathon or cross country season or whatever, you will have a foundation to spring from and you will be able to train harder longer and faster because you have developed a strong foundation. Really, this is the only antidote. Regular, consistent, exercise. Make sure you keep in touch with your Dr. Try to find one who has other patients that successfully run long distances. You can do it; don’t give up!

Comment by taraschiro

I also have EIA. I am 53 and do some form of exercise every day, but just recently. I do not have a problem walking at least about 20 miles during the week and 4 days of spinning classes. But what is kicking my but is trails. I could only do 3 miles today. My breathing was labored I could not go much further. My question is, I am planning to get some sort of cloth mask and wet it down, to help with the breathing on trails. May I have your take on this? I have a 10k trail run coming up, here in the South Bay, they did not water down the trails last year, and it was a struggle. Also I plan to go back to the trails I did today..”..they will be beaten…

Thanks.

Comment by Desiree

Hey Desiree, Congrats to you on all the exercise! A couple things: you say you do some form of exercise every day “but just recently.” Your breathing on the trails could be related to the fact that your body just hasn’t adjusted yet to all the exercise. It takes many months to get over the threshold of not exercising to exercising. It goes from initially being tired from the exercise to being energized and fueled from the exercise. You also say you walk 20 miles per week. What kind of a pace do you have? Are you walking on flat surfaces? Trails are an entirely different animal than flat surfaces. They require a different set of muscle groups because you are on uneven terrain and possibly some hills so your body will be working harder and you will be fatigued earlier. Also, when you are in trails, the air is different because you are around some sort of flora so your lungs may be agitated by something in the plants around you. I have not heard of wetting down a cloth mask but my first instinct is that if its wet, more things in the air would stick to it and you would be breathing more junk, but, I really do not have any information on this so I can’t say. Pay attention to the symptoms you experience while on the trails. Something like Allegra might help. I have been tested for allergies and they all come back negative but I use Allegra because I have trouble breathing certain times of the year and the Allegra helps. I also have allergic rhinitis, which shows up sometimes after I’ve run along the streets. The exhaust from the cars causes inflammation in my nose, which causes other problems that show up in my lungs. Allegra takes care of this. The spinning is good for cross training and if you are doing this 4 times per week then you must have some cardiovascular strength going on. But, if you are spinning 4 days and walking 20 miles per week, are you allowing for any time of rest? Everyone needs a day off. You might be overdoing it. Especially if this is new to you. Lastly, don’t get bogged down with phrases like “I could ONLY do 3 miles today (my emphasis).” I am friends with “elite” athletes and they all say the same thing: some days you have it and some days you don’t. Your energy level depends on the amount and quality of fluids, foods, rest, stress levels, etc. There are many factors that affect your performance on any given day. You are human. Give yourself a break. You seem to be a feast or famine kind of gal. Just remember that consistency, steady steady all year long, above all else, is key to success.

Comment by taraschiro

I found that when I run around pine trees that my EIA is much worse. I discovered this by running the same race three years in a row. The third time it occured to me that the same corner where I struggled the year before as well was surrounded by pine trees. I have come to expect that I will be more challenged in that environment.

Comment by Elisa

I used to love running. But I developed asthma and it’s only gotten worse. I can’t run. I start to, but i can’t get very far without my asthma acting up. If I run with headphones, for a second i’ll forget about my asthma, i’ll run maybe a quarter or a mile and when i start walking i start to feel just the intense tightness in my chest and it will feel so heavy, making me burly be able to continue to walk. What can I do so that I can return the my passion?
I take advare medium dosage twice a day and albuteral for emergencies and before i run.

Comment by Jazmin

Hi Jazmin, How old are you? I developed asthma in my 30’s but when I look back to my childhood I can see instances where I was symptomatic but had no idea it was asthma. I would take a look at your family history, and I would take a look at what is going on emotionally in your life right now. I would also read through some of my other posts about “Asthma in Your Head.” I am not saying you are making this up, God forbid, but, asthma is complicated. There are many many factors that trigger it, such as the air you breath, allergies, exercise, emotional stress, loss, bad filtration system in office buildings, any number of things. Some of my other posts talk about panic being a hard thing to overcome when you are first diagnosed. I started having thoughts like, if I run too hard will I pass out on the trail? It takes a while to find the line you can’t cross after your are diagnosed. The short answer is yes, you can still run, but you have to be willing to explore what is going on in your life right now. I’m not the most exciting writer to read, but, if you can hang in there, please go back and read through all the posts I have put up. The reason I say this is because this question is answered in many different ways as I was exploring my own asthma. You will see a progression if you start from the beginning and hopefully there will be some things to recognize. Don’t quit. You can do it.

Comment by taraschiro

I don’t like running and I think the reason as I read through these blogs is because I have/am experiencing all of the other people’s posts, lol!

I have run several 5k races this summer (even three in one week), but I still struggle every day I run with my asthma symptoms. It is so frustrating. My husband used to run with me, but I have sent him on ahead now because he would just make me feel worse (while trying to make me feel better).

I thought I was supposed to use my rescue inhaler about 1/2 hour before running, but no one mentioned that, what is the general consensus on that topic?

