Friday, April 17, 2015

Excuse #2: “I Can’t Run, the Weather Sucks”

This is the second part in my 5 part series of why there should be NO excuses to not run. See my first post HERE – all about people who don’t run because they are too busy. Yeah, right.

The second installment of this fascinating series focuses on those types who say they can’t run because it is too hot, cold, windy, etc. Living in Colorado, I run in all kinds of weather. All year ‘round. In fact, today it is 35 degrees and snowing. The perfect day for a wet and moist run (who else loves the word “moist” ? – raise your hand).


Do not be jealous of my jowls. You will have them one day too. I promise.

I got rid of my gym membership (too poor), which means no treadmill. Consequently, I actually did 100% of my training outside this year (well, 3x when it was super icy I paid an entry fee to the rec center to use the ‘mill). I’m not going to lie. I don’t always love to run outside when it’s colder than a witch’s tit, or windier than a sack full of farts or hotter than Hades. But, here’s why I do it:

Training in adverse conditions makes you stronger. Wind provides resistance training. Hot gives you a chance to practice hydrating and slowing your pace so your exertion stays even. Cold, well cold just gives you icicle butt and stops your circulation (if you have Reynauds like me). Not much good about that except that it makes you tougher and you feel like a bad ass.


10 degrees. Snow. 15 miles.

Ice, however – well, that is a different story. Don’t do it. Nothing can help you on ice, not even Yak Trax. It’s not worth the risk.

Bottom line is:  If you are someone who says they can’t run because of the weather, that’s a just another excuse to avoid getting out there. Sometimes, on days like today when it is pouring snow, I don’t see any other runners out there. I like to fantasize that the people in their cars think I’m cool for going out in those conditions. In actuality I’m sure that 1) they don’t care or 2) they just think I’m crazy and stupid.

But, the point is that I am proud of myself for doing it. Why? Because it takes a lot of discipline go get out there when it’s not a calm day with perfect temps. Fair weather running is lovely, but it’s also for pussies (can I get a bumper sticker that says that?)

Tips for Running in Shitty Weather:

Wind (the worst of all running weather evils, IMHO):

  • Try to lean into the wind, but keep your body relaxed.
  • If you are doing an out and back, run into the wind on your way out and with the wind at your back on the way home. This will hopefully give you a negative split for the run and will teach you to run with quick turnover on tired legs.
  • Surrender. Wind will slow you down if you have a headwind. Accept that fact and trudge forward. Don’t judge yourself for that. Lastly, don’t attempt tempo or speed work in the wind. You’ll just get frustrated.
  • Wear sunglasses. On windy days, dust blows around and may cause your eyes to sting or water. Wearing sunglasses will protect your eyes from debris.
  • Pay attention to the temperature. If it’s cold, note the wind chill and dress for that. In the heat, run out with the wind at your back and home with a headwind to cool you off.


  • First and foremost, dress appropriately, but not so that you will be too hot. If the snow is really coming down with some wind, be sure to cover your face.
  • Wear trail running shoes or Yak Trax for good traction.
  • As is the case with running in the wind, your pace while running in snow will be slower. Go with it.
  • Wear sunglasses to cut down on the glare and to keep flakes out of your eyes and your eyeballs from freezing.
  • Expect your muscles to be sore. When running in snow you use different muscles because you have to stabilize yourself.

Extreme Heat:

  • Avoid high intensity workouts in the heat of the day. Duh.
  • Accept that your pace will be slower. Ideal running temperatures range from 50º-55º. For every five degrees above that, your performance can degrade 2%.  This means that if you are running in 75º  heat, your pace could slow up to 10%! Humidity might make it even worse. Don’t expect you can or will perform the same in the heat (from a study done at Team Oregon).
  • Wear the least amount of clothing possible (that won’t get you arrested)
  • Try to pick a shady route.
  • Drink often and early. Try to take in at least 6 ounces of liquid (not including Bud Light) for every 15 minutes of running. Plan your routes where you can replenish your water, or hide it along the way.
  • Take salt tabs if you will be out there for awhile. I like Salt Stick.
  • Try to go early morning or later evening.
  • Avoid excess protein intake before and during the run. Protein metabolism produces extra heat (source).


Do you run in all kinds of weather?


Do you use weather as an excuse to not run?

What’s the worst weather related running disaster you’ve had? Probably this time when the weather changed suddenly and drastically and we were not prepared.



