cold weather running

So, you may have noticed that the temperatures are finally dropping. These past couple of days have been pretty darn cold compared to the 80 degree weather at the beginning of last week!

Okay. So, right now it’s presently 60 degrees and supposed to be a fabulous day but those cooler temps are right around the corner. As in back tomorrow. Yay.

But, I have definitely run in some cold temperatures. Like, back in January. Oh. Em. Gee. It was 20 degrees, felt like 9 degrees, and winds were whipping at about 20 miles per hour. To say it was cold would have been an understatement. Unless you live in the northwest. Or Alaska. Or Siberia. And then, I’m guessing 20 degrees would be classified as “balmy.”  But, I don’t live there and 20 degrees is not a temperature I usually go outside for a run in.

Okay. Fine. I’m still not going to lie. I’ve run in colder. I even once ran a half-marathon in a snow storm. But, there are ways to survive the colder temps and even the snow! The main danger is ice – that’s no joke. Especially black ice. I mean, you can’t even see that! Eeeek!

So, how can you survive a cold weather run without ending up with frost bite, frost nip, or hypothermia? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Stay inside, right? Well, there’s something quite peaceful about running outside in the snow that you can’t replicate on a treadmill. But, not all cold weather comes with snow – especially if you live on the east coast. So, without the beauty of the snow to take your mind off things, you’re just left dealing with the cold. But, there are ways to stay warm and actually enjoy your run. :)

  1. Wear cold weather running shoes – these will definitely have less mesh and you can frequently get shoes that have Gore-Tex uppers which help to keep out the moisture and wet from slush and snow. BrooksSaucony, and North Face, to name a few, all make cold weather, waterproof running shoes. You can also amp up your warmth with SmartWool socks.
  2. Keep your hands warm – trust me, there is nothing worse than frozen fingers. Invest in some good gloves! If your fingers hurt after only a couple of minutes out in the cold, you’re not wearing enough and your run is only going to get worse. Cold fingers and toes are the first things that make me want to run back indoors right away. Saucony makes a great running glove that, in colder temps, will be a great base layer. North Face also makes a great glove that even has a key pocket! Running in extreme cold weather? Wear this North Face Overmitt over your other gloves and save your fingers!
  3. Dress appropriately – Did you know that the average person’s body temperature increases 10-20 degrees during a run? I’m one of those that increases on the higher end of that scale so I have to make sure I don’t overdress. I can generally run in short sleeves in 40 degree weather as long as I have gloves. Once the temperature drops below 40, I move to long sleeves but it has to be below freezing before I really break out my cold weather shirts and tights. Once the wind picks up, I go for extra layers to block the wind, both on my legs and on my torso. Layers are your friend! If you’re in an area where the wind is common (near water, in Chicago, etc), you might want to invest in a balaclava to protect your chin and nose from biting temperatures. cold weather running
  4. Protect your face – if you’re a little claustrophobic like me and can’t deal with things covering your face, or just don’t own a balaclava, your face is going to be very exposed during a cold run. You definitely want to protect your face from frostbite! You can use body glide on your nose and cheeks and there’s even a product that helps protect your face from windburn!
  5. Break up your runs – the middle part of the day during daylight hours is usually the warmest part of the day. If you cannot get your run in during that time and can only run in the morning or evening, you should consider breaking up your run into two. This limits the amount of time you’re outside in those frigid temps and helps protect your body. Plus, once you start to get cold on a run, you slow down and while that might be safest given the conditions (icy roads), it’s not the safest if you’ve been out in the cold for a couple of hours. You’re only asking for trouble by staying out there longer than necessary. And seriously, if it’s too cold, STAY INSIDE. Run on a treadmill! Or, go take a spinning class. Or, better yet, stay in bed and enjoy a day off! There’s no sense in endangering yourself just to get that run in.
Need to run outside but it's darn cold? Check out these 5 tips for surviving a cold weather run! #runchat #running Click To Tweet


  • When it’s cold – run outside or on the dreadmill treadmill?
  • What’s the coldest temperature you’ve ever run in?
  • What’s your favorite piece of cold weather gear?

**Disclosure – I am getting absolutely NOTHING if you purchase any of the products I linked to. I just included the links because I did the research and it seemed only fair to share with you what I found. I just want you to be warm and safe.**

(This post was originally blogged by me as Lifting Plates in January 2016. I’ve updated it slightly so it makes sense for October 2016.)


  1. Emily | 18th Nov 16

    Totally agree that being cold while running sucks T.T
    Thanks for your tips xD have a good day 🙂

  2. Michael Brandon | 4th Nov 16

    You should put more tips on it. Practice regularly before the winter comes. Your body need a rule, a regulation in any type of weather. Of course, we have to keep warm, but the strength within the body should be the most factor for the race.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 4th Nov 16

      Oh you are so right – there are WAY more than 5 tips to staying warm on a cold run! I just wanted to pick out the 5 I thought were most important and go from there. Practice is definitely key and finding strength within the body is important, especially when it’s cold. Or hot. Or raining. Or any situation that’s less than ideal. Thank you for reading!

  3. Richard Friesen | 3rd Nov 16

    Maybe your methods are effective but I think you should run on a treadmill in a severely cold weather.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 3rd Nov 16

      I don’t disagree with you! If it’s severely cold, I generally stay indoors. Because, I like running but I have my limits. I don’t have a treadmill so I would have to find something else to do. However, runners can be … um, crazy…and very into running and some don’t like skipping a run and some don’t do treadmills at all (or even have one). So, if a runner plans on running outside, it’s definitely good to know how to keep his or her body warm and protected.

  4. Ange @ Cowgirl Runs (@cowgirlruns) | 24th Oct 16

    I typically follow the “dress 10 degress warmer” rule when I run in the cold. It’s so easy to over dress and I just hate being cold!

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer | 24th Oct 16

      Yes! Being cold on a run sucks.

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