When it comes to running clothes, you might think, "Hey, all I need is a shirt and some shorts." Indeed, running's simple - and we don't want to turn this into combat training! But the clothing choices you make can affect your performance and comfort, especially with the newer high-tech fabrics and designs.
There's no way around it. You sweat. Wear breathable fabrics that wick moisture away from your skin. Unlike 100% cotton that gets wet and stays wet, wicking fabrics help you regulate your core temperature and avoid overheating or chilling. Great examples include EMS® Techwick® polyester which wicks, packs, wears, and washes like nothing else.
With the rising demand for fast and light clothing, you'll find that many of the newer fabrics not only deliver wicking action but are ultralight. The North Face® Flight Series" perfectly demonstrates the concept of both minimizing weight and wasted energy. Ideal for done-in-a-day and weekend adventures
Use a base layer for moisture management, an outer shell to protect you from wind and rain when the temperature dips below 40 degrees, and a thermal insulating layer when the temperature drops below zero. Today, many performance fabrics also do "double duty" to minimize weight (for example, one layer that's shell on the outside, fleece on the inside).
Sheild against wind and rain
Mother Nature shouldn't slow you down when you're moving fast. With modern advances, you can easily pack a wind or rain shell without adding discernable weight. Some of these lightweight wonders weigh just a few ounces, but are fully waterproof, breathable, windproof ripstop nylon that can battle windy summits or surprise squalls with ease.
Protect your extremities
You've probably heard that most of your body heat escapes from your head. And when it's cold out, your body pumps less blood to your extremities in order to maintain heat in your core. In weather below 40 degrees, be sure to wear a lightweight hat (or try an earband). Wicking gloves are important, too. Look for waterproof, breathable, wind-blocking gloves that warm you up without overheating your hands.
Look for performance clothing features
In clothing design, comfort is closely tied to performance. For example, gusseted crotches not only prevent chafing but also enhance mobility. Waistband-integrated gel pockets made of mesh won't irritate your skin and also give you easy access to fuel. Mesh side panels provide extra venting. Flatlock seams help avoid discomfort.
Women, invest in a high-tech sports bra
ALWAYS wear a sports bra to avoid back and neck strain, chafing, and damage to the breast ligaments. For running, look for a "high-impact" bra that wicks sweat, dries quickly, and lets your body breathe.
Wear performance socks
To avoid blisters and reduce chafing, ensure your socks are a synthetic or wool blend, or high quality wool. What's most important is that the sock fits your foot snugly and works with your shoe combination. Many trail runners also advocate a double-layer sock versus the traditional single-layer sock to wick moisture and absorb friction.
Hydrate for your run
Don't underestimate your body's need for water. You're always perspiring, even in cooler months. If you wait until you're thirsty, you've waited too long. As you start extending your runs, investigate a low-profile hydration pack. (And don't forget fuel too...stash an energy bar or gel pack in case you run longer than you intended.)
Ensure you're visible in the dark with reflective apparel. If you're running in the woods, remember it gets dark more quickly. And if you're running along a road, experts say you need to be clearly visible 300 to 400 feet ahead of an oncoming car's headlights. Look for jackets, tops, and pants with reflective panels, stripes, or dots. Also consider an L.E.D. wrist band that lights up for visibility. At minimum, throw on a lightweight reflective vest - it does the job even if it's not the most stylish!