Beginner Runner Tip #2
Get Technical : Ditch the Sweats and Cotton Tees
Invest in some ‘technical fabric’ running shorts, tops, and socks. Technical fabric can be made of a variety of materials but are all designed to wick away sweat from the skin to prevent chafing, irritation and blisters. They also tend to help regulate your temperature better as the sweat is able to evaporate better. Stay away from cotton clothing, it tends to do everything that technical gear is designed to avoid! You can also look at compression gear, but for beginner runners it is not normally required unless you feel you have a specific need for compression garments.
Make sure your new gear is brightly coloured and has some reflective strips on it so you are visible when running. It might look cool or slimming to be dressed in head-to-toe black, but it’s difficult for others to see in low light and dangerous if you’re on the roads. Nothing peeves drivers more than a runner dressed like a ninja appearing from nowhere…
Think about the weather and the season. If you’re starting running in spring then you’ll be looking for a top that will have some warmth to get you into summer, and a light top for warm spring days and for summer. If however it’s winter, you will need to look at adding gloves, a base-layer and an overlayer that will give you water resistance. It doesn’t necessarily need to be waterproof, but it needs to be able to handle some rain without you getting drenched. If you live in severe weather or are just hardcore and will run whatever the weather, think about opting for something with Goretex fabric which is completely waterproof.
If you’re a lady, make sure you get a good sports bra. It needs to be supportive, prevent excessive movement up-down and left-right, and not be so tight it restricts your breathing. It’s a good idea to get professionally fitted, especially if you *blushes* have, ahem, big boobs.
Good running bottoms are also an important investment. There are lots to choose from, with different styles. Shorts, tights, capris, maybe a running skirt for the women? Most women choose tights because they are multi-function, can be worn over a wider temperature range and, well, look good. Some men aren’t fans of tights and will choose shorts in any weather. But, if you’re a guy and you do choose tights, PLEASE wear shorts over the top. It’s just not cool for guys to be running around in tights without the modesty of shorts. No one needs to see that…
When buying your running bottoms think of the weather and when you’ll be running. If it’s winter you may want tights with a thin fleece layer in them for extra warmth, and look for gear with reflective elements if you’re running in low light.
Regardless of the style of running bottoms you go for, key things to look out for as a beginner are extra features like key-pockets or zippered pouches for your phone/ID. These little compartments make a big difference to the usefulness of a pair of pants and you won’t have to carry things in your hands. Look for pouches on the hips or on the back below the waistband. The higher up they are the less the things inside will bounce around as you run.
And finally, choose clothes that fit you properly. Technical gear is designed to work with your body and should be reasonably tight to the skin to maximise the benefit of the wicking properties. A lot of technical gear is also specially shaped to fit better when running. The wrong size will end up with folds in the wrong places and tight spots where you don’t want them. If you’re of large stature, don’t think you need to run around in loose clothing to try and hide your extra pounds. Trust me; people always look better in clothes that fit them, regardless of their size. Plus, seeing that once tight-fitting top getting loose on you is a big boost compared to not being able to notice it in some massive four-sizes-too-big shirt.
As an aside, here is one of my favourite posts from Colby at It’s a Marathon AND a Sprint about the lady in the oversize tee.
By having the right sort of clothing that fits well and performs well, your running will be more comfortable and your temperature better regulated, leaving you to concentrate on the more important stuff. Like running!
Happy running everyone!
Get Going, Get Running!