Cold weather running is just that – COLD!

As I scrolled through google on Saturday night it occurred to me that instead of finding out how cold it had to be to be too cold to run, I was looking for validation that anything under zero was in fact way too cold to be running. I wanted to find a reason to text my friend and say – hey I found this article and it says it’s dangerous to run in these temps so let’s run another day. Yet at the same time I didn’t want to be that person that was backing out on a run because anxiety has caused me to do enough of that in my life already. I wanted to stick with the plan however crazy it was to run at 6 am in the dark in real feel sub-zero temperatures, because I knew without her pushing me I wasn’t going to run 14 alone. And yet again at the same time didn’t want to stick with the plan because we were running at 6 am in sub-zero real feel temperatures. Such is the nature of life as a runner. A constant battle of the mind – I want to/I don’t want to – I love it/I hate it – It’s too cold/It’s not too cold – It’s windy/You have run in worse.

The thing about the mind battles is that once you overcome a major battle – like when you survive a run in those temperatures even though you don’t think you could – it makes you stronger and less likely to spend an hour googling articles that support your view.

In my google searches I stumbled upon an article written by Kelly O’Mara. I consider her a virtual friend, so when I read that in reality a runner is fine in temperatures as low as -18, I knew that I could attempt to run, it just was a matter of dressing correctly – something I have always struggled with in the winter. Side note: Her blog is one of the few I read religiously and enjoy – you can check it out HERE

While googling my friend texted to ask what I thought about running. I said I wanted to but didn’t want to and she said she was just going to treadmill it. I really wanted to run with her yet at the same time it was a complete relief. I hadn’t run on Saturday because we had a packed day starting with Miles basketball game at 8:30, so the itch to run when the sun was out finally came.

I bundled up and decided I was going to brave the weather even if just for a mile or two. My husband made a comment about being back in a couple of minutes – that spurred me to run longer than I had intended. If I am being honest with myself I didn’t think I was going to last longer than a mile or two either!

In hindsight I wish I had brought water with me because I COULD have run 14 miles. I dressed near perfectly and was comfortable for all 9 miles I ran. If I had to do it over I would have not worn a tank top under my long sleeve and I would have worn shorts or capris under my tights because my bum was freezing. Freezing as in, it was fairly red when I returned and was getting in the shower.

Hellzzzzz yes!!! 9 miles. Real feel of -1 ☃️8:39, 8:33, 8:41, 8:21, 8:21, 7:41, 7:20, 7:15, 7:05 – 1:12:04 – 8:00 avg. Coldest run I’ve ever gone on 💜🖤Motivation courtesy of my husband who said *see you in a couple of minutes* when I walked in the living room to say goodbye and told him how cold it was. Some people are motivated by people telling them they CAN do something – I’m motivated when someone tells me I CAN’T or that it’s impossible. First time I ran under 3:30 in the marathon was because my husband said it would be really hard and he wasn’t sure I could do it. I not only ran under 3:30 but I won the race and ran a 3:21 💪🏼🏃🏻‍♀️ Find what motivates you personally and use it to light the fire 🔥 Excited to share that I’ve partnered with #goldsgym {one of the race sponsors & where I met my husband a zillion years ago 😜} for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April!!⭐️ using the race as a way to test my fitness before heading to another race later in the month that I can’t wait to tell you about later!!!! #icaniwill #irunthisbody #goldsgym #cherryblossom10miler #ihavearunnersbody #lovemyshape

A photo posted by Dorothy Beal | #irunthisbody (@mileposts) on

Here’s what I wore…

Balaclava + my husbands ski hat and neck warmer. They are a thick fleece material and warmer than any running hat I have. I wore his ski gloves and my hands were sweating – so much so that my hands were a bit pruned when I returned from my run. Not complaining though, I’ll take sweaty hands over worrying about my fingers freezing any day. I despise having cold hands.