  1. Some days I tough it out and run in the crappy weather. Some days I've just had enough and run on my treadmill in the basement. Which is a luxury, I know. Last Sunday I ran in 15-20mph winds, which sucked for sure, but it was a beautiful day besides that so I would have felt guilty for not getting outside. Next week I have a track workout scheduled on a day we're expecting snow...not sure what I'm going to do about that one yet!

  2. Great post! I ran through this winter in New England, no matter how much snow we had. I did take it inside for many runs but even when we had 4+ feet of snow on the ground, I was outside at least once a week for my long run. Yaktrax did help but they gave me two black toenails which I later lost (badass). I found a combination of layers and an awesome pair of cross-country ski pants kept me warm and toasty. The ice and built up snow on the ground was the worst part. Sidewalks were also dangerous because it was hard to see around curbs and crossing the street was like playing russian roulette.

    After this winter I'll never be able to use weather as an excuse not to run again! I feel proud for pushing through and I'll be running a half marathon on Sunday to celebrate all my winter training!

  3. I don't love it, but I love the feeling of accomplishment it gives me. 2014's MN Polar Dash 14 mile race was -8 at the start (always held New Year's Day), not sure what the wind chill temp was. If I'm going to do it, I have to train right for it, so I'll go out in all but the most insane weather. My brother drove by during one training run in heavy snow, where I had to move into tire tracks to run, but off to the 4" deep now on the shoulder when a car came by. (I live in a quite rural area) He said "I thought those were your tracks - you look like you're running drunk!" 2015's 15 mile was blessedly above zero, still in single digits tho. Another favorite is the Book Across the Bay - always in February and across frozen Chequamegon Bay on Lake Superior, starting at 6pm - so mostly in the dark. I LOVE running it (with my Microspikes, of course) because it's sooo unique. When they call me crazy, I just say Thanks!! :-)

  4. Great post! I trained for a marathon this winter in Chicagoland. Most long run days, the temps were so cold that my water bottle and gels froze after thirty minutes, but I wasn't about to let the weather win. It's helped me gain confidence for race day because I know that if I can handle 14 miles in white-out blizzard conditions, I can hopefully handle a marathon.

    The worst weather disaster I've ever faced was running a half marathon with 50mph wind gusts. The wind was so strong that it blew the finish line arch down and it was ripping bibs off of shirts. Suffice to say, I was glad when it was over because everything hurt.

  5. I loved your post! I run in all kinds of weather. I have a treadmill in my basement, but I find it terribly boring - I'd rather be outside on the coldest of Southern Ontario days. I see the looks on the faces of the drivers when the pass me and I know they think I'm crazy, but I know I'm badass. I love it. I'm looking forward to the rest of this series! :)

  6. What about lightening? That's my only excuse. Rain? No problemo! But lightening freaks me out (and FL has lots of it during the summer!)

    1. Oh yeah lightening!! How could I forget that? I am actually terrified of it...won't go out in it. Especially on trails.

    2. Same here. Any weather but storms. Mostly because I run a lot in a forrest and don't want to be hit by a lightening (or a falling tree).
      Also, I give myself a permission to skip when we have an official hurricane alert. (again, safety reasons)

    3. Makes perfect sense to me, Jana!

  7. Always have run in all weather and love winter running. Hit a nice black ice patch this winter, and was rewarded with some new titanium ankle parts :) Been 12 weeks of painful recovery but back at it now Will definitely by a bit more wary of winter running in the future! Hitting the treadmill today :)

  8. I'm an all-weather runner in western Massachusetts. Coldest run this winter was 1°F or so with windchill around -8 or -9, so not too bad, though I did wear a balaclava for the first mile until I warmed up. Kahtoola Nanospikes are better than Yaktrax on ice or packed snow, in my experience. For fresh snow I like the tread on the Salomon Speedcross 3 trail shoes; I might try its spiked version (the Spikecross 3) next winter for ice.

    I won't run in a torrential downpour (unless it blows up unexpectedly and I need to get home) or a thunderstorm.

  9. I run in every weather and I love running in the rain - the expressions on the faces of people bundled up in hats and coats with umbrellas when they see me running past them in shorts and tshirts always makes me laugh. I've even (stupidly) run when it was icy and one particular run stands out: I had to run early one moring, kids off school, husband in work, only available time to run was 7 a.m. I was treading carefully, avoiding the ice as much as I could. And then of course I skidded. It seemed to take about ten minutes to fall, enough time for me to consciously fall forward onto my hands rather than backwards onto my ass :) There was even enough time for me to say "and she's DOWN" as I fell, frightening the bejeezus out of a man who was walking just ahead of me - he hadn't heard me coming behind him but he certainly heard me taking a dive and commentating on it as I went down :) He jumped, turned around, asked if I was ok. Of course, I jumped up, kept saying, I'm FINE, I'm FINE and continued on my merry way. Thankfully, no major injuries, just a jammy doughnut knee and some hurt pride!

