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Proud is Thankful for her beautiful new daughter.

run a marathon
A question about this goal: I have VERY over-sensitive lungs and want to avoid (training-limiting) infections however possible, especially when the weather gets cold. Any advice? Thanks for all the great advice here and Thanks, Plantapixie, for asking such helpful questions! July 30th, 2006 06:53



I strongly recommend talking to your doctor about this—assuming that your doctor isn’t one of the ones whose generic answer is “stop running”. If your doctor is not helpful, then go to a sport medicine doctor. They will be able to give you helpful advice.

elizabethmerchant is having a great day.

I agree that a sports medicine doctor is a good idea. I run with one friend (did a marathon with him in April) who has asthma and keeps his inhaler close by. We usually do the Galloway formula for run/walk on long runs and it’s worked out really well. Good luck.

Hm. Train indoors. Running outside when it’s really cold (for most, this is below freezing) can be very tough on the whole body, lungs included. Asthma could be a possibility, and if it is, remember that inhalers help when used properly, and that lots and lots of serious runners have asthma, and that it shouldn’t have to hold you back.

i think that running outside in the cold will improve your lungs. Just remember to keep your chest warm. also build up slowly. there is no reason you can run a marathon if you train carefully and listen ( not over listen )to your body


I have asthma and sensitive lungs and I didn’t think I could ever run a marathon, but I did. I didn’t really train in cold weather a lot, but will have to this year (lived in FL, moving to NY) and my plan is just to make sure not to underdress when it’s cold, use my inhaler (my asthma has gotten less and is mostly exercised induced) and just see how my body feels.
I would say follow your instincts. If you feel like your lungs can’t take the weather, run on an indoor track or treadmill.
I also think your body needs some time to adjust to the weather, so take it easy at first and maybe do a few short runs outside until you feel like your body has adjusted to the cold.
Hope that helps!


I would recommend finding the cause. Perhaps there is a lot of mold in places that you are at possibly the work place. Symptoms of that usually display in a cough or runny nose when being outside/difficulty breathing. The body begins to expel any kind of mold/mucus that is bad once it gets clean air (running outside is great for this).

A common misconception of allergens is that we are allergic to the nature its the reverse. At first the body is allergic to the allergen (mold) so the person gets a runny nose etc. After a while the reverse becomes true. People think they are healthiest in their home, but anyone who cleans knows its hardly the cleanest place.

If you get ill very easily help the body by not eating cooked oils, they tax the liver and then weaken the lungs.
Grease can keep the body tired making the person feel tired overall.

I can expand if you are interested. Good luck


Physical activity improves your immune system up to a point. Consistant training at a moderate pace (you should be able to talk while running) will improve your immune system. Most people can build up to a weekly long run of three hours. Beyond three hours, even seasoned athletes experience a drop in their immune system.

First work on building up your milage base and keep your weekly long run at a pace where you can have a conversation. Keep your weekday training runs short (3-7 miles two to four times per week)and build up your weekly long run at 10% per week. Lots of sprinting will cause you to inhale deaper and weaken your immune system. If you are worried, keep any speed work to a minimum, running at a 10k race pace.

Have fun running.

I use a gator in the winter to keep my breath warm. You can get the gators that only wrap around your nose, mouth, and chin. But do consult your doctor for professional advice.

Like marathongirl, I also recommend trying a gator if you feel you must train outside. For your shorter daily runs, you really may want to find an indoor spot, though.

Good luck! I really applaud your determination, but be careful.


Check with your doctor… I do not believe it is possible to get a lung infection from running.

I am not being flippant. I do not think it is possible. I asked two doctors I know who are involved in sports medicine and they said they were unaware of running being able to cause infections.

Proud is Thankful for her beautiful new daughter.

Thanks. I think I am going to another doctor. The one I saw from January to about April called it a bronchial-pneumo, blah-blah- “syndrome” not CAUSED BY running, but aggravated by the cold air and exertion. Smoke and pollution also seem to injure my sensitive lungs more than others’. He really didn’t do much for me. Gave me Singulair, and an inhaler dealie of meds. Scared me because he said my immune system was so compromised by the constant infections (I work in a preschool) and he monitored my liver health and all that.


My doctors would tell you that running will make your lungs more able to combat all these other problems.

The body can heal itself, if allowed.

You will remember that your father always told us this, as kids.

Proud is Thankful for her beautiful new daughter.

As I’m currently training for a marathon, we shall see! :-) I do hope you’re correct!

Gators and potentially running shorter runs on a daily basis with a two-day break before a long run?

That’s what I’ve gathered from this might useful thread anyway.

Thanks for asking, JpP! If I said it once I’ll say it a thousand times, “I ain’t tryin to get hurt,” (or some other such variant).


Pssst Isn’t it incredible how it’s not even the end of summer and we’re well into planning for winter?

Proud is Thankful for her beautiful new daughter.

I appreciate your thoughts on the matter! John Bingham (my idol) says to decide if you just want to run your next race or be a runner for life. I wanna be a runner for life. I’ve been observing the different running styles, habits, and attitudes in my group and I totally see who is over-training (or worse – running through injury) and consequently nursing one injury after another. At times I can feel a little wimpy when I tell my friends, “Nope, can’t go run with you, it’s my low-milage week, and I’ve already done my six for today,” which is exactly what I had to tell some people on Saturday…. BUT, I’m really trying to stick to my training schedule and I think I’ll be a lot happier, more comfortable, and better-prepared when my marathon comes along.

Ya’ know, having gone through this training process “together” with people on 43T, it’ll be weird to go run the race without you guys and then just come here and write about it, as if all your help, support, humor, and friendship didn’t mean the world to me and help me incredibly – because it has and you have. Thank you!

A runner for life? Sign me up too.

BTW, we’ll be with you in spirit during your race, of course!

I would recommend consulting your doctor and if possible a sports doctor. Also, as far as I am aware runners are at a higher risk of contracting of contracting infections just after training, so extra care would have to be taken—there is more info here:,5033,s6-51-196-0-7295,00.html

Hope this helps and best of luck with the running.

i would suggest looking into chi running. it’s a style of running that helps reduce injury and its very low impact, incorporating yoga, and yoga breathing. this is what i used to train for my first marathon, and it’s such low intensity i could carry on a conversation while running. great for if you have issues with asthema or other breathing problems. check it out!

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