Trail Running

Running in 7 degrees

Dirtopia hosted another great trail run at L’Avenir in Stellenbosch this weekend. Sadly I wasn’t able to take part (#thanksleg) but went to hold car keys, cash and sweatshirts for two good friends. Aptly called the Change of Season Trail, it was a crisp 7 degrees at the start. Unlike the rain, Winter has now officially arrived.

The point where Lynne began reading out the temperature at regular intervals.

It was beautiful but properly cold and despite feeling a sense of missing out, there was the silver-lining that I could dress for warmth, not for speed. The route seemed relatively fast and I didn’t have long to wait, as the leaders came through within the first 30 minutes. It is pretty amazing how fast and fit the men and women are, who end up on the podium. On a side note, Dirtopia really has these trail runs down to a fine art, from parking to registration to timing -it’s all very well-organised.

Besides, waiting in this lounge was no real hardship.

Everyone from newcomers to more seasoned runners said it was a fun and fast route and nowhere near as difficult as their DeMorgenhof trail earlier in the year. That was the shattering 11km trail I “cut my teeth” on in a stylish all-black ensemble. All in all, it seems the Change of Season trail is definitely one to put in your calendar for next year. You can watch the review from Chasing Trails here.

How do runners dress in winter?

Assessing the starting pen, coffee in hand, it looked like everyone was pretty damn cold . Everyone, bar those with a support crew standing by to take their K-WAYs, was shuffling, shivering and much bluer than when they had arrived.

They had a support crew (me) and a spot in the morning sun.

No stranger to this struggle, I looked around hoping to find some winter running gear inspiration.  I don’t like being cold but like to run in shorts, and don’t enjoy running with something bulky (e.g a sweater) around my waist. Everything must be very lightweight!  TBQH if I had the body (and the nerve) to run in bikini bottoms and a sports bra, I would. But then the idea of running in the rain, in just a t-shirt and shorts is not my idea of a good idea. Some people say I’m fussy, but I’m not sure why.

Let’s talk about winter running gear

People have suggested a lot of things from very thin leggings to lightweight running jackets. Naturally, the easiest solution is to get over myself and embrace the elements. However back to lightweight running jackets like this one. Ideally, Sportsmans Warehouse let their customers take the jacket into a walk-in freezer for 10-15 minutes, sit under a shower for 90s and then let them run laps around the store. That’s what that running track is for right?

But just how lightweight is lightweight? Any runners here? What’s your verdict on these running raincoats? Do they keep you warm and dry? Or just dry? To be honest this is all a bit pointless because it doesn’t rain in Cape Town anymore. But I’m still keen to get the general opinion on whether these are worth it or not.

Because Gauteng is really cold

Anyway, this winter gear thing is becoming important because a) it is winter now and b) I’ve entered a trail run in Gauteng in July. Apparently, during the run my lungs will attempt to escape my body (thanks altitude), this is, of course, assuming I did not freeze to death at the start.

So any advice on how to keep warm on winter runs is welcome.

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