I am trying to better my 5k times, but can’t seem to get passed mile 2 when increasing my time (even with a slow increase to get to mile 2). My husband says it’s mental, is that all it is?

I also am planning on running either in a PA 1/2 marathon this fall or Detroit MI 1/2 marathon. One is all park and the other is all city. Which is better for an asthmatic?

I’m struggling to enjoy running. I hope some day I can say I don’t have to use any meds and I run marathons, wow, that would be awesome!

Help! I’m frustrated (like all the others before me),
Gina

Comment by Gina

Hi Gina! I feel your frustration. All the time! First off, consistency is key to bettering your times and enjoying your runs. And when you have asthma, it takes longer to progress because we are fighting things that other runners don’t have to deal with. If you want to better your 5K time, you need to run longer distances in your training runs. So try to work your way up to a 6 mile run on the weekend. The longer you run, the faster you will be in a shorter distance. Of course, you will also need to incorporate some speed work, intervals, and hills. Just running 3 miles will not make you faster at running 3 miles. This will help with your mental game as well. Once your brain understands that you can run 6 miles at a time, it will work with you to go faster for 3 miles. Runners World Magazine has great great advice for training and scheduling weekly runs. Check them out. Park or City for the 1/2? I can’t answer that because every asthmatic is triggered by different things. I would say that the park would be more enjoyable but you should compare the inclines and level of difficulty between the two. If the park has a lot of hills you will need to consider this. I’ve been to Detroit and its ugly; if this is the one through the city I would skit it. Pennsylvania is more scenic, but, choose the course that suits you based on the terrain and level of difficulty. When you are consistent with your training, your body will adjust easier and your runs will be more enjoyable.

Comment by taraschiro

I have been running for many years but at 47 my left knee is starting to give me some trouble so I am gradually switching over to swimming.

There have been four Olympic medal winners in swimming that I am aware of.

Swimming is not as much fun as running but exercise is extremely important for people with asthma.

Comment by Don

I am 27 years old and have bad year round allergies as well as diagnosed with excersize induced asthma. I have been jogging now for a couple of months and I am frustrated. I take an inhaler before I run but I haven’t been any faster or had the ability to run longer distances.. I was hoping that with time I would be able to go on longer runs but that is not the case; two and a half miles is my max. I have changed the time I run and that has helped a little,
I would love to be able to run 5-10 miles and jog with others, but I don’t know if that will ever be possible. Any suggestions?

Comment by Frustrated

Hello, Frustrated! Yes, I do have a suggestion. Wog. This is hard for the ego to swallow but it is the best way to improve. Set a 3 mile course for yourself and then walk, jog, walk, jog, walk, jog, the whole way through. Do not wait until your are tired from running and then walk. Start walking early in your 3 miles and rotate back and forth. The only way to improve the amount of time you are running is to go longer by wogging. I’m sure you can walk 3 miles. Get your body used to going longer by mixing walking in with the jogging. Runners World Magazine has great training modules, so check them out for details, but, the short version is that each week you should increase your overall mileage by 10% per week. This is to stay in the safe zone so no injuries occur. Figure out your weekly mileage then add to it each week a little at a time. By adding distance each week with walking, you will soon see that the distance you are able to run gets longer and longer. Nobody likes to look weak by walking, but if your ego can manage it, you will be running 5 or 10 miles in no time. And if you have to stop and take a breather every now and then, so what? Keep moving. You can do it.

Comment by taraschiro

Hello there! I am just starting to run to get ready for volleyball tryouts in August, I was wondering if you have tips for running a mile in under 10 minutes? I always take my inhaler before I run, but is there more I can do?
Thank you!
Becky

Comment by Becky

Hi Becky, the best thing you can do is be consistent with your running all year round. You need a strong foundation to stand on and spring from when you need to perform for things like volleyball tryouts. You can also do intervals, hill climbs, spin class, but the best thing is consistent, steady, training. Long runs are good for endurance. Good luck!

Comment by taraschiro

I’m a new runner for 7 months now, still a newbie. My first 5k is this weekend. I’ve been working with my Dr. this whole time trying to get my EIA under control and “learning” to run. I’ve transitioned from treadmill to outdoors and my flare ups happen ALL the time, even with my rescue inhaler. (Bonus from running – lost 40 pounds so far.)

For now I’m trying to run slower to control my breathing and gasping, but it’s so hard to do outside. Sometimes I can only run 4 minutes, and catch my breath for 2 minutes. Very frustrating! I DON’T want to be the last one to finish at the 5K.

I am always looking for answers so I don’t have to feel like I’m breathing through a straw.

Tammy

Comment by Tammy

I am quite glad to have found this link. I am 44 years old, and have been running since 1998. I have run two marathons and about 7 half marathons. It was not until last year that I was diagnosed with EIA. I finally saw a pulmonologist today and have some hope that I can learn to live/run with asthma. I might not hit the PR I want, but I am not going to let this stop me. So, I look forward to reading other’s stories of challenging themselves by running with asthma.

