CommunityBrowse groupsBlogEtiquetteInvite Your friendsSuccess Stories


running in the cold weather.

I got motivated from seeing the couch to 5K thread and I'd love to start running outside. Is it ok to run with a hat? Any other cold weather recommendations?

Mon. Nov 28, 10:30am

Add comment  
Depends on where you're at and how cold you expect it to get. I'm from South Dakota origianlly, and the worst thing was the snow-packed, icy roads not the sub zero temps. Once you get moving and warmed up you may find your biggest problem is too many clothes. I like light gloves, and many layers. A light silky undershirt that wicks moisture away, a light fleece shirt that helps keep you snuggly and a water-resistant, tight-woven shell should suffice in most climates.

You might find that you get overheated in a hat. A fleece headband that covers your ears and forhead is a good alternative if you find that to be the case. Personally I can wear very little in the way of overclothes as long as I have a scarf - each person is a bit different, but you should have plenty of opportunity to find what works well for you :-) I might wear slightly heavier pants, but I don't really worry about keeping the legs warm like I do the upper body. Of course good shoes and socks are a must, and I have seen these elastic webs with metal coils that you can slip over your shoes for running in icy conditions that look really promising - I think that was in the Plow & Hearth catalog.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 10:49 AM

Add comment
It's definitely ok to run in a hat! You'll just have to figure out what works for you. Make sure to wear layers so you can take things off as you warm up. Do be careful on ice or in snow. Deep snow is a great workout - like running on a beach, but thin snow conceals ankle-twisters awfully well. I also like to run two or three short loops from my house when I'm trying new clothing (especially shoes!). That way, I can swing inside and make adjustments if it's really driving me crazy.

I'm from Seattle, and for me, running in a hat is perfect - I often run in shorts, a long sleeved (not cotton!) shirt, and a close-fitting fleece hat, and I'm good to 40F or so. Below that, I put on some long pants, and that's basically all I need. It never gets much below freezing, although I do wear an outer wind layer on top when it's windy. But I find a hat is essential when it's cold and raining.

I also have this thing we call a's like a hat for your neck...I never run in it, but it's fleece, and it seems like it might be easier for running than a scarf - it's just a single circle of cloth, big enough to be pulled over your head, and maybe 8" wide, so it covers your whole neck well. I think it came from LLBean maybe.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 11:26 AM

Add comment
Just be aware that you will probably be slow in the cold. When I first started running outside in winter, I got really discouraged because I was SO much slower than running in the fall. This isn't a reason to stop - just don't let yourself be discouraged by a run that normally takes 30 minutes suddenly taking 40.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 11:30 AM

Add comment
Good point. When I run outside I am usually slower. Also, I wear one of those headbands. Works well and I also use capeline. Proper gear goes a long way. I always suggest patagonia. The stuff lasts and lasts.

Monday, November 28, 2005, 11:46 AM

Add comment
Running in the cold

I'm generally agreeing with the comments I see about running in the cold. I cycle as well as run in fairly cold weather, so I've had to become fairly adept at figuring how many layers to use for every 10 degree temperature drop below about 60 degrees.

For me, anyway, wind chill becomes a factor in comfort once the temperature starts heading south. I find that keeping my face, neck and upper chest warm are my major priorities, particularly in windy conditions. The two pieces of special clothing I use for this are a balaclava helmet and a neck gaiter.

These are available from campmor ( and from Bike Nashbar (, though any distributor of cold weather athletic gear may have them as well. I have entered Nashbar's URL in the link below.



Monday, November 28, 2005, 12:57 PM

Add comment
I live in Chicago, and it gets COLD here! 30* is like a heat wave in the winter! Negative wind chills are not uncommon. Is it still safe to run here? Once, I was running late on my way to the gym, so I really ran all the way there, about 1/4 mile - I never run outside - and I swear, my lungs hurt for like 2 hours, I think from the cold air, b/c I'm not in bad cardio shape. Any thoughts?

Monday, November 28, 2005, 1:19 PM

Add comment
I'm the South Dakota poster - believe me, I understand bitter cold. I have lived through months where -14 was the HIGH... When it gets that darn cold there are additional precautions you need to take. I used to walk 2 miles to school (and then back) in every weather - no kidding and no stories about uphill both ways (it was only uphill on the way there). I just kept it up when I got to college because I didn't have a car. I started running because it was warmer than walking and a heck of a lot faster! I have a ton of stories about getting to school with clumps of ice freezing my upper and lower eyelashes together, etc.... I also learned alot about staying warm, but not too warm.

