10 Must-Haves for Your Running Wardrobe… Written by Keira D’Amato, =PR= Director of Marketing
If you participated in the 2017 Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, you’ll know what I mean when I say that the weather was AWFUL. It rained the whole time, wind gusts got up to 20 mph, and it was sleeting. Sleet… in Virginia Beach… really? Let’s just call it less-than-ideal running weather.
As I ran and looked around at my fellow runners, I noticed something strange: people were not dressed properly for the weather. This baffled me! If you know it’s going to be cold and rainy, you dress for it to be cold and rainy, right? Running is a tough enough sport as it is; we should try to give ourselves every advantage possible and “dress for success.”
As difficult as the weather was that day, I did feel somewhat prepared. Why? I have the “running necessities” in my athletic wardrobe. I wasn’t going to let the weather dictate how I felt on my big marathon day. I refuse to let the weather be an excuse not to run… or not to run well.
Whilst running 26.2 miles, I had a lot of time to contemplate why so many people hadn’t dressed the part. I concluded that either 1) people don’t have the necessities in their running wardrobe, or 2) people don’t know the key pieces they should have in their running wardrobe. Either way, let’s try to solve the problem.
Here’s a list of key pieces and tips for your spring and summer running wardrobe:
1. RAIN JACKET: Don’t let Mother Nature be the judge of whether or not you will run on a given day. Invest in a weather-resistant or waterproof rain jacket with a hood. This outer layer is perfect to pair with a tank in the warmer months, or you can layer it up on the cold days. I find the hood to be crucial when it gets really wet and windy. I have no shame in running with a hood up to stay warm and dry! Added bonus: rain jackets are typically very light, so if you are lucky enough for the rain to stop while you’re running, take it off and tie it around your waist. Easy peasy!
2. COMPRESSION SOCKS: These socks aren’t only for elite runners; they make a world of difference for everyone. I started wearing compression socks for my long runs and races, but after feeling more fresh, less fatigued, and slightly peppier, I started wearing the socks more often. Now I wear them on recovery days, days where I will be on my feet a lot, travel days (plane and long car rides), and my longer or faster runs and races. The science behind the socks is beyond me. Basically, I think it comes down to your muscles not vibrating or moving unnecessarily, which will conserve energy. I believe it also helps with the swelling and blood flow. Again, I don’t completely understand the science, but from personal experience, it works!
3. TECHINCAL RUNNING HAT: Protecting yourself from the elements and hiding your lovely “running hair, don’t care” look: win-win. I wear a hat on rainy days (save yourself from getting poked in the eyes by rain drops), sunny days, or trail days (who knows what could fall from the trees on to you… pollen, ticks, yuck). As much as I love a good ball cap representing a favorite sports team, it’s important to make sure the hat is made of a technical fabric that breathes and is moisture-wicking. I stick mine in the wash every few runs and it’s like brand new.
4. SUNGLASSES: You don’t have to buy the really aggressive-looking sunglasses that make you look like The Terminator. Just make sure you have a pair that protects your eyes from the sun. I used to get bad headaches running on really sunny days because I would squint the entire time. Now I am older and wiser, and headache-free because I wear my handy sunglasses. It was an easy fix. Also, sunglasses can shield you from pollen, saving you from some itchy, watery eyes. Get a good pair of glasses that are comfortable, won’t slip, won’t fog, and help make you feel cool. You can thank me later for this tip.
5. BLACK CAPRIS: Ladies, this is the LBD of your running wardrobe. Black capris go with EVERYTHING! They are the perfect bottoms for that “in between weather.” You know what I mean: you have a certain temperature that is shorts weather and a certain temperate that requires full tights. But then there’s that no-man’s land zone when it could go either way. No-man’s land temperature = capris. Also, they look amazing on all body types. And all butts. Hey, I call ‘em like I see ‘em! They are great for running errands after a run. Invest in a pair of good black capris.
6. TECHNICAL RUNNING SOCKS: Blisters are so 2016. Train in good socks and help prevent blisters. Nothing sours a run like a blister or a hot spot. There are a lot of great options these days for moisture-wicking, cushioned socks: Balega, Feetures, Swiftwick, and Stance to name a few. Find the brand you like and invest in a few pairs. Make your feet happy.
7. SPORTS BRA: I’m not talking about a cheap sports bra you can get at a discount retailer. I’m talking about a great bra that is built for athletes. As a mom of two under two, I’ve gone through a lot of changes in this area lately. Let’s just say I was not prepared for all the changes and my back was killing me! My saving grace was going to my local running store, getting measured for the correct size, and purchasing a high-impact sports bra. Immediately my back felt better, funny how that happens. As a mom of little ones, I find myself rotating through three or four sports bras with all the laundry I do.
8. RUNNING SHORTS WITH POCKETS: You never know when you will need to carry your keys… some cash… a snack… maybe a lucky penny… or… well, you get the gist. You never know. Make sure you have a pair of running shorts that can hold your valuables while you run. Also, as someone who has lost a car key during a run and spent hours searching a park for them (a story for another day), the zip pocket is your friend.
9. SINGLET or TANK TOP: By far my favorite piece of running apparel out there. A tank that breathes is key for those especially hot days. Lately I have been enjoying the tunic length tanks. They provide great coverage and don’t ride up! This is also a place where you can get a fun color or pattern. Fun and functional.
10. RUNNING SHOES: This is a no-brainer. I really shouldn’t even have it on the list because it’s so obvious, right? Anyone who runs or works out NEEDS a solid pair of running shoes. I strongly recommend getting fit at a specialty running store. There are many helpful tips the trained staff can offer, like: typically, your running shoes should be about one size larger than your every day shoes. Also, you may need a larger size after having a baby. This just happened to me. It was a little shocking, since I was used to a certain size my whole life, but I’m glad I now know so I can be in the proper size. Give yourself the time to pick the brain of the store staff and learn all you can about your gait. Walk out of the store with a pair of shoes that feel good on your feet. Running can get uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be because of your shoes.
My last piece of advice for your running wardrobe: spray sunscreen (make sure to get the waterproof or sport version). Keep it by your running shoes and spray it on before you go out for a run. It takes 20 seconds to spray on and can save you from a lot of trouble in the future.
So that’s my list! I would love to hear your feedback. Do you all agree/disagree with the list? Is there anything you would add? Is there a running item you feel passionately about in your wardrobe? Do tell!