Monday, September 6, 2010

Dress Like A Runner

75 Days To Go
I am happy to report that shortly after my bellyaching over last week's progress, I actually had a very nice conclusion to my week of training. My long run was a success and I even hit a few "runner" milestones during the week's final run.

For my first milestone, I swallowed a bug. Actually, there was no opportunity for swallowing. I was gasping for air in through my mouth and a bug streamlined down my throat like an F-15 jet on a rescue mission (which reminded me to focus on my breathing - in through the nose, out through the mouth. Hopefully, then I can avoid future open-mouthed gasping inhales in which unknown insects are launched down my throat with no opportunity to hack, cough, or perform any other demonstration of extraction before digestion occurs.)
For milestone two, I found out why compression shorts are a necessity.
This leads me to this week's wrap-up. I have decided to focus on another segment in my "Like A Runner" series (I have also decided it is now a series). This week's focus - Dress Like A Runner.
Now, you might say - what's the big deal in what you wear when running? Yes, I thought this myself too - however, I have come to learn that an educated choice in running apparel not only has functional advantages, but can also lead to an unforeseen boost in confidence. This, in turn, adds a little extra pep in the step when approaching those often dreaded last few miles of your long run. Without further adieu, let's begin with my first three.

1. Compression Shorts
What I thought this was: Undergarments only for men - to keep the junk in the trunk (for lack of a better term. Pardon me.) I will admit, I purchased a pair a while back in an effort to prevent what I have heard referred to as "hungry butt." Otherwise known as the wedgie.
What it actually is: Well, I get half credit. Compression shorts do serve the aforementioned purpose, but they actually have other very positive functions for females. I have mentioned before that I like to think of my thighs rubbing together when I run as a means of producing energy (aka: the chub rub). However, too much energy can burn. And then my friends, enters the wonderful purpose for these wrestle-to-pull-them-on, tight, little-bitty, shorty shorts, also known as, compression shorts. (Such a clever name.)
Some also believe they can help prevent lower back pain, warm up muscles, yadda, yadda, yadda. Bottom line (and I'm going to be frank), they prevent chaffing.
My afterthought: I have some favorites already. I own the Nike brand - but I had no idea they came in pink! I love Sports Authority. Asics has a variety of styles including this pair which boasts elastic material that helps stabilize the spinal column. Fancy.

2. Understanding the Phrase "Cotton Is Rotten"
What I thought this was: When I first heard this phrase among runner chatter I thought it was like back in high school, when the cool kids made fun of those kids that wore the generic Keds tennis shoes or non-Guess jeans (I know, I'm going middle school vintage on you).
What it actually is: Basically, the idea is that moisture-wicking material is best. Why? Due to the fact that cotton becomes soaked when you sweat and stays wet. Moisture wicking material helps decrease this and aids in keeping you dry. Keeping you dry helps prevent the forbidden chaffing situation that I previously described.
My afterthought: Some of my favorite running shirts are cotton. I also have a few cotton sports bras. There, I said it. Due to the current Florida heat, I admit these cotton favs are some of the last items I will wear when choosing my daily running attire. But the fact is, I hate laundry and I can't justify spending much more on running gear in order to transform myself into a total non-cotton wearing runner. Hmmmm, as I am thinking about it though - I do like to reward myself when a milestone is hit. And the way I handled that whole bug situation was really big of me. I just kept on running. I think my local Nike outlet is due for a visit from me.

3. Running Skirts
What I thought this was: I'm going to be honest. When I first spotted these I thought it was similar to when I was a kid (man, do I relate everything to my childhood? I'm beginning to see a pattern here.) when many of the socialite moms of my classmates pranced around in tennis skirts when picking up their kiddos from school, picking up groceries, picking up new clothes...pretty much when doing anything but picking up a tennis racket. I mean really, running in a skirt? It just didn't make sense to me.
What it actually is: A HUGE trend in the running world. Serious female athletes are sporting their skirts in style. And the more I read about the reasons why, the more of a proponent I become. Why shouldn't a woman look and feel good when working hard and forcing others to eat her dust (as her skirt gently flaps in the wind as she passes)? These skirts also provide a great compression short lining and a very discreet way to hide a hungry butt. There is even a Skirtchaser 5k series nation-wide.
My afterthought: Okay, I''m not there yet, but I am intrigued. I am a fashion junkie. I often utter the words "Hello, Lover" when I pass certain stores. I am having a hard time justifying why I haven't taken the running skirt plunge yet. We shall see.
If your finding yourself intrigued too: Check out these images from that I have been eyeing. I'm actually kind a touch obsessed with this site now that I found it. They even have a maternity line! Love that.

Okay, now it's your turn. I want to know your running apparel must-haves or what new apparel you found to be a necessity in your journey in becoming a runner?


Amy said...

You make me laugh! I never heard the term hungry butt before (or some of the other ones either)!
I run in capri length running pants and I have a couple of favorite technical shirts I rotate depending on the weather - I can't stand running in cotton because I get too sweaty. I haven't tried a running skirt yet either, but do have one pair of running shorts for when it is really hot (not very often here). Some of my favorite running clothes I found at Target - their Champion line is affordable and wears really well.

Andrea Leigh said...

@Amy - Target does have some great running stuff that is reasonably priced! I have some fantastic (non-cotton) sports bras from there. Yes, these days when I return home from running in cotton I am soaking wet and then end up freezing if I don't take my running clothes off as soon as I get home.

Ann Marie C said...

I can't live without my running skirts!! I have a strange collection fetish, and my wallet and closet are paying the price! by far has the best, but I prefer the active skirts instead of the actual running skirts (longer compression undershorts).

Ann Marie C said...

One additional benefit of the running skirt - they hide the huge crotch sweat mark for those of us lucky enough to sweat like men when we run. Compression shorts and undies take the brunt, while skirt makes it look like we simply perspire. 'Nuff said!