Written By: Katie Purcell
LET'S TALK FACE MASKS.
So it's been a year now since the whole COVID-19 thing basically put the OCR industry on hold. 2020 quickly devolved from race weekends and group training meetups...to virtual events, and a whoooooole lot of quality time spent in your Home Gym (or...whatever space/materials became your "Home Gym"...out of necessity).
Fortunately things seem to have actually turned a corner and be improving for the better; fingers crossed that we will continue on this path and be able to return to a maskless, semi-normal existence in the not-so-distant future. Gyms have reopened and even races are underway for the 2021 season -- albeit with slightly different protocols to allow for increased social distancing -- but hey, it's better than a (completely obliterated) race season like we saw last year...so for now let's count that as a "win."
...But we're not quite there yet.
If you're anything like me, you've pretty much avoided situations requiring you to wear a mask for any more time than you absolutely have to, as required by law. Case in point: I haven't been physically inside a gym since March 2020. First it was because they were closed; and once they finally reopened, I was so not about that gym-mask life.
For one thing, it seemed like it would be hella uncomfortable to wear a mask during my workout sessions. The sweat...the breathing...just all of it. Yuck.
Secondly, during the "Waiting Game" that was Quarantine, I had actually managed to piece together an acceptably-respectable home gym: and while decidedly lonelier, an at-home workout that did not require a mask seemed like an attractive option.
Lastly, I was not exactly 100% convinced on the science-y side that a gym was the ideal place to be spending time vis-a-vis "COVID-prevention." And while I have never been too worried about the virus from a personal standpoint, I decided to err on the side of caution: out of respect/consideration for a couple of people in my household who were in the immunocompromised-and-nervous camp.
So here we are: races starting again...mask mandates still-a-thing at various levels...and fairly often, masks still a requirement if you want to go inside a gym/training facility.
I know many others are at a crossroads similar to my own: you see all the OCR events coming up, and you're itching to get back into some kind of training facility to practice/finesse that obstacle technique before your first Race Day. But that means you have to come to terms with wearing a mask: and you have no idea where to even start.
Or maybe you want to attend one of the OCR events coming up but there's a tiiiiiny part of you still feeling a little hesitant...and you know you'd feel better if you could wear a mask during the entire event...but how the heck do you figure out which one might actually work for you??
...This is the article for you :)
The logic was simple...who better to ask for recommendations on face masks that work for fitness-related stuff...than an OCR athlete? All else being equal: athletes training for the same types of races and events will likely be doing similar types of workouts/exercises, and at similar intensity levels, which makes it an ideal group to ask for advice. Not to mention: respondents have been wearing masks for fitness stuff for up to a year, definitely gives street cred to the time and experience behind their thoughts.
And isn't this what we do for all other OCR-related things, anyway? How to train...what to wear on Race Day...we're always swapping advice because our sport has such unique needs.
And also: because we tend to trust recommendations from others who we know enjoy the same types of (crazy, borderline-insane) stuff that we do.
I went directly to the source: and posted in multiple OCR-specific Facebook groups. In an effort to get a good representation of responses, the groups covered a range of OCR brands and geographical locations: including athletes from OCRWC, Spartan Race, Savage Race, etc. and also: athletes located in the Northeast, South, West, etc.
...Those recos are exactly what you see below, and what were the basis for the rest of the content.
Let's dive in!!
(note: list is not in any particular order.)
Nearly 30% of athletes polled said that they're not currently wearing a mask for any of their training activities -- for a variety of reasons.
Some live in areas where masks are not currently required, and others have alternative fitness resources available to them (like a home gym). Among those who don't frequent a gym, this isn't necessarily always a COVID-specific development: many athletes had already been training on their own, so their routine stayed much the same.
And while there is a huge range of feelings on why athletes don't wear masks -- or how strongly opposed they are to a mask mandate -- one theme seems clear:
And now: a few extra-bonus-freebie insights! Suggestions from one athlete to another, in response to a mask-related struggle that had been shared on our thread.
😷 "When you have to wear [a mask], an easy solution is a silicon insert that keeps the mask fabric out of your mouth. They're inexpensive -- sold on Amazon."😷 "I have also found that switching to a mask that needs a filter is helpful too: the filters are ridged and stay away from your mouth."😷 "I actually put the plastic insert inside where the filter goes on a mask. It helps keep the mask away from your mouth, but you also don't feel the annoying plastic on your face."
😷 "I use a mask with a good vent & a metal nosepiece that bends to combat the fog."😷 "I use an anti-fog spray [pictured below] that I got at the eye doctor. He said to clean your glasses with Dawn dish soap first, dry with a lens cloth, spray with the anti-fog and use your finger to rub into the lens and crevices. Let that sit for a little bit, and then wipe with a lens cloth. Spray once more, and wipe off with a lens cloth."😷 "[The fogaway spray] shouldn't smear as long as you spray it well...it typically lasts me for at least 2 days."
This organic helpful sh*t is the stuff that makes OCR athletes the best. THANK YOU.
Did I miss anything that should be included in this list, or in the article?? If so, drop a comment below!
If you came here looking for some insight on which face mask(s) you might want to try for your workouts, hopefully there was something helpful in there for you. If you decide to give any of them a try, please leave a comment with your experience...to pass on to the next athletes who find this article.
And if you see anything on the list above that you've already tried out: what was your experience with it? What kind of fitness/exercising did you use it for? What worked? What didn't?
Until next time: Rock On & Continue To LIVE FIERCE -Katie
Until next time: Rock On & Continue To LIVE FIERCE -Katie