For a long time now I have struggled when it came to doing exercise. I remember back in high school when I was picked (quite often because I was the only one who would do it) to do the 1500m run on Sports Day and I would never come first, this was mainly because I physically couldn't breathe. I never thought I'd be able to do long distances runs at all. Other times, when I did sprints, I was fast enough and manage to breathe until the end of the race when I couldn't get up off the ground from wheezing. My old piano teacher used to say I had asthma because her son had similar symptoms but when I told my parents and other people, they didn't seem to think that much of it. I think people just thought I was unfit (even though I did a lot of sport).
As I got older, I continued to do dance but that was about it. I tried getting myself into doing workouts at home but I never had the motivation. Only recently, in this past year, did I get myself a gym membership and I started going quite frequently. I noticed I was still struggling to breathe. I have a blue inhaler that I was prescribed years ago when I had a bad cold and tight chest (my doctor told me it was likely that I had asthma that was making the cold worse) so I used that before I'd do any physical exercise. When my gym sessions started getting serious and I started going out for runs too, I noticed minor improvement in my breathing so I thought it was about time I went to the doctors to get it sorted out.
Turns out, there was no recollection in my medical records that I had asthma so recently I've been in and out of the doctors to try and get diagnosed. There's a possibility that what I have, may not actually be asthma because the solution in the inhaler, when I was exposed to it for 5 minutes straight, didn't have any effect to my lungs. So now I'm off to the hospital for a full lung scan and check up.
None of this really was the point of the post, I just wanted to get it out there to show how important it is for you to go to the doctors if you think you have asthma! I've been told I have all the same symptoms so in hopes I can at least help someone else, on to my post giving some tips on how to improve your running when you have asthma (or something similar)!
TIPS FOR RUNNING WITH ASTHMA
1. Take your inhaler - It may seem like an obvious one but ideally you're supposed to take your inhaler about half an hour before physical exercise. That then allows it to get into your system before you start. You shouldn't then need to take it again for at least another 4 hours but keep it on you or nearby just in case.
2. Wear plenty of support - For us girls, running can prove a little difficult if we're not supported in certain areas. I remember once when I forgot to wear my sports bra to the gym and I struggles to do half a kilometer without needing a break. It just proves that wearing the correct strength of sports bra is essential because it can really open your air ways and allowing easier breathing if everything isn't bouncing around.
3. Always have water with you - Some people can manage a 5K run without touching a drop of water until right at the very end. To say I would struggle doing that is an understatement. I always make sure I have my Karrimor Bottle Belt strapped around my waist at all times, especially when I'm on a run. Of course, don't down the whole bottle at once. Only have a few sips when you're feeling desperate!
4. Two in and two out - That means take two breaths in, as deep as you can, and then let two breaths out. It really does help! I've noticed it really helps pass the time too because I get so focused on my breathing that I just keep on going until I don't even realised I've passed the 5k mark. If you can get your breathing into this rhythm, you'll go further than ever before!
5. Keep going! - You can do it! Whenever I used to go for a run, I would tell myself that it's ok to stop when I need to. Which it is but then I'm not really pushing myself. Once you've got your breathing into the right rhythm you won't feel like you need to stop as much, simply slow down a little but don't stop. If you need to, walk a little but don't let that be the end of your run!
I hope these few tips help others who worry about running with asthma. It can be difficult to get yourself going but I would suggest starting in the gym on a cross trainer then get yourself out one night and try a run outdoors. I found joining a running club very motivating because you can try stick to someone else's pace to keep you going. In the colder months, a buff will come in handy to keep that wind off your face.
Go and give it a go! All these tips probably help others who may not have asthma but may struggle with running too!
Hope it helps!
- KC xx
Do you have asthma? Do find you struggle when running? Got any other tips?