Running in the cold

Yesterday after class I stepped outside and while walking back to my office thought, “today is a beautiful day to run. Blue skies, sun, no wind.” Granted it was a chilly 35 degrees, but the no wind and sun at my altitude makes for a perfect run. I was busy inside working from 8-6 yesterday and went to the gym at 5:30am knowing that I couldn’t fit a run in. But, I work from home on Tuesdays. Surely today would be as beautiful as yesterday.

I woke up to 20 mph winds. I don’t mind the cold, but the cold with the wind makes for a tough wind chill and a miserable run. I may have to high tail it up to the trails where I am protected  from the wind by the trees to get my run in today.

So, running in the cold. It’s a necessity if I want to make it through the winter’s here. I try to run on the treadmill as little as possible. If you hate the cold, I think you would be surprised how easy and fun it is to run in the cold because your body heats up fast. It’s quite invigorating to have a warm inner body, but cold cheeks and toes. Plus nothing tastes and feels better than a hot cup of coffee and a hot shower after a cold run!

Some rules I have for winter running:

1. I don’t run if the wind is over 20mph and the temp below like 50 degrees. However, if the wind is minimal my minimum temp for running is 25 degrees.

2. Dress 20-30 degrees warmer than it is outside. Your body heats up-fast. I promise.

3. Layer. Base layers are the most important. You don’t need bulky sweatshirts or sweatpants, just good solid moisture wicking layers with maybe a fleece or light vest over the top.

Smartwool NTS light Asymmetrical zip is a favorite baselayer



4. Cover those ears.

Mountain Hardware Dome Perignon Hat





5. Cover those toes. Thicker moisture wicking socks are important too since our running shoes are usually mesh and ventilated.

Less is more when running in the cold, but you also have to be smart. I don’t mix the cold with the wind due to windchill and frost bite conditions. But, if it is snowing-run! Usually when it is snowing the temperature warms up. You may get a little wet, but it’s beautiful and not compromising on the body’s warmth. Sanity wise, running outside throughout the winter beats the blues for me. Try it!

Any cold weather runners out there? Any other tips? Or do you avoid it altogether?


5 responses to “Running in the cold

  1. Total cold weather runner here! I’ll even deal with some wind–it’s ice and dark plus cold that drive me inside. Or (like right now on some workouts) when I have to be able to see my watch for heart rate or pace purposes but can’t run during daylight. If it’s an easy run, though, I’ll be outside all the time! And I’m with you on snow running–FUN!!!

  2. Great advice, but that means winter running is out here in Nebraska! We have folks that won’t run if it’s less than 10 degrees, or 20 with wind. . . My favorite interview of all times occurred on CNN during a long cold snap (as in, it never got above ZERO for three weeks) in Minneapolis. They were interviewing a runner who had been out for an hour and had, um, a drippy nose. But, in Mpls weather, with -15 degree weather with the wind, it had turned into a snotsickle. A regular stalatite coming from his nose. Seriously? It was as big around as your middle finger at the nose and came to a point around his lips (he was wearing a scarf and had no idea).
    The reporter later said he just “wanted to knock it off”! 🙂 I still laugh about that!

    I hate running. I hate running in the winter even more. So I bought a treadmill. No excuses. Great advice!!!

  3. I’m with you on trying to use the treadmill as little as possible during the winter — and unfortunately, I hear it’s going to be a bad winter — but yeah, for the most part, I do run outdoors in the cold. I just bundle up and TRY to run with friends just in case I slip on ice and it takes the focus off being SO cold when you have friends to run with.

    Oh, I also carry tissues — My nose is always running (or I have dried up boogies at the end).

    I think that’s about it… OH, yeah, I changed my blog name. It used to be Run Around My Blog. In case you got confused.

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