This could be a super short post, because this whole issue essentially boils down to (and there is a pun here) this: Do. Not. Wear. Cotton. (There it is! So punny.)
I could leave it at that, as that really is all you need to know. Cotton traps and leaves sweat next to your body, meaning that your natural A/C system, sweat, isn’t allowed to operate properly. Your body temperature then increases, as does sweat production. You end up dehydrated, hot and excessively sweaty. When you do stop running, if you happen to be in a breeze you will cool very quickly and probably start to shiver. Hands up if any of this is sounding familiar?
So what should you run in, if not in your old t-shirt from that team-building exercise you once had to take?
Technical, moisture wicking fabric. This stuff is honestly magic. Once you find a good moisture wicking running top that you feel great in you will never go back. Promise.
Wicking fabric draws the sweat away from your body to the outer layer of fabric, where it dries. Your body temperature is then able to effectively regulate itself. Most running clothing you can purchase at an athletic wear store is moisture wicking, but you can certainly check with the sales person. Yoga clothes, like the famous lululemon pants, are also moisture wicking. Some wicking fabric is now also designed to not smell as much, if that’s a concern of yours.
Now, I should say this up front: good technical moisture wicking running gear is more expensive. You can buy a pack of Hanes tanks to run in for 10 bucks at Walmart, but you get what you pay for. You can expect a good running shirt to run you at least $20, and usually closer to $40. Running leggings or pants start around the $40 mark in my experience, and shorts around $30. If you want a fancy brand, you’re going to pay for that as well. Companies like Winners or Marshalls tend to have savings on these items, but you have hunt around. The GAP has recently entered the market in producing work out gear, so that is another alternative.
Okay, so the bottom line here is you’re not going to wear cotton any more, right? Promise? Good.
Have any favourite running clothes I should check out? Let me know! Leave suggestions in the comments.
(Photo Credit: Martin Pettitt)