Comment by Elisa

Glad to have you along, Elisa! Read through the other posts on this blog, it will help to see and understand the journey. Keep moving!

Comment by taraschiro

I am an 18 year old with excersize induced asthma and it is very nice to see someone describing the same symptoms as me when it comes to running, many times my family or friends have thought that I was lazy, out of shape, or lying about my condition. I wanted to ask you, I have been trying to start running for years now and I am having a hard time overcoming this. How would you suggest I start? I mean I struggle to get through a mile jogging at 20 minute mile pace, not to mention full out running or a decent time.l I just feel discouraged, how do I build up to BE a runner?

Comment by Carly

Hi Carly, you can build up to being a runner by wogging. Don’t try to run right off the bat. Start off with walking, then add a minute or two of jogging, then walk, jog, walk, jog. Let your body work up to it. The difference between running and jogging is intent, not speed. The difference between running and BEING a runner is intent, not speed. So as not to repeat myself, read through all the blogs on this post. I’m not that exciting to read, but, you will see a pattern and a journey and a lot of missteps along the way. Just start slow and be consistent. That is by far the best way to improve. Start by walking, run when you feel like it, walk when your tired, but be consistent by going out several times per week. You will improve in no time. Just be patient and do NOT give up. You can do it.

Comment by taraschiro

One more thing I’ve found that helps is a Neti Pot…if your EIA is allergy related (pollen, grass, dust…etc) it can be VERY helpful in cleansing the sinus cavity in general. Google it if you don’t know about it!

Comment by RunningRoz

I have been running since I was 9 years old. I’m now 25 and have suffered with EIA all these years. It’s never stopped me from running, but it’s definitely held me back from being as competitive as I know the rest of my body could handle. I used to use an inhaler, but gave up because it really never helped me.

Last week I went to a physical therapist that has lots of alternative methods. He did electrical stimulation to me and I could feel it in my lungs. I was VERY skeptical (and still am a bit) but when I ran the next day in 20º windy conditions, I felt more normal and I didn’t cough for hours afterward like I normally do. I really couldn’t believe it.

I am very curious to run today (30º) to see if it was a fluke, but if I’m honest with myself, there is NO way I could have run through that weather without wheezing on a normal day. I’m interested and excited to learn more and wondered if anyone had ever heard of this or experienced it?

Thanks so much for creating this site. It’s needed. There is not much info out there on this.

Comment by RunningRoz

Thanks for sharing! Great tips!

Comment by taraschiro

I’m 19, i love running i make it to the gym about 4/5 times out of the week to run. but i feel that since i’ve had asthma since i was 5years old it really gives me a disadvantage. After about 2 miles running my breathing gets all weird and can get pretty frustrating when my body feels perfectly fine its just because of my asthma i can’t keep going. In about 3 weeks i’m running my first 3k race any tips to help control my breathing better? they would be very helpful.

Comment by Madison

Hi Madison, try slowing down your pace a little bit so you don’t overtax your lungs. Be consistent in your training. If you slow your pace, and incorporate 30 seconds of walking here and there, you will slowly increase the strength of your lungs. Eventually you will be able to run for a longer period of time. Also, do some intervals. But overall, get your ego out of the way and slow down or even walk a little to let your lungs catch up.

Comment by taraschiro

Having asthma (allergy induced) since a child I was alway discouraged to be active. I have wanted to run a marathon for as long as I can remember. Last spring I trained for and completed my first 10k in July. I decided to keep my training going, and this January at age 43 completed my first marathon. I keep a close eye on my heart rate, and ensure that I do not push to hard……slow and easy. At each mile marker I would walk for one minute to bring my heart rate back down. The more I exercise the better my lungs feel. I could not run 2 days in a row, so I did lots of cross training on the bike, eliptical trainer and stair climber. I have also found lower body strength training made running easy and made me faster. I am already planning a half marathon this summer and a full marathon January 2012.

Don’t give up on your dreams.

Comment by Dino

I have been running for about 3 years now. I enjoy the rush from the races and love being able to finish. I am a bigger girl, 21 and have asthma. For me, I just tend to be happy to finish since I never do less than 15 minutes per mile. However, I feel like my asthma keeps me back and I’m not even sure how to change that. I have been on medication since childhood. When I run, the biggest struggle is my breathing issues. Sometimes it hurts to breathe an I even get a burning feeling in my lungs (Especially when it’s cold). Do someone have tips for breathing while running? is it better to breathe through the mouth? Breathe through the nose? Thanks!

Comment by vianey

Hey!, I know this is a late reply, but hope it still helps. I have a huge problem with the burning feeling while running when it is cold. THe only thing I have found that really helps is to wear something to cover my mouth and nose; helps to keep moisture and a little more warmth in your mouth and lungs. Personally, I have to wear my “mask” whenever I am running in temps below 50 degrees. I like to breath through my mouth since I can get more air in that way.
Just watch the temperature and your speed. Also, sometimes my asthma will start to act up within the first 10 min, but I have found if I slow it down and jog through it, my body kicks in and my airways open back up. THat is just me though, and is probably a little dangerous.

