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Running in the cold (Read 318 times)

    I started running about 6 months ago, in the summer. I started at 3 miles and have worked my way up to 5.5 miles. The temperature just dropped and the last time I ran my full 5.5 run it was about 45 degrees. Now every day its around 30 (feels like 24). Since the temperature dropped I've tried to run my 5.5 mile run but at around 3 miles I pains in my ribs and just eventually get frustrated and give up. Is this because of the cold? Ive been dressing warm and don't feel cold but my body has just felt so different lately. Im starting to get really discouraged thinking that I am getting out of shape for some reason. Is this probably just from the cold… is it something I will get used to?

      I started running about 6 months ago, in the summer. I started at 3 miles and have worked my way up to 5.5 miles. The temperature just dropped and the last time I ran my full 5.5 run it was about 45 degrees. Now every day its around 30 (feels like 24). Since the temperature dropped I've tried to run my 5.5 mile run but at around 3 miles I pains in my ribs and just eventually get frustrated and give up. Is this because of the cold? Ive been dressing warm and don't feel cold but my body has just felt so different lately. Im starting to get really discouraged thinking that I am getting out of shape for some reason. Is this probably just from the cold… is it something I will get used to?

       

      Thinking back to the first time I ever ran any distance in the cold (this was way-way back in the 1970s), I remember having chest pains and/or lung problems.  Two things might help you:

      1. Slow down, your lungs are still learning to cope with cold air, and pushing your pace to your normal levels may just be over taxing them.
      2. Buy a balaclava face mask; you probably won't need this for long if 30°F is as cold as it gets in your neck of the woods, however, if the temperatures continue to drop, keep using the mask until you get comfortable running in colder weather.

      FWIW, I used to suffer in pretty much any temperature below 40°F, now I run without a mask down to zero or lower without any issues.

       

      Keep us posted on how you make out.

        I remember running in the cold being difficult too, starting out (1980s!). Slow down, run what is comfortable (for example, do 3 miles while it is cold if you want!), and don't put pressure on yourself. The idea is consistency. Do what you have to do to stay consistent. When it warms up you will be better than ever and will not have lost any conditioning. By the way, the pain in the ribs are probably side stitches, which I also used to get a lot when I was a new runner. That has more to do with breathing irregularly, so running at a bit of a slower pace with an even breathing pattern (3 in, 3 out  or 2 in, 2 out for example) may help. Also, pushing your fingers into the painful spot under your ribs can sort of work it out (if that is indeed what it is).

         

        MTA: Here is how wikipedia describes side stitches (and their prevention/treatment). The cause is not really known.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Side_stitch


        day after day sameness

          Perhaps whatever it is you're wearing to keep you warm is too tight?  30F isn't nearly cold enough to cause much impact other than maybe slightly chilly hands when early in the run and temps in the 40s, 30s, 20s, 10s are no problem for your lungs.

          I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...

          zonykel


            I ran this morning and it was probably in the high 30s. After I finished I took a shower. When I came out of the shower I noticed a red irritation on my thighs. At first I thought it was a rash, but it went away by itself probably within hours. Has anybody else had this? I'm guessing the shorts rubbing against the thighs might have irritated the cold, dry skin.


            Maggie & Molly

              Perhaps whatever it is you're wearing to keep you warm is too tight?  30F isn't nearly cold enough to cause much impact other than maybe slightly chilly hands when early in the run and temps in the 40s, 30s, 20s, 10s are no problem for your lungs.

               

              that depends on your lungs.  I have asthma and once it gets down in the 20's or below I start to struggle.  If I am consistent enough to have acclimated to the colder temperatures I do better but still my lungs burn like all get out when the temps drop.

               "It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop."
              Wisdom of Confucius

              HF 4363

                Breathe through something, such as a loosely woven scarf or balaclava.  The cloth both warms and humidifies the air that you breathe in.  An additional benefit is big icicles when running in really cold weather that make you look seriously hard core.

                 

                My avatar photo was taken after 11.5 miles at minus ten degrees F.

                SillyC


                  I started running about 6 months ago, in the summer. I started at 3 miles and have worked my way up to 5.5 miles. The temperature just dropped and the last time I ran my full 5.5 run it was about 45 degrees. Now every day its around 30 (feels like 24). Since the temperature dropped I've tried to run my 5.5 mile run but at around 3 miles I pains in my ribs and just eventually get frustrated and give up. Is this because of the cold? Ive been dressing warm and don't feel cold but my body has just felt so different lately. Im starting to get really discouraged thinking that I am getting out of shape for some reason. Is this probably just from the cold… is it something I will get used to?

