Racing in the depths of winter is not for the faint of heart. You need stuff, you need other crazy people to race, and you need guts.
You Need Stuff:
- Gloves – you head out the door with thin gloves but pack thick ones just in case. At the start line you wish you had not left the thick ones in the car. At the 1 km mark you can’t feel your fingers. Good thing you don’t need fingers to run. After bunching your fingers up inside your gloves at the 5 km mark the feeling starts coming back. At the 7 km mark you have removed the gloves and are carrying them. The crowd (ok, there’s no crowd except for maybe five frozen spouses) thinks you’re crazy for running with exposed skin. Good thing these races tend to be short – our local winter running series are about 8 km.
- Toque – you know “toque” – that knitted cap your grandmother gave you last Christmas. Usually the toque is too warm but with no toque you are sure to get frozen ears. Toque on – Toque off – Toque on – Toque off. Craziness ensues.
- Thermo layer – Need a thermo layer for both your top half and your bottom half. Bonus if the thermo layer has odour reducing qualities (definite necessity if you don’t want to be washing every single run).
- Parka (just for the start line). A wind resistant winter running jacket underneath.
- Socks – 2 pairs. Depending on how high the snow is and how long your tights are you are probably going to need longer socks than you thought.
- Shoes – not just your cool summer shoes. If these aren’t semi-air tight and hopefully water / melted snow tight you’ll have wet feet. And wet feet are cold. Cold feet are not fun.
- Face mask – to keep that nose and chin from getting numb. Face masks end up being about the grossest things hanging around a winter runners racing stuff. Just think frozen saliva, sweat and snot. Yup, never borrow another runner’s face mask.
- Tech – NOPE – Don’t even bother with a phone / camera / GPS watch – The battery will freeze up on you and you will just be frustrated. Plus your gloves are likely not touch-friendly.
You Need Other Crazy People to Race
- Sometimes other crazy runner people are the hardest people to find in the depths of winter. Most runners are either curled up on the couch for a few months, or are on a treadmill. But crazy people are drawn to each other, I’m sure. The few that there are seem to all show up at these crazy events. Great place to find winter running partners after the race.
You Need Guts
- Runners have guts.
Oh and don’t forget hot chocolate. You always need something to help warm up after.
Don’t let winter scare you off. Just be prepared.