Masters Running

12

Fair weather runners are wimps (time to sell that treadmill)! (Read 558 times)

bap


    From today's New York Times Too Cold to Exercise? Try Another Excuse By GINA KOLATA Published: January 17, 2008 JULIA HENSLEY, a 41-year-old artist, got a taste of bitter cold a decade ago when she spent a winter living on a glacier near Seward, Alaska. Typical winter temperatures were 10 to 15 degrees below. “The first time it got really cold, I was scared of it,” Ms. Hensley said. “My instinct was to get a stack of books and curl up beside the wood stove.” But a boyfriend persuaded her to go out anyway, to cross-country ski or snowshoe for hours in deep snow. He taught her, she said, that as long as she kept moving, she would be fine. It was a conclusion — that extreme cold can be safe for exercisers — that runs contrary to conventional wisdom. But in fact, said John W. Castellani, an exercise physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, it turns out that even though cold can be frightening, more people are injured exercising in the heat than exercising in the cold. Dr. Castellani was lead author of a 2006 position paper from the American College of Sports Medicine on exercising in the cold. “The big question was, ‘Is it ever too cold?’” Dr. Castellani said. “The answer is no. People go to the poles, people are out there when it’s minus-50 degrees, people do incredible things, and safely. There really isn’t a point where you can tell people it is not safe anymore.” Dr. Timothy Noakes, an exercise physiologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa who was a reviewer of that position paper, even supervised a swimmer, Lewis Gordon Pugh, who swam a mile in just under 19 minutes at the North Pole last July, in water that was between 29 and 32 degrees. The problem with exercising in the cold, exercise physiologists say, is that people may be hobbled by myths that lead them to overdress or to stop moving, risky things to do. Some worry that cold air will injure their lungs or elicit asthma symptoms. Or they are convinced that they are more susceptible to injury when it is cold and that they have to move more slowly — forget about sprinting or running at a fast clip. But lungs are not damaged by cold, said Kenneth W. Rundell, the director of respiratory research and the human physiology laboratory at Marywood University in Scranton, Pa. No matter how cold the air is, by the time it reaches your lungs, it is body temperature, he explained. Some people complain that they get exercise-induced asthma from the cold. But that sort of irritation of the respiratory tract is caused by dryness, not cold, Dr. Rundell said. “Cold air just happens not to hold much water and is quite dry,” he said. You’d have the same effect exercising in air that was equally dry but warm. Dr. Rundell and Tina Evans, a Ph.D. candidate, showed this a few years ago in a study designed to dispel what Dr. Rundell called the myth that cold air can induce asthma. Volunteers with exercise-induced asthma, whose airways tended to narrow after exercise in the cold, breathed cold air or room temperature air that was equally dry. Their airways narrowed in response to the dryness of the air, not its temperature, Dr. Rundell said. People with this problem should see a respiratory specialist and take medication when they exercise in dry air, Dr. Rundell said. And, he added, “you might want to use a balaclava,” so your exhaled breath can moisten the air you breathe. Another myth is that you have to acclimatize to cold, just as you do to heat. It’s true that peoples’ bodies adapt to hot weather and that adaptation makes people feel better when they exercise in the heat. It also improves performance. With heat adaptation, you sweat more profusely, your sweat is less salty and your blood volume increases. But exercise physiologists find only modest adaptation to cold. The body’s main responses to cold — constricting blood vessels near the skin, shunting blood to the body’s core and shivering — do not improve if you spend more time in the cold. Nor are the physically fit any better at adaptation than the sedentary. “Right now, we’re not sure if there is any degree of habituation,” said Robert Kenefick, a research physiologist at the Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. Of course there are hazards like frostbite and hypothermia, which occurs when the body’s core temperature drops too low. Dr. Noakes said that during Mr. Pugh’s North Pole swim, hypothermia was a real concern. Hypothermia can happen suddenly in icy water, with the swimmer’s core temperature plummeting, and the fear was that Mr. Pugh might pass out and sink before he could be rescued. Mr. Pugh, an experienced cold-water swimmer, was wearing a device to monitor his temperature, but nonetheless, Dr. Noakes was “petrified,” he said. The biggest risk of hypothermia comes with a combination of wet and cold. That is because water transfers heat from the body 70 times more efficiently than air. Hypothermia begins to set in when the body’s core temperature falls to 95 degrees. That elicits shivering and a rise in blood pressure. But if your temperature drops to 85, you lose consciousness, and if it goes much lower, you can die. The trick to avoiding hypothermia is to keep moving, Dr. Noakes said. “As long as you keep moving you are not going to die because you generate so much heat.” One mistake winter exercisers make is wearing too much clothing. You don’t want to sweat profusely because you overdressed. “You should feel cool before you start exercising,” Dr. Castellani said. “You should not feel comfortable.” That means, Dr. Noakes said, that even in temperatures as low as 10 to minus-20 degrees, a runner probably needs to wear no more than a track suit, mittens or gloves and a hat. The other major concern, frostbite, can come on fast, as my running partner Jennifer Davis, 37, discovered about a decade ago. It starts when the skin’s temperature drops to 82 degrees and you feel an area of skin is becoming really cold. At a skin temperature of 68 degrees, the skin starts to hurt. It may tingle or burn or ache or you may feel a sharp pain. When the skin’s temperature falls to 50 degrees, it feels numb. And when the skin’s temperature reaches 27 degrees, the skin freezes. The result is frostbite. Ms. Davis got frostbite when she went out for a run early in the morning on a cold, windy day with temperatures in the teens. She ran for about an hour wearing a baseball cap. Her ears hurt for a while, then the pain went away. She took off a glove to touch her ears so she could find out just how cold they were. To her shock, one of her ears cracked. “It was sort of like semi-frozen meat,” she recalled. When she got home, she was horrified by her red and swollen ear. An ear, nose and throat specialist diagnosed frostbite and told her that her ear would be sensitive to the cold for the rest of her life. He was wrong, though. The ear was red and stuck out for weeks, but it healed. Now, Ms. Davis said, she can’t even remember whether it was her right or left ear. But ever since, she has worn a hat that covers her ears when she runs in the cold. As for Ms. Hensley, the woman who lived in Alaska one winter, she now lives in Seattle and rides her bike in the winter rain, charging up hills. “I just remember the lesson I learned that winter,” she said. “You don’t have to stand inside and say, ‘Oh, it’s a yucky day.’ You can go out in anything. You just have to do it.”

