First and foremost, the title to this post rocks right?

But now that I have your attention, let’s get our heads out the gutter and let’s talk running in this polar vortex shall we.

So, I have been consistently running 2 to 5 miles a day at least 4 days a week for the last three years and, though, because of my short runs, I don’t consider myself a “runner” per say, I guess I am technically “runner.”

I realized my “runner’s” stature the morning I found myself hitting the pavement at 5 am during a cold front with windshield factors getting into the negativs. That morning, as I was running the frostbite out my toes I finally thought to myself, “Guess I’m a runner…because if I weren’t, I sure as hell wouldn’t be out here right now!”



Though we are not even in the teens yet in Georgia, low twenties will get you thinking of running in the cold.

So, I thought I’d share a few tips that have always helped me keep hitting the pavement when my bones just want to hit a Jacuzzi.




TIP 1 – Use Your Nose

We’ve all heard and learned that to help control your breathing we should breathe in through our nose and out through our mouths…but this is especially important when running in cold weather.

When we breathe in through our nose, as opposed to breathing in through our mouth, we are actually heating up and humidifying the cold dry air before it hits our lungs – something our lungs actually appreciate. A lack of moisture and temperature (i.e., dry cold air) can make it harder to breathe and can actually spur on asthma and or asthma-like symptoms. So, coming from an asthmatic, make sure to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.


TIP 2 – Warm Up

Cold weather can feel a lot less cold if your core temperature is a bit elevated.

Make sure you warm up indoors before hitting the cold outdoors. I personally run right after my resistance training or yoga sessions so my body is already good and warm, but if you hit the road straight out of bed make sure to take an extra 5 minutes to warm up – jog in place, do some jumping jacks, a few sun salutations, or whatever gets your blood flowing.

It is important to note that “Warmed Up” DOES NOT MEAN “Sweating.”

You don’t want to hit the cold air sweating much for the same reason you don’t want to walk out a shower into a cold room – you’ll just end up feeling cold-er.

So, get your blood circulating, heat your body up a bit, and then hit the road good and warmed ready to get your sweat on…not already in your sweat mode.

Since I run post workouts I might actually take 10 minutes to cool down a bit and dry off. I might even switch my shirt for a dry one…the point is that I don’t hit the cold air in full on sweat…and you shouldn’t either.


TIP 3 – Don’t Over Dress…BUT…Don’t Under Dress Either

It’s always better to be over dressed than under dressed…unless you’re running.

We’ve all been that guy – the one wearing a tux when shorts and flip-fops would suffice. And normally you’d think to yourself, “Well at least I look good.” But if you find yourself overdressed in the middle of a run all you’ll be thinking is, “Well…I am hot as hell.”

So, make sure to learn from your runs.

Take note of the temperature, what you’re wearing, and how you felt that day. Maybe you had a long sleeve shirt and a jacket when the long sleeve shirt would have been enough…or maybe you should have thrown on another layer…The point is to take note of your runs, what you’re wearing, and whether or not you felt too cold, too hot, or just right.

I am serious, literally take note and write it down! Keep a diary until you commit it to memory.

Take note of three simple things:

  1. the temperature,
  2. what your wore, and
  3. how you felt during your run.

Goldilocks your cold-weather runs and cold weather won’t keep you from your runs.