What To Wear
By: Ruth England
When you exercise, sweat evaporates off of your skin, cools your body, and regulates your body temperature. In the summer, your effort goes into keeping the body cool, while in the winter you have to work to stay warm. Not regulating your body temperature correctly forces your heart to work harder. Some basic apparel choices will help your body balance external environment with internal temperature:
Cotton apparel absorbs and wicks moisture but holds onto it. It dries very slowly and gets heavy when wet. Plus, itís a rough fiber. Wearing a technical fiber like Dri-Fit or Coolmax will help regulate your body temperature better and is more comfortable during workouts. In warm weather, it keeps you cooler since it evaporates moisture better than cotton, and in cold weather its ability to wick moisture away from your body leaves you drier and warmer. You do want Coolmax apparel to be fitted. When it is against your skin it does best at wicking the moisture away from you. Technical fabrics reduce the risk of chaffing and blisters because they are less abrasive than cotton.
Running accessories such as gloves, hats, headbands, socks also come in CoolMax. Wear Coolmax socks, especially on the long runs, to avoid blisters. Cotton socks hold on to moisture, rub, and can cause blisters. Women will need to look into finding a jog bra that serves its function and doesnít restrict running. Look at this Rogue article for more information about how to pick them.
Chafing occurs when skin rubs against skin or fabric rubs against skin on a long run. This can occur on runs of 7 miles or so and longer. You can use Vaseline or, even better, Body Glide on your next run to prevent chafing. Men sometimes chafe on the nipples and should try Vaseline, Body Glide or Nip Guards (Band-Aids) to avoid the problem.
A number of different clothing items: gloves, hat, long sleeved technical shirts, ear warmers, tights or running pants, and jackets all aid in warmth for the winter. In 50-degree weather, consider gloves, hats, long sleeved technical shirts and ear warmers. Hands are the first area you'll notice, so having gloves on can make your initial run more comfortable in slightly colder weather, and you can take them off, as the day gets warmer. What you wear will vary depending on whether youíre doing a training run or a race; in a race you'll likely warm up faster due to harder effort. In 30-degree weather, consider tights or running pants and jackets. In the winter, you should be chilly before you start running. If you are comfortable standing around in the parking lot before the run, you are wearing too much. Donít forget the 20 degree rule: dress like it is 20 degrees warmer than it actually is to take into account how much your body is going to warm up.
When trying to gauge what to wear, think about how long you are going to be out. If it is 48 degrees at the start of the run, 2 hours later it could be in the upper 50s. On the other hand, if it is cold, donít under dress. You will unconsciously run too fast. After you finish your run, you will become cold as your body cools back down. Bring a change of clothes, so that after the long run you can put something dry on.