Trouble keeping throat clear when running
November 25, 2018 9:43 AM   Subscribe

TMI alert; I'm having some trouble keeping my throat clear when running and I'll put the details below the fold.

I get some spit in the back of my throat and I start thinking about it too much and have to try to clear it, but sometimes it gets worse and worse and I start to almost have to gag. It's brought me to my knees a couple of times and it's worse in the cold weather. Any tips for getting around this? Is it possible there's a physical issue behind it - should I see a doc? Thanks in advance.
posted by ftm to Health & Fitness (4 answers total)
I get this when I hike in cold weather. Not as bad of course because I can just stop and clear my throat, but I know what you're talking about. What it seems to be is a combination of the cold weather giving me a runny nose, mouth breathing due to exertion, and dry air. Mucous runs from my nasal passages back into my throat, where it thickens because of the cold, dry air coming in from my mouth. Then it sticks there and starts to trigger my gag reflex (possibly exacerbated by my throat being somewhat dry and irritated after hours of trekking through the windy snow) and I have to clear my throat and spit it out.

Things that help are carrying a bandana with which to blow my nose as I go so that the mucous never gets into my throat in the first place, frequently drinking small amounts of water to keep my throat wet and happy, and—if the air is particularly frigid—wearing a balaclava. I don't like the balaclava because it does slightly restrict my breathing, but it helps and maybe you would tolerate one better than me.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 9:58 AM on November 25, 2018

I used to get phlegm when I ran too. Honestly, I just hocked it up and spit it out as I ran. Sure, it's not "ladylike" or classy, but who am I trying to impress while I'm running?
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:48 AM on November 25, 2018 [3 favorites]

In my running group, there's at least three people I can think of who spit (during both warm or cold weather) about once a minute. Given your user name, I'll say I see both masculine and feminine people doing this. I've never need to spit, but I'm not stranger to the snot rocket, although not at the aforementioned people's frequencies.

If on a treadmill, if I suspect I'll have a bad nose day, I'll have two rags; one for sweat, one for nose blowing. You could have the second rag for discrete spitting/drooling into. Consistent colour coding of rags is good so I don't wipe snot all over my head trying de-sweat.
posted by nobeagle at 11:38 AM on November 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have this too and asked about it in my noob runner question. It was really debilitating - the mucus felt so thick that I sometimes felt I couldn't breathe properly. A few of the answers mentioned that I might have Exercise Induced Broncoconstriction, so I went to the doctor and got tested for it. She prescribed me an inhaler to use right before a run and it helped A LOT.
posted by widdershins at 10:31 AM on November 26, 2018

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