This post comes from my lovely wife Ellie, enjoy!
You know that saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”? Well, I think we can apply that to running, too. Over my years of running on and off, I’ve collected a nice sample size of running outfits off of which I can base my “research.” (Mind you, when I say “outfits,” I do not mean actual running outfits. It’s just what I happen to throw on before I head out the door.)
When I started running, it was for soccer practice and I wore shorts, a T-shirt, cleats, shin guards, all of it. I loved the feeling of running in those clothes because I felt like I was moving—and moving fast. When the soccer season was over, I wanted to keep running on my own in order to stay in shape. But instead of wearing my soccer gear, I wore pajama pants, clunky sneakers, a shirt, quite possibly a hoodie, you know where this is going. While I was running, I would get so frustrated! I felt like I was barely moving my feet and making no forward progress. Basically, I felt like a parachute catching all this air.
At the time, I hadn’t thought to change my clothes. I just thought I was out of shape and couldn’t push myself through the “wind.” Mind you, I didn’t know much about running, as I wasn’t running as a sport, I was running in order to shape up for other sports. (I still love the cross-country team’s mantra of “Our sport is your sport’s punishment.” So true.)
Fast forward a half dozen years and I’m in college. By now I was starting to realize that my apparel was messing me up, adding what felt like an extra ten pounds. I’ve gone running with five-pound ankle weights, and I’d say they are about even with the billowy pants. I made a few changes, like no more hoodies, but continued to feel like a parachute with the weight of my shoes and pants. I should also note that I am far too cheap to buy actual running clothes. My running wardrobe was the same as my pajamas and my work outfits for my shifts in dietary at a nursing home. Very versatile! Just not very functional.
Fast forward again and we’re at last Thursday. It was chilly, so I was preparing for a breezy run at about 10:30 p.m. I grabbed my new knee-length leggings (A rare running-related purchase! Eight bucks!), strapped on my VFFS (So light! So not clunky!), put on my B.A.A. shirt (Courtesy of Mama and Papa Bard!) . . . and then threw on a velour zip-up along with my reflective jacket. Dumb. Jon and I weren’t even three blocks away from the apartment before I started freaking out that everything was too heavy, my earphones were getting caught on things, and the keys on a lanyard around my neck were trying to strangle me. After a couple blocks of fighting with my clothes, I stripped off the jacket and zip-up and tossed the keys to Jono. He was very kind and took the velour top from me as well and tied it around his waist. I did the same with the reflective jacket and managed to get my earphones behind my head so my hands wouldn’t get caught anymore. With everything finally in place, the rest of our run was awesome!
So I learned that I need to dress like this from the start. Even if it’s cold out, I am not going to stay cold because of all that running; I just need to put up with a chilly couple of blocks and then I’m golden. I learned that my headphones are really annoying unless they are out of my way (and trying to untangle them and get them situated behind my head while running is no fun either—sorry, Elmwood Village, for all the loud swearwords so late at night). And I learned that the less billowy, heavy stuff you wear, the faster, more streamline you feel. I know all this makes sense to most, but it just took me a while to get every aspect of my running gear into place. I am happy to report that our Thursday run last night was AMAZING! Earphones were set; leggings, shirt, and jacket were lightweight and comfy; and Jono was in control of those murderous keys. Now if I could only get Pandora to stop playing ballads when I’m in the last 10 percent of my run . . .