How to Run Symptom-free Outdoors
By Christine Luff w/short entries by Nicol Akins
It's the middle of the summer and I am suffering from some crazy asthma attacks. I am currently on antibiotics and getting some rest. Always check in with your doctor and ask as many questions as you can about your allergies and asthma. If it is possible, get an allergy test and have your doctor customize your medication. You will be amazed at how you can live a regular life with asthma and allergies. I am pretty good at regulating my disease but at times, it catches up with me and knocks me off my feet. . .so REST is BEST for me right now! Urrrr!
Here are a few tips to keep your runs symptom-free:
Plan Workouts when Pollen Counts are Low
Pollen concentrations are usually highest from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.
Know your Personal Pollen Count
While some people develop symptoms when pollen counts are 20 to 100 grains per cubic meter, others can tolerate much higher counts. Pay attention to the pollen counts and keep track of when you start to experience symptoms. Then you can choose to run outside when the pollen count is below your personal tolerance level.
Check your local pollen counts at sites such as
Avoid Itchy Eyes with the Right Shades!
If you suffer from itchy, watery eyes during allergy season, try wearing wraparound sunglasses when run outside. You can also try using eyedrops about an hour before you head outside.
Use Your Inhaler according to the Doctor's Directions!
I am the WORST at this. As soon as I "feel good", I completely forget about my asthma medicine . . . NOT GOOD! If you have asthma, use your inhaler about 15 minutes before you start running, and make sure you warm up SLOWLY. Again, check with your doctor.
Be careful not to overdo it and bring your inhaler with you on your run, just in case.
Hit the Treadmill on a Windy Day!
The wind spreads pollen throughout the air, so run indoors when it's windy. You may even want to avoid running outdoors the day after high winds.
Clean that Body and Shower Right after Your Run!
The worst allergy symptoms usually don't occur until about an hour after you come in contact with the pollen, so you may actually be able to run outdoors without experiencing symptoms. But to reduce your risk of symptoms after your run, make sure you take a shower and put on clean clothes as soon as you get back from your run.
Listen to Your Body when it's Tired!
You know what I am talking about! Sometimes your body knows before YOU know! When you're tired or rundown, your immune system is likely to react more quickly and severely to an allergen. So try to avoid exercising outdoors if you're tired or jet lagged.
Use your Allergy Medications
For best results, take your allergy medications on a regular basis so you are fully protected when you do go outside. If you normally use medication (such as an oral antihistamine pill) only when you know you will be exposed to an allergen, take it a few hours before you head outdoors.
Cover Your Nose and Mouth!
You might want to consider wearing a mask or bandana to cover your mouth and nose. It will decrease the amount of pollen that gets into your nose and lungs.
The Rain Cleans it all Away! Run after a Rainstorm! . . . The BEST!
I love running after a good rain storm. Everything seems to be a little cleaner and it's quiet. If we could just get rain in San Diego! Pollen counts drop as the rain washes the pollen away, so you're less likely to experience symptoms after it rains.
Take care of yourself out there and make sure you don't make the mistake that I made last week! Take your medications (according to your doctor's advise) and remember all the important factors mentioned above!
Happy and "Breathable" Running!