How Long Before Running Should I Use My Inhaler

As an avid runner and someone who relies on an inhaler for asthma, I understand the importance of managing my respiratory health before hitting the road. If you’re wondering how long before running you should use your inhaler, you’re not alone. Many runners with asthma deal with the same question. In this article, I’ll dive deep into this topic and provide you with some insights based on my personal experience and expert advice.

Understanding Asthma and Exercise

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects the airways and can cause wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing. For individuals with asthma, exercise can sometimes trigger symptoms. However, it’s important to note that regular physical activity is highly beneficial for overall health, including managing asthma symptoms.

Before we discuss when to use your inhaler before running, let’s briefly touch upon the different types of inhalers commonly used by individuals with asthma:

  • Reliever Inhalers: Also known as bronchodilators, these inhalers provide quick relief by relaxing the muscles around the airways, making breathing easier.
  • Preventer Inhalers: These inhalers are taken regularly to reduce inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms from occurring.

Determining the Timing

The timing of using your inhaler before running can vary depending on factors such as the type of inhaler you use, your personal asthma symptoms, and your overall fitness level. It is important to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine the most suitable timing for you. With that being said, here are some general guidelines:

If you use a reliever inhaler:

For most individuals, using a reliever inhaler approximately 15-30 minutes before running can be beneficial. This allows the medication to take effect and open up the airways, making it easier to breathe during exercise. However, keep in mind that this timing may vary from person to person, so it’s essential to listen to your body and follow your doctor’s recommendations.

If you use a preventer inhaler:

Preventer inhalers are taken regularly to manage and prevent asthma symptoms. These medications work by reducing inflammation and improving overall lung function. If you use a preventer inhaler, it is generally recommended to use it as prescribed by your doctor, regardless of your exercise routine. Taking your preventer inhaler as directed will help maintain good asthma control, even during physical activity.

Personal Approach and Considerations

While the general guidelines mentioned above are a good starting point, it’s crucial to remember that asthma management is highly individualized. Here are some additional factors to consider that may impact the timing of using your inhaler:

  • Your asthma triggers: Identify if there are any specific triggers that worsen your symptoms during exercise, and discuss them with your doctor.
  • Your fitness level: If you’re just starting with running or increasing your intensity, you may need to adjust the timing of your inhaler accordingly.
  • Weather conditions: Extreme temperatures or high humidity can sometimes worsen asthma symptoms, so take these factors into account when planning your inhaler usage.


As a runner with asthma, using my inhaler before hitting the road has become a crucial part of my pre-run routine. While the timing may vary for each individual, it’s essential to work closely with your doctor to determine the best approach for your specific needs. Remember to always carry your inhaler with you during your runs, stay aware of your body’s signals, and never hesitate to seek medical advice if needed. Running with asthma is possible, and with proper management, you can continue to enjoy the many benefits of this fantastic sport!