For those of you who were able to attend the run on May 10, you witnessed the appearance of an ill prepared “guest” runner who needs to get his sexy back.
Our guest runner was wearing several layers. Sweatpants and shirt and all of it was cotton! He was wearing hiking boots with cotton socks too. He brought fuel and hydration, but hot dog buns and coffee won’t help runners and walkers and neither will his swim cap, goggles or umbrella. He was improperly and overdressed for our workout. As an athlete, it’s our job to learn about our sport and find out what the best food, hydration and gear is and then from the array of choices, decide which works best for us as individuals.
Focusing on apparel, men and women need to look for clothing that wicks moisture and is labeled as such. In addition to wicking moisture as we perspire, you may want apparel that provides a layer of sun protection or additional cooling. Several manufactures are making clothing that adds a layer of sun protection. If you can’t find it, ask at your favorite running specialty store as they can order it if they don’t carry it. Also, there are garments that are designed to cool you off. Adiddas has cooling beads on the back of some of their shirts. Sporting goods stores like REI and Hudson Trail Outfitters carry hats and cloths that can be frozen or wet and used cool you off during your work out.
Be sure when you buy new gear, to try it out before going on a long run or walk. You want to make sure that it fits and moves the way you want. Your clothes should not bunch, pucker, ride up or down, or get bunched up in your shoes or private parts. If any of this happens, head back to the store and try something else. One of the best things to do is make friends with the staff at the store. Tell them what you like, don’t like and what parts of your body are persnickety or bothered most by the gear you’ve been using. They will know what fits your body type best and save you a lot of time and money.
One thing to note is most technical apparel isn’t usually made of organic or natural materials. Most of it will be synthetic but you can find wool and bamboo options and several companies are making technical cotton apparel. You don’t want anything that is 100 percent cotton as it will get wet, stay wet, and lead to chafing and blistering for most runners and walkers.
Be sure to read and follow the care instructions for your technical gear. This will give you the longest life from the garments and will reduce bacterial build up, which is what makes your gear smell. Even with proper care, you can only wash and wear this stuff so many times before it just smells and has to be tossed. Some gear won’t smell or show very obvious wear, but socks, shirts, bras and undergarments do wear out and need to be thrown away annually. If you don’t know when you bought something but have had it for a while, wear it on a workout and if you get chafing or blisters put it on the endangered species list. You don’t have to toss it that day, but if you wear it again and the same thing happens, save your detergent and just toss it. This may seem harsh, but chafing and blisters can get bad on a long hot workout or on race day. You don’t want to find out that a blister won’t heal in time for your race or that you’ve blistered so bad you can’t finish your race.
All of the stores have spring and summer apparel out now and some stores have socks on sale (Pacers is buy 3, Get one Free). The other thing to check for is sale racks as you may find great bargains available on winter gear.