Cold Running

Living in a cold area is a big problem for sports enthusiasts but you can’t stop running due to the weather but sometimes you’ll have to stop because it may be dangerous for your health, In this article, I will be telling you at what temperature you should stop going for running/jogging and further I will talk about how you can prepare yourself for running.

Many people run comfortably in the 40-50 F range but it gets a little harder while running below 40 F. While you can still run easily in the 25-35 F range when there is very low or no wind. Running below 15 F can be dangerous for your health if you run for a longer time.

Wind plays a big role while running in cold weather, wind can dramatically make running even harder. But, with proper gears and some proper training, everything is achievable but still, you should not go for running when it is below 15 F.

Further in the article, I will be talking about the wind factor and make you completely clear on when you should go running and when you should not. At last, I will share some tips for running in winter so that you don’t get cold, stay warm, and enjoy running as you always do.

Right Temperature For Running in Cold

The right temperature for running in cold weather is 40-60 F (don’t forget to consider wind speed), which I will talk about further in the article but make sure to gear up properly. 

Running below freezing gets a little harder and not an ideal condition for runners but still, it is doable and many people even run below 20 F.

But running below 20 F can be very risky, there are a lot of complexities and that’s why it is not recommended for beginner runners.

Right Wind Speed For Running

Wind plays a big role while running in Winter, you may run pretty easily in 40 F but you will not be able to run at 45 F with 20mph wind speed. 

A good rule of thumb is that you should never go running when the wind speed is more than 15 Mph in Winter because this wind will multiply the coldness.c

When Should You Go For Running In Winter

There are a lot of factors while deciding to go for running in Winter, So,  I have compiled a table so that you can decide when you have to run and when you don’t have to run.

Temperature Wind Speed Should You Go Running?
50 F 10 mph Yes
50 F 15 mph Not recommended – Wear proper clothing if go for running
50 F 20 mph Yes/No – It might be very windy, although it is not much cold outside so you can go anyways
40 F 10 mph Yes – Wear proper insulation yet breathable clothes
40 F 15 mph No – It is doable but can be bad for your health
40 F 20 mph No – Completely Avoid running in such high wind
32 F > 10 mph Yes / No – It is doable as the wind speed is not that high but make sure you wear proper insulation clothes because of so cold temperature
32 F 15 mph No – The temperature is already so cold for running as well as the wind speed will double the impact of the cold. You might have gone if there was not that much wind
20 F 10 mph No, the temperature is too cold for running with the wind being the icing on the cake

When You Should Not Run

Having an extreme passion for running is good for marathons, but practicing even if the weather is not good outside, could be dangerous for your health. Running in extremely cold temperatures could have severe health consequences. So, let’s talk about when you should not run.

You should not run for more than 30 minutes when the temperature is below 40 F. You should not run when the temperature is below 32 F and the speed of wind is high, and you should completely avoid running when the temperature is below 20 F. You should also not run if you have a problem with breathing or have some medical issues.

People having medical issues, don’t even think about running in these weathers or at least consult their doctor before doing so.

You should never run in the cold if you have breathing problems (Asthama) or if you have any other medical issues as running in too cold may worsen your medical condition.

What To Wear While Running In Cold?

Now, you know when you should run in the cold and how cold is too cold for running, so if you plan to go running in winter, wearing proper gear is very important.

Jeff has a very helpful video explaining what should we wear while Running in Cold, you can watch it here.

He didn’t mention glasses so if you are going to run below 32 F (0 C) you must wear glasses, it will protect you from dry winds, eyelashes freezing, and prevent watery eyes.

Also, make sure you don’t wear too much that you feel toasty and exhausted, wear an outer layer that you can always take out, and tie on your vest whenever you start feeling toasty.

Tips For Running In Winter

Now, you know about the clothes you should be wearing while running in Winter but as I said earlier as well it is 60% clothing and 40% your running manner, so further I will talk about the running manner and share some tips for running in Winter.

Dress Appropriately

Make sure you’re wearing an appropriate dress for running in such weather. It is one important tip for running in winter. Wearing all the required clothing as mentioned above will make sure you don’t get cold while running.

Although you get warm soon while running, cover up your skin as much as possible. This will prevent you from frostbite.

Don’t forget still, 60% is clothing and 40% is running, make sure you complete the 60% to become actually able to run properly in the cold.