Thin tank {It was soaked when I got back hence why I said I would ditch the tank next time}. A thin long sleeve from Saucony over that and then this new Saucony jacket I got this season. Jackets tend to be jackets to me, but I’m really crushing on how well this one works. It’s called the Vita Run Jacket and you can find it at Dick’s Sporting Goods HERE {hint: it’s on sale right now!}.

I wore my new favorite Saucony tights. I’m a fan of the way they changed their waist bands in their tights to be flat. They are flattering and comfortable to me now, something some of my older pairs weren’t. You can find them at Dick’s Sporting Goods HERE

I wore wool Columbia socks my dad and his wife gave me for Christmas. I’m not usually a wool type of sock girl but these are really warm and go up a bit higher than my other socks so I figured they would keep my ankles warm. No clue where they bought them but I like them!

On my feet were the Saucony Xodus GTX 6.0. I can’t recommend this shoe enough. It is made with Gore-Tex so it keeps your feet warm and toasty. The outsole of the shoe is really aggressive so it’s perfect for runs where there is a dusting of snow or some ice in patches.

I snagged my sons ski goggles right before I was leaving. They made the run feel no colder than a normal cold run. When I wear sunglasses to block the wind in the winter, they are typically fine till it’s below 32 or so and then the plastic starts to freeze my nose and they become uncomfortable. I suffer through it because it’s much nicer not having wind in your eyes the entire time. The goggles worked 10X better than glasses. I didn’t see any other runners for the first 5 miles of my run and after that I only saw 3 other runners, so the embarrassment factor was zero and honestly I felt like some sort of crazy running bad-a$$ going out in that. Even if someone did think I looked silly – I didn’t care and still don’t. It’s warmer here today but still sub 20 so I’ll be wearing them when I head out on my run in a little.

The key to running in winter is making sure you wear enough to stay warm but not so much that you are sweating like crazy. It’s a balance and it takes time to figure out what works for your body. I’m a very sweaty runner and sweat even when I’m cold, so winter running has always been a struggle for me. This was probably the best I’ve ever dressed on a run in sub 10 degree temps.

Cold Weather Running: How Cold Is Too Cold To Run? | Mile Posts


What are your go to cold weather running items?!


  1. The Kelly O’Mara article was interesting. I always thought the cold air could scar your lungs. My doctor told me not to run in anything below 32 degrees (not that I would anyway, because I am a wimp). But I had asthma for most of my childhood, so I’m predisposed to it. Maybe that’s why.

  2. I’m good down to probably 0 (actual temps) if there isn’t much wind. I did just under 4 miles in what “feels like” -6 (actually 7 degrees) last Friday.

    My “go-to” gear is UA Coldgear stuff for my base layer (tights, long-sleeve shirt, gloves, and hood/mask/balaclava), then more looser-fit running pants, long-sleeve tech-fabric shirt, and a reebok running cap I got for Christmas a couple of years ago. Then I have a light, but insulated windbreaker-type jacket for my outer layer. Has worked pretty well the last couple of single-digit runs this last week or so.

  3. anything lower than 32 is a no go. I run in the dark (like you but at 5AM) and i don’t want to fall on ice.

  4. We are definitely virtual friends.

  5. I usually can only run outside if it’s 32 or warmer. I have walked the dog around 20 degrees though!

  6. I’ve run in the single digits, and without a lot of wind, and dressed properly, it was awesome! Yes, I love winter. But if you cover up well, you don’t really feel the cold that much (again, without the wind). And you feel a little bad-ass, too! I remember one morning when it was about 5 degrees, before sunrise but with a shining moon, and I was the only runner – doesn’t get much more bad-ass than that. If you’re not sure, give it a try – just run a mile to start. If you hate it, at least you tried!

  7. I’ve seen so many people running latley in these chilly temps, but with the littlest amount of clothes on… short and t shirt, I look much more like your picture when i go for a jog.

  8. I’m brazilian, fortunally I don’t have this problems with cold 😀

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