Read these 5 Sports Apparel for Running Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Sports Apparel tips and hundreds of other topics.
Active wear for runners has come a long way since the days of old cotton sweatpants. Those cotton sweatpants now serve as post-workout lounge wear, while moisture-wicking fabrics take center stage to “take the wet out of sweat.” Nearly all sports apparel manufacturers have some trademark moisture-wicking material: Champion's Double Dry, Nike's Sphere, and Under Armour's ColdGear are a few examples.
But whatever the name, the principle of moisture-wicking fabric remains the same. The fabric moves moisture away from your skin, which keeps your drier and eliminates the cold, clammy feeling of a wet cotton t-shirt. The moisture-wicking properties hold true whether you're wearing a bra or t-shirt on a hot, humid day or layering a moisture-wicking long-sleeved shirt under a vest, another shirt, or jacket for a cold-weather run.
This may sound strange in a collection of tips touting the benefits of high-tech sports apparel, but experienced runners know that a big, plastic trash bag is the best (and cheapest) disposable windbreaker you could have. Most marathons and other races start in the morning, and sometimes it's chilly enough that an extra layer would feel good for the first few miles, but then you will be too hot. No one wants to throw away a favorite moisture-wicking jacket or vest, but a trash bag can be discarded at a convenient water stop along the race route.
Here's how to do it: Just punch a hole in the bottom of a large trash bag (I don't receive any funding from Glad or Hefty, but I have used both of their products). Put your head through the hole and punch out armholes at about shoulder height, so your arms have the full range of motion. Once you feel warm, whether it's after 1 mile or 10 miles, just grip the bag at the neck and rip it down so you can shrug it off without having to pull it back over your head while you're running.
Sometimes even diehard daytime runners find themselves hitting the road in darkness, especially in the winter. While most of the high-end running shoe makers incorporate strategically placed reflective pieces into their shoe styles, reflective shoes close to the ground might not be enough to catch the attention of an oncoming car.
Runners who often run in the dark might consider a pair of tights or shorts and a jacket or vest with a reflective stripe or design. Most sports apparel manufacturers make active wear that has reflective designs, if you check the labels.
A caveat: If you plan to have a pre- or post-run photo taken while wearing reflective gear, beware. The stripe down the front of the jacket is likely to glow in response to a flash. So, cancel the flash or take off the jacket.
If you're a woman runner with a long torso, try on some men's styles of running jackets, tops, and vests. You may find that they fit you better than a women's style. The men's styles tend to be cut longer, and you can avoid the annoyance of shirts that don't come past your waist, and expose more than you'd like when you raise your arms.
As a woman runner with a long torso, I have found that men's sizes for tops, vests, and jackets are a much better fit. Sometimes the sleeves on men's active wear can be a bit long for women, but most running jackets have Velcro closures at the wrist, and you can tighten them to keep the sleeves from sliding over your hands.
Sometimes the sizes of men's active wear can be confusing, and just because you wear one size in a Champion shirt doesn't mean that you'll wear that same size in an Adidas shirt.
The fit tip: If you're shopping in a store, try on the athletic wear. It's not hard, guys; women do it all the time. Alternatively, if you're doing your shopping online, read the measurements next to the sizes. Measurements and sizes match up differently depending on the brand. For example, an Under Armour men's running pant labels its XL as 36-39 inches at the waist, while Champion's Double Dry pants label XL as 40-42 inches. The moral of the story is that not all XLs are created equal. Of course you can return things, but who wants to make another trip to the store when you could be off to your next workout?
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|