Unfortunately, I have come across some race pictures recently that shocked me. Folks were wearing jeans to run! At the risk of sounding like a running snob, if performance is your primary objective (and if you don’t want to be super uncomfortable), you need to dress the part.
So you’re like “Okay, Suzanne, please tell me what dressing the part means”. Of course I will!
The 3 most important things to think about with race attire are: comfort, temperature, and motion. For women, the additional factor to consider is support. These are probably the key to helping you perform at your best.
- Comfort: Fashion is great and all, but this is a race so it is more important for you to feel comfortable in your attire. If you tend to have bigger thighs, maybe don’t wear short shorts as your thighs rub together causing chafing (friction injuries) during your run. Leggings or longer shorts might be a better idea. Also, if your top or sports bra is too tight, you may be spending your time pulling up or down trying to get yourself comfortable rather than running.
- Temperature: It is hot in Lagos; there is no doubt about this. So you must wear light clothing so you feel a little cooler when you sweat. Cotton absorbs moisture, especially when you sweat, so in the really hot weather, it might be a good idea to wear a cotton top so the sweat on your shirt can help you cool down halfway through your race. Do not load up on clothing when running in hot weather as your body can overheat and then you’d have to stop.
- Motion: Here is one area where the whole jeans thing is a no-no. Jeans are great for everyday activities, but where participating in sports, they severely limit your range of motion. The best attire where motion is concerned is usually light breathable clothing, like leggings or shorts made of a material like polyester. This is especially true for hot areas. The top can be a tank top or t-shirt, but something light and not too tight, because tight tops might look good on you, but they don’t allow you move at your best.
- Support: Females should always wear a supportive sports bra when running long races, especially if your boobs are on the bigger side. Try out your sports bra before the big race day to make sure there is no chafing or discomfort. I once forgot my sports bra during a race. I ran with a regular under-wire bra thinking it would be fine. Needless to say, it wasn't; I ended the race with bruises on my chest that took months to heal.
Runner’s World has done a great job of suggesting what you should wear based on temperature, wetness, and even gender. Check it out, enter your preferences and see what you come up with.
Cheers Eights & Weights!
Photo credit: Tumblr.com