  10. I mostly run in any kind of weather but I live in Southern California so we rarely ever have any bad weather! I actually enjoy running in he rain, it is very freeing for some reason! The worst experience I had was last year running a 10 mile race, the winds were blowing 25-35 mph, the temps were in the high 40's and the course was hilly. The wind was blowing sideways and we had to run over a dam, I almost fell over a couple of times because the wind was so strong over the water and I kept getting pelted with sand. It definetly was my least favorite race I have ever done but one I will talk about forever!

  11. Call me a pu$$, I hate running in bad weather. I love a glorious run on a beautiful, sun-filled day like we're having today. 65, sunny, light breeze, modest humidity.
    I did however run a fun run 5k one time with a white bra and a white tank top, which was my bad weather run. It teemed rain so hard, my shoes squished for days after. It was beautiful and sunny, and a flash storm rolled in. Needless to say, all the men standing along the course were snapping photos of my wet t-shirt contest entry. There were no secrets at that run (yes, they were real at the time, even if they aren't now). But if it's bad, I go indoors. We had a scary-cold winter, and I did any and all things to stay out of it. I'm just an average sissy, because I will go out when t-storms are threatening, even though one day, I might just get zapped. I will stop and find cover at a local store, wait it out, figuring it's one more reason to put off house cleaning.

    Amy P. Philly runner.

    1. Haha! This: "all the men standing along the course were snapping photos of my wet t-shirt contest entry"

  12. Great Post! I actually love winter running and absolutely hate the treadmill but I will head inside if the temps get below 15*f (asthma gets worse) or if the trails are so icy that they become a risk for injury. it is all about layering with really warm protective clothing.

  13. California/Hawaii girl here so my "any kind of weather" tends toward the warm side. It took me a while when we moved to Hawaii to get use to the humidity, but I learned what I need (I'm always surprised at how many people I see running without any water) and make it work.

    My least favorite weather is Santa Ana winds in So Cal. 10% humidity or less, 30+ mph winds, it's so not fun. But I do it! I also ran the Honolulu Marathon last year in pouring rain. Saw a woman slip on a carelessly tossed gel pack that was on a wet road, not cool whoever tossed it!

  14. Love this post. The only weather condition I won't run in is ice... and I'm a little wary of lightning... but those are rare occurrences around these parts.

    Living in Oregon's Willamette Valley, the most common weather conditions I have to deal with are rain in the fall/winter/spring, and heat in the summer. I *love* running in 50-60 degree rain, but the 35 degree rain, not so much. I ran 5 miles yesterday afternoon in 70 degree sunshine, and I felt like I was going to melt. I'm sure I will get used to the heat by mid-summer...

    Appropriate clothing was probably the biggest help for me in keeping the "run in any weather" attitude. I have a light-weight running hat with a bill that keeps the rain out of my eyes, and a few pieces of Under Armour for the colder days. I also went to the local thrift store and bought some cheap, lightweight outerwear for those days when an extra layer might be nice -- including a water resistant one for the colder rainy days.

  15. Ice, shmice! If I didn't run outside when it was icy, I'd have been on treadmills most of this winter - which isn't an option. And, anyway, running on ice has its benefits too. It's super important to keep your feet directly under you to avoid falling - which contributes to improving your form and strengthening your core. Plus, people think you're badass, which boosts your confidence heaps. My not-so-secret theory (since I spout it to anyone who will listen) is that runners stick to ice better than regular boots/shoes so your chances of falling are less when you run than when you walk. (Of course, that might be wishful thinking but it seems true to me and I've run on ice a lot!) Anyway, lest you think I exaggerate, check out this post that I wrote on the benefits of ice running a few weeks ago: BTW, thanks for another great post!!

  16. Ice and lightning are deal breakers for me, too. I live in Atlanta so we generally have mild winters, though this past winter we had multiple days in the low teens. I actually got to be kind of blase' about running when it was that cold. It was that or the 'mill at the gym, which I really hate. And people always thought I was a badass for doing it. The trick was to sleep in my warm base layers, so I was usually plenty warm when I got out of bed to run. If I'm cold when it's time for me to go out into the cold....that makes it a lot harder.

    running on ice is just not worth the injury. It's pretty rare around here so I don't have a need to have ice equipment. Ice *will* send me to the 'mill, if it's ice that takes a few days to melt (and usually then the entire metro area comes to a screeching halt, school is cancelled, and I'm stir crazy, so I'll be happy to get on the 'mill!)

