Hi Erin, Thank you so much for this, I really appreciate it. It is really nice to talk to someone about running who has asthma and understands how hard it is to build up! I am definitely taking a slower pace at the weeks with the c25k. I am finding it hard to get past week four and so I guess I will just work there for awhile and move on when I can. I have been awful about using my inhaler and am using an old one, so I need to be proactive about that. I am calling the pharmacy now! I have never seen a pulmonary doctor, only an allergist. Thank you for all the advice, I am planning to run my first 5k with my husband and live in Cincinnati where it is hilly, so I have a very flat one in mind to try first. :) Good luck with your training!!
I work very closely with my MD (who is a runner himself) I have been working toward a 5k for nearly 2 years and have had to restart often as I made some mistakes on the way.
Some helpful hints...
ONE: Take your inhaler 10m before you start running! I know it seems dumb because your breathing fine (I hate taking too much meds!) but even people without asthma "feel the burn" in their chest sometimes... your exercising your lungs. For asthmatics your lungs will overreact to this exertion and tense up. By taking your inhaler your telling your lungs to chill, so you don't have to calm them down later (always harder once it gets stated).
Two: The C25k (couch potato to 5k) program is a great start. You will probably have to modify it for your asthma. When I start training (I just started again, myself) I double up on the weeks, so the training will take twice as long. The first week I take really slow, then when I repeat I kick the speed up a notch. If I find I'm having a tough asthma day, I bump it down again.
Listen to your body, but push it a little bit too. There are times where my lungs and throat are burning so bad and I'm hanging on to the bar of my treadmill just to get through 30 more seconds. During that 30 seconds I literally listen. Am I weasing? Is my chest tight or is this normal exertion (a slight burning sensation usually in the throat). If it's actually your asthma slow the pace way down to a leisurely walk( don't stop completely if you can help it. The sudden drop in HR can mess with you even more) take another puff of your inhaler. Wait a few minutes and decide if you can continue or if your done for the day. If your done, your done. Try again tomorrow, and don't beat yourself up.
Three: Make an appointment with your Pulmonologist and talk to him about your running goals. I found an asthma doc that I LOVE, I would marry him! (If I wasn't already married, and If he were about 40 years younger!) He has helped me so much and respects my goals. I have done running sessions in his office hooked to monitors and we have figured out an action plan that works perfect for me. The goal this year was to get through the winter without major illness. Not only have I not had bronchitis, pneumonia, or the flu (I have severe asthma, this is an amazing accomplishment!) but I also have had not so much as a cold! (though I may be getting one now, darn!). I can't stress the importance of finding a doctor that will work with you.
Four: Run your first with a partner: Nothing motivated me more then knowing I have made a commitment to someone. I am running a 5k with my Dad on father's day. I have made this commitment and I won't let him down, so no matter how many times I have to repeat a week of training because of my stupid lungs, I'll still do it because I don't want to let him down. Running is awesome! It feels great and It helps your breathing in the long term!
Good luck! I hope that something in this ramble was helpful to you, haha. :o)
"even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!"
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I am trying to be consistent building up to be able to do a 5k. I am out of shape and my asthma is really keeping me at very slow progress for running. Just wondering if anyone has any advice as to what has worked for them for building up. I am also reactive, not proactive, I guess I should be taking my inhaler before I run!
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