Comment by Red

Hi Vianey, get a copy of Runner’s World Magazine. They have great training schedules, meal plans, quick tips, inspirational stories, etc. I have not attachment to them; I just love their magazine. You would benefit greatly from a subscription to them. The only way to “overcome” the asthma is to be consistent and be stubborn. There are so many factors that trigger the symptoms. You have to learn your body, what your triggers are, and just get out there. Look at the training schedules on the safe way to increase mileage and stamina per week. I don’t know if breathing through your nose or mouth is better; personally, when I need air I like to take it in and I don’t care how it gets there. My point is that there are many other factors that affect running performance, quality and quantity of food and liquid, rest, emotional stress, environmental air quality. It’s more than the nose or mouth. Read through some of my other posts. This will give you more info.

Comment by taraschiro

i wish to join the army, this means i need a certain level of fitness, but wen i run after about 5 mins of slow paced running i find im breathing short breaths n find it hard to take deep breaths, my nose becomes blocked and i struggle to breathe through it. yet when im just walking around i can breathe deeply very well. does anyone know why this is or give me any advise on how to improve it? your help is much appreciated!

Comment by Kristian

Hi Kristian, read my post, “Asthma is All in Your Head.” I’m not saying it is all in your head, God forbid, but, you might find some info there to be helpful. Also, if you are brand new to running, it takes many many months to get over the hump of being tired after 5 minutes. You need consistent training. Get a training schedule for newbies and use it as a guide. Some of my other posts might be helpful as well.

Comment by taraschiro

I am really happy to find this blog. I have been running for a little over a year (consistently: 3-5 times a week) and am really struggling with my breathing. I have asthma that in the past only bothered me if I got a cold. I have found that it really bothers me when I run. I feel like I should be a stronger runner by now but 6 miles is about my limit. I’d really like to do a 1/2 marathon in Oklahoma City in the spring but I am beginning to doubt my physical ability to do it. I am looking forward to reading this and getting some advice. I plan to see my doctor about it but reading this will help me get some specific questions. Thank you SO much!

Comment by Heather

ok so i am a 22 yr old girl wanting to do a half marathon. My asthma keeps me from running more than 30 min though. The dr.’s give me meds n all but the only thing that really work for me is my resuce inhaler. I am just wondering if i run everyday for as long as I can ( taking breaks when need to) can my lungs get better..so I can run longer. I hate being kept behind bc of my lungs!!

Comment by Jackie

Consistency is always the best way to improve. Regularly scheduled runs throughout the week, every week. Runner’s World is a great magazine to read; they have lots of good advice and inspirational stories as well as training schedules. You can do it!

Comment by taraschiro

I just started running again 5 months ago. I have moderate asthma (it used to be really bad). I am now 31 years old. So…in the last 5 months I am able to run 10 minute miles up to 5 miles. I know this isn’t much for some of you…but after reading some sites I feel like 10 minute miles are horrible. Any suggestions?

Comment by Lyndsey

“The difference between running and jogging isn’t speed; it’s intent.” –Tara Schiro Lyndsey, 10 minute miles are not horrible! You are running, that is the most important thing to remember. I am always inspired at running events by the people who come in last…running slow, usually overweight, but pushing harder than the rest of us. They are my heroes because they are out there doing it, not watching from the sidelines. I read a short blurb in Runner’s World magazine several months ago, written by a mom, and she said that she tried four times to qualify for Boston and has not met the time requirement yet. Her young son asked her why she wants to run Boston, why was it so important, and she said, “because then I will be a REAL runner!” Are you kidding me? Really? So if her son does not get into Harvard, will he not be getting a REAL education? Give me a break. There are ways to improve your speed: intervals, hills, sprints, consistent schedules, Sunday long runs, etc. but don’t get discouraged that you can’t run as fast as other people. Run against yourself, improve against yourself, and be grateful you can run at all. Enjoy the journey…and the scenery. It’s breathtaking!

Comment by taraschiro

You are awesome! My goal is to do a 10 minute mile! I’m happy to have moved from 15 to 13 mins. That includes time to walk and catch my breath.

Comment by Tammy

Great job Tammy! Don’t stop! You are doing great! Keep going!

Comment by taraschiro

Wow. I am not a runner, well, I used to be, but now I play hockey. I’m 45, and I’ve developed EIA over the last few years (cold air !!). Didn’t know what it was at first. I began to think I had real heart or circulatory problems (blocked arteries), but then I saw a doctor and got properly diagnosed. I sympathize with a lot of the stories here. :-) Frustration with not being able to breathe properly = #1. A few things: at first I just needed to use albuterol before my games. But my EIA seems to keep getting worse. Now my Doc added QVAR, and it seems to be helping too. (Just started that though. Can take a while to be 100% effective.) If you think you have EIA, GO TO A DOCTOR and get it properly diagnosed. Why live with something you don’t have to? One other thing: stress can trigger mine too. For example, if I get cut off on the highway, or something stupid like that, I can feel my chest tighten up. The frustrating part for me is that … mine keeps getting worse. And I don’t want to quit playing hockey. Luckily I have a great doctor who’s willing to try different meds to keep me on the ice. Great blog Tara. It’s important to feel like we’re not alone with a problem like this.

