If you live in colder parts of the country – you know those places that you need to dress in something besides shorts and a t-shirt to run during the winter. Someplace, where since October/November you have dressed in layers, to keep yourself reasonably warm while enjoying your daily run outside.
Well I have run outside a lot this year – since October and as a result of running so much and the layering system I use, I have worn a lot of clothes and have done a lot of sweating in them (yes I sweat outside even in the winter). Unfortunately, as a result of all this sweating, my winter running gear is getting rather fragrant.
Well to be honest, according to my wife – they #$%$ing stink!
My winter running clothes have developed The Winter Runner Stink.
What do I wear?
Most of the time I wear a short sleeve, tight-fitting base layer (synthetic or merino wool), a second layer technical or (shhhh cotton) long sleeve shirts. If it is below 30º I wear a fleece vest, below 10º I add a fleece jacket over my running jacket, a running jacket/windbreaker, running/wind pants or tights of some kind to protect my legs, compression shorts, merino wool socks, hat (with ear protection) and lightweight gloves.
I also try to run 6 days a week outside. The other part is that I have started to both lengthen and increase the quality (speed) of my runs, so this all turns into a hell of a lot of laundry, every 2-4 days. I am glad that I am not doing 2 a days yet.
Over the past couple of weeks, TheWife has been snipping at me pretty badly, about my how bad my running clothes are starting to stink in the laundry area. She sure as hell isn’t using the terms “smell a little”, or have a bit of an “odor”, nope she is a long way past those kind words to her loving husband. TheWife is letting me know in no uncertain terms that most of my running clothes stink and she is unhappy about it!
Oh we have tried different remedies
- baking soda
- sport washes
- hunting scent deodorizer laundry detergent
- hanging them on the line in sunlight – until they feel like cardboard (freeze)
and many of the other suggested ways to get rid of stench in running clothes. I really didn’t understand what the big deal was, they didn’t smell that bad to me, but it was bothering her, so I went along with it.
Starting to Understand
TheWife has gone so far as to tell me that I can’t just throw my running stuff in the clothes hamper anymore. Why she even claimed that my running clothes were beginning to ruin her stuff – now how could she say that about my good running clothes, most of her stuff is older than they are. Unfortunately, this was one of those no negotiating or simply ignoring her on this issue, she given me the “word” and the “look” that she doesn’t want them contaminating our “good” clothes, with the stink they give off.
So when I bring them out to where we keep the dirty laundry I have to put them in a separate plastic bag and tie the bag, until the bag is full then we/I wash them. After washing they are hung outside to dry if there is any sun at all, saving on using the dryer, when we can.
I really couldn’t understand why she making such a big deal about what they smelled like and was threatening to put them all in a garbage bag and throw them away, until a couple of days ago.
Usually I can’t smell most odors (a result of cleaning chicken barns as a teenager), but even with my horrible ability to smell, I am starting to notice a certain odor emanating from me after a run. Luckily it mostly goes away after I take off my running clothes (the rest is gone after my shower).
In other words, I am beginning to understand what she is talking about, when it comes to my winter running clothes and if they are starting to stink to me, how they must smell to her. ;P.
I have to admit it – TheWife was right – again!
After running so much this winter and wearing the same stuff time-after-time (even though they are washed regularly), that my running clothes have developed The dreaded Winter Runner Stink. This condition has afflicted almost everything from most of my base layers to my running jackets, pants and hats. My clothes have developed a rather unpleasant aroma about them.
Different than Summer Stinky Clothes
How is this different from the Summer Runner Stink – you ask? It is the volume of clothes that stink! In the summer you run in shorts and a t-shirt and usually 5-6 different sets of clothes to wear. In the winter you have this kind of pile after two days of running.
Yes this is the amount running clothes in my laundry, that need to be washed after only 2 days of running. It is flowing out of the bag and threatening to take over the laundry room. This is the biggest difference between summer and winter running – the amount of running clothes that we wear and need to keep clean. Which also means a lot more stuff that can stink.
Running in Public
Fortunately after washing and hanging it on the line, the running gear doesn’t smell too bad and I can be in public with them on, until I run. However, once I have run in them the odor comes back with a vengeance – they don’t quite gag a maggot, but they are getting closer every day.
The smell that my winter running clothes have acquired this year, almost makes it so that I would not want to wear this stuff in public (at a race or even an informal run). Hmmmm maybe that is why so many people at the last race I was at sort of walked away after talking to me for a minute or two. Carrie/Jen/David let me know if that was the case 😉
I don’t want other runners to completely ostracize me for have the Winter Runner Stink.
The reality is that
it is too late in the season to go out and buy more winter running clothes for this year. Winter is almost over and soon I will be running in shorts and a single shirt again (thank goodness). TheWife and I are just going to have to deal with the odors coming from my running clothes for now, but we have agreed after I start running in shorts and a shirt that my winter running gear from this year is going to the dump – they just smell too bad to give them to a non-profit, even though they still look pretty good.
It also means going ahead and looking at the different after-winter running clothes sales this spring/summer to replace what I am getting rid of. That is okay though, while I hate shopping in general, I do like to shop for new running stuff – it is a different beast. 🙂
I hope that I am not the only runner with this problem, because if I am something is definitely wrong.
Hmmm I know what I can blame my stinking clothes on shrinking fat cells, releasing all that built-up toxicity inside of them – it sound pretty reasonable to me :-P. That is one thing I have done this winter – gone from almost a 40 waist down to a 34 and still shrinking. Well at least I can use that as an excuse and can blame my running clothes smelling so bad on something positive and something other than having the Winter Runner Stink ;-).
I wonder if TheWife will believe this one? Nawww nice try Harold.
A quick update
At least someone in our house really likes my stinky running clothes
These are the same clothes from the photos above, we just got through drying them and put them on the bed to fold, I turned around and Bennie decided that he liked them just the way they were 😉
Is this a problem that any of you other runners out there are starting to have with your winter running clothes?
What do you do about it?