    High heat, humidity and air pollution alerts are our biggest problem. I always, always run in the early morning during the summer. Otherwise heatstroke will happen, and running when there's a "Code Orange Ozone Alert" is the afternoon is just really unhealthy.

    I'll try to tough out most anything, just to avoid having to run on the treadmill. I hate it that much.

  17. Enjoyed the read!
    Running in Ireland it rains so much I think I might actually develop a fin I'm out in it so much. I've learned to love rain and now actually wish for it when I get too warm. Have a great weekend!!

  18. I've run in really cold, down to about -35C. It's all about dressing carefully, planning your route carefully, and a few other careful things. Hot I haven't so much experience with, maybe maxing out at 30 C.

    The deal breaker is icy footing no matter the temperature. There was a case where a woman slipped getting out of her car, banged her head on the way down, and froze to death 20 feet from her door. I probably wouldn't run in an actual thunder and lightning storm.

    No real weather adventures on the run. The bike now...

  19. Reynauds runner over here as well!! My family doesn't get it...but running in negative temps (shit, even 30 degree weather) makes me feel so. bad. ass. It's an extra adrenaline rush when you finish a run :)

  20. I also have Reynauds. The cold weather is so hard on my "dead" white hands. I'd love to know, what gloves do you wear while running in freezing temperatures? I haven't found a pair warm enough yet, even with handwarmers.

  21. Have never run in snow apart from chasing ski but do run in hot hot hot weather all the bloody time. And let me tell you 99% humidity and over 100 is just not pleasant it doesnt make me stronger just angrier, redder, thirstier, and sunburnt. Here a cool day is anything below about 80 degrees (hope my conversion is right). Summer running is best in thunderstorms or torrential rain (one way to get a drink) The Dreadmill can be your only option on really stinking hot weeks but guaranteed the airconditioning at the gym is on the blink.... again. Even the aircon gives up here

  22. I definitely run in all kinds of weather mainly because I prefer being outside in crappy weather than running on the treadmill at the gym. I live in PA, so we get the single digit temp. winters as well as extremely hot and humid summers. Ya just gotta be smart and adjust your expectations as needed. There have been times when it was dangerously cold or dangerously hot and running outside would have been STUPID. But believe me, I was not using the weather as an excuse. When those times happen, I get extremely bummed that I have to change my workout plans. I agree with you that ice is something else I don't deal with. Or lightening. I have a friend who likes to brag about running in storms. I just have to roll my eyes because that is not bad ass, that is just DUMB!

  23. I have Reynauds too!

    I run in most weather but also have a gym membership so if I don't feel like going outside it I hit the treadmill. I would rather run in cold than heat. Wind sucks but I always figure it will be at my back at some point during the run.

    Worst weather related injury - falling due to ice. I chipped a tiny piece of bone off my elbow I think - I could feel it floating around in there for months - felt like a loose tooth. It was gross but finally healed.

  24. I run in most weather but avoid ice (have had a few slips in my life). I would add two little tips to your list. In wind that is cold if you can run in a sheltered location (ie trail through the trees, river valley) sometimes you can avoid the worst of the wind. I did that a lot this winter - the trees make a huge difference. Also, if you're a guy, buying a pair of shorts with a special windproof panel to cover the junk can make the difference between an enjoyable run and incredible pain. I think I am most wimpy about temps just around freezing when it is still rain not snow, but cold enough to make it really unpleasant when you get wet. I used a treadmill at work to avoid dark/icy runs this winter, but on weekends when I could run in the light, it was outside all the way.

  25. I really like your "Tips for Running in Shitty Weather"... perfect list for the conditions!

    Anyway, I have been in the same situation. No gym membership, no treadmill, means braving the elements. Not that the treadmill is that special in my heart anyway, but when it is 10 degrees and snowing outside, it is difficult to stay motivated if you don't have the luxury.

  26. I kind of like running when it's crappy outside. It's energizing in a way. And also, come race day, I'm not fazed by anything.

    The problem we have in Scotland, being pretty far north, is darkness. Training in the winter = training in the dark. This gets old.

  27. I hate running in cold weather. Running in hot weather is the best, I get to break out in a huge sweat and I love the cleanse it provides after the run.

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