Reasons Why Colder Weather Running Beats The Heat

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Running in the cooler weather means a boost in perfromance and beats winter blues. Reasons Why Colder Weather Running Beats The Heat

The air feels smooth and clean with each inhale. Despite seeing a cloud of breath on the exhale, the body starts to get warm. Soon the chills in the bones are gone. With arms pumping, it seems easier to quicken the stride. A little cold weather never hurt us, runners. In fact, many prefer it because running in the colder weather absolutely beats running in the heat, even though some may think it’s bad for you.

Those who are new to running may not have braved their first fall and winter seasons. Many runners love running the fall because of how beautiful it looks outside. The amber and brown leaves line the runner’s paths. Sometimes we can even smell a homemade apple pie being baked. The sun smiles down, yet the wind helps keep things cool. Compared to the hot and sticky summer to say this is refreshing is an understatement.

And even though this is the calm before the storm when talking about colder temperatures, many runners continue to keep on going even in the more brisk weather. All that is needed is the proper winter running gear.

Runners might not know what to expect in colder weather, but here are all the reasons why it is better than running in the heat.

Easier Runs

It’s actually easier to run in the colder weather. Runners can breathe better without the humidity and there is a smaller risk of overheating or dehydration. This is why marathons are typically held in October, November and early spring.

Think less panting, more smooth sailing. Less feeling faint and sluggish under the sun and more light and airy in the cooler air.

Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash.

Boost In Performance

The body can regulate its body temperature better in the colder weather. For runners, this means a boost in endurance which can lead to better performance. Basically, runners can run longer in the colder weather compared to the heat.

A study conducted at the University of Oregon found that athletes who train in the heat ended up performing better when they began training in the colder weather.

Another study found than marathoner ran about a minute per mile faster in the winter than in the summer. This study found that it takes longer for the core temperature to reach its threshold for exhaustion and sweating, which can be linked to the boost in performance.

In short, a person can run longer and faster in colder weather.

Fat Burning

As logic has it, the longer the run the more calories burned. And many runners continue exerting in the colder months in preparation of avoiding gaining weight for the holidays. According to research from the University of Exeter in England, our bodies are inclined to eat more in the winter because of natural instinct to keep our body fat. Stay active in the colder weather keeps the metabolism up and going. Running in the cold months means keeping up healthy lifestyles which can keep off that added body fat.

Interestingly enough, the body tends to have more brown fat for insulation in the winter months. This is opposed to the white fat known as belly fat. Having brown fat adds in calorie burning not to gaining fat tissue. This is another reason why running out in the cold is a great idea when it comes to touching calories. Not to mention the added effort it takes to run after a snowfall in those colder winter months.

Photo by mauro paillex on Unsplash.

Solid As Ice Mentality

Running in the colder weather also toughens the mind. It can be much easier to go for a run when it is nice and warm outside in anticipation of the summer. We continue running all summer long and stay active. But once the weather starts to change, we often lose that motivation. Let alone when it comes freezing outside. But those who do get outside and get that run done have the strong mental grit that separates them from other runners.

Running in all weather conditions boosts confidence that they can face—and race— at any temperature or when any obstacle comes their way. Plus it’s a great way to fight the winter blues and keep a positive outlook during a time of the year when many have lower energy levels and higher risk for depression.

Change Of Scenery

Arguably the best part of running in colder weather is the constant change in scenery. The temperatures start to drop which feel refreshing, but at first, there are not many visual changes. After the cooler air comes to the changing leaves and vibrant colors. This is the best time to go run the trails of local parks. Then the leaves fall and winter approaches. The same route drastically changes over the course of three months. This helps prevent boredom when having to run the same routine places.

Tips To Run In Colder Weather

Just remember that while we are excited to run the cold after a much-needed break from the summer heat we still need to be prepared. That means knowing when it layer up and when not to just run in a t-shirt. It might not be winter yet, but early mornings and evenings can see a big drop in temperatures.

Get the fall and winter running gear out and see what items are needed for the upcoming season.

Since it gets darker earlier, plan runs accordingly or be properly lit to avoid running in the dark. Try pairing up with a friend.

Take the time to stretch and warm up so the muscles are nice and ready to go to avoid injury. Get the blood pumping to also warm up on these cooler mornings.


  1. Michael Rodio, Hot Workouts Vs. Cold Workouts: What’s Scientifically Proven to Work Better, Health Website
  2. Santiago Lorenzo, John R. Halliwill, Michael N. Sawka, and Christopher T. Minson , Heat acclimation improves exercise performance, Journal
  3. Brittany Smith, Here’s the Scientific Reason You Gain Weight in the Winter—and How to Avoid It, Health Website
  4. Jessica Smith, 5 Reasons Why Running In the Cold Is Good for You, Health Website
  5. Yaroslav I. Molkova and Dmitry V. Zaretskyb, Why is it easier to run in the cold?, Health Journal
  6. University of Exeter, People face subconscious urges to over-eat at this time of year, Health Journal