Running Clothes: Your Guide to Getting Started
It seems that the confusion that comes with “what should I wear” reigns in the world of workout clothes as well. Running is a high-impact sport, and choosing the right kind of runnning clothes can help you perform efficiently and comfortably.
The shopping checklist
While you need not buy fancy clothes from the most expensive brands, opt for quality that will last a run time. What are some of the other factors to look out for when you are shopping for running clothes?
1. Fit: Comfort is priority. Your outfit should allow you to move freely. Running clothes are designed to move with your body, and the seams are placed to help movement and avoid chafing. Make sure that the clothes are not too tight, as this can also cause chafing and hinder breathing.
2. Fabric: The fabric should be breathable. Although cotton has good breathability and is low maintenance, it is not ideal for exercising. One of the major drawbacks is that it absorbs sweat and becomes heavy. This leads to the fabric losing its breathability and may even cause chafing in some cases. Moisture-wicking technical fabrics are adept at removing dampness from your body
These include high-tech variations of polyester, nylon, or wool. They are lightweight and tend to absorb sweat to disperse it across the material of the fabric. The sweat evaporates from the surface of the clothes and you can stay dry for longer.
Technical fabrics adapt to the weather. They help keep you dry and warm while running in cold weather; in hot weather, they help dissipate sweat and prevent chafing. They also tend to last longer than cotton workout clothes.
3. Reflective materials: Technical running clothes that have reflective stripes are a good option if you choose to run in the dark.
4. Pockets: Clothes with pockets can help you carry things like your phone and keys without hindering movement.
3. Compression fabric: Some running apparel like tops, tights, and socks are made of compression fabric, which provides a supportive feeling, allows improvement in oxygenated blood, and reduces soft tissue damage. These contribute to quicker post-running recovery. Go for this if you are an intermediate runner, but ensure that the fit and size suit you.
4. Thumbhole: When you run in the cold weather, tops or jackets with thumbholes can provide more hand coverage.
5. Sun protection: There are running clothes that provide an additional layer of protection along with sunscreens and visors in sunny weather.
Now that we’re clear on some of the basics, let’s move on to running essentials.
Top: There are an array of options, ranging from vests to tank tops to singlets. You can also choose to opt for sleeveless, short-sleeved, or long-sleeved tops. Singlets or half-sleeve tops are good starting points unless the weather requires you to wear full-sleeves. Men should take care to choose a fabric that doesn’t chafe the nipple area. Don’t wear a brand new top without washing.
Bottoms: You can choose a wide variety — from running shorts to long tights. Shorts designed specifically for running are generally made of sweat-wicking, breathable fabric. They help keep you comfortable for longer durations. Some also come with a liner and drawstring, which are favored for ventilation. When you choose tights or pants for running, pick ones that are comfortable and are the right fit.
High-impact sports bra: Working out without adequate support can cause pain and sagging of the breasts. Since breasts do not contain muscles, wearing a proper sports bra will give it the much required external support. There are ones designed specifically for high-impact activities like running. Test one before buying by running in place and jumping, to make sure it is supportive and a good fit, and you are comfortable. Replace your sports bras if they lose elasticity or if your bodyweight changes considerably.
Underwear: Fabrics such as polyester helps keep you dry for longer. They also tend to be breathable and prevent chafing without causing irritation around the hips and leg opening. However, a lot of shorts come with knitted underwear and you may not need to wear an extra one for a run.
Running jacket: A lightweight running jacket can be a good choice while running in cold weather. Pick one with good ventilation and breathability.
Socks: Pick socks that come in light material, reduces friction, and wick away moisture. Your formal or lifestyle socks don’t make the cut. Look at technical socks specifically made for running.
What to avoid
You know how to get started. Now, it’s time to learn about some things you should avoid.
1. 100% cotton: Avoid wearing clothes that are 100% cotton, including cotton socks.
2. Sweatpants: Choose tights made from technical fabrics over sweatpants as they will help you move freely and feel comfortable.
3. Thick socks: Your feet tend to swell while running, especially during the heat. So, avoid thick socks, which can also lead to your toes rubbing against the shoes, increasing the chance of developing black toenails.
4. New clothes on race day: Your race day is not the ideal time to don new running clothes. Try them out when you train and practise.
It’s time to head out for that shopping spree and hit the ground running.
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