Athletics Magazine

10 Tips to Shut Up and Run in the Cold

By Brisdon @shutuprun

I don’t know why this happens.

Every year when it gets cold (let’s say below 30 degrees) and it starts to snow (let’s say a few inches) I’m an idiot. I cannot remember what to wear when I run or how to run in the snowy conditions. Yet, this is my sixth year of running through a Colorado winter.


I hate being cold so much that I think during the warmer months I completely block out the possibility that it will get cold again. Yes, I could use the treadmill, but I don't because if there is one thing I hate more than being cold it’s running inside on Satan’s wheel while staring at a wall. Not gonna do it. (Unless it’s icy, then I will lay on the couch and eat Doritos).

So, I venture out. Like last weekend.


This run began when it was 15 degrees. How do you dress for that? After spending way more time than I should of on the subject, I decided on warm tights, an Under Armour, hat and gloves. With the sun shining, that was about perfect. I expect to be cold the first mile of a run and then to warm up. I’d rather be cold for a few minutes than too hot for the whole run.

BTW, every single run I do when it’s freezing outside I have to give myself a pep talk about the fact that I will indeed warm up. I do have Raynaud's, which means I have terrible circulation in my feet and they turn yellowish/white when they get cold. It’s really pretty disgusting because feet are not supposed to be a yellowish white color. I also get icicle-ass where my butt turns into a large, fatty ice cube. Ah, the FWPs of winter running.

As we creep into winter, here are some tips to keep motivated despite the plunging temperatures:

1.  Be grateful: Stop your whining and remember that you can run. You get to run. There are many people too sick, disabled or injured to do what you are complaining about. Some people would kill to go just one mile in your frozen shoes. So, adjust your attitude fool!

2. Know that cold is easier than hot: Running in the cold can actually be less taxing on your body than running in the heat. Your body doesn’t have to work as hard to cool down and this can increase performance and energy.

3. Sleep in your clothes: If you are really desperate, sleep in your running tights and base layer. That way you don’t have to go through the extra step of getting undressed and dressed in the morning. You might get up easier, but I’m not promising this will do wonders for your sex life.

4. Get the right gear: Not only should you make sure you’ve got the correct cold weather gear for your climate (see HERE for some guidelines), but treat yourself to a new, fun, sassy running item (thongs might be inadvisable). Maybe this will make getting dressed and hitting the road a bit easier.

5. Have someone waiting on you: I’ve said it before, but there is almost no better motivation than to know someone or a group is waiting for you to show up for a run. Do you really want to be the pussy of the group?

6. Have a warm reward: Know that after your cold run, you will treat yourself to something toasty and warm like a latte, a hot bath or a cup of tea by the fire.

7. Remember the bad-ass effect: Not everyone runs when it’s cold outside. It takes stamina, balls and determination. Tell yourself that every car that passes you is impressed by your fortitude. You may be lying to yourself, but at least it can provide temporary motivation.

8. Know you’ll be less SAD: Research has shown that running in the cold can actually reduce symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Running can release feel good hormones that stave off depression, decrease anxiety and promote a general feeling of contentment.

9. Let your goal stare you in the face: If you are training for something, want to lose weight, or are simply just trying to stay in shape, write your goal down on a sticky note and put it on your alarm clock or bathroom mirror. Sometimes these little powers of suggestion can be the extra push you need.


10. Sign up: There are all kinds of short races throughout the winter time – Peppermint Schnapps 10Ks and Freeze Your Ass Off 5 Milers. Sign up for one just to keep your head in the game.

Any other tips you’d suggest for running in the cold?

Are you a cold weather runner or do you head inside to the ‘mill?


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