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What’s the Best Temperature for Going on a Run?

Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.

Researchers at the University of Tulsa recently asked, “What’s the optimum temperature for elite running performance?” The answer they found might not be what you’re hoping to hear. Then again, the researchers’ findings do come at a good time for these cooler months…

Overcast and 45º F seems to be the perfect weather combination for an outdoor run, according to one study of female marathon runners.

The Right Temperature for the Distance…

As you run, your body generates heat, which dissipates in the form of sweat, helping to keep your internal temperature at a normal, steady level. The longer you run, the more heat you generate. Therefore, the longer you run, the more preferable it is to run in lower temperatures.

See the infographic below for a breakdown of ideal running temperatures matched with distances:

  • 4º F for 100 meters
  • 67º F for 1500 meters (almost a mile)
  • 63º F for 5k (3.1 miles)
  • 2º F for half-marathon (13.1 miles)
  • 8º F for full marathon (26.2 miles)

houston-running-temperatures-sports-medicineEMBED INFOGRAPHIC: 

A Houston Sports Medicine Doctor’s Running Tips

As a runner myself (two-time Ironman Triathlete), I’ve found that many athletes prefer slightly cooler temperatures for being active. Below are a few resources I’ve written for Houston-area runners. Whether you’re just getting started or training for your next big race, take a look at these running tips and resources:

As you go out and run this fall and winter, keep in mind that colder temperatures aren’t always more desirable. Lower temperatures can make it more difficult for your muscle groups to perform as they’re supposed to. Lower temperatures can also pose a threat to people who are predisposed to asthma, cardiac stress, and other conditions. And while we rarely have to worry about snow or ice here in Houston, inclement weather does increase risk of injury.

Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Physician

To schedule an appointment with a sports medicine doctor in downtown Houston, call Houston Institute for Sports Medicine and Orthopedics at (713) 756-5546. You can also schedule your appointment online.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.