Facing My Fear: Learning To Be A Cold Weather Runner

Good morning friends!

We have a crazy busy day ahead of us (a huge project in the works) which means errands, kitchen experiments and time on the computer. I know that sounds like a not so fun Saturday, but I am actually really excited to get to work! I guess it’s not work when you love doing something, right?

The morning didn’t start off with excitement though. More like… fear.

My next half marathon is 2 weeks away and ever since winter rolled in, I have been avoiding outdoor running like the plague. Sure, I have learned to appreciate a treadmill a bit more but on the flip side, I don’t think the race director will let me run on a treadmill with nice temperatures while everyone else hits the roads.

That sucks.

So, I knew that I had to bite the bullet, shimmy into leggings, toss on some layers, pull out my gloves, find a hat and face my winter fears.

Am I really afraid of the cold?

I know I keep mentioning “my fear of the cold” and it might sound ridiculous to many of you considering that our cold is really not THAT cold…

But I live in Charleston, we don’t know what cold really is. And when it’s below 45-degrees… THAT’S COLD to me. I am miserable, irritable, stiff, and inefficient when it’s cold outside. I really do have a fear of it. I am afraid my fingers will get stiff, my toes will get dumb and my ears will burn.

Frost on the windows = extra time to change my mind.

Yesterday when I made up my mind to not get on a treadmill, I made the mistake of looking at what the temperatures would be this morning. 35… really? So, I pulled out my gear like normal. Got it set up in the bathroom so that I wouldn’t wake Dan this morning and hit the hay.

But when the alarm went off, all I thought about was that 35-degrees. So I told Dan I wasn’t going to run, I was going to stay snuggled in bed nice and warm. Thankfully my husband isn’t very sympathetic and made some comment. Which got me out of bed about 45-minutes later as my conscious wouldn’t let me fall into a deep sleep.

I grabbed a breakfast bar and ran out the door.

And you know what!?

It wasn’t so bad. 

Sure I was cold as “you know what” at the beginning but as I started I kept telling myself… “this isn’t so bad.” I can do this.

In fact, I might have even put one one too many layers, okay maybe not. But the point is I faced my fear and it proved not to be so scary after all.

It didn’t hurt that I had views like this:



By the end of my run (which was only around 7 miles), I was pumped! Not only did I run in the cold, but I ran over 3 different bridges for 3 amazing views of Charleston. My pace wasn’t bad either, averaging under a 8.50 minute mile. I’ll take it!

Now, I just have 1 more long run then it’s time for back to back races! I can’t wait.

Okay, to the kitchen I go!

Happy Saturday 🙂


  • Lauren

    Nice job on facing the cold, but I have to agree. I know Savannah’s cold isn’t THAT bad, but that just means I’m wimpier about it. I’m still sitting here putting off going to the gym because that means leaving my nice warm house…I guess this post guilted me into it now!

    • Definitely makes me wimpy! You can do it, you’ll warm up quick at the gym! And on a saturday there won’t be too many people there! Best time to go.

  • Aileen

    Now I don’t feel bad about not wanting to run in the cold, I’m in Minnesota, and I would welcome 35 degrees. If you’re scared of running in that kind of weather I don’t feel bad about not wanting to go run when its only 10 degrees!

    • haha, 10-degrees!? There is no way you’ll see me in those temperatures. I salute you big time for just opening up the door and stepping out in Minnesota winters.

  • Nice job! Relatively speaking for PA weather, I’m a wimp. I will not run outside if it’s below freezing and I have to go for more than a mile. I should probably get over that sometime reallll soon. But that’s SO awesome for you! Pace, path, and everything. Way to go!

    • Below freezing? No way Jose. I am trying to decide on a good race to run in Philly this summer! Open to suggestions!

  • Samantha

    I live in Tampa which has even milder weather than Charleston, but sometimes we do get some cold temps! The weekend right before Christmas, my training group had a long run on the books for the half marathon we’re all doing. It was 32 degrees!! I thought I would freeze out there, but I ended up hot and taking over my running jacket and going down to only a LS top. When it gets cold, I just have to tell myself that it will only take about a mile to warm up, and that it’s fine about that!

    • wow, that’s cold for Tampa! You’re right after mile 1 I was good to go!

  • Embrace the cold. Learn to appreciate and respect the challenges of running in the cold. Instead of saying, “Oh no, ” say Oh goody!” Strive to conquer mind over matter–as long as you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. Just do it!!!
    Beyond the cliche’s–dress to be cool/cold for the first five minutes of your run. Then you should be perfectly comfortable for the duration (once you start generating body heat).
    For the record my coldest run: -70 degrees F with the wind chill factor. Loved it!

    • Thanks Bruce, you definitely motivated me and you’re right… it’s all about mind set! But I am just telling you, I won’t be caught running in -70. Holy wow!

  • Taylor,
    Interested to hear the comment your husband used that got you out of bed.
    Being from So Cal, this dude cannot complain about winter running like most other folks. My kids have only seen my running tights on twice, and I usually wear them only on business trips (where nobody knows me).
    One more excuse to get yourself outdoors – just remember how great you look in those leggings! 😉

    • haha, it wasn’t what he said… it was the way he said it. Something along the lines of “what, fine… so when will you do it then?” but there was a bit of disappointment in his voice. And I hate that! So I rolled on out. I do love leggings! 🙂

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