I much rather run in cold weather than the heat of the summer months. I tend to have longer and faster runs in the cooler months and slow down quite a bit during the heat of the summer.
My best and worst running weather story was on the same day. I was training for the Marine Corps Marathon last year in dreadful summer weather so I was starting my runs very early – like 3am- to beat the heat. When I started my 20 mile training run, it was 89 with 96% humidity at 3am. It was absolutely dreadful. So, the best weather was when it started to rain. Light rain at first, but then good, soaking rain after that. My training buddies and I were loving it! But, then the storms started. We were 2 miles away from our cars and needed to get out of the lightning. It was very scary and we ran as fast as we could. Unfortunately, that left me at only 15 miles in my training run so as soon as the thunderstorm passed, I zipped back out to get those last 5 miles in!
I definitely prefer winter running to summer running, but I’m scarred from my first marathon when it ended up being much colder than forecasted and I was freezing. At the end I had to pass my phone through the fence to my Dad so he could stop my Strava because my fingers were so cold I couldn’t do it!
My body tends to run hot, so I love running in the cold. Winter is my favorite time to run; I’m sure if I lived somewhere with snow and ice, that might not be the case. Last year, I started 3M with my leggings and a short sleeve shirt, but after the first mile, I got rid of the shirt. I’m sure some people thought I was crazy since it was in the 40s. I always admire the spectators because they’re dealing with the temperatures because they chose to be there to cheer for the runners instead of being nice and cozy in bed.
This story addresses both–it was during the ice storm of 2021. The power was out all across the city. Driving anywhere was almost impossible. I think most Austinites were holding in place, trying to just keep warm. But I was itching to get outside! Perhaps despite my better judgement, I went for a run in my neighborhood. I had to be super cautious with every foot step, really dig into the snow and ice, as to not slip. I also recall that I ran down the middle of the street (no one to stop me!) to avoid being under the trees. Despite the danger and unusual cold, it was a gorgeous experience! Everything sparkled and it was eerily quiet, apart from the sound of ice crackling on the tree branches. It was a real exercise in being present, and one that I look back on fondly.
There is no bad weather, only bad clothing. If I had to pick a ‘bad’ weather running experience, I would say it was when I was doing a half marathon at Glacier National Park in July. The weekend of the race a snowstorm came through and it was below freezing at night. The worst part was I had rented a Tepee (yes, that’s right, a Tepee) because the race started on the north side of the park where there is limited lodging and no available hotel rooms. I barely slept because it was so cold and uncomfortable. However, I was aware of the weather conditions before I left and was prepared for the cold run, which was awesome! So, it was also the best weather related running because I love running in the cold, and coming from Texas, it was beautiful and refreshing to run in 30-degree weather during July.
My best running weather is anytime it is cold. Some people don’t do well when it is near freezing, but I feel like I can run longer when it is chilly. I can gauge the quality of how well we will do based on my very furry dog’s energy level on those cold mornings. Charley loves to be out on the coldest days so we try to take advantage of all of those in this Texas climate. During the snowstorm of 2021, we had a great time running/walking in the snow! Besides the heat of summer, my worst weather running was when I misjudged how close a thunderstorm was one morning in the spring. My dog is not a fan of thunderstorms so we ended up soaked from head to toe/paw as we quickly tried to get back to our starting point. That is why I always have a stack of towels in the car for our post-run/walks.
I’m a warm weather gal, so I really prefer running when it’s a nice 70 degrees. Summer mornings right after sunrise are my favorite time to run. (Except August, nothing is nice in August hah!)
Morning sunshine to midday miles: Running before 8 am in India used to be my sweet spot, basking in the pre-dawn glow. But after moving to the States, I’ve become an around-the-clock runner, well, at least until Texas summer rolls in. That scorching sun sends me back to mornings, just like last year during my Chicago marathon training. I underestimated the Texan heat wave! Used to 90-degree runs in India, I ended up severely dehydrated. A harsh lesson learned.
My personal bests, all achieved in sub-40-degree weather, start frosty but feel fantastic after a mile. Still, whatever the weather throws, being prepared is key, especially for ultras. You might start layered up and end stripped down to base layers – or nothing! The one constant? Hydration. It’s crucial even when the air bites.
The worst running for me is when it’s cold (40s and below) and windy and I forget a Buff to cover my ears! My ears really don’t like the cold.
Best running for me seems to be when the temps are in the 60s and the humidity is low.
I’m not a fan of the Texas heat. I love to be able to run in the sunshine with a chill in the air. January-early March really energize me. One of my most memorable runs was during one of the recent ice storms, bundled up in jacket, hat and gloves. It feels so odd after a while, sweating while the world is frozen around you.
BEST: The perfect Spring day in Austin running along Lady Bird Lake with the sun glimmering off the water at a perfect 60 degrees!
