I'd like to know how the frost affects on our respiratory system and how running in the cold will influence on my body. Of course, I'll continue to do runs but I want to understand.
Master of Sports of International class in track and field athletics, winner of the Zurich marathon, participant of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, multiple European Cup and Russian championships medalist, coach of the school “I Love Running”
Of course, there are some requirements when running in the cold. These requirements mainly concern running gear. Today, modern technologies help to minimize a discomfort during winter running. I'd like to say that I don't consider it necessary to go for a run if the temperature is lower than 20-22 degrees C below zero. I did it many times but I don't think it's correct to put a professional runner and an amateur runner on the same level.
You should protect your respiratory system from the impact of extremely low temperatures. For this purpose, you can wear a buff leaving only the area around the eyes clear. The cold air warms up passing through the fabric and becomes not so dangerous for your bronchial mucosa which can become the area of inflammation due to hypothermia. Also, it is advisable to use nasal breathing (inhale through the nose, exhale through the mouth) at the very beginning of training. When you warm up and your running pace increases you can switch over to breathing through the mouth.
Running in the cold will not affect negatively if you are properly dressed. The best way to dress for the runner is to dress for the weather. Too warm clothing causes the same discomfort as too light one. Therefore, you should wear proper sports gear: thermal underwear, fleece clothing and windproof or softshell jacket, hat and gloves, buff.