Pushing through

For the past few weeks, I’ve been hiding the fact that I am terrified about my half marathon that is less than a month away. Since I kicked my training into high gear after New Years, I have been really struggling to prepare myself, something that I thought would go smoothly since I’ve run a few halfs before.

What I wasn’t prepared for is that running in the winter is DAMN HARD. It’s like running in wet sand mixed with evil snow men thrusting a snow blower in your face with minus forty winds. And while running outside on a sunny winter morning can be exhilarating, forcing myself to train through a polar vortex is quite another.

Despite applying everything I learned so far from Stride Ahead and Corydon Physiotherapy, I was struggling to run 7 kilometres at the beginning of the month. This is terrible and dangerous for someone who is going to try to run 21 kilometres.

My biggest issue was being out of breath and trying to cover my face to prevent windburn. Though experts suggest you should inhale through your nose, I often find myself relying on my mouth to breath. Covering my mouth in any way made it very difficult to breathe, so I found myself relying solely on Vaseline to protect my face and waiting for -20 runs or warmer.

After playing around with some supplements to give me energy, which didn’t do much, I discovered why I was having so much trouble. I happened to have an old asthma inhaler from a bad cough a while back and decided to use it before a recent run. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t struggling to breathe. I ran 12 kilometres and felt pretty good.

I am not a person who regularly struggles with asthma, but turns out it is quite common for winter sports to induce asthma. However I will say that there are many factors that make long distance running in the winter harder than the summer, and some upcoming videos will be posted to the blog to explore why.  

Here are some links that I found helpful. If you struggle with breathing—even if it’s just exercise induced or cold weather triggered—you may benefit from seeing a doctor for asthma treatment options. Always visit a doctor before self-diagnosing.





5 thoughts on “Pushing through

  1. Hey, just found your blog! Good luck with the half!

    I rarely “advertise” but I actually just posted links on my blog to videos where I talk a little about the fear of racing (I made them for an internship application) as I’m trying to get over my own fear

  2. It sounds as if you are at about the same point in your training as I. Good luck!

    The words “Pushing through” resonated with me, but not the -20°! I’ve limited my outside runs to +10°, but really the limiting factor has been strong winds or snow-covered streets. I’ll keep repeating “push through” on my 10 mile (≈16 kilometres) run today.

    • Oops, it just occurred to me that you probably use Celsius, not Fahrenheit like us tradition bound Americans (USA-ans?). Still darn cold, but not quite as bad I originally thought!

      • Good luck on your runnning, I always feel like those long runs are much more of an accomplishment in winter. And yes, I did mean Celsius, I should specify in the future. But speaking of darn cold, thanks to the Polar Vortex, today’s weather is -50 Celsius which is about -58 Fahrenheit! We’ve had such a frigid winter in Winnipeg this year that those -20 days seem like a treat right about now!

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