Comment by kevin

Read today’s post: “Running With Asthma, Is It All In Your Head?”

Comment by taraschiro

I have to take a PT test soon for the police department. I can lift, do all the required sittups and even run the 300 meter dash in the required time. But when I run the mile and a half I am always short the 15 minutes allowed by one lap due to my asthma. Are there any suggestions for me before I take the test again. I want to pass it this time!! Thanks

Comment by Amanda

Hi Amanda, How soon is your test? Lungs need time to adjust, especially with asthma. Getting stronger and faster is possible, but it takes a bit longer for those of us with asthma. Without knowing your time schedule, I would offer these generic suggestions: Make sure you are running on a regular basis to train. As in, all year long. I get many inquiries from people who are starting cross country, or track, or have an upcoming test, and they are trying to cram in a bunch of training in order to accomplish the short term goal. This is very stressful not only on the lungs, but the mind as well. The absolute best way to train is to be consistent and try to run 3-4 times per week. The second piece of advice is to go farther in your training runs than your test goal. In other words, if you want to run the 1.5 mile faster for the test, then in your practice runs you should be running 3 to 4 miles, ideally closer to 5. Runners’ World magazine is an excellent resource for training exercises, you should look them up. But I would say that in a course of a week, you should do some easy runs and some interval training as well as a weekly longer run. The easy longer runs will build your endurance and the interval training will build your speed. Interval training is also known as speedwork. You have to practice going fast so that your body knows how to react. You should do this in intervals. Again, check Runners’ World for the exact workout regimens for beginners. Also, get a stopwatch and pace yourself. The second half of your race should be faster than the first. This is called ‘splits.’ The stopwatch will tell you if you are starting out too fast and then conking out towards the end. Go a little slower at first, and then speed up in the second half. My last piece of advice would be to do cardio exercise all year long regardless of an upcoming test or running season. The reason is that your lungs need a strong foundation to rely on when it comes time to take a PT test or run a race. With asthma, you can’t build a foundation and then sprint for the test at the same time. You need to run consistently all year long, and then when it comes time to take the test, your lungs will say sure! We can do that! And your mind will, too. And here is one more P.S. If you have it in your mind that you can’t do this, you won’t. Training your lungs in practice runs will also train your mind that you CAN do this. Your mind can easily short circuit your test, even if your body and lungs are ready for the challenge. The mind is powerful. Don’t let it trip you up.

Comment by taraschiro

Tara thanks for taking the time to put together this blog. I can tell from the various comments that everyone here is trying to improve in some way. I was searching for info about people with side effects from taking Symbicort, other than the more likely to die while using that med effect which is well known. I’m a cyclist and would really like to be taking less asthma medicine or something different with less side effects. When I read through these comments I see also what is my own belief that it is probably better in the long run (NPI) to exercise more and take less medicine. There is good motivation here in your story about your own life experiences and also those who have commented on your blog.

Keep up the good work! Enjoy life today! Tom

PS I noticed in your other website the strange disclaimer form on the contact page is not linked to anything???

Comment by Tom Willett

Hi Tom, thanks for writing. Yes, I see in my own journey that the more consistently I run, the stronger my lungs become; not just during exercise but also in my day to day activities. I am now off of all medications and getting stronger every day. The early information I read on the internet about long distance running being the worst exercise to choose and swimming being the best for those with EIA, is bunk. The longer I run, the better I feel. (After getting over the hump, of course.) Happy cycling! And, about my other web site, I changed some things on my contact page instead of having my web guy do it, and I seem to have screwed something up. I haven’t gone back to fix it yet, so thank you for reminding me to do that! The pictures on your site are beautiful.

Comment by taraschiro

Thank you Tara, i have set the short term goal of riding more than 100 miles a week. and like you say the longer I ride the better I breathe and feel. I even did a 32 mile night ride last week which was great as it tired me out at night. No problem sleeping. I also thought I would take a 30 day challenge to see if I could not eat pizza, cheese burgers and french fries for 30 days, why wait until new years to start living a better life? Keep on Running! Enjoy the holidays! And a new year of breathing free! Tom

Comment by Tom Willett

Hi Tom, I read that you were searching for info about people with side effects from taking Symbicort. Did you notice side effects yourself? I did have some problems with the med. I was constantly having a bad cold when using the prescribed 4 inhales a day. When I went to 2 inhales it went better but still having a cold more often than I had when I didn’t use Symbicort. Then I went to just 1 inhale a day and that’s fine for the cold but I find myself having more problems with the asthma. So to be honest I switch now and then between 1 and 2 times a day and that works well for me.

And Tara, I’m amazed by your improvement and inspired by your consistency.

Have a good day! Wendy

Comment by Wendy

My daughter was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma last year after coughing for over 2 months during her first cross country season (11 y/o). She was placed on pulmicort and albuterol, the coughing stopped and I was told to wean off. I started her on the regimen again in the spring for track, she did well, weaned off again. Restarted again in July in prep. for XC. She has been struggling this season, no coughing, but complaints of chest tightness and SOB. She is also on Singulair. Everytime we go the pediatrician, they suggest a different steroid. Do you have any advice moving forward? Should she see a specialist? She does not have asthma when not running, occationally allergies will trigger her chest “tightness”.

