As I’ve mentioned before in earlier posts, besides being a runner, I am also a singer. I am in the prep show choir at my school and we’re nearing the end of a great, successful season. It’s so much fun and so exhilarating to perform in front of so many people. Plus having an incredibly talented group of people and an amazing director makes it even better. We’ve won our first four competitions and we have one more competition this saturday. Here’s a video of our show!
But now that track season has started, I’m out running in the cold everyday, breathing in the cold, dry air. The weather hasn’t been awfully cold lately, but still in the upper 20’s to 30’s range. When I run in the cold a lot, it tends to hurt my lungs and give me a cough, but it usually isn’t too bad. But lately this past week, my lungs have had lots of problems and I start coughing every time I breathe deeply, laugh, or sing…which is really bad when you’re in show choir and have to sing and dance and breathe deeply all at the same time. It’s hard to have good breath support when you can’t breathe in deeply without having a coughing fit! I suppose I could be getting sick, but I’m pretty sure that it’s all just from my running in the cold. I was looking up ways to try to stop and prevent this, and came across a few websites with some helpful tips. And even if you aren’t a singer, some of these tips might be helpful for you too if your lungs are sensitive to breathing in the cold air! Here’s a few of them!
♪ Try to breathe in only through the nose and out through nose and mouth. This gives the air a chance to warm and moisturize before hitting your larynx and lungs.
♪ Scarf & hat. 70-80% of body heat-loss happens through neck and head.
♪ Cold air is usually very dry and requires us to hydrate more than normal. Remember the rule: Half your body weight in ounces of water daily. 150 lbs. = 75 ounces of water . . . at least.
♪ A warm drink will help warm areas around the larynx, but remember: caffeine is a diuretic and can dry you out. Staying with decaffeinated drinks (still some caffeine there), or better yet no-caffeine drinks is better on singing days. Something like “Throat Coat” tea is filled with interesting flavors and very good for singers.
I’ve tried breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth more when we’re doing shorter, easier runs, but it’s nearly impossible when we have harder, faster days. I’ve been drinking lots of tea and bringing it to practices, which helps a bit. I should probably drink more water throughout the day, but it gets hard at school. Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit soon or I can figure out how to get my lungs to be happy again!