How Cold is Too Cold? What You Need to Know About Running in the Winter
Fitness & TrainingInjury Care & Prevention Feb 1, 2017
How Cold is Too Cold? What You Need to Know About Running in the Winter

If you’re like us, you’re moving into February full force on achieving your fitness goals for the year. With many runners in the Orthology family, running is a year-round sport (even in Minnesota)!

But have you ever wondered how cold is too cold to be running outdoors? Below are some tips to keep your exercise routine going in the winter months to get you ready for marathon season!

First, Know Your Limit

Running in the summer and running in the winter presents its own set of weather-related problems, but both that can become seriously harmful to your health if the right precautions aren’t taken. If the temperature outside falls below freezing (32F), consider running indoors or cross-training for the day. At dropping temps, the body can start to risk adverse reactions to the cold, including frostbite and joint pain.

Even if the temperature isn’t below freezing, pay attention to your body. Do your joints feel stiff or wobbly, even though the sun is shining? This might be a sign to take your workout inside.

Layer Up

The way you dress for your run can make all the difference. The key is to dress in layers so that you body is thoroughly warmed but not drenched in sweat. Moisture-wicking fabrics that feature zippers at the neck and underarm areas in order to vent sweat are recommended. And don’t forget to don your gloves and hat.

Mind Your Feet

It is important to keep warmth in and slush out, as much as possible. Avoid mesh and choose a shoe that is made of a material like Gore-Tex. Additionally, wear socks that wick wetness away from your feet, to keep it dry from sweat, rain and snow.

Find The Sun

Because there is less daylight in the wintertime, there is a higher likelihood that you will be running in low visibility conditions. Less visibility means a higher risk for injury from traffic. You can reduce that risk by wearing fluorescent or reflective clothing and even wearing a headlamp or carrying a flashlight. You should also be careful to avoid running in areas where snowbanks from plowed snow make it hard for drivers to see you.

Watch Your Step

Running in icy, slippery conditions should be avoided at all costs. That is because not only do you risk an injury from slipping and falling on the ice, but it also may be hard for drivers to maneuver around you or to stop for you.


It’s always important to stay hydrated when running. However, it is even more important to properly hydrate in cold weather, as cold has a drying effect that can make dehydration worse.

Know Your Weather

Always check the weather before you head out. Storms can come in quickly and can spell frostbite or hypothermia if you’re caught without the proper clothing for the conditions. You should also know where to find shelter along your route if the conditions become too bad for you to make it home.

We hope you’ll stay safe and healthy with these running tips. For more information, visit your local Orthology location and speak to our specialists on how to reach your maximum fitness potential.