Tips for cold weather running - please!!

I've just signed up to do a 10k race in Feb. It's the first thing I've aimed to do since a really difficult flare up around 18 months ago, where I had several courses of pred and my meds increased (still on the increased doses of Symbicort 400/12 two puffs twice daily, and montelukast).

I've been much more stable on the above meds after things settled down and really want to get back into running. I'm going to take it slowly, but really want to make it a part of my life again, hence signing up for the race.

Winter is difficult for me to run because of the cold, but it is easier than the summer as I really struggle with the heat and pollen.

So if anyone has any tips to help, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks :)

20 Replies

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  • funny you should post this today, i've been out running this morning with the Stormers (a running group i'm in) AND i've also signed up to do a 10k in february - you're not doing the mad dog in southport are you?

    First thing i'd say is if you've not been running for a while then make sure you build up slowly

    I struggled this morning, funny enough the lady who was mainly running with me (i'm the slowest / find it hardest of the saturday girls) recognised the asthmatic cough / uneasy breathing - i didn't know until that point that she is asthmatic too but she wasn't struggling at all. Because i knew i was running at 10ish i took my reliever when i got up at 8.30, i also took it again just before we went out. Part-way through the run i was almost badgered by the other girls into taking it again LOL Once we'd walked for a little while and i'd had my inhaler again it was actually a lot easier - i think i was struggling more than i even realised.

    Listen to your body, are you planning on running alone or with friends? don't try to do too much too soon. If you're running with friends make sure they know you're asthmatic. Obviously goes without saying (but i'll say it anyway) - make sure you've got your inhaler with you. Also a good idea that is requested in our group is that you put a tag on your shoe with contact details / meds etc in case there is a problem while you're running.

    As for the specific problem of winter running i'm not sure except something i've seen recommended(but must admit i don't do) is maybe wear a scarf or something over your mouth so that the air you're breathing in gets a chance to warm up very slightly before it enters your lungs. Also i'd say make sure you keep your chest warm with a t-shirt / top, i do do this.

    Sorry didn't mean to ramble so much LOL I hope maybe some of it might be useful

  • When i run I carry mt phone with me just in case (there's also a list of my meds in the memos bit). I often run with friends who know I have asthma and know what to do if ventolin doesn't help, and are not bothered if we have to stop to take inhaler. I also carry my litlle spacer, an aerochamber plus, which is really good. When I run on my own I do it on tracks/path etc that are popular with dog walkers, cyclists etc.

    I take my ventolin 20 mins before setting off. Warm up gently by walking first and slowly building up pace so lungs have a chance to get used to the cold air. A buff or other neck scarf type thing is good for adding a touch of warmth and moisture to the air you're breathing in. Breathe through your nose as much as possible, certainly possible when warming up, but not when going fast, but hopefully by the time you're going fast lungs are used to the cooler air.

    Build up slowly, it'll take a while for your body to get used to running again and don't be dissapointed when things are not going as well as you'd like. I've had to get used to not going on runs at all because of lungs but also having to give up part way through a run, it's just something you might have to accept. I'd like to run 3 or 4 times a week, but probably go 2 or 3 times when I'm well. I take my peak flow before I go and if it's not above 420 (my best is 520) then there's no point in me trying as i'll run into trouble with lungs. When I'm not so well it can be weeks between runs, so my first couple of runs will be very short and a jog/walk mixture. Perhaps 2 mins walk, 2mins run etc for maybe 10 or 15 minutes.

    Anyway, I've rambled for long enough, but I hope some of that was useful although I expect you already knew most of that. Let us know how you get on, the good bits and the not so good too. x

  • Thank you so much - what you've both said has been really helpful and also reassuring. I'm going out for my first proper run tomorrow, rain or shine! I say proper run, it will probably be a jog/walk combo :)

    Also just bought a neck scarf thing so I don't breathe the freezing air, although to be fair it's not too bad at the moment.

    It is nice to know there are other people on here who also enjoy running.

    Jinglefairy - so funny we've both signed up for a feb 10k! I'm doing a 10k in Sheffield at the end of Feb. Probably be snowing!