Comment by Monique

Hi and thank you for writing! Again, I’m not a Dr., but I will share with you my experience with this. First, looking back at my childhood, I can see that I had EIA and did not know it. My ‘symptoms’ began showing up in PE class in middle school. My dad had regular allergy induced asthma as a child and grew out of it in his teen years. While running the required 1/2 mile at the beginning of class, in the required timeframe, I “couldn’t keep up” and thought I was just out of shape. Through high school, I wanted to be on the cross country team but when I practiced, I was immediately tired. Like, I had to stop and walk within the first two minutes of running. I walked and jogged the rest of the way but I mistakenly thought that I couldn’t do it; I wasn’t good enough. Interestingly enough, this is the same time frame when my parents began having problems with their marriage. I did not know it at the time, but, my 13 year old brain translated their problems into a self esteem issue for me: I’m not good enough. EIA is REAL. Please do not hear me as dismissing symptoms or that it is all in the head. But, what I am now exploring in my own story, is the possibility that my feelings of not being good enough shows up, to this day, in my running. Running is something I want to do, but it is a competitive sport that puts me in an arena where I am constantly comparing myself to other runners. Can I keep up? Can I do what my coach expects of me? Even this very second as I type, my lungs are tightening just thinking about it. I will be posting more on this topic in the near future so keep reading the posts. But, let me also answer a few questions for you. Encourage your daughter to run consistently all year long, not just during XC or track season. The reason is that once a person stops running for a few weeks or months, the body then needs to start over again with the new season. If she wants to be competitive, she needs to be consistent throughout the year. She needs to keep her base miles, her foundation, really strong so that when she begins a new season of competition she will have a steady base to use as a spring board for improvement. There is a lot of mental stress that will occur if she has not been running and then all of the sudden begins a new season with the expectation of doing better than last year. If you read through my posts, you will see that every year I participate in a 7 week 5K series. Each year I improve my PR by about 4 minutes or so but this is only because I run all year long. If I were to keep starting and stopping, I would not have this kind of improvement. If she is serious about wanting to run, and is having symptoms, you should take her to a pulmonary specialist who has patients who run. But, in my experience, two things have become the cornerstone for my improvement: consistency and mental strength. Self esteem, self image, value, self worth; these are all huge barriers to any sport if they are in the negative category. If your daughter keeps running, she will learn mental strength and mental toughness. Running has a way of putting these into perspective real quick. Again, thanks for writing and please keep reading as I work through this myself.

Comment by taraschiro

Im 34 and have asthma, I like running and walk for two mins and run for a min. I do this everytother day but the problem is after about a minute I start to feel like my lungs are going to burst. I want to keep extending my running time even if its by 5 seconds only as I want to be able to run for longer but am not bothered how long it takes. My aim is to run for longer without feeling like my lungs are going to burst. What can I do to help this happen. I do suffer from excercise induced asthma and running when it is warm seems to affect me but running when cold is much better for me as I can run for longer.

Comment by Lisa Shears

Hello.. I’m a 20 year old girl who does indeed have asthma.. sadly! lol. It’s deffinately interesting to know that there are people that can run marathons who do have asthma.. I tend to have regular asthma.. pretty bad too…. reducing my puffers tends to not turn out well and usually backfires in the opposite direction. I have been just running on an eliptical for about a year or so.. I had tried outdoor running but I find it much more difficult. Heh Guess an eliptical isn’t real runnin:P just starting to run for more exercise than miles/marathons.. I find it pretty challenging just to do it everyday on the eliptical let alone outside.. and I’m from winnipeg, manitoba, canada so the seasons really do affect me! lol.

Comment by Stevie

Hello, my name is Wendy, I’m 37 and from The Netherlands (Europe) and asthmatic since childhood (exercise induced and allergies). First I would like to thank Taraschiro for keeping this blog. Reading it helped me to become motivated to get fit despite my asthma.
I always had a problem with cardio sports like running. I couldn’t run a mile. Untill this year I used only Ventolin (medication) which is used as a reliever. This year I changed medication. Now I use Symbicort as a maintenance and reliever therapy. And I’m stunned by how well it works for me. When running I can feel a major difference. Now it’s my legs that lack power and make me run/walk slower while I have no problems with the breathing. I have no experience with longer distances though and I only started running and cardio fitnessing a few weeks ago, so the future will tell me if the Symbicort keeps working for me. If you’re interested: my blog is http://www.gettingfitwithasthma.blogspot.com where I post the progress I make. I make an effort in posting interesting articles from other webpages as well.

Comment by Wendy

Hi – I just did a 1/2 Ironman (this afternoon. The swim and the bike were fine and I felt really strong going into the run. But just a few steps into it, my EIA kicked in and I could barely run. I would run a few steps, then stop again. My breathing was so labored. My heartrate was great and my legs felt fine. I was so, so mad and frustrated. It has never been that bad. I took my inhaler before the swim, before the bike and during the bike, but of course, left the inhaler in my bike bag. I still don’t know how much it would have helped. I’m 48 and every year it seems to get worse. I had to walk 3/4 of the way, and stopped at 6.5 miles versus 13.1. Needless to say, my ego was pretty upset, but my common sense told me it was the right thing to do. I’m getting discouraged, because running was always my strongest of the 3.

