Winter rowing: an essential checklist for rowing in cold weather
Rowing in cold weather is unpleasant at the best of times and can be dangerous in the worst. With the worst of the cold weather most likely still ahead have a look at the WEROW checklist of essentials to keep you rowing safely on the coldest of days.
Extra fuel – as the temperature drops your body’s need for energy increases, an excellent reason to eat more – as if we needed any!
Layer up – each layer provides an air pocket, so the more layers you have the warmer you will stay. Consider taking an extra layer with you to put on at the top. Likewise, you can always remove any excess clothing before the race, not forgetting to keep them in a dry bag!
Extra kit – take separate clothing for the race in case you are damp from your onshore warm up.
Cover everything –
- Bodywarmers are great at keeping your trunk warm whilst leaving your arms free for rowing.
- Long socks – Think thick, football style for that extra layer from your toes right up to your knees.
- Snoods can be used to keep you cosy from your neck right up over your nose, and easily pulled down when ready to set off.
- Pogies are the way forward for your hands – water and windproof these are specially designed for rowing, allowing you to still be able to grip the oar efficiently.
- Woolly hats and/or ear warmers can help keep that icy, numbing wind from whistling past your ears.
- No bare skin – race officials can stop you going out on the water if they feel you are inappropriately dressed.
- Space blanket – these are lightweight, compact, metal-coated sheets designed to retain heat and shield you from the wind. Keep them under your hatch cover for emergencies and pull them around your shoulders whilst you wait at the top.
When you’re waiting at the start, keep moving. Frozen muscles are harder to work compared to when primed after a warm up.
Make sure to warm up between races or divisions. The second outing always feels colder so sitting stagnant in a crew room isn’t the answer.
Cold weather can make you feel less thirsty but this doesn’t mean you don’t need hydration. Remember to always keep a drink with you, perhaps even a hot one.
Consider packing some one-click type hand warmer packs just in case.
As Sir Ranulph Fiennes quite aptly said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” We hope that this guide will help you to enjoy your winter rows and most importantly keep your cosy and warm.
Article by Catherine Radvanszky, in-house journalist and photographer at WEROW.