If you are struggling running with Raynauds syndrome, I'll show you that there are several things that you can do in order to keep your fingers and feet warm so that you can keep on running.
Raynaud's syndrome can be pretty uncomfortable as a runner. When your fingers, toes, ears or nose are exposed to cold, the blood vessels go into spasm causing an interruption to the blood flow to those body parts. This results in the affected area turning white and then possibly blue or red. You may also experience a feeling of numbness followed by tingling and throbbing.
If you are a long term sufferer then you probably know all about Raynaud's syndrome (or Raynaud's phenomenon) but if not, take a look at Raynauds.org which will explain all about it.
It is estimated that 3-20% of women and 3-14% of men suffer with the condition. However surveys and statistics are few and far between as it is thought that only 1 in 10 sufferers seek treatment. It occurs mostly in adult females but can occur in all age groups both male and female.
The most commonly affected body part is the fingers followed by the toes. As a runner, this can be difficult and painful and it takes the enjoyment out of running.
I am a Raynaud's sufferer and I am also a runner. However, I can still run as I have learned how to minimise the effects. Below are some things that I do and which really help me to keep it under control. Hopefully these tips will be useful to you too.
The main aim when running with Raynauds syndrome, is that you want to be warm before, during and after your run.
The colder your body core, the colder your limbs and your extremities. So don't just think about your hands and feet when dressing up but make sure that your core is warm too. The best thing is to dress in layers. Layers hold in the heat better and they are much easier to take on and off.
This is what I wear on a cold day, but obviously wear what suits you:
Padded sports bra. Wear a proper sports bra as that will help to stop you getting damp.
Long compression socks. Wearing compression socks as a runner is also great for keeping your calves from getting sore. How compression socks work.
Long sleeve running top with high collar
T-shirt on top of the long sleeve if it is very cold. Avoid cotton fabric as that will stay damp. Go for sweat wicking fabric.
Long running trousers, brushed cotton inside layer.
Running jacket with hood and sleeves that cover my gloves.
Running headband to cover my ears ( I don't like full hats).
Mitten-gloves. I can't tell you how excited I am with these. Being gloves AND with a mitten on top, they keep your fingers super warm and dry. The model I wear seem to be hard to find but these from Amazon are pretty similar.
Even if you don't suffer with Raynaud's syndrome, the wind can be pretty challenging, but running with raynauds syndrome is even worse. That's why a running jacket is essential.
If you can afford it, invest in the best quality running jacket that you can which will keep off the wind and the rain. Get a jaket with a hood which helps to protect your face and ears. A decent jacket is going to protect your core and to keep you nice and warm.
You will often see the terms waterproof and water resistant. Water resistant will only protect you in very light rain and for a short period of time so go for a jacket that is both waterproof and windproof. Waterproof ratings explained.
Before going out running with raynauds syndrome, make sure to warm up. Warming up is really important for preventing injuries and it will also get blood flowing to your extremities.
If it is a very cold day, then also warm up your hands and feet physically by placing them in warm water or near a heat source, before you put on your socks and gloves.
If you are running with others, don't hang about outside in the cold whilst you are waiting for everyone to arrive. If you can, stay in your car or indoors where it is warm, or turn up last minute.
The same applies for the end of the run. You want to get out of your damp running clothes as soon as possible. Have a nice warm shower (not too hot as that can be painful) and then get into some warm dry clothes asap.
I have heard about creams that can be used when running with Raynauds syndrome. I haven't tried them personally but these have good reviews: