Other than the actual running part, what you wear is easily the most important part of racing. RIGHT???!
Ok, maybe fueling and sleep and the mental game are up near the top of the list too, but your outfit definitely deserves a good chunk of thought and advanced planning.
Before we get started, let me try to explain The Terrible Grey Race Shirt…
I packed a single outfit for Eugene, with only ‘blue vs yellow socks’ left for gametime decision making. But when we got there and I laid everything out, I realized how obnoxiously… LOUD the outfit was…
Hindsight : loud & matchy probably better than grey & boobsweaty
I’m not a colorful person. I really like black and other sad/boring colors, and NEVER wear prints. So seeing my race threads screaming at me like that sent me into a minor panic attack.
“Guys. I NEED a new shirt. Get in the car we’re going shopping.”
(Did you read that like Regina George? I know you did. Don’t lie.)
All I wanted was a simple navy top, which APPARENTLY no athletic wear designers think women should wear. WHAT’S WRONG WITH NAVY, NIKE?? So with less than 24 hours till guntime I reluctantly carried my grey shirt to the register, hoping it’d be completely saturated and dark grey by the time any photogs caught me.
What did this teach me? First of all, that even a 20 minute PR can’t wipe the pain of a bad race outfit – those photos live forever (#blogproblems). Second, let “outfit prep” be the distraction you need during taper.
I’m taking my own advice (for once), and have been trying to piece this puzzle together all month. I’ve been test-running and scheming and am at a standstill – here’s a peek at my staples, brain science, and present dilemma.
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(aka find something that works, buy 100 of them, and never change)
These are your building blocks for every long run or race outfit. Mine for the last 2+ years…
Supportive and non-chaffey bra - I pick up these Nike Pros at TJ Maxx and Sports Authority – fun colors and easy to find on sale for <$20
Comfy, no-slippage, worry-free socks - Pumas also from TJ Maxx – I started buying them in college and refuse to wear anything else (other than compression)
“Run Spanx” - This Nike Pro Support Tank comes with me everywhere. I like feeling “held in” and having a tight layer between me and whatever’s on top
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(aka what you wear for the cameras)
This is where you get to be creative. Name on your shirt to solicit some cheers? Something frilly to make the dudes you pass feel lame (or to get their number afterwards)? Neon head-to-toe so your pitcrew/personal photog/stalker can spot you easily on the course?
Do it up, baby.
COVER YOUR… BUM
I was a long-time devotee to Nike capri tights. No matter the weather, I liked not worrying about chaffing or if it looked like my crotch was eating my shorts.
Rain, shine, cold – tights (with or without compression sleeves) were a non-negotiable
Oh and that time I wore both (along with 20 other unnecessary layers)? It’s ok, you’re allowed to laugh…
It WAS freaking cold in Columbus that year…
Now? I’ve 100% embraced the running skirt. They’re functional and cute, and make sweating like a man seem a little less gross. I like the no-fuss of booty shorts underneath while the skirt spares everyone from seasickness watching my thighs jiggle all over the place.
(you’re welcome, spectators)
Target C9, Adidas, Nike Pacer, Kyodan (? TJ Maxx)
COVER YOUR… CHEST
I’m much less picky when it comes to running tops. My only requirements are that they 1) hold up in the wash and 2) are long enough to not turn into a 90s crop top in flight.
Remember to pick a material that’s not too delicate – safety pinning your bib can leave perma-damage on real fine fabrics.
Also remember that while it may be OMGSOFREEZING at the start, you’ll (obvs) warm up during the race. Pick a style one step cooler than you think you want. (aka go with short sleeves if you’re feeling like long sleeves, etc)
My go-to, since
I like to show off my guns it’s pretty warm in SoCal year round and I like to avoid a farmer’s tan. Plus they take up less space in my dresser and are easier to fold than tshirts.
A few of my favorites :
RoadRunnerSports, Target C9, Nike Pro
This is kind of a no-brainer – any major athletic brand will have a decent tech fabric short sleeve option. Most of the tech tees I have are race shirts, but I do really like 26.2’s super soft (and long!) shirts, and have a few from Target’s C9 line (these are much thinner material but have a decent cut)
Target C9, Nike dri-fit, 26.2
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(aka all the bonus fun stuff)
Since the majority of my tops are short sleeves or tanks, it’s nice to just add on a pair of arm warmers rather than busting out the long sleeves. It’s also nice to have the option of pulling them off mid-run if you decide you don’t want them (I fold them up and tuck them into the back of my sports bra Quasimodo-style)
It’s no surprise I love my compression socks. A lot of people rely on them for recovery only, but I’m a big fan of running in them. On top of the circulation benefits, the squeeze on my shins and calfs is comforting and they (at the very least) add some warmth on those chilly race mornings.
And ok, I can go all “I HATE COLOR AND GIRLY THINGS” on you for the main event, but I can’t deny the urge to throw something pretty into an outfit. If I’m skipping on the ‘race braid’ to keep my hair out of my face, it’s a sparkly headband to the rescue.
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So now my present dilemma….
WHAT TO WEAR AT OJAI?!
“Spandex Ninja” – C9 tank, old semi-fitted Reebok 4” shorts
“Pretty Fast” – C9 tank, and either a) C9 skirt or b) pleated Fila skirt
“The Go-To” – Nike Pro tank, Oiselle Rogas
All items test-ran and confirmed as viable options. Might be another game-time decision, unless taper leaves me feeling fat and requiring the slimming power of black and spandex.
* Do you have any pieces you absolutely swear by or can’t live without? Anything I HAVE to add to my arsenal?
p.s. Picmonkey has a collage feature now, all you fellow picnik mourners…