Thursday, July 26, 2012

Looking Good

There really isn't anything pretty about someone who has been running for 16 miles and is in desperate need for some water, oxygen and a sandwich or two. Well, at least, I'm assuming there isn't because I haven't run that far yet, but the mud and the rain and the sweat shouldn't stop you from trying to look good, right?
Well, I'm not sure I entirely believe that, but I certainly believe that running in performance specific gear is helpful and with my 29th birthday quickly approaching, my friends and family generously bought me some great running gear to help me on my way to running a marathon.
Yesterday my best friend, Tenie, my husband, Mr. K, and I headed to a sports store in order to find me some better running clothes. The ones I've been running in are primarily cotton and from what I've read and experienced, cotton does not breathe or pull the moisture away from your body. I can deal with it if I continue just running 5 K or so and only three times a week, but once the runs start getting longer and more frequent, I'd really appreciate it if my body had as much help dispelling sweat as possible. Synthetic fabrics are much better at this, at least much better than cotton, and yesterday I was outfitted with a new pair of running pants, tank top and sports bra. We all know that a good sports bra goes a long way.
After doing some research, talking to Laura and observing what she wears, I quickly began to realise that I was in desperate need of more professional gear. One pair of my running pants had shrunk in the dryer due to them being cheap and cotton and the others have to be held on by a safety pin because they are too big. My shirts aren't much better. I have three that I primarily run in, two short sleeved and a long sleeved, and one of the short sleeved definitely is not meant for running. It too is primarily cotton and very warm, despite being short sleeved. The long sleeved is actually great as it was part of my gear from Team Canada when I was swimming, but seeing that it's summer here and your body is supposed to heat up 15 degrees warmer than the outside temperature when running, it isn't very helpful right now. The third shirt is better than the first, but when you are trying to run at least five times a week, and have plans of upping that to 7 or 8, you kind of need more than one comfortable shirt.
My sports bras are okay, but again, I'm lacking in quantity. I only have two that get the job done and when you are washing them so often, they will wear out very quickly; losing their elasticity and thus their usefulness. So, having three to rotate through would be beneficial.
Who would have thought serious, competitive running could get so technical with regards to clothes?
The pants I've been wearing were just a cheap pair I picked up from Azda, the UK version of Walmart, and when wet whether from sweat or rain, they are not comfortable; especially if I have to run in the rain with them. So, the new Nike made pants that claim to pull away moisture will be a welcomed change.
As for the tank top it's a part of the Dry Fit line and is purple. Dry fit, again, will be beneficial in keeping me from over heating while out running, but the fact that it's purple is just as  exciting. I know you're supposed to pick running gear based on its performance merits, and I did, but if I can get it in the colour I like, why not do it? I have a strong liking for the colour.
As for the sports bra, yes I'm going there, I am incredibly grateful for this little piece of equipment because of its snug fit and "moisture pulling away" fabric. I've read about chafing in unwanted areas and that a good fitting sports bra reduces this risk exponentially. So, of course a new bra was on the list of things to get.
The best part is that I still have room in y budget to get a new pair of running shoes. Mine aren't particularly old or worn out, but it's been suggested to me that I have a second pair so that I can rotate the shoes between runs. This helps the two shoes last longer as the workouts off allows the shoes to de-compress, giving you longer life. I'm not sure if that's true, but it sounds like good logic to me. Not to mention, running in Scotland means running in the rain more often than not, and so having a dry pair of shoes to wear instead of stuffing feet into day old, still wet shoes is also welcomed.
I also have good quality running socks on the way as well. When I initially started running, I thought that regular old cotton socks would do just fine, but since running in both running specific socks and just your every day socks, I've noticed the difference in foot temperature, and again, moisture. With only one pair of running socks, an extra few pairs wouldn't go amiss either.
So, am I necessarily looking good while running?
Perhaps I look a bit more like a serious runner, and maybe that means I'm looking good, but the biggest and most important thing is that I'm feeling good due to my gear functioning properly.
Now, all I have to do is go for  run and put my theories of good quality running gear to the test.

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