Some people will tell you that as long as you have the right gear, it’s never too cold to run. There is a kernel of truth to that statement, but there are truly dangerous conditions when you should either reschedule or take it to the treadmill — or do some other type of inside cardio instead: stationary bike, rowing, rebounding are all good choices if you have the equipment.
If you don’t have any indoor cardio options, all you have to do is turn to the numerous apps available online.
When can it be too dangerous to run?
You may not mind running in the snow — maybe even in deep snow — but you have two choices outside:
- Drive to a (hopefully) cleared path
- Run in your neighborhood
Both choices are dangerous in a blizzard. Running in your neighborhood might be an option, but then you have to hope that cars don’t go off the run and hit you. Driving somewhere to run (some gyms even have indoor tracks) might work, but then you have to worry about yourself skidding off the road, or getting into an accident.
Not to mention the chance of a fall and injury.
It’s not worth it!
It’s not just the temp, it’s the conditions
Hypothermia can set in even if the temperature is well above freezing — especially if it’s wet and windy. If you can’t stay dry, it’s very cold, and it’s windy — it may be time to reschedule that run. Especially if you’re running solo, because you’re unlikely to realize you’re becoming hypothermic.
Protect the digits . . .
. . . and the feet, nose, and ears. Those are all likely spots for frostbite. You may have your hands and feet covered, probably your ears, too. Your nose can be covered by a mask or well fitting gaiter — but just remember, that frostbite can occur with just half an hour exposure in temps below 0F/-18C.
There are ways to get better traction in the ice:
- Trail Shoes (bonus points for waterproof)
- Screw shoes (read the instructions here)
- Yaktrax or Nanospikes
I have used all of the above. They will definitely help, but none of the options available can 100% protect you from slipping and injuring yourself. You still have to weigh the danger from drivers whether you stay in your neighborhood or drive somewhere.
Yes, you can, with the proper gear, run in almost any weather, but sometimes you have to ask yourself is it really worth it? What am I risking if I reschedule my run? What am I risking if I fall and injure myself?
Runners are a stubborn lot, and yes, I’ve run in some pretty bad weather conditions. Definitely some I shouldn’t have run in. Just know before you go and weigh the risk vs reward for you. Don’t be swayed by your running friends if your gut is just telling you it’s not the right day for you.
How low will YOU go?
Have you ever had frostbite? I’m happy to say I haven’t!
What’s your favorite gear for staying upright in slippery conditions?
This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.