Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Breathing While Running: What Worked For Me

Breathing has always been the most problematic part of running to me.  For my entire first year of running, I could not run more that two minutes straight without a walk break.  I did my first half marathon like this.  As much as I believe in the Jeff Galloway run/walk method, I wanted to improve.  To me, that meant running more, walking less.  At first, I blamed a lot this on the extra weight I still needed to lose.  While I have lost some weight in the past year, my running remained unchanged.  I would see women that had more weight than me to lose, but could still run their hearts out.  Could there be something else going on with me?

I am lucky to have the best Team in Training running coaches out there.  I am closest with Coach Barb, so I talked to her about my concerns.  She happens to also be a retired Physician's Assistant.  We ran together a lot this Spring at Team runs.  She told me to see my doctor about asthma.  My doctor gave me an albuterol inhaler to use before I run.  I was so happy!  I thought this would be the thing that would really improve my running!

After about two months of using the inhaler, my running was not improving--at all.  Coach told me to go to back to the doctor, so I did.  This time the doctor gave me something different.  I got on a combination asthma/allergy pill as well as an inhaled steroid.  My doctor told me not to expect results immediately -it could take up to a month to really feel the results.

I went about my normal running routine.  After about two weeks, I decided I was going to run as far as I could until I felt out of breath and see how far I got.  I got 1.2 miles!  For me, that is amazing!  It was hard for me to run more than a quarter mile without a walk break before.  After almost three months on my new drug combination,  I can run several miles without stopping.  It feels so good!  I feel like I am actually improving after a year of stagnation.  I had never thought of myself as having asthma.  I have always had bad seasonal allergies, but never considered something else was going on.  It feels so good to have this figured out.

The funny thing about all of this is that my overall running speed has not gotten any better.  I fell a lot better when I run, but I still average a 12 minute mile.  Whether I run the entire thing or run/walk, I still average the same speed.  I guess Jeff Galloway really does know what he is doing....

A dream is a wish...


1 comment:

  1. I swear by Singulair! I started taking it for my asthma when it first came out eons ago and I was suddenly able to do things I never could before - like actually go hiking without stopping for inhaler breaks and eventually running. I did read an article sometime ago about asthma and running and making sure you are exhaling hard enough so that you can then, in turn, inhale again. So glad it's working for you.