Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Running Attire Tips for Novice Runners

I remember my first BIG race. I had done local 5K's, but this time I was ready for more. I had signed up for Disney's Race for the Taste 10K! I was there at the start...and I was feeling rather intimidated. I had on a cotton tank top, a cheapo running bra from Wal-Mart, cotton blend capris and a pair of cheaper Asics that I thought were great! I looked around me and saw the thousands of other runners all messing with big watches and messing with laces of shoes that looked streamlined and fast. Oh and I didn't see any cotton. There I was. A noob.

Now that I'm looking at the pictures, I see that I had make-up on. Yes...makeup.

That race was October 7th, 2007. I remember it like yesterday. I also remember that a man came up to me during the after party at the finish and was chatting. He asked me, "So, are you a runner?" and I said, "No." Once I got back home to Ohio, I swore to myself that I would really make an effort to change that. So I started reading and researching online. Next thing you know...I was dressing the part and acting the part! It really wasn't about looking right, it was all about feeling right and being comfortable in the correct clothing for running. So today, I have decided to put together a short list of what a beginning runner can do to help themselves get to that comfort level much faster than I did!
I'll start from the head and work my way down:
Hair - Should be back out of face. There are also many different types of hair bands to help. Some of the best are Bondi Band and Sweaty Bands. Hats can also be great for sun protection as well as keeping your hair back. I have a wicking Nike hat that I use for the summer. I picked it up at Marshal's for $10 or so.

Eyes - There are contacts that contain UV protection right in them (however, I hear they are pricey). I personally use hats and/or sunglasses. Sunglasses should have grippy rubber on the nose piece to help from slipping. I personally lose and break sunglasses like its my habit, so I prefer to get mine at Target. You can find the Ironman brand there for less than $20.

Headphones - For safety, many races prefer that you don't use them at all. However, if you chose to run with headphones, they should be water resistant. For the last few years I use mine only in my left ear and I tuck the right one under my shirt. When you are running on the street you run into traffic, so you can see oncoming cars If you only have the left earbuds in than you can hear the cars that are approaching from the back. It makes for a much safer run for you. It is also good to run occasionally without them at all, especially if you plan on running a race the prohibits them.

Face - No makeup is necessary. Really. DO, however wear sunscreen and chapstick that contains a UV protectant!!
Shirt - No cotton. None. Wicking clothes are everywhere...and they work! They will keep you dryer and less chaffing. You can get great items that will last you forever right at Target or Kohl's! If you plan on running in the dark (even dusk or dawn) you should have at least one neon shirt. For cold weather get some performance fleece...also can be found fairly cheap. Again...no cotton sweatshirts. They will make you miserable...I've been there.

Bra - There are many good brands on the market. Some of you women that are more busty will want
to look at Panache brand. I have also heard good things about Moving Comfort. There should be no reason to "double bra" anymore. I like the Champion high impact line that they have at Kohl's. I own an Under Armor one too, which I don't care for as much. This is one of those items that you will want to spend a bit of money on. If you buy a good one and take care of it, it will last you years.

Belt - Yep...you should get a belt. Where do you put your phone? Do you hang onto it? Do you use an arm band? I used to do both, until I found SpiBelt. Now it gets tucked in there with my nutrition and off I go. They have waterproof versions, however I just buy the basic one and take a ziplock out with me if it looks like rain is on the forecast.
Pants/Shorts - Again, no cotton. You can find a variety of inexpensive pants and shorts out there. They also have capris, skirts, dresses...you name it! Your body type will determine what you feel comfortable in. I for instance, cannot wear shorts or skirts for longer distances because my thighs chafe. I have found that I can get semi-compression shorts that are about halfway down my thigh and those are the most comfortable for the heat. For cold weather, get a pair of running tights. I found mine at Marshal's for a steal! You can also get good deals at RunningWarehouse.com.

Undies - No cotton. You catching on to the theme? There are running underwear available, however I have found that the best thing for me (because this is a personal thing, after all) is to buy the Barely There boyshorts. I have a ton of them...I love them.
Socks - Say it with me...no cotton. For the first few years I ran in just white cotton socks. Then I bought a couple of Asics socks (which I still use..they aren't bad), but I will say I love my good running socks. I have a pair of Balegas and a pair of Injingis...LOVE both. When you go to buy your shoes, pick up a good pair at the running store...and onto that....
Shoes - Every runner loves to find a great fit in a shoe. These things don't just happen. They are guided by experts!! If you are new to running (or even if you have been for at it for awhile) and are looking to switch your shoe, please, please, please do yourself the favor and head to your local running store to have them analyze your shoe and/or gait and fit you properly. Take your current shoe with you and have them look at it. They love this stuff...it's like reading palms for them! Based off of wear pattern they will give you some options. Be honest about your price point...they can work with you even if you don't want to spend a bunch. Running shoes can be expensive, but well worth it for a good fit. Trust me, you would rather spend money on a shoe than a doctor when you find that you have injured yourself due to the wrong shoe. Once they bring you out your choices...try them out. Some stores have treadmills in them so you can run on them, if not they won't mind if you take them around the block to get a feel for them before you buy.
Well, I think that is everything! After I got into the right gear I found myself more comfortable, cooler in the summer, warmer in the winter and able to concentrate on my paces! I was a real runner after all!
Here's a picture of my friend Vicky and I running the Goofy Challenge in 2012.
Are you a runner and have a comment or question? I'm no expert, however I love to talk running and share info and stories!
Feel free to email me at Eva.Baker382@gmail.com

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