The Obstacle Course Racing World Championships 2018 were blessed by the weather gods with sunshine, warm temperatures, and no rain.
Whilst this was beautiful, we Brits knew how unusual this weather was for October. There’s a chance, a very very small chance, this could happen again, but personally, I’m going to err on the side of caution, and prepare accordingly.
On average, London in October normally sees temperatures ranging from 47-60°F, and 11 days of rain, at 2.7 inches. Add in wind chill, and Nuclear’s notorious mud, and if the weather isn’t on your side you could end up in a sticky situation.
It’s always best to prepare for the worst, and call it on the day.
Keeping your core warm is key to storing heat, from a neoprene vest to a shortie, the choice depends on your tolerance to cold. Many racers report that a shortie with front zip allows them to open up if they overheat, and roll down. Don’t forget, leaving any item on course (except litter with marshals), or passing anything to a spectator is grounds for DQ so make sure whatever you wear can be adapted if circumstances change.
I’ve long been a fan of neoprene gloves for running in the cold, although you don’t want to be wearing these ON the obstacles, keeping your hands warm, and also free of mud will certainly help your grip. There’s nothing worse than hands so cold you lose the feeling.
A new favorite amongst racers is the Bleggmit, a mitten style glove that you can roll down for obstacle completion, meaning you won’t waste time and also don’t need to worry about where to store them when you don’t need them to cover your hands.
The debate rages on; bare legs or compression gear? Some claim bare skin dries faster, others state the compression gear keeps you warmer and minimizes the wind chill factor. I’m firmly in the compression gear camp. Not only does it keep you warm, it protects from the environment, and it also does its job of delaying cramp.
I’ve never been one for neoprene socks, for me they compress my feet too much and lack of movement causes them to go numb, but they’re worth an experiment with if you could think they could work for you. Without a doubt, regardless of weather, everyone needs a good quality pair of OCR shoes, such as the G-Series Mud Claw from Inov-8, and there’s still time to order yours before OCRWC 2019, with 10% off for athletes at wwww.inov-8.com, using code 9OCR10.
Despite having been racing in the UK since 2013, and being a firm hater of the cold, it was only recently that I tried adding a windbreaker into my kit. A thin, windproof jacket can work wonders at keeping the cold out, even if you get soaked through (which you will), whilst not ideal for the super fast elites, anyone who may be taking longer at obstacles, or slower on the run will appreciate an extra layer when standing around. Light enough to tie around your waist without it becoming an issue, or pack small into your hydration/run pack if you carry one.
A rag can be made great use of, to keep your head or face warm, cover your watch, or used to wipe off mud out of your eyes, again, small and lightweight, it won’t become a problem if it’s not needed.
Pack your dry robe or swimzi, and if you don’t have one, get one! These are a lifesaver in the UK, where the weather can be the biggest obstacle. Make sure you pack comfortable and easy to get on clothes. Cotton tee shirt, loose hoodie and joggers, and comfy trainers- or even follow 5 x OCRWC Champion Jon Albon, and don a pair of super comfy crocs.
Baby wipes, body and face moisturizer, and lip balm are always helpful, the cold can take it out of your skin, plus a dry bag or large plastic bag to wrap up all your wet and smelly kit into.
Francesca is an avid obstacle course racer, TV host, and blogger at Mud Is My Makeup. Follow her Instagram at @MudIsMyMakeUp and @FranChiorando.