Winter is just around the corner and it’s an important time of the year for many trail runners. We are planning our races for next year, deciding on the best methods for cross-training, and letting ourselves heal after a long season. For many, an even more important question to answer (at least for the guys reading this) is, “should I grow a beard?” Well, the obvious answer is ABSOLUTELY! In keeping with this time-honored tradition, I decided to provide some simple steps to follow to ensure that you grow a beard that even Forrest Gump would be proud of.
- It generally works in your favor if you happen to be a guy. This one should be pretty obvious, but I thought I would call it out anyway. Of course, if you are a woman and want to grow a full beard then by all means do your thing…we won’t judge!
- Sign up for an early Spring race as a milestone that you can use to justify your decision not to shave for several months. “Hey honey, I can’t shave until after my race, it is bad luck!” After all, drastically changing your personal appearance for something like a race that you probably were going to sign up for regardless makes perfect sense.
- Sit back and do nothing. Seriously, it is that simple. If you are like 99% of other guys, you hate shaving anyway. Just think of how much more piece of mind you will have in the mornings when you no longer have to convince yourself to shave before work when you get up. Relax and let the natural laws of nature do their thing.
- Transition to a diet consisting mostly of manly foods, like beef jerky and beer. These are scientifically proven to grow facial hair (don’t ask for my sources). Avoid foods such as kale, soy, and quinoa…these have been known to have the opposite effect.
- If you are like most of us, you still have a day job. I suggest you try to look presentable (as much as you can with a bunch of unkempt hair growing out of your face). You should comb it..a rake might be the most effective tool for this task. Next, try a new style, such as a beard pony tail. Be careful not to overdo it though, you still want to look like a trail runner, not ZZ Top (or do you?).
- Race day! Run it and smile knowing that you probably have the warmest face on the course.
- Day after the race. Shave it off! You can only convince hunters that you are, in fact, a human and not a bear for so long. Every trail run is like playing a game of russian roulette, it’s just not worth the risk.
- Repeat the process next year!
As long as you follow these steps, you should be guaranteed to look like a true winter trail runner. Along the way, there may be times that the magnitude of such awesomeness will be too much, causing you to want to give up on your quest. If this happens to you, here are some helpful tips to keep you motivated as well as some general words of advice.
- Picture how hardcore you will look with icicles hanging off of your beard after those February long runs.
- When a coworker/friend/spouse tells you that you are “starting to look like a sheep” or that your beard “is looking a little nappy”, consider it a compliment and a sign that you are doing it right.
- It is a proven fact that beards make you infinitely more attractive. Be prepared to handle this influx of fame.
- If one of nature’s friends decides to nest in your beard, make sure that it is not a protected species before you evict it. The last thing you want is the DNR knocking on your door.
Other than that…HAPPY GROWING!
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