Comment by Corie

Hey, it’s great to find your blog. I’ve had moderate to severe asthma ever since I was 2 and grew up pretty sheltered because of that. I’m 20 and work as a personal trainer and group ex instructor now at my university, and I finally decided to face my fears and start running with the ultimate goal of running the Boston Marathon. I finally hit 2 miles in 23 minutes (big deal for me because I could barely run for 2 minutes straight without a full blown asthma attack), I’m on serevent as a controller medicine and have found that as long as I keep up with and my allergy meds I can run for longer and faster. Also putting a lot of hours on a bike makes my lungs stronger for the run without exacerbating them (I teach indoor cycling) I just wanted to let you know I really appreciate your blog because I always felt like I was alone on this.

Comment by Stephanie Ramones

hello, im 19 and have always had a problem with running. ever since i was a little kid everytime i ran for more than say 10 minutes i had problems breathing for about and hour. now im in the military and its getting worse, today i ran a 5K to support our fallen soliders and about 5 minutes in my throat closed up and i had problems the rest of the run, my superiors say that i am jus lazy and need to work more, but im pushing 3 hours after the run ( i finished at 36:40) i can’t breathe and i keep coughing. i read about EIA and im not sure if its possible that i may have it or if i am just very bad at running. any suggestions?

Comment by Stacey

Hi ! I am/was a long distance runner – ultramarathoner. I’ve not had allergies/hay fever/asthma issues until this year (self diagnosed, so I could be wrong). It is truly interfering with my running. I can hardly go a mile w/o struggling to breathe. My house is clean of allergens, except a cat and dog whom I have had for years. I think there are more allergens/pollens/pollutants/pesticides, etc in the area and environment and that is causing more problems for me. I have talked to a few others who are feeling increased air quality issues this Spring. I am frustrated and feel discouraged. I have shortened my runs and am running MUCH slower with a lot of walking. Maybe this is an age factor too. Your thoughts ?

Comment by Beth

Hi Beth,
The air quality is one of the most frustrating elements of running. In regards to asthma, we just never know which part of the air is causing us stress; it could be exhaust, pollen, pesticides, or whatever. So as far as the air is concerned, I cannot answer your question. However, what I can tell you, since you say you are self diagnosing, are the signs and symptoms I have felt over the years for exercise-induced asthma. You can read through all the early posts for further explanation. When I tried to run in the beginning, the harder or faster or longer I ran all contributed to the swelling of my lungs. It wasn’t so much the air as it was the high intensity exercise. In the early days, I would run 2 or 3 miles and then I would be symptomatic for 2 days after. I would have to come home and sit in a chair for a few hours to let my lungs recouperate; which is why I run in the evening because then I can sleep it off. In other words, with asthma, there is usually a trigger: environment, exercise, stress. With allergic asthma, such as pollen, you simply need to remove yourself from the trigger and then your lungs will unswell. With exercise asthma, you need to remove yourself from exercise for the lungs to unswell. This does not mean to stay away from exercise! It means that in my case, if I run in the morning and then come home and do chores, shopping, just moving around in general, my lungs think we are still exercising and stay swollen. I have to sit down, and remove myself from all activity, so they can relax. Now, since I am a stronger runner, I don’t have to wait every other day to run. Now I can run 6 miles two days in a row and I’m fine, as long as I do it in the evening. I’ve also run two 1/2 marathons. So here are some things to check for: is it difficult to breathe after you’ve stopped exercising? Is your breathing affected by speed, terrain difficulty, or the length of the run? Have you tried to run indoors on a treadmill? Do you get the same affect? You also might try being tested for allergies to see what comes up. Be sure to read through all the posts to get a better explanation of my experiences. It might help. Thanks for writing!

Comment by taraschiro

http://www.hubmed.org/display.cgi?uids=17111314

I found this really interesting. I too, am running with asthma, and this intervention helps me. “Recreational athletes were tested with …an interval warm-up (WU) consisting of 8 x 30-sec runs at peak treadmill speed, with 45-sec recovery between each sprint…These data indicate that repeated high-intensity warm-ups can lessen the bronchoconstrictor response to exercise. In addition, combining the interval warm-up with salbutamol prior to exercise resulted in substantial bronchodilation and conferred a greater protective effect against developing EIB than either intervention alone.”