                   

                  Tell this to your doctor, and you'll come home with an inhaler that works like magic.  What's happening is that your lungs are drying out, and your body is trying to compensate by releasing histamine, which causes inflammation in your lungs.  The inflammation is bad and not helpful.  You'll keep having problems until you get meds to get it under control.

                   

                  And no, you're not out of shape.

                  http://heatherrunstoomuch.blogspot.com/

                  StellarsJJayS


                    Breathe through something, such as a loosely woven scarf or balaclava.  The cloth both warms and humidifies the air that you breathe in.  An additional benefit is big icicles when running in really cold weather that make you look seriously hard core.

                     

                    My avatar photo was taken after 11.5 miles at minus ten degrees F.

                     

                    Agreed...give this a try before meds.  If you don't have breathing/asthma problems in warm weather, then you don't have breathing/asthma problems and don't need meds, wchih could very well get your running and your body in general all F-ed up.

                     

                    Also, don't be afraid..to run slower paces and/or distances UNTIL your body adjusts to running in the colder weather..  Heck, after just six months, your body is still getting used to running...let alone running in cold weather!

                    Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't go to yours.

                      -- Berra

                     

                    No matter how fast you are, you'll never out run a Polar Bear

                     


                    Moe Fasta

                      Asthma issue aside, I don't think lungs are bothered by running in the cold. Evolution would suggest we are adapted to it as hunters over 100,000 years. Personally, I've skied at -9 F. at 9,000 feet and it didn't bother my lungs other than being short of breath from the altitude. I have noticed a somewhat decrease in my energy with the change to colder temperatures, but I think it has more to do with wearing heavier and more restrictive clothing than the cold as well as fighting a running nose and watering eyes, and having to work harder to dodge ice and slush-filled puddles.

                       

                      I'm also not convinced that the dryer air of winter is that irritating either. A doctor would know more, but I understand that as the air passes through the nose/mouth, throat, trachea, etc., it is warmed and humidified and by the time it hits the lungs, it is plenty warm and wet. People exercise at -30F and below without any lung problems.

                       

                      Just my $0.02 so take it for what it's worth.

                      - Scott

                      2014 Marathons: 05/04 Flying Pig - 09/20 Air Force - 11/01 Indianapolis Monumental

                      SillyC


                        Asthma issue aside, I don't think lungs are bothered by running in the cold. Evolution would suggest we are adapted to it as hunters over 100,000 years. Personally, I've skied at -9 F. at 9,000 feet and it didn't bother my lungs other than being short of breath from the altitude. I have noticed a somewhat decrease in my energy with the change to colder temperatures, but I think it has more to do with wearing heavier and more restrictive clothing than the cold as well as fighting a running nose and watering eyes, and having to work harder to dodge ice and slush-filled puddles.

                         

                        I'm also not convinced that the dryer air of winter is that irritating either. A doctor would know more, but I understand that as the air passes through the nose/mouth, throat, trachea, etc., it is warmed and humidified and by the time it hits the lungs, it is plenty warm and wet. People exercise at -30F and below without any lung problems.

                         

                        Just my $0.02 so take it for what it's worth.

                         

                        Well, congratulations on your perfect body!

                         

                        You're wrong that "people" exercise at -30F without lung problems.  Exercised-induced asthma is incredibly common amongst cold-weather athletes, like skiers, hockey players, and figure skaters....  and runners in New England, which is where I live.  It's kind of unfortunate, but the amount of meds it takes to keep it under control is well less than keeping allergic asthma under control, and the ones you get are pretty inert.

                         

                        Getting my exercised-induced asthma taken care of has just been amazing for my running.  And I'm still taking less that 1/4 of the amount of medication that one would take for very mild allergic asthma.  Yet it's been a complete change for me as a runner.

                        http://heatherrunstoomuch.blogspot.com/

                          Asthma issue aside, I don't think lungs are bothered by running in the cold. Evolution would suggest we are adapted to it as hunters over 100,000 years. Personally, I've skied at -9 F. at 9,000 feet and it didn't bother my lungs other than being short of breath from the altitude. I have noticed a somewhat decrease in my energy with the change to colder temperatures, but I think it has more to do with wearing heavier and more restrictive clothing than the cold as well as fighting a running nose and watering eyes, and having to work harder to dodge ice and slush-filled puddles.

                           

                          I'm also not convinced that the dryer air of winter is that irritating either. A doctor would know more, but I understand that as the air passes through the nose/mouth, throat, trachea, etc., it is warmed and humidified and by the time it hits the lungs, it is plenty warm and wet. People exercise at -30F and below without any lung problems.