Warm-up At Least 15 Minutes Indoor

That means you should be doing all your stretches and warm-ups in your house only as there will be too cold a temperature out there that’ll make warming up hard. As soon as you get yourself out, your body should be ready to move.

Warm-up becomes even more important in Winter as your body will naturally remain stiff before you exercise it which will make it harder for you to run directly. 

Spend at least 15 minutes on warming up and stretch all your muscles so that they don’t suffer from muscle strain or cramps.

After doing a 15 minutes warm-up exercise, your body will get into movement now and make you feel warmer which means we are ready to go. This will also give your brain a signal that today you’re going to run.

You can do jumping jacks, high knees, butt kicks with a little running portion, high kicks, lateral legs, and other warm-up exercises.

Also, make sure you warm up in the clothes you are going to wear so that you can get the idea of the clothes and learn to manage the clothes.

After a warm-up, you may remove your jacket because now you’ll feel pretty warm.

Eat Carbohydrates or Energy Boosters Before Running

Running in such extreme cold weather requires a lot of energy and so you need to gain that much energy as well to make your running easier. 

You should never go running on an empty stomach in Winter because you need more energy in Winter, it is a fine strategy in Summer but in such cold weather, you will have to fuel up.

You should eat foods rich in carbohydrates, some great food items for runners include:

  • Banana
  • Energy Bars
  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Almond
  • Berries

You may also take some food with you while running and eat up with 10 minutes of intervals. You can just put some almonds or berries in your pockets and eat them while running. 

You should also take a small water bottle with you while running although our body does not require much water in the Winter still it is a good practice as you are also losing water in the form of sweat.

Run At 6-8 Mph Speed

You should not run at a high speed in Winters because you will get tired a lot sooner and you will feel colder if you run faster. So, it is best to run a little slower. 

Make sure you understand what your limits are, unless you intend on racing during winter, there’s no need to push your body. You should keep your goal simple when the weather is not in your favor.

If you’re a sprinter and are practicing for a race, you may ignore this as you really want to push hard but if you are basically running for health, don’t go over 8 mph, 9 mph is also okay if you get a little experience in running.

Be Safe While Running – Snow & Ice

While running on dark winter nights or mornings, make sure you’re lighting yourself up to be visible to the drivers. And keep checking your body parts; they’re not getting frostbite.

For running at zero degrees temperature, you need to be aware of the snow and ice that your path is clear or not. Because snow on the road increases the chances of getting slip and fall while running which can cause injuries. Waterproof shoes would help you with that, so make sure you’re wearing one while running.

Wear a Bright Outer layer

In winter, visibility is a common issue, so you should wear a bright-colored outer layer, it will make you more visible. I have seen many people wearing bright-colored vests over their outer layer to make sure they are visible, you may also apply the same strategy if you don’t plan to buy a new outer layer.

Are 30 Degrees Too Cold To Run?

Running in 30 F (-2 C) is cold but is completely doable with proper winter dressing layers until and unless the wind speed is not high. Dress warmly, in breathable layers, and make sure to select a shoe that will give you adequate grip in icy conditions. As soon as you start moving, you’ll get warmer.

And if your body is tolerating the freezing weather, then a moderate run could be enough for you. Besides that, it’ll be an amazing experience running in cold weather. Go with your friends to boost that experience. And make sure you warm up before heading out.

Are 15 Degrees Too Cold to Run?

Running in 15 F (-17 C) is not recommended as it is just too cold to run. Although by layering up, you can run in such cold still it can be dangerous for your health if you run longer. So, you should not run outside in such cold weather instead you may practice running on a treadmill or do other exercises indoors.


You should avoid running when the temperature is below 20 F and even avoid running when the temperature is 32 F and the wind speed is more than 15 mph. All you need to make sure that you follow all the steps required for running in cold weather.

This is very important if you’re taking such a challenge in going out in the cold. Otherwise, choosing to run on a treadmill during such extreme temperatures can give your body a boost and can keep you safe from temperature-related health consequences.

It can be a great experience and it can be the worst experience in case you’ve not taken any precautions or wear clothes properly. Also, make sure you’re choosing close routes to your home so that whenever needed you can head inside. So be realistic and play smart and safe in case of such extreme temperatures.

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