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I've been running for about 10 months now, started in January, when it was about -15 °C outside. Over the time, I managed to lose about 15kg and improved my running a lot, but I always come across the same problem.

I sometimes tend to run too hard. For example, there are a lot of uphills on my track, some of them are really steep. Sometimes I try to run up as fast as I can until I get completely exhausted. But I'm not just exhausted, I can feel my heart pumping so hard, I can feel it on my chest, in my ears, just everywhere.

I don't have a heart rate monitor, but I've been practicing with measuring it on the neck, and I can on average say if it's 1.5, 2 or 3 beats per second, which gives me a rough idea of my BPM. The problem is, that when I stop, I sometimes feel like it's 3 beats per second, or even more, which seems dangerous.

Is there any limit where I should stop pushing myself to prevent some serious injury? I've never been diagnosed with any heart problem, or anything else (I'm 22).

I know that many people recommend running at a pace when I can somewhat sustain a conversation. But I also read, that it's good to practice sprinting once in a while. So I'm trying to mix the usual 5K and 10K with some faster paced uphill sprinting (I know it's not really sprinting).

I don't feel any heart pain when I stop, at least not like I'm gonna pass out, only a little bit. But I can feel the blood pumping really hard and can barely catch a breath. I usually try to run past the point where I want to stop, and just put on the music a little louder and run until the point where I have to stop.

When I add current weather conditions (it's about 5 °C out right now), is training like this good idea to improve my overall endurance, or should I stop immediately to prevent some serious injury?

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4 Answers 4

Running too hard too often can lead to problems, though there are always exceptions like Emil Zatopek. Hurt can refer to different things. At one extreme, some people have died in marathons, though that is rare. At another level, are you building the muscles of the you that you want to become. Training aerobically versus anaerobically creates different changes within the body. If you wish to build endurance, variety is good, but that variety should not be limited to just fast and then faster and harder still. Easier is beneficial also, especially if you wish to build endurance. The famous New Zealand coach, Arthur Lydiard, regularly had his runners doing lots of long, slow(er) distance (LSD) running even though they may have competed in the 5K and 10K events. That training built a high level of core endurance during the aerobic phase. But, even during the aerobic phase, there are a variety of workouts, just not at a very high effort level yet. Later phases added training for specific events at higher effort levels. Repeating those cycles of phases built very competitive runners. The combination provided the speed to compete well along with the ability to endure at the end when the competition began to fade. To determine whether you are hurting/hindering your development, first determine what your goals are. Then, you can address how best to reach them.

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Agreed with the above responses.

  1. Layers, layers, layers. I really like Under Armour cold gear or heat gear if you have something on top.
  2. You'll pass out or start to faint before you do any real damage to your heart or organs. Just keep track of what you're doing well, and you'll see that you don't have these same "panic-like" moments once you get in even better shape than you are now.
  3. Keep enough water in you that you don't dehydrate.
  4. I've run and been with people who run in South Dakota and Minnesota at 0F, not 0C.

So basically, in order: Make sure you have lots of water in your body, warm up a few "laps" and stretch before and after exercise, if you start to black out-stop or slow down, and keep enough clothes on that you don't freeze your skin. You should be good to go.

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I have run and bicycled at -30C on occasion, and more often in -10C to -20C.

It is cold, but not an issue. A beard helps protect your face. Proper clothes for the rest.

Sweat is very useful on your face as it freezes (my beard looks white from all the ice) as there is a high energy cost to get water to move from 0C to -4C, so the heat input from your face is enough to prevent that transition. Thus when it is -30C out, and the ice on your face is -4C that is 'warm' and you won't get frostbite from -4C, but will from -30C.

Layer your clothes, make sure the other layer is windproof and you should be fine.

People are concerned about freezing their lungs, but not in any weather we get on earth. Maybe at -80C where liquid nitrogen starts to fall out of the air, but not even at -40C and having personally experienced -35C as the coldest your lungs should be fine.

I have a friend in the Northwest Territories of Canada who rides and runs all winter long in -30C to -45C weather.

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Amazing experience! –  Joe Blow Oct 20 '11 at 8:54
    
@Joe Blow: Even funnier, he says if he leaves his bike outside at that temp, the wheels freeze into having a flat spot. He needs different bearing grease, but otherwise is fine. –  geoffc Oct 23 '11 at 0:51
2  
"but does he still leave the bathroom window open a crack?!" :) –  Joe Blow Oct 23 '11 at 4:57

Your body will make you stop long before you do serious permanent damage. As long as you're sure that your muscles are sufficiently warmed up before doing these hard sessions, you won't hurt yourself.

To give you an idea, I do train with a heart-rate monitor. My resting rate is 45, I can sustain up to 178 for around an hour, and push to about 188 for a few minutes. I'm 35, the younger you are the higher your max rate would be, so at a rate of 3 beats per second, or 180 per minute, you would be well below your max.

As for the weather, the coldest I train at is around 0°C, and haven't seen any major differences on the heart rates at different levels, it just takes longer to warm up the muscles.

Read up about interval training, you'll see that it is exactly what you are supposed to do.

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