Running in the Cold @ Nagoya Women’s Marathon
Singapore’s climate can only be described with words such as sweltering, humid, and an endless list of tropical terms. When I was presented with the opportunity to run a marathon at the temperature on the opposite side of the spectrum, it was a snap-call. The Nagoya Women's Marathon that took place in March this year marked my first ever winter run, and it was refreshing, to say the least. The forecast showed a low of 4 degrees C and a high of 14 degrees C, and with no prior familiarity, I was oblivious to the equipment and apparel needed in these conditions. Thankfully, after seeking out advice from accomplished runners as well as some of the Sports Advisors from sports megastore Decathlon, I managed to figure out the necessary gear to bring. Staying true to my budget, I bought a pair of cold weather running pants from Decathlon. The French sporting goods retailer are highly regarded for their affordable and highly practical sporting equipment, and I paired the pants with a long sleeve compression top and a summer tee shirt that I already owned. Proficient runners know that it’s not a good idea to wear unseasoned clothes for the first time on race day, but training in cold gear is a nightmare in Singapore's weather. You can imagine the huge sigh of relief after the run, as the pants I purchased did not cause any chafing issues. Getting away with the pants was one, trying to avoid the shoe obstacle was another problem headed towards me. Advised by friends and competent marathoners, wearing mesh material dominant shoes was a bad idea. One of the ideal ways to keep the feet comfortable was to pair it with shoes with less porous uppers to retain heat. This whole episode taught me to always get shoes befitting the circumstances, and that socks actually do play a bigger part in cold climates. A number of runners were spotted wearing ponchos to keep warm right before the race, personally, I wore a jacket to maintain the blood circulation. Two and a half kilometres into the race, I tossed the now counter-productive jacket aside. Recalling the sheer cold when I first arrived at Nagoya, thoughts began to form in my head on the running conditions. The freezing temperature in the morning of the race made me question my attire of choice, which now in hindsight, was more than sufficient. Throughout the 42.195km of running, I came to realise that it’s all about getting the balance of clothes you’re wearing right. Once my body had gotten used to the running pace and was suitably warmed up from moving along, the temperature felt comfortable. Based on the Nagoya experience, overdressing is a critical factor which can bite you back during the race. The jacket that was so comfortable at the start may become a nuisance a quarter into the marathon. Put on light layers that can be removed as and when your body heats up, first-timers will be surprised at how capable the human body is at adapting to the temperature. The cool weather allowed me to maintain a faster pace at a lower heart rate, hence racking up a personal best at the Nagoya Marathon, completing it in 4 hours 21 mins and 36 secs.