Comment by Acaciah

I’m 28. I’ve been running for 10 years and do 1/2 marathons. I’ve had allergic/exercise-induced asthma for 3 years. This past year has been the worst for me! I’m training for a full marathon now and I’m struggling with the increased milage. I get sooo frustrated when I run with my boyfriend and he says, “don’t force your breaths; try to relax your breathing; try not to think about your asthma.” He doesn’t understand. Sometimes I just can’t breath! So far, what seems to help me a lot is weight training. Especially on days that I’m really wheezy. I’ll just lift weights. Even doing that gives me asthma attacks at times, but its better than taking too much time off of running. I’ve also had less shin splints and less injuries. The biggest difference I feel immediately after a 9 mile run versus a 17 mile run is in my legs. However, the 17 mile runs seem to affect my lungs more 3-4 days later. (For example: I do my long runs on Thursdays. If my long run is 9 miles, I feel fine for my Monday 4 mile run. If I run 17 miles on Thursday, I’m coughing and wheezing the whole time on Monday.) I run with my inhaler on my armstrap next to my ipod. I get a lot of strange looks from people, especially when I have to use it during a race. I was wondering: where do you carry your inhaler on long runs?

Comment by Brenda

Hi Brenda,
You say you’ve been affected by the asthma for three years and have been running for ten years. You’ve been fine with the 1/2 marathons but now are having trouble with the training for the full marathon. First, don’t run with your boyfriend for a while; it is really hard for non-asthma runners to understand what asthmatics go through. It is frustrating to the point of making it worse. I’m starting to be okay with running with my husband because I am much stronger than I used to be. He is still a minute per mile faster but now I don’t let it get me down because he used to be 3 minutes per mile faster; I’m catching up! Second, and you are going to hate me for saying this, because I absolutely hate it when people say it to me, but, I’m starting to realize that maybe, just maybe, there might be a slight kernal of truth to it (I’m exploring this new topic myself through my own running to see if it might actually be true): subconsciously, the prospects of running a full marathon might be freaking you out and it is showing up in the form of asthma. Or, you might be doing too much too fast. Or, subconsciously, the prospects of running a full marathon might be freaking you out. Please don’t hear me as not validating your symptoms because asthma is real, and being on the trail and not being able to breathe is real. But, the more I run (about 25 miles per week) the more I learn. For example, the sight of the Finish Line causes my lungs to swell and I can’t breathe. It doesn’t matter if it is 3 miles, 10 miles, or 13 miles. I panic everytime, at the finish, and really have to force myself to cross it. Just food for thought. Keep reading my new posts as I work this out. Thanks for sharing. P.S. Make sure your longs runs are not longer than 1/2 your weekly total. That also might be part of your problem. i.e., if you run 20 miles during the week, then on Saturday or Sunday you should run no more than 10 miles.

Comment by taraschiro

I am a cross country runner at my college and my asthma is also tied in to my allergies. Last year I mostly had my asthma under control, only having to use my emergency inhaler before 5k races. I was running them at about 21 minutes but this year I am having a lot more problems. Normally an easy day would consist of a 45-60 minute run at 8:30 pace and I was able to keep up with my teammates. Now I struggle to do 30 minutes at 9:30 or even slower. And I find it difficult to breathe even quick short distances as well. If you find anything that helps or have any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.

Comment by Malia

Hi Malia,

Thanks for writing. The more I run, the more I read, the more perplexed and yet comfortable I become. Running and asthma seem to be an oxymoron much of the time and yet they must stay partners and work together for success. I was going to post an article to the effect that the more I run long distance, the quicker I become on short distance. For example, I am trying to best my last year’s PR for the 5K and I realize that just trying to be faster in a 3 mile distance doesn’t work. I have to run longer to be faster. But, now that I see your post, I’m not sure what to think. You are obviously running long distance if you are in cross country. Maybe there is some different element in the air this year that is causing more stress in your lungs. I will post an article to weed through this confusion.

Comment by taraschiro

I’m 29. My last triathlon was sept 2006= 1/2 ironman. maintained with running the last couple of years 2-3 miles 3 x a week while studying in college. Last year 2007 I did 2 5k races. 1st race = 28 mins, 2nd race = 26 mins. I run about the same as I did last year. no major changes. The dr. thought it was EAI because I had problems with allergies this year. I have had problems with allergies from march -may where during running and even aft I’d have wheezing on expiration. I would also cough myself into a broncospasms aft running. This summer hasn’t been as bad as the spring. I have only the bronchospasms after hard sprints. after reading some on the internet I decided to breath in and out of my nose only and it has made a difference already.

Comment by ashley

Hi Ashley,
Let me say right off the bat that I am not a physician of any kind. Just a runner with exercise asthman. Second, I have some thoughts about what you are experiencing but I have a couple of questions first: how old are you now? how many years ago did you run the marathon, iron man, and triatholons? how much were you running on a weekly basis when the Dr. thought your condition might be EIA (exercise induced asthma) as oppossed to when you were training for the marathon and had no problems with your breathing? Let me know the answers and I’ll respond more specifically but for now, check the latest blog entry for a general answer to your question. Thanks for writing!

Comment by taraschiro

I’ve been running since I was 19. I’ve ran a marathon,competed in small triathlons and even finished a half Iron man. Never ever had a problem running until this year. All my 5 k races last year were 26-28 mins. This year I’m lucky if I can finish in 35 mins. I have even lost weight since last year. This past spring a MD said he tought I had developed EIA. I use albuterol before a race but it does not always help. any suggestions

Comment by ashley




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