I have a stash of old sweatshirts and hats in the corner of our guest room.
Of course, they’ll go to charity. But first, they get one last use – as early morning road race throwaways!
Since the days are growing colder, and I’ve started to actually wear long sleeves while running on crisp mornings (gasp!) so I thought I’d share some tips on throwaways – including a how-to manual to create my infamous tube sock mittens!
Most race organizers have volunteers collect discarded clothing at the starting line and along the course. Those items are then donated to charity. I love this. It’s such a smart form of recycling and giving an item a second – and third – life.
Typically, I scavenge my house looking for clothing (read: warm outerwear) I don’t mind parting with. I typically don old sweatshirts, long-sleeved shirts and knit caps.
If I forget or can’t find what I am looking for, I head to the Dollar Store or a second-hand store to find what I need. I even found a $5 fleece at Target in a pinch.
A Mylar blanket – the kind you receive at the finish of most large races – or a garbage bag – with a hole for your head – will also do the trick.
For my first marathon, I was overdressed with throwaways. Sweatshirt, sweatpants, mittens and knit cap. I had it all. I also tossed it all before I started running. That taught me that its sometimes smart to hold onto mittens and hats until I warm up, typically a mile or two into my race.
The key is to wear something that will A.) keep you warm and B.) you don’t mind discarding.
I struggle with this. I want everything to have a second life. And I hold onto some clothing for far too long. What’s that? You want an example? Well, ok.
See these duds? They are hideous and I couldn’t part with the 17-year-old fleece for about 15 years too many. That and my hubby’s torn-on-the-behind sweatpants have me looking voluminous pre-NYC Marathon in 2013. But hey, Christy Turlington Burns complimented them as we waited to start the race.
Brooke is fantastic about tossing unwanted or damaged clothes. We’ve traded throwaway layers at more than one race.
Sometimes, I really don’t want to part with an item.
In March, I passed on a favorite pair of warm up pants I’d had for years. They were ratty, but fit over my sneakers so became my go-to pants for regattas and road races.
Good bye, old friend.
The key with throwaway pants is the ability to take them off in a rush – without having to untie your shoes.
Most warmup pants don’t fit over my sneakers, so I make them fit. I take a pair of scissors and cut up the seam of the pants, starting at the ankle. I make the opening large enough for my show to fit through. (If you look closely at the first pic in this post, you can see my handiwork)
And yes, this is why a supermodel/runner told me I was brilliant before we both ran NYC last fall.
How to make your own tube sock mittens:
It’s easy. Place tube socks over your hands and push your thumb through the heel area of the sock.
If you’re like me, your socks are well worn and might even already have a hole in your heel.
If you don’t wear your socks to threads, you can opt to use scissors.
Presto change-o! Done! Tube sock mittens.