Hi all! I've recently started running distance, but my asthma has unfortunately put up a roadblock. Even though I'm running at a 9 minute/mile pace, right around the 1 1/2 mile mark, my asthma rears it's ugly head and I have to stop and catch my breath. My goal is able to run a 5k by the end of the summer, but I've run out of ideas. I've tried slowing my pace and I use both my everyday inhaler and rescue inhaler right before I run. I've been running now for about a month with no real change. I used to play soccer and I would run 10x more than this and never had this much of a problem. Any advice? Thanks in advanced?
Well, when you pre-treat with the rescue inhaler, take 2 puffs, one minute apart. Using a spacer helps get them deeper into your lungs. And rather than taking it RIGHT before you run, try it 15 minutes beforehand, so it can really soak in.
Also, try to run someplace where you aren't being exposed to too many triggers, like pollen, pollution, or extreme temperatures.
I'm a runner with asthma. You have me wondering though--when you say you "recently" started and that you "used to" run way more and was fine--how recently and how long ago? (ETA: sorry, didn't notice earlier you said about a month--that's a bit, but if you keep pushing hard and hitting the same limit it tends to reinforce itself. Try some 1/2 mile repeatets with a five minute break, even a two minute break. Change it up a little.)
Because this may be normal endurance development. Just take a 30-90 second walking break and continue. I dislike the run-walk alternating pace, but if I'm pushing mileage or am tired or whatever, I suck it up and do it.
A couple friends of mine took up running recently--both were shocked at how they just couldn't make it as far as they thought they should have been able to go, based on high school athletics, etc. But it goes away fast. I'm working back up to decent mileage/distance after missing out for a couple months on sort of long runs due to work/family issues.
But if it's not just normal adapting to the running and it is asthma, then I'd say pay attention to weather/pollution/ozone reports. I ignored some "ozone action days" and ran or walked home from work--partly through a busy downtown--and I'm paying the price.
When you're running, you're moving a LOT more air. And a lot more crud. Avoid running on busy roads, stick to trail running or side streets. Stay hydrated, to thin out any mucus that does start up as a reaction to extra irritants.
And don't work on speed and distance at the same time. Too hard on your bones/muscles, too hard on your heart/lungs. Especially lungs. Forget about pace. Entirely. Just forget about it. You'll run most efficiently at whatever pace you fall into. Pushing to go faster should not occur on the longest runs you can pull off, if if they're only 1.5 miles. That's what speed drills are for. You can add those in when you want to improve your 5k time--after you can go the 5k distance.
Working on speed and distance at the same time is kind of like trying to sweep and floor and mop it at the same time. They both have the same ultimate goal, they're not all that dissimilar. But when you do that at the same time, you get a hot, wet, out of breathe mess.
I also find that using my rescue inhaler both 15-20mins before running and after my run helps. Warming up helps a lot too. I was doing the rescue before running but found that my asthma would flare after my run and using it right after helps with that.