WORST: (My first run of 2024) Decided to sign up for the Austin Half Marathon with 6 weeks left to train and found myself in Ohio for a wedding. Needless to say, the clock is ticking, so I ran in 35-degree weather for the first time in years 🥶
My most memorable weather moment was during my first ever Full Marathon back in 2006. I was getting ready to run the Freescale Marathon when the weather that morning decided to have freezing rain and ice over roads. Needless to say the race was delayed so that trucks could put sand on bridges and icy patches. I was already super nervous because it was my first marathon but to add the freezing conditions added more anxiety. Once the roads were safe to run, I hit the pavement and completed my first full marathon. Having pre-race jitters actually gave me that push during the race to go out and conquer 26.2 miles.
I’ve run in every type of weather, from freezing cold to sweltering heat. The most recent experience was the Pittsburgh Half Marathon last year. It was dry at the start for two miles, then the skies opened up and I ran the next 11 miles in a driving thunderstorm! It was too late to delay the race, because everyone was on the course. Definitely makes you run faster when you hear the loud thunder booms!
I feel like I am one of the rare runners who absolutely LOVES running in cold weather. Sun shining and 38-40 degrees is the ideal run temperature for me. I was lucky enough to have this during my 20 mile training run.
Worst time of the year on the other hand for me is summer. It’s pick your poison with humidity in the morning and HEAT in the afternoon. I’m usually drenched a mile into running. However the thought of fall/winter running keeps me going.
Running in the summer months is my favorite. Nothing beats waking up early and going for a run around Town Lake and ending my run with a quick dip in Barton Springs– it makes me feel rejuvenated!
When I was training for my first full marathonhis past summer. I had to get in a long run and was planning on doing a 9 mile run. It was nice and sunny. Well 5 miles in that quickly changed and it was lightning, thundering, and torrential rain. I was a long way from home. So I just finished the 9 miles while getting soaked. It was not a fun run.
My best runs are when I know that I gave it my all. It doesn’t mean coming in 1st or setting a PR. The feeling of self accomplishment is something that can’t be topped.
My worst runs are just the opposite. Knowing that I could have done more, but didn’t…
Regarding weather, we live in one of the greatest places on earth. Even when the weather is “bad”, it’s not that bad. So get out there! 🙂
Oh man, running in Central Texas summer is a real rollercoaster! The heat and humidity are relentless, no matter when you decide to hit the road.
Let me tell you about this one wild day on the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail – started off sunny and scorching. But out of the blue, a crazy storm crashed the party. We had to race back to our cars in a total downpour, soaking wet and laughing at the randomness of it all.
Just your typical Texan weather keeping us on our toes during a run!
A couple years ago I was running the Texas Independence Relay and it was beautiful. Perfect weather and everyone was enjoying it. By evening, it was a different story having dropped 40 degrees and raining. Leave it to Texas weather to be the best and worse day to run.
Oh gosh, the 2017 South Padre Island (SPI) Half Marathon stands out as one of my worst running weather-related experiences! I can still remember all the chafing, blisters, and muscle cramps – ugh!
When my husband and group of running friends first arrived in SPI, the weather was perfect – cool, crisp, with a gentle sea breeze. By Sunday (race day), the forecast changed to severe thunderstorms. We kept a positive attitude and there was no rain as we made our way to the start…but that didn’t last – about 10 minutes before the race began the temperature dropped, rain poured down and lightening started flashing. Runners quickly moved from the starting line to find whatever shelter they could – we had been bussed to the start and it was very early, so no businesses were open to take cover in. I remember huddling together for warmth under the awning of a bank and the rain feeling like needles as it pelted our skin. When the race finally began everyone was dripping wet and shivering with cold. That didn’t last though because after a few miles the sun came out – with blazing fury. It was a weird combination of running in wet, squishy, extremely salty shoes while my skin burned in the sun and the sea salt and sand began chafing my body in places I didn’t even know could chafe. One of my friends ended up having to drop from the full to the half distance because of an injury and another friend had her car die because the engine was flooded with water. It was ridiculous and they cancelled the race for a few years afterwards. But, I got to run on a beach, dolphins were leaping gleefully in the water, and have heard that the SPI Half is back on so it may be time for a redemption race!
My worst weather related story is I was running a half marathon for an Ironman virtual challenge and it was so hot and muggy and about a quarter way through the run a torrential downpour started and my shoes got soaked!! I had to run the rest of the way with squishy shoes but I finished! In Texas, you have to be prepared to run in all conditions. This is when I realized the benefits of all weather/water proof running shoes. Lesson learned.
I enjoy running/walking all year round though my favorite times of the year are spring and fall. I do struggle with running in the summer heat so I try to get started before 9:00 a.m.
When my daughter Kiana was younger, we were headed to Run for The Water. It was raining and got slightly delayed as we were getting ready for the stroller. Usually she would shout go faster but shortly into the race she said something I didn’t recognize, can you please run around the puddles and not splash me. So it was running around the water while running for it.