I love running clothes, and will buy something new for myself anytime I can come up with an excuse to do so! It doesn’t even have to be a good excuse or a new one…I’m not too proud to use stale, bad excuses when necessary.
In fact, more than half of my wardrobe is composed of running attire: running shirts and running shorts and jackets and tights. Running shoes and socks and hats, oh my!
I have tried (but not quite succeeded yet) to get every color available in both tops and running shorts. It’s an ongoing project, but a fun one…everyone needs a hobby, right? And you should see me stylin’ when I’m running in my orange running shirt and orange running shorts…in fact you can’t help but see me….I’m nearly neon at that point.
I do feel it’s important to be comfortable while running, and certainly color-coordinated as well. Not only does it make the experience of running much more enjoyable; the appropriate running clothes are important for body temperature regulation: to keep cool in the hotter months and warm during the winter months. Not to mention compensating for changes in humidity and wind chill, etc.
When I decided to train for my first marathon, it was the beginning of a new year. And that meant I had to start my mileage build-up in January. I definitely needed winter running apparel. Fortunately, that winter was a mild one.
Most days I could wear a short-sleeved running shirt with a lightweight running jacket and running tights. I always wear a running cap and on the cooler days, gloves. The cap serves a dual purpose: to keep the glare out of my eyes and on cold runs, to keep the heat in. The gloves usually get peeled off about half-way through my run. There were a few times running when I needed to wear a fleece hat, but usually only when it was windy out.
I discovered that a lightweight running jacket was essential for running at that time of the year. It not only kept me warm, but it was vented so that I didn’t overheat during my runs. I’ve heard that running causes the temperature to feel 10 degrees warmer. Before I had my running jacket, when I would run in colder weather, I’d wear a long-sleeved running shirt. But this wasn’t a great strategy as I was starting out my runs feeling cold, and then, once I did start to heat up, pushing up the sleeves just didn’t do the trick to cool me. By having a vented jacket, now the moisture wicks away from my skin, and I don’t get chilled during longer runs. Since I hate to be too hot while running, it’s nice that I can take my running jacket off if I get overheated, and put it right back on once I start to cool off.
We have very low humidity in western Montana, so if I’m running when the sun is out, it can heat up fairly quickly, even during the winter. Even though I would get warmed up in the sun, it was important for me to note that when running at temps below 45 degrees F, I needed to be wearing running tights. It is important to keep your leg muscles warm. Even though I might sometimes get a little too hot when wearing the tights, I found my recovery time was much quicker, and I was not as sore the next day. My main problem with running tights is that I just don’t have as many colors to choose from as I do in my selection of running shorts. I suppose that’s okay, cause I only have one running jacket. So what’s the point? I simply learned to be content to just wear different colored running hats.
The hardest training times for me were the transitional seasons: winter into spring and spring into summer. After running in tights and a jacket all winter, I got excited to put on running shorts without a jacket, just wearing a short-sleeved running shirt.
I did have to be careful though, because spring in Montana could bring some unexpected, very nasty weather. It only took getting caught in a spring snowstorm one time for me to realize that even though the day might look nice to start with, I was running for 2 to 2 ½ hours at a time. A lot can happen weather-wise during that time. As they say in Montana, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes.”
I ran long training runs with my friend Vickie riding her bicycle along with me, and it was easier to start off with a lot more layers of running clothing. As I warmed up, I would shed an item of running clothing, and she would tuck it away in a saddle bag. I was doing a lot of my long runs during that unpredictable spring weather, so having her there alongside me for my long training runs made it easy to be prepared for whatever the weather might bring. Thanks, Vickie!
Of course, my favorite season for running is summer: primarily because most of my running clothes match that season. As I said before, I hate to be too hot while running, so my running shorts for the most part tend to be the kinds that have a generous runner’s split up the side to allow me the most comfort and the coolest run. But I also have quite a few longer length running shorts that are good for cooler mornings or late spring days.
My singlets (running shirts – tank tops) are of a very cool lightweight, wick-away material. I’ve noticed that some of my running shirts don’t breathe as well, so I use those mostly for early morning runs when it’s not too hot yet.
Okay….so maybe I have gone on a bit too much about running clothes, but my point is this: when running, I want to be smart about what I wear. So by having a lot of choices of what to wear, I never have to worry that I don’t have the right piece of running clothing. That’s how I justify it anyway
I check the conditions, and dress accordingly. And while I’m at it, why not look my best? Wearing nice running clothes makes me feel better about myself. After all, I work hard for this body!
So the three C’s of running clothing of critical importance: Comfortable and Color-Coordinated…. 😉