Exercise! - Running In The Cold

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01-24-2013, 06:16 PM
I've been trying to start the C25K program and do not have a gym membership. However, I live very close to a nice park that provides me with all the necessary things to begin this journey. Granted, it's January, but in Kentucky it hasn't been freezing or snowing. Roughly about 40 degrees or so.

So my question is this: how cold is too cold for running? I figure if I bundle up with a sweatshirt and pants (I'm a heavy sweater so anything more than a hoodies would be too much) I would be alright. I am most concerned about the weather taking a toll on my respiratory system.

Any thoughts on outdoor running in the cold?

01-24-2013, 06:31 PM
I've run -10C without the windchill before (I think that's about 15F?). It depends on your tolerance of the cold. I'm from Toronto so running in the 40s for me would mean light pants or crops, a tank and a moisture wicking base-layer. That's the key - especially if you are a heavy sweater. You don't just want to bundle in warmth, you want the clothing to wick away any sweat so you don't feel chilled. The layer against your skin should draw moisture away from your skin. You can get all kinds of moisture wicking base layers at all different price points. I think even Costco has some cheap right now if you need one. And then just layer. The general of thumb is dress 20 degrees warmer than the actual temperature - so if you're running in 40 degree weather, dress as though it were 60 degrees.

In terms of breathing, your respiratory system will be fine in those temperatures. It might feel harder to breath at first but just easy into it. Try and breath through your nose as much as possible (it gives the air more time to warm up in your body before it hits your lungs) and be prepared to go a little slower than you normally would initially as your body adjusts to the cold.

Oh and really take the time to warm up properly. Some people warm up *indoors* (say, run up and down your stairs a few times) before exposing their muscles to the cold.

It really won't feel cold once you start moving and you might enjoy it. I love running when it's cooler out because you don't have to worry about beating the heat!

01-24-2013, 06:44 PM
Wow, that's a lot of good information! I am very new to the running world and am very cautious about what I'm forcing my body to do, especially if it might not be ready. My mind is strong enough, I just need to build my body up!

I like the idea of dressing 20 degrees warmer. I feel that if I go out now with a hoodie I would be completely over heated and drenched in sweat. I think crop pants and a long sleeved t shirt could serve me well

Thank you!

01-24-2013, 07:00 PM
No problem. I love running outside. In almost all weather. It's so much more interesting than the gym. As long as you dress properly you should be fine!

01-24-2013, 07:49 PM
So my question is this: how cold is too cold for running?

Well, it's been hitting single digits here and I just saw a guy running 2 hours ago...

I think only you can really answer that question. IMO, if you do it and are totally miserable, you've sort of sabotaged yourself from the start; you risk developing a hatred for something you should be enjoying.

Personally, seeing as how I'm from the NE, I'd go. I don't think I'd go if it was under 40 though. Definitely won't go in this weather, the high for today was 12 degrees and it started out at 9...

01-25-2013, 10:35 AM
Like gymrat05 I've run in extreme cold, I live 4 hours east of Toronto... -20C/-4F is the coldest I've run in, if there is no wind and it's sunny IMHO it's the most perfect weather, and is so refreshing, no pun intended :lol: ...

Layering and wicking clothing is the best, you won't feel the cold at all at 40F, geeze that's not even freezing point :lol:

So, go out and enjoy the outdoors...

01-27-2013, 02:37 PM
Lol Ilene, you can tell we're from Canada, right? ;)

01-27-2013, 02:42 PM
Oh you Southerners are such WIMPS - Just kidding!!!!!

I hate the cold, but today the sun was out full blast and I couldn't bear the thought of the dreadmill, so I ran outside - it was 8 degrees (F). I ran 8 miles.

My biggest problem is that I run in Vibrams, so my feet were really cold. They warmed up, but when I got home they burned like FIRE for 30 minutes. My hands also got cold despite 2 layers of gloves.

01-28-2013, 04:59 PM
I'm a Southerner! But I live in England now. However, a usual winter day here in London is a kind of a poor day in the South, so temperatures are only a bit cooler on average - and it never ges as cold as the coldest days in Tennessee.

C25K is awesome - I did some of my middle weeks in the gym, but as the runs got longer, I couldn't hack the treadmill and started running outside. I wouldn't go back! That was the first time I did it. Now I'm nearly finished again and I've run on snowy paths and in plenty of drizzle. I haven't yet run in a downpour, but I have a gym membership so it's way too tempting (and not wrong) to go and do something else on those days.

I had a relapse on my fitness, gained some weight back and started smoking again :( but decided to re-do C25K. Only this time, I'm not skipping thru stuff a lot faster. Since there was less than 6 months between finishing and re-starting.

Today it was very windy, drizzly and cold but not freezing. I ran in coldgear tights, my rugby shorts (my tights keep falling down!!) and a top with a skimpy t-shirt underneath and GOOD socks and a hat. I was probably slightly over-dressed, but not by much as good gear breathes.

Goddess Jessica
01-28-2013, 06:07 PM
Airycuh - I would be asking the same question. It's 50 degrees here and rainy and I am like, "Ooooo. No. A treadmill please."

I'm originally from your neck of the woods (Cincinnati) but Southern California has made me a MAJOR wuss. :)

p.s. That dress/sweater combo in your profile pic is AMAZING.

01-28-2013, 08:04 PM
How funny, I'm originally from Cincy too! Well, very close. Northern Ky, Ft. Thomas really.

I got the cardigan at Old Navy and Maxi Dress underneath from American Eagle.

I'm a sales associate at AE and am able to get their stuff at discounted prices. Oh the temptation..