Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are you afraid of the cold?

As cool weather is now beginning to reach cold weather in many places around the globe, I pose this question: Are you afraid of the cold?

I often get asked "Do you run all year?"/"do you run year round?"/"Do you run around the holidays?" which all translate to "do you really run when it's freezing cold outside and all you want to do is grab a cup of hot chocolate and sit inside by the fireplace instead?"

This is a perfectly legitimate question.  I do love my fireplace, and my wife makes a homemade hot chocolate mix every winter that I swear is magic (no... really.), so I certainly get the appeal.  On some days even, the appeal gets me.

However, it's times like these that the often cliche running quote nails it: "The hardest step a runner ever takes is the first one out the door".

Truth is (I challenge you to test this - it will change your entire outlook on winter running), running in 20 degree weather is Much Better than running in 40 degree weather.  No, I did not transpose those two numbers.
Seriously - think about it:  if you run in 40 degree weather, you layer up (because it's cool out), you step outside and you're cold, you take off, and not even a 1/2 a mile down the road you're starting to get hot.  Then a mile in and you're sweating.  So now you have to start shedding layers, but now you have to Carry the layers, then you get hotter, and you're running awkwardly because you're now carrying all the hot clothes that you are wearing, so now you're mad, and this run sucks.  Sound familiar?
Now, running 20 degree weather (and colder), you start out bundled up and you're cold.  The difference is your body warms up and you're no longer cold, but you do stay cool - ergo you don't sweat, so you don't get too hot, And you don't get sweat-chills, you don't have to strip the layers, therefore you don't have to Carry the layers, therefore you don't get mad, so then your run doesn't suck.

In all seriousness, the colder weather really does make it easier and more enjoyable to run - it's the transition (if you're new to running or cold nature and put on too many layers) temps that make it unenjoyable, and when "even 40 degree temp isn't working, then there's no way I'm running when it gets even colder!".

Try it out, I bet you'll love it!


  1. I love running in the cold for the exact reason you described! I feel like I can run much longer when I'm not so overheated and sweaty. I agree. 20 degrees is key.

  2. I didn't think I'd like running in the cold but I actually prefer it...I love it actually. But that first step out the door is REALLY tough but once I'm out the door I'm all good from there. I'm enjoying running more now than I ever did before (but before I just did it with no thought to form, breathing or anything else).

    So, try it everyone! You'll be surprised how much you like to run in the cold :)