Monday, November 12, 2012

Running with Raynaud's

I have problem with circulation in my fingers which means that they can get very cold rather easily. This is a condition known as Raynaud's syndrome. As the pictures in the wikipedia article shows it can look rather alarming when all the blood goes from your fingers.

During long runs in the winter it can be difficult to get warmth back into your fingers once they get cold, so the key to avoiding problems is ensuring that they things do not get to that point in the first place. Having had a couple of nasty cold-finger experiences whilst out on long runs, I have now figured out how to avoid problems. Shorter runs are less of a problem - since you will be home soon and can immerse your hands in a bowl of warm water, which always works for me to get things warm again.

Keeping your whole body warm is important. When it is cold I wear running tights. If it's very cold I wear shorts over my tights. I've given up trying to keep my feet dry, but nevertheless I find that they stay a little warmer with good quality wool hiking socks. Your shirt should have long sleeves - keeping your arms as well as your hands warm is important. Normally I wear a technical running shirt, although I find that a merino wool base layer also works well when it is particularly cold. A running jacket is fine in most weathers, it acts as a wind-break and helps to keep you warm. When it is very wet a good quality goretex hiking jacket is preferable. Significantly heavier, but will prevent you coming soaked through when it's raining heavily. I take two hats - a synthetic beanie style hat for warmth and a peaked hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. Finally I take two pairs of gloves, thing synthetic or merino base layer gloves under wool or synthetic mittens.

That's a lot of clobber, but you don't have to wear it all - just have it with you in case you need it. Gloves and hats can go in a jacket pocket or be tucked into the waistband of your tights or shorts. The jacket itself can be tied around your waist.

I have noticed that if I wear a watch the hand with the watch can get colder than the other hand. To avoid this do not strap the watch directly onto your skin. Put it over the sleeve of your shirt or else the cuff of a glove. Do not tighten the watch strap excessively - keep it as lose as you can bear. Alternatively just put the watch in a pocket or leave it behind. I like to have mine with me as it's also a gps unit that records my route and pace and so forth.

Be warm and properly dressed before you step out of the door. If it's cold, wet and windy your fingers can get cold very quickly - spending a couple of minutes with bare hands whilst you tie shoelaces or fiddle with your GPS can be a real problem, so make sure you're set to run as soon as you leave the warmth of the house. Similarly, if you feel cold before you set out on your run take time to get warm before you leave.

On longer runs take something to eat - running low on fuel can exacerbate problem with keeping warm.

Some of this advice might seem over the top - but if you've experienced the problem of all the blood leaving your fingers when it very cold, wet and windy and you are miles from home then you seem come to appreciate the value of avoiding the problem.

1 comment:

  1. I dont know if you have smart watch, but if you have, here one advice - on your watch you may install a program to track your transopt. The Uboro company have developed specifically for all software gadgets through which you can monitor the position of your transport and even how much gasoline it has left. This is genius!