Friday, March 25, 2011

Running gear for rain - tech fabric

When running or walking for exercise, please wear gear made of technical fabric! Wick-away fabric or, as Nike calls it, Dri-Fit:
  • Keeps you cool when it's hot and dry (and therefore warm) when it's cold
  • Removes sweat from your skin, preventing rash
  • Is gentle against your skin, so you won't get chafed nipples, underarms or thighs (should I have put that reason first?!)
Today, I'm appreciating how quickly wick-away gear dries. It has been raining for a week in the San Francisco Bay Area, which means I've been running in the rain. When wet, cotton is oppressive - either hot or cold, heavy and baggy. Tech fabric, on the other hand, often looks and feels pretty much the same wet as when it's dry. Yes, eventually, it will get soaked through but, as soon as you get under cover, it will start to dry. My shirt from today's run was almost completely dry by the time I got upstairs, set up the camera and took this photo. Just the dark patch below the collar was damp. Simply amazing.

My favorite brands for wick-away tops:
Road Runner Sports
Puma and Lululemon also make some nice tanks, but I haven't found shirts that work.

Temp: 49 degrees (~9C)
Wind: 10 mph
Humidity/Precip.: High/Steady rain
Terrain: Rolling hills
Distance: 3.75 miles

What I Wore: Road Runner Sport long sleeve t, Nike shorts and hat (with brim to keep rain off face), Amphipod LED arm band (running at dusk in the rain = hard to see).

Did It Work: No. Thanks to the headwind on the way home, my hands and behind my ears were really cold. Outbound was perfect, homebound was uncomfortable. Next time, a thin skull cap and I'll carry light gloves.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Running into Spring/Fall

We're headed back into a time of year when almost everyone is in transition, weather-wise. In the northern hemisphere, it's warming up and below the equator, it's cooling down. That makes this a test of your abilities to figure out what to wear running. And, it's a time when advice from someone else is probably the least useful. A few (probably obvious) tips for managing the winter/spring and summer/fall transition:
  • Look outside - I know, duh! But, I've been surprised too many times when my weather app said sunny and dry and it turned out to be windy and rainy, and once, in New York, snowing.
  • Layers are cool - ok, so maybe you end up totally overdressed. But you can always tie long sleeves around your waist and carry gloves.
  • Show some leg - a lot of runners wear shorts into the 30s (0 C), as long as the wind is calm and it isn't snowing. Layers on top and shorts on the bottom can help maintain your temperature balance
  • Get wet - nothing makes me feel like a kid more than running in the rain. To stay comfy, avoid cotton, long pants or woolly caps; they'll just end up dragging you down. Wear old running shoes so you don't ruin your favorites and plan on taking a warm shower as soon as you get home.
  • Cover your head, hands and core - I've said this a bunch of times already, so I won't go on and on. Just a reminder that warm head, heart and hands can make the difference between suffering and sailing along
  • Find an alternative - some late winter snow storms or early fall monsoons are just too much, even for a seasoned runner. If you're like me and don't have a gym membership, make sure you have alternatives - I've taken to jumping rope in the car park. It's sort of outside, doesn't bother anyone and I get to stay dry, safe and warm enough.
Be safe, have fun and happy running!