Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bike Shorts for Non-Bikers

Thanks to Achilles Tendonitis, running is out of my routine, for now. My surrogate is biking, so I thought I'd check out bike shorts.

- Not too much padding (I'm not riding a Century and am too young/old for a diaper)
- Comfortable fit around waist and thigh
- Fairly short - I don't get why bike shorts are so long when the saddle is so small
- At least four panels, for better mobility

I should have added "Reasonably priced" to my goals because my favorite pair were $65 - about $30 more than my best running shorts. If you have the cash (I decided I didn't), here's the highlights of what I found:

DeSoto Carrera Low Rise Tri Short ($65)

Nice length - 4" inseam
Comfortable, wide waistband
8 panels (Serious!)
Comfortable grip on thighs (see bottom arrow)
Quality materials - not too thin
Barely enough padding
Shape of padding made a weird crease (top arrow) that either won't be noticeable when biking or will lead to some vicious chafing

2XU Comp Tri Shorts ($75)

Nice length - 4" inseam
Six panels
Mesh panels on the hip for air and comfort (see top arrow)
Nice amount of padding (a little more than the DeSoto)
Inside of hem has a layer of rubber to prevent slippage
Quality materials - not too thin
Uncomfortable, elastic waistband
Extremely unflattering - dug in at the thigh (see bottom arrow) and under the bum in a way that made me look like an unhappy sausage

I'm still looking. If you have any recos for a biker who hopes to go back to running, leave a comment. Thanks!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What to wear running in 85 Degrees

Temp: 85, feels like 90Precip./Humidity: None/high
Wind: Calm
Terrain: Flat track
Distance: Intended - 1 mile; Actual - 1/4 mile. Biked 7 miles.

What I Wore: Nike tank with built-in sports bra for full coverage but minimal layers; Puma shorts with built-in liner of wicking material; icy neckerchief.

Did It Work: The outfit was as comfortable as it could be considering the conditions, but my body failed me.

Considerations: As it gets hotter, it also gets harder to find an outfit that is just right. One thing I considered as getting dressed was the lack of wind. When it's hot and sticky, a breeze on bare skin can make a big difference. If there had been a breeze, I might have worn a midriff-baring sports bra and shorts, no singlet. That would have exposed my (probably sweaty) stomach and helped cool my core.
In consideration of combining biking with running, and the lack of a breeze, I chose the tank.

Here's hoping my ankle injury heals soon. I miss my distances!

Stay cool.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Running in Reebok

Yay! I have a new running top.

Temp: 75, sunny
Precip./Humidity: Moderate
Wind: 8 mph
Terrain: Flat w/ long, steep climb in middle
Distance: 3.3 miles

What I Wore: Fitted Reebok workout vest (that's what they call it - I call it a sleeveless shirt); cotton shorts.

Did It Work: Yes, in a pinch.

The Story: A recent trip ended up being longer than expected so I was not fully prepared. I had running shoes and non-running, sweat shorts but no running tops. I wanted to run, so I had to buy a top and sports bra. The cotton shorts were not perfect, but were ok for a short run. The new top was a win!

Mini review: I like but don't love.

  • Offset seams for reduced chance of chafing
  • Reflective piping so drivers will know they're about to hit you (small reflective elements are usually only visible when it's too late, but are still nice for other runners and cyclists)
  • Scoop neck for more air exposure
  • Mid-weight fabric was comfortable at 75 and should be good down to 60
  • Fitted body lays flat without being constricting
  • Piping is slimming 
  • In black, the tank-style could be worn into a bar or restaurant for some after-run refreshment. Paired with a running skirt and you might be out for the night!
Happy running!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Staying Cool on a Run (or Bike Ride)

I'm in NYC and it's almost 100 degrees out. I'm injured, so I'm not running, but I want to stay strong and keep my cardio up, so I went for a bike ride.

I was concerned about the heat - I've been known to faint when hot - so I tried a trick I read about in Runner's World:

- Fold a bandana in half so it makes a triangle
- Place 5-6 ice cubes along the long edge
- Carefully roll up the bandana so it makes an ice cube-filled neckerchief (that's cowboy for 'scarf') and tie it around you neck

During your run or ride, the ice will gradually melt, keeping you cool but, surprisingly, no wetter than you would be from sweating (at least, that was my experience today).

I liked it so much, I'm going to try wetting and freezing a wrist band and maybe my running hat the next time temps top 90.

Happy running!