    Lou - I think you're right about not running if pf is lower than a certain level. Mine is never great (380 is the best I've got to since my last exacerbation) and I think pushing myself too hard running is what got me into a real rut with my chest in the first place. Must pace self!

    You've both been really helpful - thank you, and good luck with your running :)

  • I'm excited for you, that you'll be running again, well doing a little combo anyway. Makes me feel excited about going for a run again when I get over the wobble I'm in now.

    It's been good for me too, to here from other asthmatic runners. It'd be great to hear how you both (and others) get on with running.

    Sometimes I have less problems with lungs when it's raining, and it's usually relatively warm when raining.

    Good luck for tomorrow

  • Thank you so much!

    I'm coming to the end of my first week of sticking to my running schedule and haven't had any major asthma issues :) Going for a 5k jog/walk tomorrow but if there's no major hills I'm hoping to jog most of it.

    Thanks for the support x

  • Excellent, I'm very happy for you. Sounds like you're building up nicely and that the 10km is right within your sights. X

  • Good on you, watch out this weekend with the forecast. Keep thinking I should get my trainers out too. Agree with the ventolin first, keep it on you etc. I also find a buff type scarf very useful especially as I cycle most days.

    You may find these Asthma UK links useful, if you haven't already read them.

    Home > All about asthma > Asthma triggers A-Z > Weather

    Home > All about asthma > Living with asthma > Exercise is good for you!

    Also, there's a recent post on the Asthma UK facebook page.

  • I got out for a walk today and lungs were pretty good, so hopefully not too long before I'm running again :).

    Agree with you TJ, with the forecast as it is we'll need to be very careful. I try to make the change from one temperature to another as gradually as I can, which sometimes means standing in the porch for a while to let lungs acclimatise.

  • I've found this really interesting - I used to really enjoy running but I haven't been out really since I developed M.E 2 years ago and certainly not since this exacerbation started 18 months ago. A lot of the advice like taking my peak flow before I go out is so logical and really useful to me, I'd never have thought of that but it makes perfect sense! I do have other issues to consider with regards to running, not just my asthma, but Hopefully with some of these points in mind I too will be able to think about running sooner rather than later so thank you from me too, although it wasn't my thread!

    I've really missed running so thinking about starting again gives me a tiny little glimmer of hope that life can return to normal :-)

  • Yay. Great to hear that you're thinking about running again MillieMoo. I really hope it goes well for you, but do take it gently.

    Two weeks ago I was quite poorly, and sitting on the sofa was all I could manage. I'm much better now and the last few days my lungs have been pretty good. I went for a walk on Friday and been again today for a longer walk :). Lungs behaved pretty well both times, but I'm struggling with muscles. Think it's the Pred as I'm still reducing, but hopefully back to a little bit of a jog walk thing soon. Feeling very tired now, but also really happy to have been out for a longish walk.

  • Lou - well done on getting out for a walk :) I am glad you're feeling better. Walking is a big step from just being able to sit on the sofa. I know how horrible it feels when you're really struggling to breathe, so I hope you keep improving.

    TJ - thanks for the links - they're really useful. I've been using a buff and also plenty of ventolin :) I went out yesterday and think it must have been too cold because last night I was really wheezy. Lesson learned!

    MillieMoo2008 - I'm glad you're feeling hopeful. I am sure that with time, your life can return to normal, it is just slow and gradual progress. I have known a few people with ME and they have slowly got better, I think balancing your activity levels is so important in ME recovery (correct me if I'm wrong though!) I also have to be careful because in addition to asthma I am trying to gain some weight as I am a bit underweight, so I know what it's like to have to balance more than one health issue at the same time :(

    This thread has been really helpful in giving me the confidence to start again, but not overdo it, so thank you :)

  • Oooh the running threas got me itching toet out there;-)

    Well obviously im not running but have borrowed a handcycle from my local sports assoc. My family all think im bonkers as im officially in lung and heart failure.

    But im gonna give it a go just for the experience if nothing epse!

    Next week murderball starts up (wheelchair rugby)

    So its all good.

