The Top 5 Things Not To Do In a Running Race
The Tales and Lamentations of the Ill-Prepared Runner
May 13, 2013 by Chad Baird
UPDATE – January 13, 2014: I wanted to share with everyone the before and after photos of me doing this race! Happy running!
Lesson 4 – Dress for the Weather
Sometimes living in Calgary is tough! The weather is often cold and unpredictable. In turn, this causes every Calgarian runner to shake their fists at the sky occasionally throughout their lifetime. To properly explain this concept, I shall be explaining my tales and lamentations regarding the 2010 Mother’s Day 10km race. It was a frosty morning. I woke up, looked and fully expected to see a stray reindeer or two. I decided to put on five layers of clothing for my upcoming race. I put on a wool long sleeve, three short sleeve cotton t-shirts, and a warm hoodie. I was set! The cold had no chance against my defence! No chance! Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that overheating had an excellent chance of breaking the defense system…but I didn’t even think about that. I got to the start line and it had warmed up to about zero Celsius but it had begun snowing. Through the fresh falling snow, I saw a guy in front of me wearing nothing more than shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I thought to myself, “This guy is so dumb! He will be so cold!” Negative, this guy was exponentially more enlightened about running races that I was. I started the race and within 500 metres, I could already tell that I was getting way too hot. By 3 kilometres, I standing at the aid station dumping cold water down my back and legs. 5 km in, I had my sweater tied around my waist, old granny style, looking fashionable as ever with my sweater tie swag and a beet red face. At 7km, I had my hoodie still around my waist – and was now carrying three shirts. You know what makes running a race easier? Not carrying a couch cushion sized ball of your extra clothes that you brought along with you for the ride. I continued huffing and puffing down the road, physically steaming because I was so overheated. A person could have cracked an egg on my head and 14 seconds later, enjoyed a fine omelette breakfast because I was as hot as a frying pan. I crossed that finish line 15 seconds shy of an hour and that is nothing short of a miracle. As I walked to the C-Train to head back home, I saw the guy I stood behind in the crowd – Sleeveless Shirt Man. I looked at him, majestic, muscles prominent and graceful, barely had a bead of sweat on him. He won, I lost. As he looked at me, he gazed upon a poor soul who had a face as red as the sun, an absolute mound of clothing burdening his arms, and to top it all off, a sweater tied around his waist. I’m sure if he was preacher, he would have laid hands on me right then and asked the Lord to help me in my time of need. I was a mess, but it was my own fault!
My advice to you is this – don’t over dress for races. Running Room founder John Stanton states that it is always best to start off a race a little chilly. I always try to follow his wise words. It may seem cold standing at the start line, but when your feet hit the pavement and you have multiple kilometers under your belt, you will warm up I promise!
Don’t overdress for races, come to the start line with a bit of a chill, and please don’t make my same mistakes! Running is beautiful; don’t make a mess of the Mona Lisa.
Stay tuned next week for Lesson 5 – Eating Too Much
Written by Chad Baird | BCMM Public Relations Student | Mount Royal University
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