Run OUTSIDE? In the Cold? Are You Nuts?

It’s holiday time.  It’s chaotic.  It’s cold.  It’s snowing again.  The weather makes the treadmill look mighty inviting. However, there are some positive aspect to getting out the door for an outside run!


First, have you noticed that you can still hear your kids fighting, screaming and hitting each other when you are plugged into the treadmill?  It doesn’t matter how loud the music or movie may be, you can still hear them screaming “MOM” at the top of their lungs as they torture one another.  A lot of the mental benefits of running are lost when you are constantly leaping off the treadmill to beat chase down your little angels.   My hubby used to ask me why I would go outside in negative degree weather to run.   Alone.  In the dark.  In rain.  In the snow.  In the sleet.  He doesn’t ask why anymore because he is too busy chasing the children around to break up their fights


According to an article in Men’s Health, here are a few other benefits to running outside in the cold:

  • You burn more calories in the cold because your body not only expends energy for exercise but also to keep you warm.
  • Combats Seasonal/Winter Depression by keeping your serotonin levels high.
  • Increases “toughness” both mentally and physically.  Your body adapts to the weather/temps and your mind realizes that new things are possible. 
  • Your body learns to use oxygen more efficiently.

A few things I do to force myself out the door on those cold mornings:

  • I commit to a group run or meet up with friends:

image  Me_Aurelia_Dawn

  • I pick a new or different venue to explore.

image  Snow at WFG_Dec 2013

  • I have a race lined up that will force me to keep logging miles outside so that I will be accustomed to the elements.
  • I sometimes treat myself to coffee or breakfast after a particularly cold, dismal outdoor run.
  • I keep things light, fun and disregard pace. 
  • I take a long hot bath when I get home and think about how happy I am that I’m not shivering in an ice bath.  Smile
  • I will occasionally buy a new piece of winter running gear to get me excited about trying it out in the cold, like those Athleta PolarTec Power Stretch 2 tights that I’m loving right now (and also wearing in every photo above).

How about you?  What do you do in the winter to keep yourself focused and heading OUTSIDE for your runs? 

** Disclaimer – If it’s icy or the weather conditions reduce visibility, stay inside for safety reasons!

** I Run Outside ALL Year Long**  Amanda – TooTallFritz **

11 thoughts on “Run OUTSIDE? In the Cold? Are You Nuts?

  1. Love this post – winter running outdoors can be so tough, it’s nice to be reminded of the benefits! One thing that helps me get out the door – making shoes nice and toasty with the shoe dryer beforehand. And if I must ice during the winter (injury or whatever), I counteract it with hot packs everywhere else ha ha 🙂

  2. Uggghhh…running in cold, winter weather…find no enjoyment in it…rather something one has to do to adapt and be ready to run their distance race in spring. Uggghh…you put a safety “disclaimer” there after posting all those positive advantages of bearing with running cold.

    I will be Forthright in saying I find no real “enjoyment” in running in winter cold conditions…only find it a “necessity” to build the adaptations necessary to run the upcoming distance race in spring and have some acclimation to cold conditions if race-day on the cold-side of equation.

    Be careful out there in winter cold trying to train and follow a training schedule to attain specific training objectives. Cold is cold and can be unforgiving to try to run your “scheduled” workout in terms of miles and pace. Have to adjust…but running in cold…acclimates you to those conditions.

    Don’t see the aerobic or better oxygen efficiency for running in cold. That might be better attained training and living base at altitude…but don’t agree that running in cold makes you more efficient in oxygen consumption.

    The only reason to do it is because you live in the cold and you just do your runs in the cold ou train in. Got to subject and train physiology prepared to run in extreme cold conditions….and even if race day comes and it not as cold as you trained in, then hopefully that run-training you have invested in translates into optimal perfornance for you. If it is very warm on springtime race day race…well…then you are F’d in the sense you will not be acclimated to running in above normal or at least moderate running temperature. Thus, running on treadmill regularly in winter and running on in house temperature…builds that acclimation to also handle if the temps on spring race day are on the high or warm side of things.

    Hope it makes sense to yu all!

  3. I agree with you, I’d rather run outside than on the treadmill any day! I actually like running in the snow. I’ve been doing the #RunChatHunt scavenger hunt, so I’ve been looking for stuff on the list ( holiday items and what not) so that has made me look forward to my runs lately.

  4. Love this! I just posted about my long snowy Sunday run and I feel the same way. Although if you read my post you’ll see that I disagree with that quote you have on here – I can still get stuff done in non-perfect conditions on a treadmill 🙂 It’s just way more fun in the snow!

  5. when you live in an area where it snows, you are outta luck. OR Lucky to get in some winter runs. But man…canadian winters are HARSH!!! I have some great pics with frozen lashes and ice on clothing!

  6. Pingback: Winter Blues …. | TooTallFritz

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