Friday, January 29, 2010

What to Wear

So I'm pacing my buddy Jason tomorrow in his first 5K.  He's been talking smack about doing Couch to 5K for a few months, so I finally called him on it about four weeks ago and set up a plan to get him to the start line.  He is actually my son's hockey coach, too, so we had to fit in his weekly running schedule with hockey practices, game schedules, a tournament over MLK day, not to mention his job, adult league games and oh, yeah, that family thing he's got going on (Exhibit A, my fist-bumping buddy, Jason's adorable little boy).

He's had a few issues along the journey to his first 5K, as we all do, mostly with some bad knees and trying to make up missed workouts.  But, he's come a long way, and he's ready and raring to go.  So, of course, the greatness that is North Texas weather has thrown us for a loop this weekend, with temperatures forecast in the mid-to-low 20s.  Fun!

Actually, I love that temperature for running, especially for long runs.  But for folks not quite as experienced as I am (and, as I had to explain to homeboy in the last post, I *AM* fairly experienced with this stuff by now, even if you can't tell by looking at me), it might be tough to figure out how to dress.  So, here I am to share with you what I usually wear when it dips below freezing.  Luckily, unlike Steve in a Speedo, I live where that happens only a few times a year, but it does help keep me off the treadmill for those occasions if I can get geared up properly.

I will likely wear tomorrow what I wore on my long run a few weeks ago, since it worked really well, and the temps were well below freezing for the entire time I was out, even though the sun was shining.  Here goes:

1) long tank jogbra - I like the extra layer on my core for cold weather (Jason can skip this layer...)  I've tried a couple of brands but honestly for me, the Champion ones from Target work just fine, and for $10-$15 bucks on sale, I have a drawer full.
2) base layer - spandex UnderArmour-type tech shirt.  My current favorite is my white one with a Longhorn logo.  I have a couple of other more woven ones that I'll use if it's not cold-cold.  My favorite tech shirt of all time is my Marine Corps Marathon one. It just fits perfectly and is the perfect weight.
3) fleece/polartec layer - I have been using this great Cloudveil fleece my brother gave me last winter. It was intended as ski-wear, I believe, but it does a great job for temps in the teens and 20s.  It's lightweight and very moisture-wicking.  I can't ever tell how much I've sweat until I take it off and it plops on the ground in a soggy pile. And it's a pretty teal color that matches my current shoes....
4A) wind-breaking outer layer - I have a great lightweight New Balance jacket that I got as swag for last year's Love the Half Challenge.  It's got zipped pockets for my ID/cash/nutrition/phone/camera/iPod and it's lightweight enough that when I warm up I can tie it around my waist and it doesn't bug me.
4B)  if it's not going to be particularly windy, I sometimes opt for my Nike vest instead of the jacket.  It has pockets galore - seems like everytime I wear it I discover a new one! - and they mostly zip or are deep enough you don't worry about dropping keys or IDs anywhere.  Plus, it's bright white with a few reflective stripes, so I can wear it early in the morning and it gives me a little more visibility.  If I just need extra warmth on my core, I'll choose this option.
5) for bottoms, I have a great pair of running tights I found at Kohl's on the discount rack.  They have back ankle zips so they're easy off and they are great in general. Last time, I was a little chilled on my quads, so if it's really windy, I might wear a pair of regular tights underneath those.
6) For socks, I have my injinjini socks for anything more than 15 miles, and I have a good pair of wool socks (again, ski socks from my brother) for when it's really cold.  But it doesn't really get cold enough in FW-D to get too worried about socks.  For me, it's more important that they go with my shoes and don't give me blisters or hot spots of any kind.

The last thing to consider is gloves and a hat, of course.  I usually run with a visor (OK, I nearly ALWAYS run with my Longhorn visor, esp for a race), but when it's cold, I'll pull out the Longhorn headband .  For days when it's serious cold, I'll go hog-wild and take the wool beanie (burnt orange, of course!!).  Tomorrow, I'll probably take the headband, but have the wool hat stashed in one of the pockets in case it's colder than I expect.  I had a fantastic pair of thin moisture-wicking gloves I picked up at the Cowtown expo a few years ago, but I lost one at the half-marathon in Temple back in December (insert sad clown face here...).  The problem is that no matter the temperature, I get overheated really quickly and start stripping and tying things around my waist and stashing hats and gloves in pockets.  So I lose things pretty easily, and for tomorrow, that means I'll have to use the cheap gimme gloves they hand out at the FW Turkey Trot.  I'll be a total Moritz  whore, but they gotta get something for their sponsorship, right?  And those gloves are actually pretty nice for the first few miles of a run.

So, that's how I'll be dressed for tomorrow.  I don't know if this will work for you in your cold weather, but it works for me in North Texas for the four weeks a year that we are colder than usual.  Anything it takes to stay off the treadmill works for me!!

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