Winter Training in the Midwest is an Extreme Sport
By: Alexandria Seavey
Running an outdoor race in March can be tricky in the Midwest, to say the least. One day it might be 65 degrees and the following day you might be digging your car out of a snowbank. How are we supposed to know what to wear to a race when our weather is so unpredictable at this time of year? There is only one answer:
I don’t mean put on 20 shirts like Joey in that episode of Friends, though you might trend on Instagram if you do that. Think of yourself as a sandwich, you need layers in order to be your best.
- Base layer. This is the layer closest to your body that you will not take off for the duration of the race. Great options are Under Armor, a long-sleeve tec shirt, or if you’re naturally warm blooded, you can even use a tight tank top to do the trick. This layer doesn’t need to break the bank. Check out Kohl’s Tek-Gear line or Old Navy’s workout line if you’re not interested in the more expensive brands.
- Mid-Layer. This is the hardest-working layer. It is important that this layer includes some insulation that will contain the heat your body creates while you’re in the race. My favorite mid-layer is my Nike Running vest. It is very thin so it is not heavy, but the thermal insulation keeps my core warm as I move. Another option is to layer a thermal t-shirt over your long-sleeve base layer if you are not in-vested in the vest idea.
- Outer Layer: This is your water-proof, snow proof, wind proof, Midwest weather-proof layer. It is your shell that will protect you from getting wet or harsh winds. Make sure it can breathe – a windbreaker jacket is ideal. Avoid heavy winter jackets such as long parkas or thick jackets that won’t allow sweat and heat to escape. If you need to lose this layer as you run, drop it off at a water station and ask the volunteers to bring it back to the finish line for you. They’ll drop it off at the announcer tent and you can pick it up after the race.
- Thin, running gloves. I have incredibly poor circulation in my hands, so the first thing to turn purple on me is my fingers. It puts me in a bad mood and not to mention I can’t use my phone! If you like to change your music/text when you run, be sure to bring gloves with “hot fingers” that allow you to touch your screen.
- Warm Leggings or Double Leggings. Instead of spending money on wool leggings, I am a big fan of throwing on 2 pairs of sport leggings on cold days. I already have them in my closet and it feels like exact same as wearing a single pair.
- Head gear. If you have long hair, check out the hats that have holes in the top for your ponytail. Keeping your head warm will allow most of the heat to be retained by your body and will keep your body and muscles warm as you run. They cost only about $10 at Kohl’s. Ear muffs are another great option but do not offer as much warmth as a hat.
- Socks. It sounds simple, but it is easy to forget that this is a crucial part of staying warm. Be sure to wear longer socks that will cover your ankles from the wind and any precipitation on the ground.
One Last Thing…
If you want to be able to be tagged in those sweet post race photos, make sure you keep your bib on your outermost layer!