TLC’s popular TV series, What Not to Wear was a reality show in which fashion consultants transform fashion-disaster victims who have been nominated by friends for a makeover. Don’t worry, you have not been nominated. : ) Instead, we would like to discuss some running apparel and accessories do’s and don’ts for you to consider.
Cotton is Rotten. No offense to our cotton farmers, but cotton has no place in the running world. Even the smallest percentage of cotton in a piece of clothing is a set up for a blister disaster. Think about a cotton t-shirt when it comes out of the washing machine. It’s Soaked! Now think about a technical t-shirt. You can almost wear it immediately after washing. Cotton absorbs moisture. Moisture gets trapped in between your body and your apparel. Friction occurs. Blisters or chafing happen. This can be quite painful especially if it occurs early on in a run. When shopping for apparel and socks. Look for words such as Nylon, Spandex, Cool Max, Vapor Wick, Polyester, and Merino Wool. Blistering and chaffing can still occur even when wearing technical fabrics. If this is happening to you, there is a product called Body Glide that will come to the rescue. Body glide is an anti-chafe balm. It comes in a deodorant-like container. You roll it on your skin before dressing to prevent any chafing issues. It can be used on feet, chest, arms, thighs, just about anywhere that might rub against fabric.
Ladies, support your girls! And I’m not talking about your daughters. Did you know the most neglected part of a women’s apparel is a sports bra! Sports bras are designed to provide support to women's breasts and minimize breast movement while exercising or playing sports. Breast motion is difficult to reduce without a sports bra because the ligaments in the breasts do not contain strong structural support. You should change out your sports bras at least once a year. Again look for Lycra, spandex, CoolMax, Polyester
Identify yourself- When running alone it is a good idea to have some form of identification with you. There is a company called Road ID that offers wrist and ankle bands, shoe pouches, etc. You can have your name and emergency contact info engraved on the ID as well as any medical needs for first responders. www.roadid.com
Winter weather layering- Don’t let the cold keep you indoors. Learn how to layer and enjoy running year around. In the winter months the weather can change quickly and when you are running your body temperature changes dramatically. For extreme temperatures (30’s and below), layering is the key to staying warm and comfortable. It is good to start off with a highly breathable base layer; this is the layer that you wear closest to your skin. Wear a looser, second layer of a breathable material. This adds extra insulation between your base layer and your outer layer. Lastly, wear a wind-resistant, water-resistant outer layer. Don’t forget your extremities, your head, ears, and fingers! Do keep in mind your body temperature will rise approximately 10 degrees from the outside temperature. So if it’s 45 degrees, your body will feel as if it is 55 degrees once you start running.
Reflective apparel, safety lights, and head lamps- Because there are a lot more hours of darkness during the winter months, reflective apparel and safety lights will help drivers identify you. Most winter apparel has reflective material as part of the design, but you should consider supplementing with blinking armbands or reflective lights that clip on your hat, waistband, or shoe.