My Lungs are Burning so Cold

The weather is changing and, with that, comes a set of side effects of running which will, mostly likely, stick around until April. As the temperatures start to cool, my lungs start to get that familiar burning sensation if I push too hard. And, when I push too hard or too long, I end up with the lovely, phlegmy cough for about an hour afterward. It’s really a beautiful sound. Just ask my wife!

It’s a wonderfully poetic thing, though, that as the trees lose the last of their leaves and the geese make their southbound flight, we, as runners, would take a period of the year and slow down a bit, too. Sometimes, of course, you slow down because you have to. Sometimes the snow slows us down. Sometimes, we slow down because the ice is a little treacherous. Sometimes, we slow down because what was once a two person wide side walk becomes a thin stretch exposed asphalt. But, it doesn’t start there. It starts with a slight burning sensation in the lungs a few months before all that fun starts. There is an ebb and a flow to nature, a birth-to-death and back to life cycle. And we have the ability to experience it in all it’s splendor.

So, embrace these changes, because running isn’t always sunny, 60 degrees Fahrenheit, with a tailwind. Sometimes, you have to fight for it and sometimes you have to submit to it. Some take to their treadmills this time of year, but I encourage you to get outside, at least once a week, and really experience the weather, the flow, the burning for what it is: a time to slow down and enjoy the new scenery.

6 Comments on “My Lungs are Burning so Cold

  1. I used to tolerate the cold better. This year I headed inside to an indoor track earlier than normal, if I got to run in the sun I think it would be easier to run in he cold versus in the complete dark like I do.


  2. I seem to not be able to tolerate the cold like I used to. I headed indoors to a track earlier this year than ever. If I were able to run on daylight/sun, I think it would be easier than the pitch black like I do now.


  3. So very true. Winter means you can either hibernate and start all over in the spring, or tough it out and be better off for the wear and tear. I can totally relate to the lung gunk, although once it goes below freezing I always wear a balaclava that covers my mouth when I run outside and it seems to help A TON. I guess this is the time of year where the fair weather runners get sorted from the rest of us. Hopefully I can stay a “rest of us” this year 🙂 Best wishes!


    • Haha! Good luck being a “rest of us” runner! (And I’m definitely going to steal that term) I use a balaclava too and, if it gets really cold, a neck warmer over that. That and i usually try to have some hot tea or cocoa when I’m done.


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