Cold Air Induced Asthma

I raced this morning, nothing unusual in that, but today the freezing cold air in the Weston-super-Mare area has made a right mess of my breathing capabilities...

I've had asthma since I was knee high to a grasshopper, but, over the past 40ish years, I've coped, adapted, medicated etc and, usually, have no problem unless I sprint. No problem that is until it gets cold. It's almost as if the cold air gets into my lungs and restricts the capacity... This morning I used my becotide inhaler when I got up, used my ventilalin before the race and then had to stop to use it again during the race.

Does anyone else suffer from this problem and, if so, how do you cope?


  • I do too, it always messes my paces up this time of year. I've found the best way to deal with it is to either start off your run at a very gentle pace for a mile or two to warm up slowly, preferably downhill or flat as running up a steep hill at the beginning of your run is a bad idea (trust me).

    Or alternatively warm up quite well before going outside, either on the treadmill or star jumps or whatever suits. I find after about 10-15 mins warm up or gentle running with a couple of short fast bursts towards the end mean I can start to speed up with no further problems.

    I think it's the shock of the cold air places too much demand on your system too quickly. When I warm up properly beforehand it makes a huge difference. There was an article somewhere about it actually, but can't remember where......

    Hope that helps
  • I sometimes start my run with a scarf pulled up over my mouth and nose - and like rob said, start off slowly.
  • I have this problem too and a comprehensive warm up certainly helps. Also, I try and concentrate on controlling my breathing to ensure I take deep slow breaths, even when I don't think I need to take breaths as deep as I do. I think this helps prevent hyperventilation, which exacerbates the problem.
  • I'm afraid I've accepted that its simply too cold for me to run outdoors when the temperature is extremely low and I decamp indoors. I hate having to do it but the chest pain is too acute and I can't get used to the cold air going into my lungs.image
  • I generally need to take my inhaler before running when the weather is like this, especially if racing. Like the others have said I think that warming up well and starting off gently help.
    If you think you can or you think you can't you're probably right.
  • I have to use my ventolin all year round, but run out doors in the cold as long as I wear a buff over my mouth I'm fine, so maybe worth a try, if don't work, at least use it as a neck warmer or a hat.
  • I find not doing my ventolin helps???? If you have to take it make sure you wait 15 mins before you run.
  • Taking the ventolin expands the lungs and allows more air in - more COLD air.

     Warming up slowly first gets more blood flowing through the nose, which warms up air passing into the lungs.In hot weather this helps cool you quicker too, as you'll lose heat on the way out, too (wrapping up warm in the winter keeps more heat than that lost through nasal exchange.

    If you genuinely can't run in the cold, then try long fast walks - they will help keep your fitness up without having to run on the treadmill, which you clearly don't enjoy.

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