Running in cold weather with asthma

I'm fairly new to running, having started about 5 months ago aged nealy 40 (and being 2 stone overweight). However now the weather's turning colder I'm struggling to do the 10k distances I like because my ashtma gets bad and I find I'm struggling to breathe. 5k isn't too bad, but even then my chest is tightening, especially on inclines.

Does anyone have any tips for coping with asthma and the cold weather. I take my reliever inhaler before I set off, but is ther anything else I can do, or is it just a case of my lungs getting used to it.


  • Hi Susan and welcome to the forum

    Like you, I suffer from severe asthma in the cold weather and very often have to use the treadmills in the gym instead.

    But when I have run outdoors in the cold, I have found that walking for 5-10 minutes before starting to run helps my lungs get accustomed to the cold air.  Also I find it helps to inhale slightly warmer air, so I run with a buff or a scarf over my mouth

    Hope that helps image

  • I'm fine if I'm doing a long slow run but if I'm going to be doing a fast training session I really need at least s half hour warm up of slow jogging before I start running faster, otherwise my chest just tightens up straight away no matter whether I've used my blue inhaler beforehand or not.

    Might be worth seeing an asthma nurse for a review. At mine this year I grumbled a bit about how it was holding back my training and was given a different preventer to try and it's made a big difference.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Agree about getting the right preventer.  Is your asthma under control, Susan?

    Like you I am affected by cold weather, and never get asthma symptoms in the summer.

    I don't think cold weather is something you will get used to.  From experiences over the last few winters I've come to the conclusion I cannot race in winter nor do any sessions where I really exert myself, and have to treat cold weather with great respect, always picking the warmest part of the day and running with a buff over my mouth (and nose as well if very cold).

    I find taking two puffs of reliever about 15 minutes before leaving the house helps as well.

  • I'm like Schmunkee and wear a buff over my nose and mouth as this helps warm up the air.

  • Thanks for the advice. My asthma is generally well under control. I've only noticed it I'll definitely be trying walking before trying my next long run and the buff, so fingers crossed I can keep running.

    Although I've got gym membership I'm not keen on the treadmill. I get bored too easily, even with music. Running outside for me is more interesting.

  • Hi, I am on my 5th week with Jogscotland, and really struggling the past few weeks even with both inhalers. The air has been so cold, and running in the evening -1c has had me struggling for breath on top of my 'unfitness'.

    I am going to see whether I can switch my programme to the treadmill on the days when it is really cold, as the inhalers do not seem to help to much, despite 5 mins warm up walking and a few minutes stretching, plus a scaf on!

    I have to be honest and say it has really demotivated me, as I love to run outside, but feel it is an extra struggle right now.

  • Hi Gillian, like you I am an asthmatic who struggles to run in the cold weather. I also joined Jogscotland a week ago, had my first run at night in freezing temperatures and now have a chest infection! Using my inhaler before and during doesnt help and the treadmill is a very poor substitute. Will try a buff the next time.

    Do you find the same in the wind ? I totally struggle running in the wind!




  • Hi Amanda

    Must get a buff, for sure- let me know how you get on with it.

    Running in the wind works for me if it is behind meimage but in front definately makes it more difficult too.

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