Team Thomas were out this morning at 5.30am for our daily run around the fields. We love that time in the morning, it’s quiet and we don’t meet any unsuspecting dog walkers who, without fail, always balk at the sight of a small person strapped to 3 mad collie crosses scrambling across the countryside!
As we were making our way down the track on our usual route, I started to think about how, when the mornings get darker and the autumn sets in, all the running gear I need changes and the priorities for our runs change. For example I have been choosing flat, even (ish) routes for the last few weeks now and at the weekend I dug out the super bright head torch, because being able to see the ground is an absolute priority when canicrossing. I learnt that to my cost last winter.
So what makes our top three for winter canicrossing?
1. Head Torch – has to be the most important item on the list for me, good ones can be found at a great price on the internet and recommendations are always available from canicrossers in any of the many Facebook groups.
2. Reflective dog harnesses – number 2 because although I don’t tend to run near roads, having reflective strips on a harness means your dog can be seen by other people and can prevent you tripping over your own dogs! (Many of our harnesses have reflective strips on them see http://www.k9trailtime.com for more information)
3. Grippy Trail Trainers – all the mud of winter when combined with the darker nights, mean you need to be stable on your feet. Trainers are a very personal choice but I’m currently running in Adidas Kanadia and have some Inov8 Mudclaws for when the mud returns with a vengence!
Of course there are lots of other things that make winter canicrossing easier such as lightweight, breathable gloves, (to keep hands warm and hold wet, muddy lines) a waterproof, breathable jacket and a few decent pairs of winter running socks.
For the dogs we have coloured lights to attach to their harnesses and when we run we look like a moving Christmas tree but better to be safe and be seen is my opinion! I also use dog fleeces for after our runs, the dogs dry off super quick in them and they stop at least 50% of the mud being transferred to the furniture.
With the days getting shorter, now is the time to be thinking about what you will need to keep safe and comfortable when canicrossing in the winter months, so you can enjoy your runs whatever the British winter has in store for us!