Yesterday I went running with my Respro® Ultralight™ mask. I had heard that runners and cyclists use the mask to warm up their lungs while training in cold temperatures so I thought I’d try it for myself. It was snowing slightly at minus 1 degree with a wind chill factor that made it feel even colder and the path along the river where I run is exposed to the elements.
I started my jog with my mask on and had no problem keeping to my normal jogging
pace. At first it felt a bit odd to have my mouth and nose covered but as it wasn’t impeding my breathing I continued. My face also felt warmer in the biting wind. After 1.5 km my lungs felt warm so I decided to take the mask off to see if there was any noticeable difference. Initially, I had a burst of energy feeling freer but that soon changed as my lungs started to feel tighter very quickly in the cold air. I ran for 1km and my pace slowed down to under my usual steady jog pace 5:30Min/km. The air temperature seemed to be making it harder for my lungs to stay open and I was having to work harder to keep up my pace. For my last 1km I stopped briefly and put the mask back on and my pace started to improve. I settled back into a steady jog no problem at all.
I repeated this the next day. It was another cold day and the results were the pretty much the same, usual steady pace with mask on, slower pace with mask off.
What surprised me was how my initial thoughts of the mask being restrictive changed to seeing the mask as being beneficial and enabling, which made it easier to wear it the second time round; in fact I wanted to wear it!
Whilst I mostly run in an environment which is not heavily polluted, I will definitely wear my mask while running in cold temperatures regardless of air quality. I could feel the benefit and my performance was not impacted in anyway.
Note: mask in picture: I ‘pimped’ my Sand coloured Respro® Ultralight™ mask with multi-coloured cotton thread easy to do back-stitch.