Why the World is Running in Shorts This Winter


Two days ago, the weather here in Charlotte dipped below freezing and since then, I've witnessed two different runners who made my head turn a 45° angle to the left out of utter confusion. Runner 1 was a young dude, jogging at a comfortable pace early in the morning, and Runner 2 was a speed-demon chic, racing in the middle of the afternoon. So what exactly about them was it that threw me for a loop? They both flashed me with their bright red, frost-bitten legs, dressed in nothing but SHORTS. 😱 Okay, so now I need to know: is running half-naked in the dead of winter the new norm? Or did I just witness a new super-breed of human making the rest of look pretty wimpy?

Not to toot my own horn, but I've been running for awhile now. I've run in the sun, I've run in the rain, I've run in the wind, and I've even run in the snow. But never before have I (electively) run in freezing temps with nothing more than my entire winter wardrobe on. So why exactly were these two knuckleheads trotting around unfazed by the icicles forming from their sweat? Well, it turns out this breed of crazy has some logical arguments for dressing down...

1. Your Body is Wonderland.

Haha, I mean yes, we're all beautiful creatures, but we are also wired pretty ingeniously, with the ability to regulate our own temperatures. So pair that super-cool super-power with the heat you generate from running at a brisk pace, you're bound to warm-up throughout your workout (and even possibly overheat). And every runner knows that being toasty in extra layers is kinda like suffocating in your Aunt Susan's bear hugs.

2. More Clothes, More Problems.

As we just explored, wearing too much clothing can make you overheat. This undoubtedly causes you to sweat more, which leaves you soaking in heavy, saturated layers. And raise your hand if you know what happens when you sprint inside an air-conditioned grocery store after a freezing parking-lot rainstorm? 🙋 Ah yes, well same torture here. Therefore, sometimes less is more.

3. Different Strokes for Different Folks.

And the final reason: some people are just bat-sh*t crazy. Haha, different people have different definitions of comfort and some people truly find that feeling a bit nippy (nipply might be the more opportune word here 😉), actually helps them run faster. And according to Gear Patrol, if you're heading out for a 40° trek, shorts will still get the job done since your legs tend to warm up quickly from the work they’re putting in. (Protecting your ears, hands and feet is so much more important!) Plus, a genius team of doctors has officially announced that despite popular belief, the temps can't ever really get too cold for us to have to give up our favorite sport entirely. Thank God!

So moral of the story: wear what makes you comfortable. If you prefer to walk out of the house dressed as the Michelin man, do it. And if you'd rather brave the snow flurries in a Borat suit, more power to ya! As long as we're not letting the winter's chill retire us to the depths of our couches, we're all winners!

And for those of us who have our heads screwed on properly and prefer to suit up for this season, I wanted to leave you with one handy bit of information, complementary of Runner's World:

  • ❄️ (30°): 2 tops, 1 bottom.
  • ❄️❄️ (10°-20°): 2 tops, 2 bottoms.
  • ❄️❄️❄️ (0°-10°): 3 tops, 2 bottoms, 2 mittens, 1 scarf.
  • ❄️❄️❄️❄️ (-20°): Rethink your priorities. Haha jk, 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 3 mittens, 1 face mask.

Happy winter running #fitfam! 😘