Hello runners, walkers, and fitness enthusiasts!
As race day approaches, some of you are planning for the big day. The biggest part of planning is what you wear. Today we’ll discuss your race gear. Some of you may already be experimenting with your apparel and gear throughout your training cycle.
For those who are familiar with chafing, blistering, or copious amounts of sweating, you know that a good technical fabric can make for a better run. When we run, we sweat. Cotton as a fabric will hold in sweat which increases the friction between the skin and the fabric and thus chafing and blistering occur. More technical materials such as polyester, nylon, and wool will instead wick moisture away before it sets in on the skin. These are pretty common materials to find in run specific socks and clothing.
Instead of cotton, look for a sock comprised of synthetic materials. Wool is also great because it is also anti-microbial (more resistant to odor) as well as moisture wicking. Your run specific sock will also have the better fit as long as it is sized correctly. Some socks if too big can bunch around the heel or slip down. The great thing about run specific sock brands such as Feetures, Balega, and Smartwool is that they have a variety of fits, thicknesses, and cuts.
Some people assume the thicker the sock, the less blistering. Not necessarily but brands like Wright Sock will have double layers to decrease friction. However, if you like a sleeker fit and feel for race day, Feetures have an elite line that has a snug fit.
There are also socks that can help your performance. For those noticing soreness or fatigue in the lower legs, look to a compression sock or a sleeve. Three Rivers Running Company carries both Zensah and CEP. These socks help with increased blood circulation which will remove lymphatic waste from the body. This is something to try if you find that stretching, massaging, icing, and nutrition are not enough to combat long run fatigue.
The fun thing about race day is getting together your racing outfit! Now with shoes it is more about feel but with the selection that running brands offer you can style it up for the apparel. Apparel for races always depends on the weather and how you handle it.
For 60 degrees plus, most people will wear shorts and some sort of a sleeveless shirt or a tank top. Running shorts will have various inseam legnths for those who prefer longer or shorter shorts. There also half tights, capris, and pants for those who do not wish to wear shorts. Look for pockets to stash nutrition or keys, most run specific brands have them.
For colder weather, layering is the key. If it is a bit chilly, a technical long sleeve will suffice. Technical material also help assure that the fabric doesn’t hold as much sweat as cotton material so moisture does not sit on and cool the body. This will also help with chafing as will the flatten seams that your run specific apparel uses. Arm sleeves are also great to keep the arms warmer but not so much as to overheat the body. Your runs are a great way to practice what apparel will be most comfortable for your race!
Finally for Ladies:
A good sports bra is important. Most women are not wearing the correct size. Even for your sports bra it is important to be fitted for the right size. Your bra should be replaced every 6-12 months as the fabric and elastic stretch. If you are someone who needs more support, look to brands such as Moving Comfort that are able to both compress and support.
Molded cups in sports bras provide individual support while some brands will have an underwire for extra support. Other brands such as Zensah will be seamless and still provide excellent compression. Seamless sports bras are great especially if you deal with chafing. In general, all run specialty brands such as Brooks, Nike, Saucony, etc. carry great sports bras. Like your shoe, it is important to be sized by your run specialty saleswoman. It is also good to try on a variety of brands and styles to see which one feels the best!
Good luck to everyone as we come down to the wire for Fort4Fit week! Run Happy and enjoy the preparation for race day in both your training and your race gear!
written by Liz Schloss