Breathing hard in cold weather


Firstly thanks for the advice re shin splints – I now can jog 500 metres or so before the pain starts kicking in which is 500 metres more than when I started!

One morning last week we had our first frost where I live and I went out as usual at 5.30am for my jog. However, about 200 metres in I strated breathing hard (as you do) but the frosty air started burning my throat and windpipe really badly. So badly in fact that I had to stop and wretch.

After 5 minutes recovery I jogged agin only this time breathing through my nose – but this made things worse and my throat/windpipe burned really badly again.

I did consider afterwards wearing a balaclava next time but I’m not sure if a strange bloke running in the dark wearing a balaclava will be welcomed where I live!

So I was wondering, does anyone have any hints or tips for breathing hard in cold weather please?




  • Is there any chance for you that a gym is in an option ....... even if only over winter?


  • Don't listen to him Clank - he's totally nesh and only ever runs on a treadmill unless the moon's in it's third phase, there isn't an "r" in the month and the breeze is blowing SSW image 

    You could try using a buff, warming up by walking briskly first or (and it's a bit tricky) breathing through your nose for a little while after you start, just till things have warmed up a bit.

  • Screamapillar, you won't believe what happended today... Mr A joined me on a run outside today even thought this month got an "r" in itimage
  • Ye Gods - the world must be coming to an end or something! image

  • Hi, sorry to bump this thread but i'm really struggling with this issue now image

    Do any of you guys suffer with the same problem? This morning I'd gotten 200 metres down the road and I started breathing hard as usual. However the icy air made my throat burn really badly and I had to stop and breathe into a handkerchief to get at some warmer air.

    This is a real issue for me now as I could be forced to stop running for the whole winter, so if anyone could advise as to how they cope with breathing hard in the cold weather please I would really appreciate it?

    Cheers, Simon.

  • Have you tried any of the things I suggested? Other than that are you starting out too fast - because it hasn't even got that cold yet.

    I know it can be uncomfortable but I've never come across anyone who hasn't found that the sensation became bearable after a while or who found it totally disabling.

  • Hi,

    I wasnt sure what you meant by using a buff, but yes i did try warming up by walking quickly first and breathing through my nose for a while after I started (thankyou for the suggestions) but my nose was a tad blocked so I couldnt keep that up.

    I suppose I could wrap a handkerchief around my mouth as it seems to be the cold air sucked in hard that causes the issue, although looking like a highwayman might raise a few phonecalls to the police by my neighbours lol

  • Run a tad slower and dont take great lungfulls of air in ?  A buff would seem to be the ideal solution thus far

  • Buff - multifunctional headwear that can be worn over the face - so pretty much like a handkerchief.

  • +1 on the buff, such a useful bit of kit.

    A couple of holes for legs and they also make a very good mud sock for my white long haired terrier.....


    If reality matched intention I'd know I was dreaming
  • I used a buff for the first half a mile of lots of runs last winter. I found it really useful as I would firstly wear it around my neck and pulled up to my nose. After a bit when it became too hot, I would just have it around my neck and then after a while i would put it around my wrist. Definitely worth trying.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Clank - you want to eliminate asthma here.  Does your chest get tight as well, or are you wheezing after the run?

    I do have asthma and train in the coldest weather with a buff over my mouth at least and sometimes nose as well.  This slows you down though, because you cannot breathe as deeply. I've come to accept I cannot race during the winter.

    An obvious thing to do is to run at the warmest part of the day rather than 0530, etc.

  • I'm out a little later than you and suffer if I breather through my nose the cold really gets me. 

    Get a summer weight buff through - easier to breathe through.

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