How Cold Is Too Cold??

Winnipeg Willow the groundhog didn’t see her shadow this Groundhog Day, but so far it’s not looking good for an early spring.

According to                                                                                                                 

“The coldest February since 1979 is ending with all of the province except the Churchill region under Environment Canada wind chill warnings. Dangerous wind chills of -45 to -50 are expected across southern Manitoba, the federal weather agency said. In northern Manitoba, the wind chill could drop as low as -55.”


Well first I’d like to say that I am extremely thankful that when I ran the Hypothermic Half marathon last weekend it was only -16. If I woke up race day to -50 degree winds, I really don’t know if I could do it.

I’ve written before about how to protect yourself from the bitter cold (view post). But at some point you really have to know when it’s just too dangerous to run outside. In the winter I run in small circuits near my house so that I’m never far from safety. But if you enjoy something more scenic or the beauty and challenge of trails, it can be very dangerous to run when the weather gets too cold. Imagine twisting an ankle or realizing you’re underdressed miles away from home.

An article by Kelly O’Mara on says:

“Research suggests that as long as it’s warmer than -18 degrees, it’s not too cold to work out — as long as you take the appropriate precautions.”

O’Mara explains that running in weather any colder than -18 puts runners at high risk of frostbite. But -18? That’s a few degrees away from wearing only windbreakers and shoveling the walk in shorts up in Winnipeg. Ok, I’m exaggerating a little.

Everyone is different and every city is different. As a born-and-raised Winnipeger, I’m comfortable running outdoors up to about -30, though I don’t enjoy it.

At what point do you stay inside? I am interested to see how Winnipegers and non-Winnipegers differ.   


6 thoughts on “How Cold Is Too Cold??

    • Haha I would find 40°F quite comfortable. I would always choose super cold over super hot. Though it’s been pointed out to me that I don’t specify that I measure in degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit. So my tolerance for -30C weather is about -22°F. Still DANG cold. Thanks for commenting!

  1. Wow! I am a coldly cat, and although I love running in snow, it’s pretty much a novelty in North Carolina. I won’t go out if it’s under 30 F. BRRRR! I do have good cold weather gear, though. I look forward to reading more about your northern running experiences!

    • I’m always amazed at how tough Mantibonans can be as I watch runners go past my house when it’s even too cold out for me. But where I live, we have snow 6 months out of the year, so you just get used to it and push through. I’m sure though it’s pretty universal though that we’re looking forward to summer 🙂 Thanks for commenting, I enjoy your blog also!

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