Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Tips and Tricks to Run in the Cold

Nan Kuhlman Nan Kuhlman March 11, 2020
Medically reviewed by Susan Kerrigan, MD and Marianne Madsen, University of Utah

For many of us, cold weather means curling up on the sofa with a nice cup of hot chocolate and some much needed binge watching on Netflix. But for others, even freezing cold weather won’t keep them from a brisk daily run. 


In fact, you can successfully and safely run in the cold at any temperature, provided you are properly bundled up. Here are a few tips to keep you comfy, hydrated, and safe when running in the cold.


Dress appropriately… 

which means a protective shell, dressing in layers, gloves, and a beanie. The shell is going to keep you nice and snuggly, while the layers are to make sure that you aren’t lugging around a heavy sweater or jacket after you have started running and your core body temperature has risen. Gloves are an absolute must, too, to keep your hands warm and to prevent frostbite–a real and scary possibility when running in freezing temperatures and not dressed for the weather.


Keep a water bottle with you…

because although you are probably not going to feel as much of a need to drink as you do when running during summer, hydration remains crucial. Dehydration is something you want to avoid at all costs, because not only does it feel absolutely awful, it is dangerous. Luckily though, you can prevent it by drinking before, during, and after your run. You might want to consider replacing your usual water with a sports drink to ramp up your energy and to replace electrolytes.


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Tips For Staying Hydrated

Tips For Staying Hydrated

Warming up before

you leave your house is an excellent idea.


Don’t run for too long.

When it’s cold, experts recommend 30-60 minutes for beginner/intermediate runners and 90 minutes for those who are very fit. You don’t want to run for longer than this because you could wind up with a compromised immune system (which nobody needs or wants)! It’s counterproductive to endanger your health while exercising to improve it.


Stay within a reasonable range (130 to 150 bpm)

Even if you are used to a much more intense workout, remember that the cold is placing more stress on your body and take it slow (or slower than usual).


Change out of wet/damp clothes…

as soon as you get home, and warm up with a hot shower and maybe a rejuvenating cup of warm soup.

You did it! Even after your mom/sister/co-worker told you it was a bad idea to run in the cold, you proved them wrong. You stayed comfy, warm, and safe and now you get to enjoy feeling accomplished plus those feel-good endorphins buzzing through your body. Congrats!




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