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breathing in the cold air

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Author Topic:   breathing in the cold air
Pokey
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 08:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi,

This is my first year that I am seriously training in cold weather.

I notice that when I'm working hard outside and especially at races, (in other words, when I'm really sucking air) my lungs hurt afterwards, and I do a lot of coughing. This lasts anywhere from a few hours to almost all day after the exercise.

I'm wondering if this is in any way causing damage? Is this something I will get used to? I did breathe through some fleec-y material to warm up my breath the last time, and wearing something around my throat helps a little; but nothing helps when it is particularly cold and damp.

Does this happen to anyone else? Will it go away in time?

Thanks!

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bigapplepie
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 08:43 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bigapplepie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You may want to get checked out by a doctor. You may have this.

You should probably run with a muffler or scarf around your mouth.

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figbash
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for figbash   Click Here to Email figbash     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mucus production is your bodies natural defense against breathing cold dry air and it can make you cough. It's not normal for it to last all day though. I run outside year round so the weather changes occur gradually. If you have just started running outside it may take a while to get used to the cooler temps. Covering your mouth will help hold some moisture in but it won't heat the air.

Tom

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Nobby
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nobby   Click Here to Email Nobby     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Pokey:
Hi,

This is my first year that I am seriously training in cold weather.

I notice that when I'm working hard outside and especially at races, (in other words, when I'm really sucking air) my lungs hurt afterwards, and I do a lot of coughing. This lasts anywhere from a few hours to almost all day after the exercise.

I'm wondering if this is in any way causing damage? Is this something I will get used to? I did breathe through some fleec-y material to warm up my breath the last time, and wearing something around my throat helps a little; but nothing helps when it is particularly cold and damp.

Does this happen to anyone else? Will it go away in time?

Thanks!


If you're talking about "racing" in the winter, I assume it's not THAT cold...??? Or are you ralking about something like that Turkey 5k in Mpls a few weeks ago??? I live in MN and I just came back from my morning run--official temperature (at MSN) was 7F and "feels like" -3F. The coldest I have ever run was -60F with windchill. I've been running over 30 years and here in MN since 1991; I've never damaged my lungs (or at least I don't think I have...). We do some repeats even during the winter and we "suck air" pretty hard. Yes, I would cough... I actually don't think there's much you can do about it; you can wear face mask, or pull up turtle neck and all but that's mainly to cover the skin, not to "warm-up" the air that goes into your mouth. My suggestion would be--don't race in the extremely cold condition (here, I'm talking about something like below 0F) if it makes you cough that bad. If you want to do intervals or hard tempo run,do it indoor on treadmill. But I really don't think you can damage your lungs running in, say, moderately cold temperature of around 0~10F.

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Pokey
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 09:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The last day I raced it was about 23 degreesF and it was a 5K. I was pretty much flat out for about 25 minutes. Calling my doctor today...

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mopnpeanut
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 02:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mopnpeanut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've actually been wondering this very same thing. I ran the half-marathon in Vegas last weekend - I think the temp was in the high thirties or low forties. Immediately after finishing I went into a massive coughing fit, and for a solid day after the race I couldn't take a deep breathe without pain and coughing. I don't generally run outside in the cold, and I was wondering if the cold air is something my body would adapt to if I trained outside more. Post an update after you see your doctor - I'm curious to hear what the verdict is.

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Pokey
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 04:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was fortunate enough to get an appt. with my doctor today, and she told me that I have that exercise-cold induced asthma that bigapplepie linked to. She gave me an inhaler (albuterol) and set me up for a breathing test on Friday. She said that because I don't have any trouble working out indoors on the treadmill or in the warmer weather (I did a lot of cycling before running--a mostly warmer weather or indoor activity) that this inhaler would most likely help me. So, I filled the prescription and tried it out before my long run today. It's like magic! No pain, and only a little coughing. I was even able to keep my wheezing under control going up hill! (Now, if I could only move into an easier gear going up and coast going down! LOL!)

Thank you all so much for pointing me in the right direction!

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maryt
Cool Runner
posted Dec-05-2007 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for maryt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Pokey

That's good results on the albuterol inhaler. I have the same problem running if the temp is below freezing and the air is dry - running in a snowstorm at 26F was fine - and had only limited success with albuterol. It opened up my airways fine, so I didn't get that horrible feeling that you can't breathe, but it didn't seem to help with that irritated coughing.

What does the job for me to prevent the irritation of the cold dry air and prevent both the coughing and that horrible sensation of having your airways close up is a steroid inhaler (Flovent or generic equivalent) but that takes 5-6 days to start working. I really don't like to take it all the time, so I try to hold out as long as possible, hoping the temps will stay above 32F.

mopnpeanut
I think there may be some ability to get used to the cold dry air, but I don't know how extensive it is. For years I had problems with my lungs "burning" and my chest really hurting the first few days the temp went below freeezing, but I could get used to if I slowed down, and then after a couple of weeks I could gradually pick it up again and was pretty much OK down to about 25F.

Unfortunately, 2-3 years ago I started having more serious problems - the prolonged coughing that Pokey mentioned and a couple of times what was apparently a genuine asthma attack where I started wheezing, my arirways comnstricted so much I could hardly get in any air at all - what a horrible frightening feeling.

Having a scarf or ski mask over mouth and nose will warm up and moisten the air. Personally I hate the feeling of having something covering my nose and mouth, but you might want to give that a try if you can't run indoors on a treadmill.

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Pokey
Cool Runner
posted Dec-06-2007 03:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Pokey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
maryt, thanks for responding. I did try the fleece around the face to help warm the air, but since I tend to breathe pretty heavily when exerting, I felt as though I wasn't getting enough air in through the fleece (although it was keeping my face warm!) Sorry also to hear about your asthma--it must be a frightening feeling indeed, to feel as though you can't breathe.

I'm extremely happy that this worked out for me; one of the reasons I took up running so that I could have an aerobic outdoor activity that didn't have to end in the colder weather! Although, I don't mind the treadmill, I can't imagine not being able to run on the road and most especially, race!

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