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By Carrie Rhodes, PT

When it gets cold out, most of us head inside and seek warmth. However, for runners, the urge to hit the pavement can be too strong, especially for those that are training. Unfortunately, the cold weather can make runners more prone to injuries, as muscles tense up, and can cause asthmatic flares. Carrie Rhodes, physical therapist at OrthoCarolina Winston Salem and a runner herself, recently talked about how runners can prepare to minimize these issues.


  • Layer up: Make sure you dress appropriately. It’s better to overdress than under-dress because you can take layers off as you run. If it’s below freezing, make sure that your hands, feet and head are covered.
  • Warm up: When you first get outside, your muscles are going to tense up and that can lead to injuries. Do some active stretching, like jumping jacks and jogging in place to get muscles warmed up before you take off running.
  • Breathe: Practice stable breathing throughout your run and be mindful of your heart rate. This is especially important if you have respiratory problems or lung issues.
  • Slow down: When it’s cold out, pullback on intensity. There’s no need to try to break any records.

Carrie stressed that if it gets below 15 degrees, you probably should head inside and hop on the treadmill. The treadmill does not have to be the “dreadmill” either. You can try doing some speed work and interval training.

Final word of advice for runners: Bundle up and think of the warmer days that are coming!

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Originally published January 24, 2018. Updated December 10, 2018.

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