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What to Wear When Running?

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 26 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Clothes Sports Clothes Running Running

Too many people believe that in running, as in other aspects of life, it’s all about keeping up appearances. But don’t think for one minute that wearing clothes with the brand equivalent of go-faster stripes or one of those fancy swooshes is going to make you run any more successfully. Rather, choose kit of the correct fit that allows freedom of movement and will keep you comfortable from start to finish.

The latter is particularly important if you are running outside rather than in the gym. You are naturally going to perspire more during the summer months than in winter, but as the weather becomes colder or it rains, it is likely that you may decide to wear an extra layer or perhaps a rain jacket to combat the worst the elements can throw at you. Of course, more layers can add up to more problems in terms of perspiration, in the case of colder weather because rather than evaporating, the moisture becomes trapped, cools down and leaves you feeling damp, chilly and miserable. It can also contribute to chafing in the area of the torso, too. Choosing garments manufactured from Coolmax can alleviate these problems. Described as a “performance fabric”, Coolmax works by transferring perspiration from the skin to the outer surface of the material. This means that instead of remaining on the skin, the perspiration evaporates.

Support to the Thigh Muscles

Chafing in the groin and the inner thigh can also be combated by a pair of Lycra shorts, usually worn beneath a pair of standard nylon shorts. Not only does this material prevent rubbing, either between the tops of the thighs or from the edge of the material of the standard shorts but it also offers support to the thigh muscles, providing extra protection against injury.And while we’re on the subject of injuries, be sure to avoid tracksuit bottoms that in any way restrict movement of the legs. They may well appear appealing at the beginning of a run when the cold wind whips around the calves and thighs but surplus material flapping around the legs or bunching at the ankle can lead to heavy falls that can damage a lot more than your dignity.

Bunching can also be a problem in the foot area if the size of sock is too big for your feet. As the material becomes progressively wetter and heavier with perspiration, the more painful it will be for the soles of the feet. Equally, if the sock is too small, the toes will be restricted, making running very uncomfortable and injury highly likely.

Heat Loss through the Head

In the head area, many runners favour wearing a baseball cap, or in the winter months one of those woolly Dockers' hats sported by Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. But remember that the greatest amount of heat loss is through the head, and if your body’s natural thermometer is such that you get hotter more easily than others, head gear may only leave you feeling more uncomfortable.

Comfort is also a vital consideration for female runners when it comes to choosing a sports bra. Not only is restriction of movement important in terms of running performance but the strap design should be such that there are no rough edges that can cause discomfort or chafing. Therefore, it pays to seek advice at a specialist running store and ensure you buy from a retailer that provides a comprehensive fitting service.

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