    Age 52

    2016 Targets - 100 - 13.2s, 400 - 62s, 800 - 2:30, Mile - 5:40

      yikes Shocked - and i complain when it's below 30.........guess i better put on my hat and get out for a run!!

      denise

        Well, I take issue with this statement: "That means, Dr. Noakes said, that even in temperatures as low as 10 to minus-20 degrees, a runner probably needs to wear no more than a track suit, mittens or gloves and a hat." Running in -20 is a whole different ballgame than running in +10... I'd like to see Dr. Noakes run in -20 in a track suit... (more than just running out to get the mail, I'll do that in my pajamas!) I think it's funny that they use someone from Seward as an example of cold weather living... Heck that's our "banana belt!" They are right on the money about overdressing though... sometimes it's hard to get it just right. Thanks, BAP! (but I'm not selling my treadmill!)
          Interesting piece. Thanks, BAP. We live in balmy conditions now but when in NH my DW, especially, would routinely go cold-weather hiking in the mountains when temps were well-below zero, including sleeping in unheated huts. I always say you can adjust to the cold with appropriate gear but there's nothing you can do about the heat. For that reason, gimme the cold (within reason) anyday. evanflein--you are so hard-core! Wink


          jules2

            Over here in England the problem is rain, anymore and I'll have to pack up running and start building an Ark, has anyone got any plans for one? Never use a treadmill but do admit to the ownership of a turbo trainer which I hate but is a necessary evil as I do time trials, duathlons and mountain bike races as well as running races.

            Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.

              Over here in England the problem is rain, anymore and I'll have to pack up running and start building an Ark, has anyone got any plans for one?
              I’d suggest an ark of cypress wood. Make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. The ark should be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. I read that somewhere.
              BTY


                I found my coldest possible exercise temperature several years ago. While running at lunch time, the thermometer read about -14F, and there was a steady wind bringing the wind chill down to the -30's. The first three miles were fine - I did not feel cold at all, having gotten the layering thing down nicely. The problem came during mile 4, when I was still a mile from my office, and just about any humans. I began to fall asleep from hypothermia, while running. Yikes. Fear is a good motivator, and it did get me back to the office in about 8:00. Again I didn't feel cold, but I did get a little disoriented. So I'd caution anyone who wants to venture out there to go out with another person so you can keep eachother alert. Preferably, choose someone that will be missed if you don't return on time. Wink Point is - it's hard to keep moving if you get hypothermia and fall asleep. bty
                coastwalker


