When is it too cold to run?

After my last post the other day about how to run in the cold and with the upcoming week in mind when I will be going back to my northern home (where the degrees usually are a bit lower than in this part of Sweden where I am at the moment), I realised I had missed a point in my last post; when is it too cold to run? So I thought I just want to do a short follow up now when I have tried to find an answer and get some more knowledge.

thermometerWhat I can find, the most usual suggestion is that down to about -17°C (1,5°F) or -18°C (-0,5°F) it is ok to be running outside, with proper clothing and some extra thought. Some say even down to -20°C (-4°F). But at those degrees and below is the biggest risk to frostbites, the most common risk when out in a really cold weather.

One other thing to think about could be that it usually is better to run slower when it is a really cold weather. That also mean it takes a longer time to get around the same distance as you use to run. So if you not used to run in cold weather, a good idé is probably to shorten the distance or to run somewhere where you have a possibility to adjust the distance through the run depending on how it goes. It is better to be safe than sorry.

And with the information above in mind, I have to realize that the fight against cold weather most often is a fight against my head and not really against the weather itself. But that war will probably take a while to win. I hope I will be better at it to next winter at least.

How cold temperatures have you been out running in? And how do you manage to with the mental fight to get out there even when it’s freezing? Please leave a comment below, with your experiences and best tips 😀



  1. I found this post very interesting as I have often wondered about running in the cold. To be honest, I find it hard running in anything less than 5 degrees! I find it hard to breathe and it feels like such an effort on my lungs it just isn’t enjoyable.

    However, I also don’t like running when it’s much over 22 degrees or so (I used to live in Dubai and running in the heat was just as miserable as the cold!

    Maybe I am just a fair-weather runner and not as hardy as other people! I’d be interested to see what other people think?

    Thanks for an interesting post.


    • Hey Louise
      Thanks for your thoughts. Honestly I haven’t been close to as disciplined as I should had liked to be this winter, to get out in all weathers. But I working on it.

      We usually not so pampered with “good weather” here in Sweden. So if I want to manage continuity in my running I have to learn to handle the most types of weather. 🙂
      But sounds like you should be carefull if you feel to hard with the breathing.


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