                           

                          Just my $0.02 so take it for what it's worth.

                          Biker between miles 0 and 1000, 2008 ITI.

                          Foot competitor near mile 900 of 1000 in 2013 ITI, setting women's record in that race.

                          Start of 5k near -25F.

                           

                          These pictures might suggest that some protection from cold air (-20F to -30F or thereabouts)  is desired by at least some people. It's about that part where the air passes through nose, mouth, and throat and being warmed and moisturized - that heat and moisture has to come from somewhere. Generally speaking, the lungs aren't in danger, but the air passes a lot of body parts before it gets there. Listen to the voice of anyone who's been out working hard for hours in subzero F temperatures. For some folks, it's not an issue, but for many more it is. And frostbite on face is definitely an issue if that's not protected.

                          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog


                          Moe Fasta

                             

                            Well, congratulations on your perfect body!

                             

                            You're wrong that "people" exercise at -30F without lung problems.  Exercised-induced asthma is incredibly common amongst cold-weather athletes, like skiers, hockey players, and figure skaters....  and runners in New England, which is where I live.  It's kind of unfortunate, but the amount of meds it takes to keep it under control is well less than keeping allergic asthma under control, and the ones you get are pretty inert.

                             

                            Getting my exercised-induced asthma taken care of has just been amazing for my running.  And I'm still taking less that 1/4 of the amount of medication that one would take for very mild allergic asthma.  Yet it's been a complete change for me as a runner.

                             

                            Geez! I said "asthma issues aside." I know cold can effect people with this and that's why I discounted my personal experience/opinion for those with that issue. Perfect body I do not have. How many runners hear, "Don't run in that cold, you'll freeze your lungs." Myth. Lungs don't freeze. Lungs can handle very cold temperatures, DISCOUNTING OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS SUCH AS ASTHMA.

                            - Scott

                            2014 Marathons: 05/04 Flying Pig - 09/20 Air Force - 11/01 Indianapolis Monumental


                            Cheap and Evil Girl

                              I don't have asthma, but I find that dry air is very difficult to exercise in.  I cannot do aerobic exercises indoors.  When I lived in an apartment in the city, my husband and I used to run the stairs for exercise after work.  It always made me cough and my lungs felt very odd and uncomfortable.  I never get that exercising outdoors.  So I can easily accept the idea that cold air would be hard for some people to handle.

                               

                              I think you can acclimate to colder temps at least a bit.  The tips about slowing down and pre-warming your air with a scarf or face mask are what I would suggest as well.

                              I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.  

                               

                              "Mental toughness is built by doing something that is hard over and over again, especially when you don't feel like doing it. Our society has conditioned us to believe that there should be no discomfort, to stop when we are uncomfortable. But the discomfort we feel when we're doing a challenging workout is an important part of the strengthening process." -Jim Afremow, The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive

                              SillyC


                                 

                                Geez! I said "asthma issues aside." I know cold can effect people with this and that's why I discounted my personal experience/opinion for those with that issue. Perfect body I do not have. How many runners hear, "Don't run in that cold, you'll freeze your lungs." Myth. Lungs don't freeze. Lungs can handle very cold temperatures, DISCOUNTING OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS SUCH AS ASTHMA.

                                 

                                Yeah, but that "health problem" is extraordinarily common - the IOC says that ONE QUARTER of Winter Olympics athletes are being treated for EIA, with a max at ONE HALF of the cross country skiers.  It's considered a "repetitive stress injury" for cold weather athletes.  I'm pretty sure it's about that common in the trail runners in my area.  At my last ultra, someone I was running with mentioned forgetting his asthma meds, and every single person in our pack was carrying an inhaler.

                                 

                                You're right that the "cold" doesn't damage the lungs, but the inflammatory response does, if a person is getting that.  And the meds will get that under control in a way that no scarf over the nose ever will.

                                 

                                With the asthma meds, it's very much "a stitch in time saves nine".  If a person starts meds "early" in the process, they'll use less meds overall.   I've had EIA all my life.  Before getting it treated, I would cough and wheeze in the winter while walking briskly, shoveling snow, sledding, etc.  Now if I'm on top of my meds for my running, I'm able to breathe fine while shoveling snow or cross country skiing with my kids.... even if I haven't taken my meds that day.  If I've been good about them during the winter, I'll be able to discontinue them as soon as the weather is consistently above freezing.

                                http://heatherrunstoomuch.blogspot.com/

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