                  That's pretty scary, BTY, and a good lesson learned. Fear really is a great motivator, isn't it? I don't usually have a problem being out in low temperatures, except for my hands. There were too many chilly morning when, no matter what gloves I had on, my hands would always go numb before I could generate enough body heat to finally get them to start to warm up. A couple of years ago, I got some heavy-duty mittens from LL Bean, and they have performed beautifully! The difference the right gear can make is truly amazing, and is so important when the temperature dips to the low zone. Jay


                  jules2

                    Tramps, thanks for the help I've been out with my tape and I have room to build it in my back garden, the only problem is do you know a good cypress wood supplier which gets its wood from sustainable forestry?

                    Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.

                      Tramps, thanks for the help I've been out with my tape and I have room to build it in my back garden, the only problem is do you know a good cypress wood supplier which gets its wood from sustainable forestry?
                      Smile Did I mention the animal component of this project?


                      jules2

                        I have two cockatiels ( Phillip and Shadow ) to start with do you think I need more creatures? Can anyone please tell me how to post pictures onto a reply as I'm struggling.

                        Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.


                        MM#209 / JapanJoyful#803

                          Dr. Noakes said, that even in temperatures as low as 10 to minus-20 degrees, a runner probably needs to wear no more than a track suit, mittens or gloves and a hat.
                          I'm with erika on this one and would like to see Dr. N or the banana-belt visitor try running in the same attire at plus 10 and minus 20 in the frozen Interior winters around Fairbanks. In this regard, I wondering how many other winter runners, if any, you see outdoors up there at different temps? ============================= Exercising In The Cold - heat loss from the head alone was about 50 percent at the freezing mark - by wearing clothing in layers, you have the ability to change the amount of insulation that is needed - keeping the hands and feet warm is a common concern - lower temperatures cause blood to be shunted away from the hands and feet to the center of the body to keep the internal organs warm and protected. - a danger does exist for individuals with exposed skin when the wind chill factor (combined effect of temperature and wind) falls below minus 20°F. - that can be achieved by any combination of temperatures below 20°F with a wind of 40 mph and temperatures below minus 20°F with no wind. - if you are exercising near the danger zone for skin exposure, it also is advisable to warm the air being inhaled by wearing a scarf or mask over your nose and mouth to warm the air being inhaled. Rules for exercising in the cold - check the temperature and wind conditions before you go out and do not exercise if conditions are dangerous. - keep your head, hands and feet warm. - dress in layers that can provide a trapped layer of dry air near the skin (avoid cotton sweats and other similar materials). - warm the air you are breathing if temperatures are below your comfort level (usually around 0°F).
                          bap


                            Smile Did I mention the animal component of this project?
                            I estimate you will need room for a male and female of around 50 million species. 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high should be fine.

                            Age 52

                            2016 Targets - 100 - 13.2s, 400 - 62s, 800 - 2:30, Mile - 5:40

                            bap


                              That's pretty scary, BTY, and a good lesson learned. Fear really is a great motivator, isn't it? I don't usually have a problem being out in low temperatures, except for my hands. There were too many chilly morning when, no matter what gloves I had on, my hands would always go numb before I could generate enough body heat to finally get them to start to warm up. A couple of years ago, I got some heavy-duty mittens from LL Bean, and they have performed beautifully! The difference the right gear can make is truly amazing, and is so important when the temperature dips to the low zone. Jay
                              I wear very thin gloves to protect my hands from drying out rather than keeping them warm. Then again, the coldest weather I have run in (in shorts and t-shirt) is +14 degrees.

                              Age 52

                              2016 Targets - 100 - 13.2s, 400 - 62s, 800 - 2:30, Mile - 5:40


                              Sandi Sue

                                Well I currently live in Juneau, Alaska and I used to live in Anchorage, Alaska and we ran in the cold weather all the time. It's all about dressing for the weather as we all know. Here in Juneau, we run into that sheet of ice underneath a couple inches of rain phenomena along with 20-25 mph winds. I find that the cold wet stuff is the toughest to dress for. It's really important to change out of the wet clothes immediately after the run even if you're getting naked in your car to do it. So no excuses here in my part of Alaska.

                                Races for 2013:

                                Kluane Bike Relay (4 legs 70 miles)

                                Calgary 70.3 (72.3)

                                Aukeman Sprint Triathlon 8/6/2013

                                 

                                 

                                Pain is Temporary  Pride is Forever

                                12