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How I Run With Asthma.

How I Run With Asthma

If you want to run with asthma, you have to find a program that works best for you. I think every person is different, so what works for me may not work for you. Stated better, what I enjoy may not be enjoyed by you. That said, I like to do interval training.

Here’s what I do. I get on the treadmill and set the speed at 2.5 miles per hour. This is a very slow pace. My friends make fun of this slow pace. But, being that I have asthma, I know that I must start out slow to warm my lungs up to the idea of running. So, I start out very slow.By slow, I mean I walk sometimes. That’s what I did when I started. I would walk for 1-3 minutes to warm up. As my body got into better shape, walking became a slow jog. But, still, this slow jog is slower than what my friends might do. I learned not to worry about what my friends think. If you can learn to run with asthma, that’s a feat in and of itself.

So, here’s what I do. I do interval training. I started out like this. I manually set the treadmill speed. You don’t have to do it this way, but this is just what I do.

Start with a warm-up

  • MInute 1: Set treadmill at 2.5 miles per hour (MPH) walk
  • Minute 2: Set treadmill at 3 MPH slightly faster walk
  • Minute 3: Keep at 3 MPH same speed walk
  • Minute 4: Set treadmill at 3.5 MPH slow jog
  • Minute 5: Set treadmill at 4 MPH faster jog
  • Minute 6: Set treadmill at 3 MPH walk (rest)

This first seven minutes is your warm-up. If you are having asthma symptoms, you could just walk. That’s always an option. But, if you’re doing well, you can increase your speed each minute. Here is the next phase.

  • Minute 7: Set treadmill at 3.5 MPH slow jog
  • Minute 8: Set treadmill at 4 MPH faster jog
  • Minute 9: Set treadmill at 5 MPH even faster jog or run
  • Minute 10: Set treadmill at 3 MPG walk or slow jog (rest)

There. That’s half the workout. Now you only have five more minutes.

  • Minute 11: Set treadmill at 4 MPH slow jog
  • Minute 12: Set treadmill at 4.5 MPH faster jog
  • Minute 13: Set treadmill at 5 MPH even faster jog or run
  • Minute 14: Set treadmill at 3 MPH walk or slow jog (rest

Now, you just have one cycle to go.

  • Minute 15: Set treadmill at 4 MPH slow jog
  • Minute 16: Set treadmill at 4.5 MPH faster jog
  • Minute 17: Set treadmill at 5 MPH even faster jog or run
  • Minute 18: Keep where it is Keep going! You can do it!
  • Minute 19: Set treadmill at 3 MPH walk or slow jog (rest)

Done! You did it! Yay! Feels good to be done.

Now, obviously, the settings I put in here are beginner settings. I’m 5’8”, so these worked great for me. You may want to tweak them for you. It may take some time to figure what works best. If you live at a place that has warm weather, then you can do the same outdoors.

When I run outdoors I use an APP called Runkeeper. I set it so it gives me an update every minute. That’s how I know it’s time to increase or decrease my pace. Of course, when I run indoors, the treadmill has its own clock.

So, you have four cycles. Each cycle you start out slow and increase every minute. The last minute of each cycle is your max. You should be pooped when you are done with a cycle. Then you rest a minute and do it all over again. The final cycle you hold your max for two minutes. Then you rest a minute. Then you’re done.

I have now been doing this for two years. My rest is now a 3 or 3.5 MPH and my max is at 6 MPH. My max allows me to sprint. Yes, it does cause me some lung discomfort. I am pushing myself to the limit. But I earned this. I worked myself up to this. And this is how I run with asthma.


This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • FeelingShy
    2 years ago

    I have been trying to transition from just walking to gentle jogging. Even though I am only jogging a tiny bit faster than I was walking, I am winded and exhausted immediately…before I could possibly have actually worn myself out.. Is that necessarily asthma, poor conditioning, or both?

  • John Bottrell, RRT moderator author
    1 year ago

    I remember playing basketball with my brothers when I was in my early 20s — like in the early 1990s. I’d get winded long before my brothers. I told my dad I was so out of shape. He said, “I think it’s your asthma, not that you’re out of shape.” I’ve thought about my dad’s words often over these years as I try to exercise. There really is no way of knowing for sure if he was right. But, asthma can make it so you can’t exercise, and that in and of its self can decondition you. So, he could have been right, or it could have been a combination of the two. Who knows? In your case, it’s equally difficult to know what is causing you to feel winded so quickly — especially considering we cannot diagnose over the Internet. But, this could lead to an interesting discussion between you and your physician. In either case, it’s great that you are able to go for walks, as I noted that as one of the best exercises for asthma.

  • FeelingShy
    1 year ago

    Thank you. I certainly can walk much faster and longer than I can run, so I am not completely inactive. I will ask my doctor, bc I don’t know if I should be pushing myself harder or if I am already pushing too hard.

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