Hey everybody,

Just looking for general information about cold weather running. What kinds of changes are expected when running in cold weather, such as in heart rate or VO2 max?

I started a training block in the southern United States in the fall but then traveled to the midwest (near Chicago) where it is frigid right now. At first I noticed my heart rate seemed to have increased quite a bit for easy paced runs. I read that in the cold our blood vessels restrict causing an increase in HR- does anybody know if this is accurate?

Thanks for any and all info, and happy running!


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Hi Ryan - from my experience as a runner and coach, I see HR a tad lower in cold temperatures.  I usually factor in 5 beats lower or so with my athletes.

Are you still having elevated HR now that you have settled in?  I wonder if your issue wasn't more of a shock to the body since you were not used to the cold?

Thanks Eric. My assumption has always been that extra layers and the stress of the cold increased my HR. On average, what I tend to experience is:

In temps of ~10 degrees or below I see a higher than average HR.

In temps of ~10-25 degrees I see just slightly higher than average HR.

Above 25, unless it is very windy, I see normal HR.

To reiterate, these are averages excluding things like vertical or the type of run. Also, my "normal" is based on inside runs on a treadmill and/or easy runs in a comfortable climate near sea level.

(I am now running high in the Rockies, and since becoming acclimatized I am seeing similar results.)

This might be more of an altitude thing than temperature?  Also, are you using a HR chest strap or just wrist monitoring?

I am only using wrist monitoring, which I know is not completely reliable.

Could be, but the reason I think it's not altitude is that it occurred first when I went from Florida to Illinois (80 degree temps to 25 degree temps), which is only a difference of about 650 ft. Is that enough to noticeably effect it?

To be honest, I haven't taken the time to thoroughly analyze all of these runs so there may be other factors at play. It was just something I noticed and made me wonder about the effects of winter running.

Yeah, I think it might definitely be the wrist monitoring as I have found it is really worthless with lots of eradic variation. And maybe why it is low in the cold with poor conductivity to the skin.

Thanks for the interaction and enjoy CO!

Thank you!


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