Having trained in -40 degrees F in upstate New York blizzards, I can attest to that. What I found more challenging was training in 100 degrees F with 98% humidity. You can put more clothes on, but at a certain point you cannot take more off.
Again, since this blog reaches women in both hemispheres, some in winter and others in summer, here are some basic tips for running clothes and race day preparation:
- Cold weather:
Bright colors to be visible, even on bright days, as black and grey blend totally with the winter landscape. Hat, windbreaker, gloves, and base layer of tech or wool. Layers are the secret to warmth; as you heat up, you can take them off and tie them around your waist. You can wear a lot less than you think when you are first going out to face the elements, but essentials include a hat (a great deal of heat escapes through the top of your head), a neck scarf or buff, and gloves that go well above your wrist. Covering pulse points on your neck and wrists will keep you comfortable; leave these places exposed you you’ll be chilled. Keep plenty of tissues easily reachable for nose blowing (leaving it dripping will invite nasty chapping, and it looks so gross…). When you get home, do your stretches indoors and make a hot chocolate for a wonderful recovery drink.
- Hot weather:
Always wear less than you think at first. Shorts instead of capris, singlet instead of T-top. Light-as-possible bra. If a race or workout has a chilly start, wear some gloves you can discard later (if your hands are warm, you feel warm all over). Later you’ll heat up fast. If it is hot to start with, begin the workout or race with wet hair or even ice in your (white) hat. Punch holes in your hat or wear a visor so you can let heat escape from your head. Shade your eyes from road glare with sunglasses. When you get home, stretch outside in the heat and not in air conditioning, and make your recovery drink something cool that replenishes lost electrolytes: for me, smashed up watermelon mixed with cold water and juice.
And if you’re running the TCS New York City Marathon or another marathon in November? What can I tell you, it can be anything in a November marathon as that is a unpredictable weather time in both hemispheres, but in New York one thing for sure is that before the start it’s a long wait on a potentially wet field: bring a huge plastic garbage bag to sit on, and over your running outfit, wear gear you are getting ready to discard or op-shop clothes that you can throw away. (The best discard-outfit I've seen was a long, cuddly chenille bathrobe). Don’t worry, after the race start, this stuff is collected, laundered and given to the homeless. For the event itself, please make sure everything you’re wearing you’ve tested beforehand in a long training run. The last thing you need is chafing shorts to derail all those months of hard preparation.
And: think about this—it is highly unlikely that you will need a water backpack or a water belt with 4 bottles of water in any well-organized road marathon. Nowadays, there are massive water and energy drink stations; sometimes as often as every mile. Go weigh your water pack or bottle belt, you’ll find that it weighs close to five pounds. Most of us would be thrilled to lose five pounds in our training! Carrying that weight in a marathon really slows you and takes a lot of energy. Less is often more in a marathon.