Hi Savi, yes peak flow diary and spirometry are the right tests to start with, the next step is to take the steroid inhaler regularly as you plan to do. You should definitely get much much better with this, if you don't go back to the GP for a further review. You'll be getting towards the front of the pack before you know it, asthma treatment is very effective and shouldn't stop you running.
Hi, I am an asthma doctor and a runner. I'll assume that whoever told you that you have asthma has made the correct diagnosis (though it isn't always easy to be certain.). Asthma made worse by exercise is almost always due to poorly controlled asthma and should be treated in a standard way. One of the main problems with asthma is that your lungs get very inflamed. The reliever inhalers (usually ventolin or salbutamol) temporarily open up your airways a bit so make you feel a bit better for a while but don't do anything to treat the inflammation. The steroid inhaler is a much better form of treatment as it controls this inflammation and gets to the root of the problem. Taking lots of ventolin but not taking a steroid inhaler can actually be quite dangerous so you are right to get started as soon as possible on a steroid inhaler. There are lots of different steroid inhalers and some of them are easier to use than others for example an "easibreathe" inhaler is often easier to get the hang of. It is important that someone - a pharmacist, asthma nurse or doctor actually demonstrates how to use the inhaler to you. You should take the steroid inhaler regularly twice a day even on days when you feel totally well as it controls the inflammation which leads to your breathlessness. After you have been on the steroid inhaler for a week or two your asthma should improve so that you only need to take the reliever occasionally, for example before a run or after a hard session. If you still need your reliever a lot then you will need to go back to your doctor, or even better, get referred to a hospital asthma clinic for more tests to see whether you definitely have asthma or another breathing problem. Many patients with asthma also benefit from seeing a physiotherapist for breathing exercises - we should all breathe through the nose and mainly using the diaphragm. It can be quite hard to manage this if you have asthma made worse by exercise but physiotherapy is very helpful. The good news is that if you do have asthma, once you get on the right treatment your symptoms should improve and your running should get much better. Asthma is common in athletes and lots of runners do well despite asthma eg Paula Radcliffe. The Asthma UK website is very good and there are asthma specialist nurses on there who can answer your questions, I think you can also phone them for advice. Good luck.
Mitiog, I did my Long runs at <70% max HR but for the marathon I roughly followed the "Marco" marathon calculator plan:
This advises you to keep the HR very low to start with and then gradually allow it to creep up. To be honest my resting HR before the race was much higher than usual due to the anxiety of the race so I had to modify things a bit, but I tried to stick doubly to the recommended heart rates rather than the pace - I finished 6 mins slower than the calculator had predicted.
I agree with Juggler though, I am sure that it was much easier for me to do negative splits because I wasn't chasing a particular time, just wanted to finish in comfort. Good luck!