3. Warm Up
Some asthmatic runners may skip a warm-up—thinking that doing so will save their lung power for their race or workout—but, as it happens, getting your lungs working hard beforehand may actually help you avoid an attack. "There's a refractory period for bronchospasm," says Roberts. "If you do a warm-up hard enough to induce some coughing or wheezing, it usually takes about four to six hours before you have as bad a spasm again."
The key is to warm up just hard enough to get a small spasm without sapping your energy. Roberts suggests running for a few minutes, then doing several short, hard pickups (bursts of faster-paced running).
4. Protect Against Pollen
Pollen allergies can trigger asthma symptoms for some sufferers of exercise-induced asthma, so it's smart to run when pollen counts are at their lowest, which is usually in the early morning. Roberts also recommends checking your local pollen count online (try weatherunderground.com or pollen.com) and running on the days when the count is lowest. Afterward, shower as soon as possible to get the pollen off your hair and skin, and toss your workout clothes directly into the hamper. (Learn the Secret to Crushing Your Allergy Triggers.)
If the pollen count is high even in the morning, do what Roberts does: Consider substituting an indoor activity for running, or doing something outdoors that doesn't make you breathe as hard, such as kayaking, biking, or walking.
5. Cover Your Face
Even people without asthma find themselves coughing during runs in cold temperatures. Why? Breathing cold, dry air results in cold, dry airways—a trigger for bronchospasm.
Roberts suggests covering your nose and mouth while running so the moist air you exhale will help humidify the air you inhale. Stay away from cotton bandanas, which can freeze against your face in cold temperatures. "Fleece balaclavas or neck gaiters are probably the best," Roberts says. "They maintain a fair amount of warmth even when they're wet, and they'll stay thawed pretty easily."