After a lot of thought and consideration -- I have decided to retire One Foot in Reality and leave it as an Archive. I will still monitor it to keep the trolls at bay, but will not be posting here any longer.

If you are looking for my new posts, please go to www.haroldlshaw.com .

Thank you for all they years of following One Foot In Reality.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Cold Weather Running Attitude and Staying Safe

Okay, it is getting to be that time of year again. You...know...when we start wearing 2-3 layers, dig out the hat, mittens, gloves, running pants and maybe even find those running tights that everyone laughs at us about or that we choose to wear a pair of shorts over - well just because.

In other words, it is starting to get colder out and winter will be here before you know it.

Now you can get advice on what to wear, how to wear it and when to wear the extra layers, the latest hi-tech or low-tech fabrics, which running shoes work best in the colder weather by Googling or reading a multitude of other blogs.

Nope, this post is all about attitude - you know that little thing that makes the difference between continuing to get your ass out the door, on the treadmill or going through the gym door.


What you believe and how you feel about something - in this case the forthcoming cold-ass nasty weather.

Running outside during the winter is more mental than physical many days. Just the idea of having to gear-up, get out the door when the weather can be cold, nasty and the footing treacherous can feel at best intimidating, at worst overwhelming.

Now having the right gear does make a difference and will help with your confidence in being able to handle the weather outside, but having the right mindset, will get you out the door. I have found that once I am outside doing the run, it ain't that bad, but getting out the door can be the toughest part o the run.

Sometimes you just have to do it.


However, you still have to be smart about it and keep yourself safe.

On days like this - do you really need to run outside?

Pretty soon you will be reading blog posts or seeing in your favorite fitness app/forum/website where runners are talking and/or bragging about running in -15*F, blizzards, with wind gusts over 70 mph...well that and the regular days on end, of 15*F, windy conditions if you live in the northern climes.

It doesn't mean that it is safe or even something that you should do to simply get a run in.

Yes, I have done the bragging rights runs and will probably do them in the future, but then again, I am a bit crazy and have been doing this running outside in all conditions for too many years, so I have a pretty good idea of what I am doing. Even so, I have gotten in trouble more than once and have either had to find a place to get warm/safe and had to have my wife come and get me.

Never a good thing and then having to listen to the "I told you so", comments.

Many of us runner normally run outside in conditions and weather that are nasty as hell and don't really think that it is that big of a deal. After all, we want/need/will get our run in somehow or another and a "little" bad weather ain't gonna stop us.

Okay, if you are one of those runners - cool and you probably don't want to read any further...well maybe you should.

After all there is nothing like running on freshly snowed roads - at least until that car comes careening sideways down the road at you.


I've been there done that and will be doing it again this winter running in the cold, nasty, windy, slippery weather from time-to-time. There is nothing wrong with running in those conditions as long as you accept that it is inherently dangerous and that you are one slip (whether it is you or someone else doing the slipping) away from being in serious trouble if you choose to run in those conditions.

Also, you gotta remember, that the way that most runners dress while running in winter outside is centered around us actually running and completely different than how we need to be dressed if we need to walk or heaven forbid can't walk. Something to seriously think about when running when it is cold and/or nasty outside, that we all too often forget about.

Shit does happen 

You know that things called - accidents, hypothermia or frostbite.  They can be real problems and if things go real bad - you could be a statistic and we could be reading the obituary about a stoopid runner - not really what I want to do.

How can you prevent it/minimize problems:

  • Maybe it is great day for that 4-letter word - a rest day
  • Treadmill - yeah I know the dreadmill, but...sometimes it is the best alternative, especially if you have a decent one in the house and don't have to drive to the gym to use one. I use them regularly nowadays in my training and I can still get quality workouts in, without killing or hurting myself out in nasty weather.
  • Do laps on a short course close to home - that way if things are too nasty or you start to have problems, you can bag the run.
  • Carry a phone with you, so that someone can get you if things go bad and you can get an earful of how stoopid you were to go out anyway.

Running in winter can be great and you will see things that others will miss sitting inside, but it does come with risks that you HAVE to acknowledge and think about BEFORE you step out the door.

I don't want to sound like a pollyanna, worry-wort or a kill-joy, but at the same time running in the winter is more dangerous than at other times of the year and we have to be aware that it is.

Just the way it is.

Yeah, I know this is common sense or common knowledge, but sometimes a quick reminder doesn't hurt, who knows I might even take my own advice, when it comes to bragging rights runs this winter, well at least a little more often.

So think carefully about stepping outside for that "see how tough I am" winter runs and decide whether or not it is worth it to have those "bragging rights" about how I braved the cold and nasty weather.

This post originally appeared on One Foot In Reality if you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission, please go to my site to see the original post.


  1. TOO SOON!!!!! :(

    haha :)

    Yeah, we're starting into 'wind chill territory', frosty mornings, and extra layers. Really not looking forward to how fast this has happened!

    The mental part is definitely huge ... as is the need for awareness and safety. Don't ever leave your safety in someone else's hands. Yeah, I do the 'stupid runs' ... don't consider it 'bragging rights' as much as 'stubbornness and desire to run'. And being too cheap to join a gym ;)

    1. This morning's low was 23*F and definitely cold walking Bennie. Mike I have known you long enough that even when you go out and do runs in conditions that others do not that you are ensuring your safety and know when to say when - you have the experience necessary to know what to do in when conditions get nasty and you do think about what is going on around you. You just love to run outside and it showed when you wrote about it on your blog. :-)


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