The Benefits and Drawbacks of Running in the Cold

Running in the Cold

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Running in the Cold

Brrr! Winter is definitely on its way! If you live somewhere that experiences harsh winters, you might be wondering if maintaining your running habit is worth it. But just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you have to give up on your fitness goals.

Winter is one of the best seasons to be a runner. Sure, the weather is cold, but that keeps the general crowd indoors. There’s less competition for sidewalk space. Plus, you get to shop for new winter running outfits.

Whether you run for the pleasure, to cope with work-related stress and anxiety, or to reach a weight goal, don’t give up now! Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of running in the cold.


Yes, running in the cold is challenging, but a new challenge is good for personal growth. Take a look at your usual routine and ask yourself, “How can I change things up?”

Pick a new route that’s consistently cleared of snow, or find a neighborhood adorned with Christmas lights. Set new goals for distance and time to keep things interesting. Or you can pick one of the many holiday charity runs to train for.

Running in the cold means you have a great excuse to shop for new winter running clothes. Good shoes are essential to protect you from slipping on ice. Warmer leggings and sweaters are also a must if you want to survive the cold. Gloves, hats, scarves and smart apparel are fun to wear and easy to customize.

Running in the winter is also a good excuse to make some new friends. Start a group on social media and find other runners in your area to buddy with. Since it’s darker longer, it’s a good idea to run with somebody for your safety. Plus, your buddy or group will help motivate each other and foster accountability.


Baby, it’s cold outside! Gloves and a scarf might not be enough to get you out the door on those really dark and dreary days. But what will that do to your overall motivation and how will it affect your fitness goals?

Have you ever considered investing in a wetsuit to wear on those cold and wet winter days? That’s what some athletes and obstacle course participants are doing to help keep them dry and warm during winter workouts.

One of the major drawbacks of running in the cold is safety. When winter really kicks in and hits freezing temperatures, you’re at risk of slipping and seriously injuring yourself. One common tip is to “stay low.” Try shortening your strides and keep your feet low to the ground. This will effectively decrease your chances of slipping on ice. Try to run on fresh snow and wear shoes with good traction.

Also, try running when the sun is shining. This won’t always be possible but will decrease your chances of an accident. Obviously, it’s harder for drivers to see you in the dark, especially if it’s raining or snowing. Wear a headlamp and reflective gear to help.

Since safety is such an issue, try running with friends or a dog. As mentioned above, it’s safer this way. But it’s also a great way to be social and get your furry friend out for some exercise too.

Running in the cold can be thrilling and challenging. Are you up for it?

Ryan Light

About Ryan Light

I started to run after a very stressful time in my life. I suffered most of my life with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), panic, and anxiety. I tried everything from diets to conventional medicines – nothing worked. Running saved my life – literally, I was at the bottom with my OCD, panic, and anxiety, and on the verge of suicide. Running gave me a new found adventure, a goal, an escape so to say. It’s been seven years since I took my first run…Currently I have run over 40 Half Marathons, Three Full Marathons, and countless amounts of 5 & 10Ks” and loving every minute of it. I’ve made some outstanding friends, overcame challenges I thought I’d never could, and best of all found a passion in life! To learn more...

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