You can't suck in deep lungfulls of air like you can indoors. You either need to draw it in more slowly and steadily, or filter it through a soft, thin scarf or ski mask. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth is the best. Your lungs can actually get frostbitten! It takes some getting used to, but your breathing will be better for it even after it gets nice outside.

It's often preferred to start off against the wind when you're fresh and return with it if at all possible. Shorten your stride a bit and drink water! you'll sweat more than you think. This is dangerous because your sweat can freeze and you will be frozen shortly thereafter. Plus your muscles will be working harder to stay warm and they need to be hydrated to do that, and the cold will stress them and they will also need more resources to recover.

Use a moisturizer, sun block and lip balm or you'll have winter-chapped skin. Wear nylons under your pants and socks and it will help considerably witout adding bulk and weight. make sure your gloves are gortex or thinsulate and consider mitten (they keep your hands warmer).

However most climates don't require precautions like that......

Running in the crisp, cold, clear winter air is exhilerating! But make sure you respect old man winter or you'll be miserable afterwards.....

Monday, November 28, 2005, 5:04 PM

Add comment
A lot of helpful comments so far. I just wanted to add that as a new runner (7 months) with mild asthma that is induced by cold and allergies (mold), I have found it necessary to turn to the treadmill once it got below 40 F or so. My body is willing, but the lungs just won't stand it. They hurt, and I am coughing phlegm for a while after I'm done. I've considered trying to find a breathable fabric (turle fur?) that I can pull up around my nose and mouth to warm the air a bit before pulling it in, but am skeptical. Normally I am able to breath in through my nose, but once the asthma attack starts and I'm short of O2, it's almost automatic to open the mouth and breath harder to try to compensate. Besides, I breathe as controlled as possible through my nose at the beginning of the workout and it isn't enough to prevent the attack. If anyone has any feedback about the breathable scarf idea and/or specific suggestions for brands, styles, etc., I'd love to hear it!

Monday, November 28, 2005, 7:06 PM

Add comment
running in the cold

I say for all your running questions go to The info is great. There are sections on clothing, trainig and my personal favorite - beginners. You will find any and all information you need about running. I myself JUST started a running program. I decided to start on the treadmill, but soon I will be outside in the cold and loving it!


Monday, November 28, 2005, 7:24 PM

Add comment
I find running in the cold much easier than running in the heat. Great thread.

Monday, October 16, 2006, 9:30 AM

Add comment

Explore Related Articles
Weight Loss Motivation   Sustainable Weight Loss
Weight Lifting    Hypnosis and Weight Loss
Emotional Eating   Help Losing Weight
Free Weight Loss Program   Weight Watchers Points  NutriSystem
How To Change Anything

Related Content:

How To Lose Weight- The Basics
Weight Watchers Points System
The Fat Smash Diet
The Eat To Live Diet
The Beck Diet Solution
How To Get The Motivation To Lose Weight


How To Be Successful Using PEERtrainer

How To Burn Fat
Online Weight Loss Support- How It Works
Does Green Tea Help You Lose Weight?
Tips On Using PEERtrainer
Visit The PEERtrainer Community
Diet and Fitness Resources


Weight Watchers Meetings
Learning To Inspire Others: You Already Are
Writing Down Your Daily Workouts
Spending Money On A Personal Trainer?
How I Became A Marathon Runner


Preventive Health

How To Prevent Injuries During Your Workout
Flu Season: Should You Take The Flu Shot?
Are You Really Ready To Start PEERtrainer?
Super Foods That Can Boost Your Energy
Reversing Disease Through Nutrition

New Diet and Fitness Articles:

Weight Watchers Points Plus
How To Adjust Your Body To Exercise
New: Weight Watchers Momentum Program
New: PEERtrainer Blog Archive
Review Of The New Weight Watchers Momentum Program

Weight Loss Motivation by Joshua Wayne:

Why Simple Goal Setting Is Not Enough
How To Delay Short Term Gratification
How To Stay Motivated
How To Exercise With A Busy Schedule

Real World Nutrition and Fitness Questions

Can Weight Lifting Help You Lose Weight?
Are Protein Drinks Safe?
Nutrition As Medicine?

Everyday Weight Loss Tips

How To Eat Healthy At A Party
How To Eat Out And Still Lose Weight
The Three Bite Rule
Tips On How To Stop A Binge