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10549 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jun 12, 2008 8:36 PM by Vicki S.
Trish18 Legend 457 posts since
Jun 5, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 25, 2007 10:47 PM

How cold is too cold to run?

I've heard various information on this topic and am curious to where your thoughts fall on the cold-temperature spectrum. With effective cold weather gear, where do you draw the line on what is too cold to run outside?

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  • rhoon phast Amateur 228 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 26, 2007 2:48 AM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?


    I haven't ever found that line. I've run down into the -30s. Today I ran at -3, and tomorrow looks to be colder. It really is about the clothes. Windy days make it even more challenging. Sometimes if it's -30 and you're running less than 3 miles it might take longer to dress than run. I have balaclavas that I use to hide every possible scrap of skin, and I breathe through a balaclava with a hole cut in it whenever the temperature drops below +5. Windproof socks can be nice...and all those goretex outfits they try to sell you for running in the rain are terrible for rain running...but great for minus temperatures running where you desperately need a total wind barrier.



    One thing about running in cold temperatures is it slows you down. Just the clothing slows you down, let alone the coldness of your muscles.



  • Paul828 Pro 125 posts since
    Dec 25, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Dec 26, 2007 7:17 AM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?





    I have run in some pretty cold air before. But I think that the medical world suggests that we take care when we force really cold air deep into our lungs. I don't pay much attention to any of that really. As long as you are layered well and you are not running where you could get isolated and out alone for a long time, I don't see much of a danger.



    Chicago gets pretty cold though, huh? I was there is March once for one day. Wanted my wife and two year old son to see Lake Michigan. The wind was so cold coming off that lake it was like needles in your face. We weren't dressed properly though.



    Happy cold running. Just keep on goin'.






  • Cipherscribe Rookie 43 posts since
    Jan 3, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Dec 29, 2007 3:29 PM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?

    HI Trish,


    Some people suffer from cold throats when it's really cold. I have been out in -10 without too many problems. As long as you have the right gear, and your throat doesn't get sore from the heavy breathing of freezing air, you should be fine.




    I love running in the cold, as it makes it easier on my body in terms of temperature regulation.




    The snow/ice is really starting to cause me alot of bother. Many near ankle sprains. Yuk!





  • niemsco Legend 189 posts since
    Sep 24, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jan 3, 2008 6:52 PM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?


    You mean you weren't out this morning in the sunny Chicago sky?  My thermometer only said 3!  Of course I just went to the gym



    I've never ventured below -10 as I still manage to sweat, and it instantly freezes.  I've had my eyes frozen shut many times, making it difficult to continue on. 



  • jenhirr Legend 314 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Jan 3, 2008 6:53 PM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?





    I run all winter long and sometimes it can be well below zero.  The worst for me was last year it was -20 to -30 for a week.  here are my tips and thoughts...layers are your friends, I put hand-warmers in my gloves and in my sports bra, dehydration can chill you so make sure you drink even though you may not feel thirsty, your body is designed to warm the air before it gets to your lungs but I wear a face-mask until I warm up.  Breathing the cold has never been an issue for me but the skin on your face and around your eyes is really tender so cover every bit of it you can until you warm up a bit.  I promise you if you make it through a cold winter and you don't let it scare you off you will feel like you can do anything.  Good luck!   Oh!  I always have to take a hot shower or bath when I come home because even though I feel comfortable when I'm running I can get pretty chilled when I start to cool down.  So, that a good reason to spend a few extra minutes in the shower.



  • niemsco Legend 189 posts since
    Sep 24, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jan 4, 2008 2:56 PM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?

    The one in Evanston not Chicago.  I always leave from my front door.  To actually get to beginning of Roger's Park, is about 5 miles from where I live.  I would like to run on the Chicago path one of these days.   I usually run north up Sheridan road though, good sites, or take the Evanston lakefront starting up by the new lacrosse field they are putting up, but not if its really windy AND cold.  The wind off the lake just sucks then.  My Newtons have run out, I need to get some new ones.

  • saraallent Legend 1,063 posts since
    Oct 2, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jan 21, 2008 12:32 PM (in response to niemsco)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?

    I just read an interesting article about this and wanted to share it. Check it out and let us know what you think.


    Too Cold to Exercise? Try Another Excuse

  • Slow Feet Expert 44 posts since
    Dec 2, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jun 9, 2008 5:30 PM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?

    For me that would be at about 45 degrees.  I erally, really, REALLY dislije the cold.  So why do I live in NE Pennsylvania?  Good question...

  • sleepymyron Amateur 26 posts since
    Jan 9, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Jun 10, 2008 1:41 PM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?

    This past year, we had a pretty harsh winter here in Wisconsin and it made things pretty trying for me training for a marathon. We had over 100 inches of snow here which smashed the previous 1978 record by close to 30 inches. As you would expect in Wisconsin we had some pretty cold temps as well, but being the hardcore runner that I am (hardcore meaning stupid), I usually headed out for 10 to 15 mile training runs in -19 below temps several times. We have a lot of nice bike paths here in Madison and when I'm out running around Lake Monona, you generally always see other runners or bikers out. There were a couple occasions, when the temp was well below zero, that I was the only runner out there to be seen.... again, am I dedicated or stupid ?:| ... who knows. The point is that if you dress properly I think anyone is more than capable of running outside in cold weather. Actually, I find that after my body gets adjusted and warmed up the first mile or so, I am pretty comfortable. Like I always tell people, it's easier to stay warm for cold weather running than it is to stay cool when it's incredibly hot out. At least when it's cold out, you can dress appropriately and bundle up. When it's hot, aside from running in your birthday suit, there isn't a heck of a lot you can do to stay cool. The only problem I encountered when running below freezing temps was keeping some exposed areas on my face protected... that was until my brother told me I should slather some vasoline on my face to protect it. It may feel a little greasy and gross but it actually really does the trick. It protects the face from the harsh cold and wind while at the same time giving your face a thin layer of insulation that also moisturizes and protects your skin from drying out and getting wind burn. If you ever need additional face protection, give it a try. The main thing for running in the cold is each persons individual tolerance. Some people just hate the extreme cold while other seem to be related Frosty the Snowman or Jack Frost and have no problem at all with it. I know a lot of people ask me all the time how I can breath in that frigid, crisp air and not be affected. I guess I have just gotten used to it over the years. The main thing for me is having a clear running path... free from snow and ice. If I have that, I am as happy as a lark. I'll deal with any cold temps as long my route is clear... for me, it's better than the alternative... going to the lousy health club to run on the stinkin' treadmill and breathing in stale air.

  • Vicki S. Legend 262 posts since
    Aug 31, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Jun 12, 2008 8:36 PM (in response to Trish18)
    Re: How cold is too cold to run?





    Way back when I was stationed in Alaksa.  I can't remeber some of temps but no matter what we always ran the flight line.  This was in the morning, dark and I would have to say  it coul be any where from 0   to  - 25 below.   BAck then  it was the old grey army sweat, long underwear, mittens, and a bacalava.  I actually like running in the cold and even though I haven't been in htose extreme temps I believe as long as you are properly prepared you should have no problem.  Now I run in the heat .






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