Running & Asthma

Anyone else have experience with this?

14 messages
26/02/2014 at 10:37

Hi All,

So I made a thread about possible Exercise-Induced Asthma but I've been told there is a high probability I have Asthma,

Does anyone else run regularly with Asthma & does it affect you at all when properly managed? I know there are various athletes who have EIA.

The only times I have ever had an "attack", which have never been very severe, is following intense aerobic exercise. However having kept a Peak Flow Diary over the past week, I've also noticed I'm usually short of breath in the mornings. It's just something I never took much notice of before!

I've been given a steroid (preventer) inhaler to use twice a day, which should help bring it under-control in a few weeks. I've already found my breathing much easier on the odd occasion I've tried the reliever inhaler, so I will be using that before exercising until the other one starts taking effect.

I'm hopeful that I'll see an improvement in my performance now - I always used to think I was just unfit!

26/02/2014 at 12:36

As long as you get your asthma controlled it shouldn't stop you doing anything. I have both asthma and EIA - the latter is only an issue for me in the swim portion of a triathlon (when it can be a BIG issue). Other than that I only really notice the asthma at the end of a race or if I'm ill, when everything seems to head straight for my chest and reduce my peak flow. I always carry my inhaler in races as the extra effort often leads to an attack once I've finished but unless I've been ill and have a reduced peak flow I don't really need it with me when training.

26/02/2014 at 13:19

Glad to hear you manage it well.

It's funny you should mention that swimming is a trigger because I've been a weak swimmer since Secondary School. I used to do a lot of swimming when I was younger but never had a problem. These days I always struggle to catch my breath & usually have to pause for a few seconds between lengths... I've never thought of it before but perhaps that is down to the Asthma too!

26/02/2014 at 16:40

Swimming is usually the exercise recommended for asthma and I've never had a problem in a pool - it's open water that does it for me.

26/02/2014 at 20:29

Have you also been given a ventolin (the blue one) to take if you're having an attack?  I have controlled asthma - even more controlled due to running regularly.  The fitter I am, the less my asthma bothers me.  But I always take 2 puffs of ventolin before any run or strenuous exercise.  This was advised by a doctor years ago, and reiterated when I attend asthma clinics for a check up.  You should find this helps.

26/02/2014 at 20:39

first few weeks I was running I took my blue inhaler before each run, only used my inhaler once over the last 28 months, after a few months of running I found it really helped my asthma.

Edited: 26/02/2014 at 20:39
27/02/2014 at 14:33

I have exercise induced asthma, no problems other than running. Swimming is good for my asthma, my peak flow is as high after swimming as after ventolin.For running I take the blue inhaler before any hard runs and no problems. I'm finding though that mine may be related to running early in the morning when the peak flow is low and the air is cold. On long easy runs I don't take ventolin, just carry it in case. Also I tend not to eat or drink before my runs as this seems to make things better.

28/02/2014 at 14:40

Yes I've been given a blue inhaler. I used it before my run yesterday & it seemed to help a bit. It was just a slow run though - a tempo run or, particularly, repeats would be more telling.

I just had an appointment for an asthma review with a pharmacist & she told me my maximum expected Peak Flow would be around 703.

I've had as low as 470 in a morning & it's quite often ~500 after exercise. The highest I've had without using an inhaler is 610 which was in the afternoon, a few hours after my weekly long run. Using the blue inhaler, I usually get up around 650 & was surprised to see 690 yesterday before my run.

I can certainly relate to the cold mornings being more troublesome. The pharmacist said it sounded like it might only be a problem for me in the winter months. Let's hope so!

Edited: 28/02/2014 at 14:41
28/02/2014 at 21:33

I think swimming caused my asthma.  Well, not swimming as such, but the very high levels of chlorine that they used to put in pools when I was a kid.  They use much lower levels these days and I don't find it such a problem.

As for running, I took up running because of my asthma.  I was unable to run 100m without having an attack and I had started to use that as an excuse to restrict my lifestyle.  One day I had had enough and I decided to challenge myself to get the asthma under control and be able to run.  Since starting running my asthma has been a lot better and for several years I stopped taking any medication at all, although my peak flow still categorised me as mildly asthmatic.

The asthma has come back now, possibly triggered by relocation to a different part of the country with different air pollutants, coupled with running less.  It will be interesting to see if I can get it back under control as I increase the running training again

01/03/2014 at 16:13

Good to hear of your story SuperCaz... I'm sure you'll get it under control no problem even if you do have to use a preventer again for a short while.

I read something that said it's not the chlorine itself but a by-product of it that causes problems in swimming pools. I certainly get red eyes very easily so that perhaps points to a sensitivity.

Anyway, I did a 8.4 mile LSR today & my peak flow still dropped but not by very much. The most interesting part was whilst running home up a hill, I hit 170bpm for a minute or so which is normally when I start to struggle to catch my breath... not today!

It will be very interesting to see what happens with my peak flow & performance over the next couple of weeks whilst the preventer does it's magic.

02/03/2014 at 13:59

I have EIA too. Found no matter how much training I did I could not run up hills without stopping to catch my breath. Also heard a rhythmic squeaking sound and realised it was my own wheezing!

I've had some attacks while walking briskly uphill carrying heavy rucksack too, wheezing, hands tingling etc.

I'm fine running on the flat, so only use blue inhaler for hill runs and mountain scrambles. 


03/03/2014 at 21:20

Once your preventer starts to work you should be running with less bother from asthma symptoms. If the preventer is not enough then go back to the asthma nurse or gp, there are more things they can do to help.

My asthma is not well controlled, but I still manage to run often, but I do have to avoid it or give up on it sometimes.

Hope you're getting on better soon.

04/03/2014 at 10:19

I suffered with asthma as child but then never really had any issues until I took up running about a year or so ago.My main issue is in the cold weather where I was getting crushing chest pains. Started off just taking the blue inhaler before running which was fine in the summer but could not control it in the winter, so returned to the asthma clinic and I'm now using a brown provender twice a day. Just increased it to two puff a day as I'm the final stages of training for a marathon but have not had any issues from the asthma now it is under control.

As long as you can find your way of controlling it asthma shouldn't stop you doing anything. Good luck.

05/03/2014 at 08:03

I developed asthma (or has it diagnosed) the year I hit 40, but I had struggled with it for a while beforehand (poor summer running and always coughing when running in winter). I started with just a blue inhaler which worked for a while, then I had a massive episode which I thought was a chest irritation, I coughed for days and for intercoastal muscles!!! eventually the Dr put me on a 2x daily steroid inhaler (brown) and it was a thing of wonder!  now I have a purple one (mix of blue & brown) 2x daily and it's fab. I rarely need to take blue ever - back-up if I have a cold. the minute I am even just getting a cold I can feel it coming in my chest!

interesting about the peak flow - mine NEVER gets above 430, ever. I am small-framed and have always had cr*p lung capacity, but the low numbers seem right for me and definitely don't show me down in my running (I m mainly do ultras but enjoy shorter faster running too).

as said, well-controlled asthma really shouldn't be stop you doing things.



Edited: 05/03/2014 at 08:04

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