    EmC,MillieMoo and lou glad youre all getting some imprpvemwnts out of it!

    Stay safe.

    Rose xx

  • Rose- that's really good to hear that you have a handcycle, and murderball sounds like fun. Being bonkers is ok (well in my book anyway). :)

    Don't think I'll be running soon. Muscles are painful, shakey and a little weak and I'm struggling to get up and down the stairs now despite doing nothing yesterday except rest and drive. It's entirely my fault though as I had two days in the mountains this week (I was supposed to be out for 3 days but couldn't do more than a shuffle yesterday). I thought I was well enough to do it, that'll teach me to do too much too soon.

  • Lou sorry to hear its rather rough at the mo. But i imagine driving is pretty tiring- keeping the correct posture all the time and all tjat concentrating and often stressful!

    I jhope you feel better soon.

    Rose xx

  • Hello - I hope everyone is doing ok.

    Lou how are you?

    I just wanted to come back and say thank you for the support I received here. I completed my first 10k race in two years in February. My time was slow (1hr 15m) but it was freezing cold and very frosty and I was just pleased I'd built my fitness enough to be able to slowly jog my way round.

    Thanks again for the support

    Emma

  • Well done Emma on completing your 10k race.

  • Em, that's brilliant. And that's not a slow time is it? I think it's good given the cold temps. I hope you can keep the running going without the lungs interfearing (sp?).

    I've been for a few runs in the last 6 weeks or so :), a couple around 20 minutes and a couple longer ones of 40-60 minutes. I play hockey and have played in goal for about 18 months while my asthma has been a bit wobbly, but a few weeks ago I played outfield (in defence) so ran around quite a lot during the game. It felt so good to be able to do it and I loved and appreciated every second of it :D, I feel so lucky. Other players and the umpire commented on how nice it was to see me running around :). Not so successful this week, but that's down to the cold weather and being up in the nights I think. I went out for a run on Sunday but got quite a tight chest a few minutes in, so had to give up. I went to work today with my running kit on (underneath work clothes) so I could go thiss afternoon when I finished work at 2.30, but lungs have been a little bit grumpy and I'm feeling tired so didn't risk it. I've entered a half marathon which is at the end of April, so fingers crossed it warms up soon, but and there's not too much pollen.

    Reading your post and seeing that you've done the 10k run really made me smile, I'm so happy for you.

  • EmC - well done on your 10k, here's to the next one :-)

    Funny enough my name is also emma and i also did a 10k in february in a similar time to you - mine was 01:12:45, [2.5 minutes slower than last year :-( ] also in similar conditions to you - VERY cold and windy. By the end of mine i couldn't breathe as well i would've liked but couldn't take my inhaler straight away cos the cold also set off a Raynaud's attack so i had to go and find some warm water to get the feeling back in my fingers so that i could actually press the canister down on the inhaler - that'll teach me to run for over an hour in february without gloves!!!!

  • asthmagirl - thank you :)

    lou - ah that's so good to hear you've been well enough to do some running :) It is a good feeling isn't it. Hockey is really strenuous! You sound like you're doing a lot better than you have been - fingers crossed it continues! Good luck for the half marathon! That is distance I can't imagine covering at the moment. Let us know how you get on.

    jinglfairy - well done on your run! It is so hard to run in very cold conditions, I hope you feel proud :D Have you got any more planned?

    My breathing has been a bit dodgy recently - I think my Symbicort ran out without me realising as it's settled down a bit since I started a new canister, so I've had a couple week's break. Hoping to get started again soon.

    Thanks for the support.

  • Em- Much better than I had been :) and I take every chance I get. I've been on Uniphyllin for a couple months now and it's made lungs much better. I feel so lucky to have been able to run recently and went out for a bit today with only minor problems (had to stop for 10mins with a tight chest but got going again ok). Sorry to hear your breathing has not been good enough to get out and run, I hope you're well enough soon.

    Jinglefairy- Well done on your 10k and a good time too. I come across people with Raynauds quite often, but that attack sounds quite awful.

    I'm so glad to have this thread to share the ups and downs of running with asthma, it really helps me.

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