Saturday, October 11, 2014


I've been suffering from asthmatic symptoms for the past couple of weeks. It doesn't just affect me while running - I have a shortness-of-breath throughout the day and a really tight throat whether I've gone for a run or not. I monitored the symptoms for a few days before seeing the GP, and I've been on a preventative inhaler since then. After a week of using it twice daily for almost two weeks no not thinking it had made a difference, I eased off to single puffs twice daily, and then once daily. I'd have occasional deep-breath moments, but nothing persistent.

After easing off the inhaler I was OK. For about a day. Then the deep breaths occurred more often, and the tight throat returned and progressively became worse. Then, I went for a run, because that's what runners do when running could make something worse! Naturally the symptoms became worse as I had been outside, and I ended up with a hoarse voice for a few hours.

I did have "exercise-induced asthma" about 15 years ago, but discovered it was only set off at specific athletics tracks! I suspected then (and still do now) that it was because those tracks were in open spaces and that an allergen was causing the problems. I was in my second-last season of Little Athletics at the time, and I think it was only the 1500m (and possibly 800m) that I was having problems with. The year after I moved to to a different athletics club (and thus, track) for my final Little Aths season, and never really ran again when I was doing seniors' athletics as I just stuck to my discus and hammer (with some comical dabbling in shot put and just as hilarious dabbling in javelin).

I don't know if the problem ever actually went away - by the time I started running again in 2011 I was in Sydney and I'm sure that its humidity helped me avoid these problems. I've been back in Melbourne for a year now, and this is the first full season of Spring I'm going through since I've been running.

I don't have any fun runs until November (and yes, I'm relieved that I didn't sign up for anything in tomorrow's Melbourne Marathon Festival), so hopefully this asthma thing can be sorted out this month. I did pick up a referral for spirometry if I found that the inhaler didn't help. Although it looks like the inhaler just makes things less worse, so that might become part of my life in springtime. I hope it's only for springtime and that it goes away soon as so far it has affected my attempt to train for the Sussan Women's 10km!

During my first week of the asthmatic thing I did a session with 400m intervals (with 200m rest/recovery) and couldn't quite finish it. I managed the first six 400m intervals at goal pace but just couldn't get the legs going on the seventh so gave up on it all there and then. I only planned for eight intervals, so I figured managing to do six of them was good enough. But I was in so much pain that evening with a sore back! I'm sure someone will tell me that I need to breathe properly and use my diaphragm - which I do day-to-day, but it just doesn't happen when I run! More practice is definitely required.

For the second week I had planned to find out what would happen if I doubled my recovery time, i.e. allowed myself to have 400m of recovery instead of 200m after 400m intervals, and 800m of recovery instead of 400m after anything longer. I never got around to testing this because I decided to experiment with the medication instead and, as explained above, the symptoms became worse. I'll give it a shot if my symptoms settle down by tomorrow morning (i.e. if I wake up without the sore throat).

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