dukerdog
acclimation to cold weather 1/31/2004 11:27AM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Is there any physiological basis to the idea that a person becomes acclimated to cold weather? Specifically, if someone trains in cold weather is his body more prepared in some way to race in cold weather than someone who has trained in warm weather?

That's not to say there might be some other advantages such as experience (you know what to wear and how to run on frozen turf) and a psychological effect (some people will think too much about the cold and not enough about their race), but is there is a physiological mechanism that would be better for the person trained in cold weather?
dukerdog
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 4:29AM - in reply to dukerdog Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm bumping this thread because I started it right before the countless "ESPN sucks" threads and it quickly got pushed off the front page.

Any thoughts on this cold weather acclimation thing?
thefirstme
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 5:12AM - in reply to dukerdog Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I dont know anything for sure but I can tell a big difference after spending lots of time running out this winter. Its not just when im running but im fine in a t shirt when its mid to upper 30s.
dukerdog
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 5:46AM - in reply to thefirstme Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I agree that after running several weeks in cold weather makes you feel the cold weather less, but do you think that gives you any advantage in a cold weather race over a guy that hasn't been running in the cold weather? I'm not so sure.
scotth
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 6:28AM - in reply to dukerdog Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Duker, a hunch: it's easier to go from a warm/hot place to a cool/cold than the reverse. Kind of doubt you can do much more than generalize about the issue. Folks probably adapt to opposing conditions on some kind of sliding scale...some right away, others take a while and the rest never do.
tinman
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 8:32AM - in reply to dukerdog Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I don't know of any research on the subject. My opinion is this: it is mostly psychological. Personally, I mentally struggle to deal with cold at first, but after a couple weeks I am ok with it. To, me adaptation to cold is a mental thing plus just dressing more appropriately for the conditions. Running in the heat, however, that is a physiological adapatation.

By the way, I could be wrong, but I think the word you are looking for is acclimitization, not acclimation. Acclimation is similar to acclaimation, the process of giving praise to someone or something. Let me know the scoop: I don't have a dictionary with me now. Thanks.
dukerdog
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 9:22AM - in reply to tinman Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
ac·cli·ma·tion    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (kl-mshn)
n.
The process of acclimating or of becoming acclimated.
Acclimatization.

Don't you love it when dictionaries give you definitions like that. Anyway, according to the above dictionary entry, acclimation and acclimatization mean the same thing.
Harvard Ph.D.
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 10:01AM - in reply to tinman Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Tinman,

You mean acclamation, which is "loud eager expression of approval, praise, or assent." It is related to the verb "to acclaim."

I don't have an etymological dictionary in front of me but my guess is that acclimate is an older entry into English than acclimatize. Sometime in the last 50 or so years, Americans started to put -ize on the end of everything they could.

Funnily enough, I tend to say "acclimate" but prefer "acclimatization" to "acclimation." The beauty of English is its endless word choices.
read this
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 10:25AM - in reply to Harvard Ph.D. Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
dukerdog
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 1:12PM - in reply to read this Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

read this wrote:

http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/0905.htm

Wow! That was a great article. And it looks to be a great website. Thanks.
It was also a long article which I'm sure everybody didn't get through so here's a summary.
Research suggests that exercising in cold weather:
1. Suppresses the immune system,
2. Raises blood pressure,
3. Causes higher rates of glycogen metabolism,
4. Causes higher rates of fat metabolism.
All to a greater extent than exercising in warmer weather.
After continued training in cold weather all of these effects are diminished. So someone just starting to run in cold weather would experience more of these effects than someone who has been doing it for some time.
Does any of that mean a cold trainer has an advantage over a warm trainer in a cold weather race? Maybe #'s 2 and 3 give him an advantage but I doubt #'s 1 and 4.
tinman
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 4:35PM - in reply to Harvard Ph.D. Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks, I really didn't think acclimate was right. I figured that people mixed up acclamation and acclimitization. Certainly, acclimitization must be the process of adjusting to the climate whereas acclimate is the act of adjusting. Thanks for helping me. I have the same problem with the word altitude. To me, a former military man familiar with aeronautics, altitude is the distance above ground level as opposed to elevation which is the height of land above sea level. To me, Denver is at 5280 feet above sea level, not 5280 ft altitude.
ND Runner
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 4:38PM - in reply to dukerdog Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I train in Cold weather for 6 months of the year,(alot this year below zero) and have found along with cold weather comes ice and snow. Running on ice and snow strengthens muscles you normally wouldnt use while running with secure footing. So maybe it is beneficial because cold weather runners have a stronger overall 2ndary muscles. Also, cold weather allows your lungs to open up and be used more effectively
xcandrew
RE: acclimation to cold weather 2/1/2004 5:54PM - in reply to dukerdog Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I agree with tinman that it is mostly psychological. I moved from sunny San Jose, CA to Anchorage, AK at around New Year's 5 years ago and had no problems continuing to run every day despite a record streak of cold weather that hit right after I arrived. For about 10 straight days, the thermometer never went about 0 F. Figuring out the clothing adjustments needed along the way, I was running in -20 F weather even though I had never experienced about sub +20 F weather and probably never ran in below freezing weather before then. Winters in San Jose, it's cold when the lows get into the high 30's F.

That's why I think it's silly when people are talking about cross country races in colder weather... they discount the chances of fair weather folks way too much. There is definitely acclimatization that occurs when running in the heat, but not the cold.

That said, I think just looking at the pictures from NCAA cross last fall, many people were underdressed for the conditions. You shouldn't need to keep turning your head, like Hall did, because your ears are freezing. And you shouldn't have to be like a frozen popsicle like I read Ritzenhein was like after the race. They were definitely not optimally dressed, even considering that they were racing. Temperatures like that (around 20F) should be very comfortable - just look at cross country ski racers, who put out similar efforts in the cold. 20F is very comfortable in a racing ski suit and wind briefs, and a light underwear top layer. For running races at those temperatures, some tights and long underwear under the racing singlet, earband or light hat (e.g. Swix), and light gloves (e.g. rag wool) would keep you plenty comfortable in those temperatures in a race. It doesn't get difficult to ski race (with layering adjustments)until it gets below about -5F. Training is easier to do at even colder temperatures because you can bundle up more.