Running in the winter, a harsh necessity for those wanting to keep their fitness they gained from the previously pleasant and warmer months. When the temperatures drop, the cold air becomes an abrasive element. Why does it hurt so much to breathe in cold air? Why do you lose feeling in your fingers, even if you have gloves on?
Frozen fingers and toes
Your fingers and toes become numb because of vasoconstriction. Blood flow to your extremities is reduced and focused on vital organs such as your heart. This is also why the most common areas of frostbite are your toes, fingers and ears.
A nose that runs when you run
Cold air contains no humidity or moisture. When inhaled, it dries out your internal passages, especially your nasal passages. Your nose drips to try to relieve the dryness, but overcompensates in the process, leading to an endless annoying drip.
Increased difficulty to run
Have you felt that your runs in the cold seem more challenging to accomplish than in warmer temperatures? In cold temperatures, your body has to work extra hard to keep your core temperature up. The shivering you do to warm up, uses up energy, leaving you with less energy for your run. Don't be surprised if the routes you normally run fast and easy on, become harder to do so. There is a blessing in disguise. Your metabolic rate and calorie burning abilities are enhanced by the harsh, cold weather.
Lungs on fire
Does it feel like your lungs burn with every breath you take? Surprisingly, it's not your lungs. Your body has an amazing ability to warm up cold air as it travels through you. By the time air has reached your lungs, it has been reformed to match your internal temperature. The fiery sensation is associated with your trachea. It too dries out considerably from the dry, cold air. When your trachea is dry, your breathing creates a burning sensation, making it feel as though your lungs are on fire.
Regardless of what you do, your muscles feel tight running in the wintery cold. The colder the temperature, the more difficult it becomes for them to contract. as they can in warmer ones. Less oxygen is able to release from your body's hemoglobin, which less oxygen for your muscles, leaving them feeling stiff. Be cautious of making matters worse. There is a tendency for runners to make matters worse by doing warming up or stretching inside, failing to realizing that their will muscles tighten again when they step out into the cold. Be sure to warm-up in the same cold temperatures you'll be running in.
Happy happy holidays and happy new year to all you runners. Be well and run on!