The Doctor will see you now.

Hello Unsporty, what can I do for you today?

Hello Doctor.  I’ve come to see you about my allergy.

Your allergy?  What allergy is this?

I’m allergic to puffing. 


Yes.  When I run and I puff.  I get all anxious and wheezy and I can’t talk so it must be an allergic reaction to puffing.

I see.  Tell me more.

It’s got worse since I hurt my knee.  I wheeze and get out of breath and I have to slow down or the puffing gets so bad.  I need some of those allergy tablets, those anti-thing-a-me-bobs.


Yes.  Those ones please.

Interesting symptoms for an allergy Unsporty.


Yes.  I’m not sure you are suffering from an allergy.  From the wealth of my medical knowledge I’d say you’re suffering from Pufferphobia.


Pufferphobia (noun)

Extreme or irrational fear of over exertion.  Unreasonable dread of physical effort that causes excessive or fast breathing.


Don’t take this too hard.  I will prescribe some therapy to assist you win over this phobia.  The main thing is to stop talking during your middle distance runs and to push a bit harder.  The second thing I’d like you to do is to cover your GPS watch and run to feel rather than what your pace says.  You’ve run very well during triathlons without a GPS and your recent Launceston 10 was excellent.  Stop worrying about the puff and run because you love it.  Get back that old Unsporty Woman mind-set of I can.

Is that all?

Yes, that’s all.  Start working on mastering the puff.  Puffing is good for you, you’ve done it before and you can do it again.  Stop worrying about your knee, keep up the exercises and preventative therapies for your knee and you’ll be fine.  Your lungs won’t explode and neither will your knee.  You are made to puff.  Get out there and run a little bit harder during your middle distance and shorter runs.  You can do it!


Good to hear and by doing all this you’ll be ready for B…

Don’t mention the B word Doctor!!!

Well that event in December, you’ll be ready for it. Ok?

Ok Doctor.  I will try.

Happy running 🙂

The B word?  Bruny Island Ultra.  Two little ducks are registered, one more to go.

13 thoughts on “Pufferphobia

      1. Hey MsP2P that hilliTUDE you have in spades… just needs a bit of sunshine ☀️💨 and a good puff – et voila!!!! 😘

  1. Love it! I’ve read a few articles that suggest too many people run in the middle zone, too slow on fast runs and too fast on slow runs, that’s definitely me!

    1. Thanks Sam, I’m finding it hard to get out there and have a go and balance that fear of undoing my knee healing. But I’m getting there. I hope you’re all recovered from your last Ironman Event. Super Star Sam!!!

  2. hahaha I too have pufferphobia! Took me quite some time to realize that I wasn’t going to die even if I kept up the pufferphobic pace!!!

  3. That is such a great post Annie. Such good advice about not watching your pace. Did I tell you that in my first half marathon my watch died 1km in? Best thing that could have happened. Just ran with the feel. Good luck with pufferphonia and the Ultra!

    1. Oooo my watch dieing is such a terrible thought! But yes it would probably be a good thing for me too. It’s so cold at the moment that I’ve had my sleeves pulled down over my watch and so far since deciding not to look at my pace I’ve managed more than a week of running without looking.

  4. After all this time, who knew I had pufferphobia too!! Thanks for this important public service announcement 🙂
    Developing our mental game is probably the hardest part of any training – at least for me. All the monitoring devices don’t always help either, but weaning off of them isn’t easy. Good for you for making the effort. You’re proving that there is hope for those of us with pufferphobia 😉

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