Bare as you Dare

Bare as you Dare

I’ve recently noticed that there seems to be a huge amount of information, advice and suggestion on what we runners should wear at different temperatures. Above 10 degrees it's shorts and teeshirt, 4-10 leggings and jacket, 0-4 two layers and buff, below 0 fleece, gloves and hat, below -4 comedy gorilla suit, and so on.

I think it’s much more simple than that. No matter what the weather, leaving the sanctuary of your house in the UK it always feels pretty cold outside, and the urge to put on a jacket, hat and your favourite woolly mammoth gloves is strong. The other thing you can guarantee is that 2 minutes after starting we’re all muttering ‘could have done without the mammoth’.

It’s a very rare thing to find anyone who’s too cold during a run because we all have a natural aversion to feeling cold. Because we can see the snow being driven by a gale force wind, we’re not going to take any chances, so we layer up with everything we have in a way that would put your average eskimo to shame. But more typically our run is going to include some exertion, so whatever the starting point, it’s pretty much guaranteed we’ll be a lot hotter very quickly.

The knack is to remember that we’re leaving our warm houses for outside which is invariably a lot colder, so we SHOULD feel chilly as we start out. However, if the temperature is anywhere near 10 degrees C, it’s plenty warm enough to gently perspire (me: start sweating like a hog). Quite simply, though, the less you can bear to wear, the more you’ll be comfortable on your run. And that’s important because we do this because we enjoy it, right?

And if you’re not convinced….have you ever noticed that when you enter a race, those speedy Guys and Girls at the front are in a vest or tee plus shorts whatever the weather? That’s not bravado, or stupidity – that’s because they know what they’re doing, and are dressing from maximum performance. And the really good ones will probably be stylishly sporting Running Guy.

That’s why ‘Bare as you dare’ is such a useful maxim. This is one of those rare, actually really useful sayings which makes you do what you know you should. Unless, of course, you love your mammoth.

Shame there isn’t an equivalent for ‘warm up first you prat’.