I’m 27, in pretty good shape and a chronic asthmatic. I have just signed up to do my first half marathon with my girls in October and am really excited. However, I am finding it so tough to run any more than a mile before I feel like my chest is going to explode and start coughing and wheezing. My asthma is controlled. I use a reliever straight away and the wheezing stops. I warm up for a good five minutes before I run – any tips on how to improve my endurance so I’m not a spluttering mess?
Thanks for your question. It sounds to me like you need to spend a bit of time working on building up your aerobic endurance before you jump into the full blown half marathon training program. Since you did not specify when in October your race is I am going to assume it is in the middle of the month so you have 6 months to get ready, which is plenty of time!
Here is what I suggest you do for the next 3 months to build your endurance up enough that when it comes time to begin your half marathon training program you will be ready to go. I am going to start you on a walk/run progression in combination with cross training (hiking, power walking or cycling) as well as one yoga class per week to keep you from becoming injured. Next week I will post a strength program that is specific to runners so check back then and add that to your routine.
Always start with a 5 minute warm up (power walk then some active stretches) and finish with a 5 minute cool down and static stretches. You want to walk at a fairly brisk pace during the walking intervals but make sure you are able to let the heart rate drop and when you are running keep it comfortable so you do not elevate your heart rate too high. The idea here is to keep your heart rate in a zone that fluctuates within 55-70% of your maximum heart rate.
When you begin this program it might seem very easy but it is supposed to; aerobic training is supposed to feel easy and you should feel like you are able to have a comfortable conversation the entire time you are walking and running. You MUST stick with the progressions and you cannot miss a run because this program is designed to build you up slowly. As the runs become longer they should not feel harder if you have followed the progressions. I can not stress enough the importance of this.
When you have finished all 12 weeks you should be able to do 66 minutes of a walk run program without too much effort and you will be ready to begin the next 12 week progression to start to build your mileage. It is recommended that before one begins a half marathon training program that they should be able to run 10km with ease (doing a 10 and 1s) and it is also recommended that novice runners, on their long runs, stick to a 10 and 1 program. (That is how I started and now I’m off to Boston!)
Good luck with this!! I will post the half marathon training program for you very soon, so keep checking back.
|1||rest||1 min run 4 min walk||yoga or strength||1 min run 4 min walk x 5||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||1 min run 4 minute walk|
|2||rest||1 min run 3 min walk x 7||yoga or strength||1 min run 3 min walk x 7||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||1 min run 3 min walk x 10|
|3||rest||1 min run 2 min walk x 8||yoga or strength||1 min run 2 min walk x 8||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||1 min run 2 min walk x 10|
|4||rest||30 min power walk||yoga or strength||45 min power walk||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||90 minute power walk|
|5||rest||1 min run 2 min walk x 10||yoga or strength||1 min run 2 min walk x 12||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||1 min run 2 min walk x 15|
|6||rest||2 min run 1 min walk x 10||yoga or strength||2 min run 1 min walk x 12||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||2 min run 1 min walk x 15|
|7||rest||3 min run 1 min walk x 8||yoga or strength||3 min run 1 min walk x 8||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||3 min run 1 min walk x 10|
|8||rest||5 min run 1 min walk x 5||yoga or strength||15 min jog||cycle/power walk or hike 75 minutes||rest||5 min run 1 min walk x 6|
|9||rest||7 min run 1 min walk x 5||yoga or strength||20 min jog||20 min jog||rest||7 min run 1 min walk x 6|
|10||rest||60 min power walk||yoga or strength||20 minute jog||20 min jog||rest||90 minute power walk|
|11||rest||10 min run 1 min walk x 4||yoga or strength||25 min jog||25 min jog||rest||10 min run 1 min walk x 4|
|12||rest||10 min run 1 min walk x 5||yoga or strength||30 min jog||30 min jog||rest||10 min run 1 min walk x 6|
Attached - a pregnant Reese Witherspoon out for a run earlier this week.