• You're all caught up!

Getting Chills While Running

author image Dan Harriman
Dan Harriman began writing professionally in 2009 and has a varied background in marketing, ranging from sports management to music promotion. Harriman holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with an emphasis on strategic communications from the University of Kansas and earned the International Advertising Association's diploma in marketing communications.
Getting Chills While Running
Chills in warm weather can signal heat exhaustion. Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images

Though chills are typically associated with cold weather, runners can develop chills all over their bodies in both hot and cold weather. The causes for chills in hot weather are vastly different and more serious than those in cold weather. Follow specific guidelines when you get the chills in hot weather to avoid potentially harmful side effects. You should also take certain precautions when running in cold weather.

Hot Weather Running

Hot temperatures can make running unpleasant and unsafe. As your body's core temperature rises during a run, it begins to sweat. In especially hot weather, sweating, which is your body's way of expelling and evaporating water, becomes more difficult. Factor in any dehydration, and you may soon experience the beginning stages of heat exhaustion. Though your core temperature is high, heat exhaustion can cause goosebumps and chills on your skin. Beyond that, you may also experience dizziness and fatigue, and your muscles may begin to cramp.


If you begin to feel chills and have goosebumps on your skin, stop running immediately. You can walk, as long as no further heat exhaustion symptoms develop. It's best if you rest in a cool area and hydrate with water or a sports drink. If you decide to run in hot weather, wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing that is preferably light-colored. Also, wear a visor or hat to protect your head from the heat. Run early in the morning or evening when it is cooler outside, and try to run in shaded areas when possible. Drink plenty of water before, during and after a run. If you think you are experiencing severe heat exhaustion, seek medical attention.

Cold Weather Running

Getting the chills when running in cold weather is not uncommon. Your skin becomes cold in frigid air temperatures, especially if your skin is exposed. This can cause goosebumps and the sensation of chills. While many can deal with a certain amount of chills, consistently shivering and feeling chilly, even after having run for some time to warm up the body, could be a sign of hypothermia. Some runners overcompensate for the cold by bundling up and wearing multiple layers of clothing. It is possible to wear too many clothes and overheat. This can trigger the same effect that hot weather has on your ability to sweat properly and result in fever-type symptoms, such as goosebumps and chills.


Some runners prefer to run in shorts in cold temperatures. If you don't develop chills on your legs, running in shorts is safe. If, however, your legs shiver in cold weather, you should wear pants to stay warm. Ensure your extremities are always protected. Wear gloves and a hat that covers your ears. You should also wear one tight-fitting shirt against your skin as a first layer and, depending on how cold it is, a second or even third looser-fitting layer that covers your arms, torso and neck. If it's windy outside, run into the wind first and with the wind at your back during the return run. This helps you avoid running into the wind later during your run when you are sweaty, which can cause extreme chills.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.



Demand Media