Exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and running is a great way to accomplish your exercise goals. Not only is running simple and free (forget the pricey gym memberships), it gives you an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy the weather and beautiful scenery of all four seasons. If you are ready to give running a try, it’s important to wear the right apparel and footwear to stay comfortable and avoid injury.
Warm Weather Apparel
The apparel you choose for your run will depend heavily on the weather conditions and the area where you live. If the weather is very warm, start with a basic pair of runner’s shorts made from lightweight nylon or polyester (Check out Men’s Shorts, Women’s Shorts from Road Runner Sports). While you might be tempted to go shirtless, you will actually stay cooler and more comfortable by wearing a t-shirt made from a breathable fabric that pulls moisture away from the body. COOLMAX® is one such engineered fabric, and a variety of athletic apparel items are available in this material. Women may opt for a jog bra. If the weather is mild enough for a t-shirt but not yet warm enough for shorts, a pair of lightweight nylon jogging pants will keep your legs comfortable.
Cold Weather Apparel
When weather is brisk, dress in layers that can be easily removed once you warm up. A sweatshirt or jacket can be tied around the waist should you not need it anymore. Lycra tights are an essential layer for the legs when temperatures start to dip, and can be worn under loose jogging pants when cold weather becomes extreme. Similar to the engineered t-shirt, a long-sleeved shirt of engineered fabric will allow perspiration to escape and prevent your body from becoming cold and clammy on a winter day. Running jackets are another method to retain heat in frigid temperatures.
On cold days, a winter cap is a must to retain the maximum amount of body heat. Hats made especially for runners can be purchased at athletic shops. Finally, insulated gloves will keep hands from becoming dry and cracked in the cold.
Proper footwear is the most important element of your running wardrobe. Of all the injuries a runner could sustain, foot problems due to improperly fitting footwear are the most likely. Running puts a great deal of stress on a foot, especially if you are running on paved surfaces. Feet have different characteristics, such as high or low arches, so it is important that you be properly fitted in a running shoe that will suit your foot type and keep you running in comfort. Never run in walking shoes or sport sandals, or you risk blisters and bruising on your feet. Check out Runners World for a large number of running shoe reviews or purchase them online at Finish Line or Zappos.
Don’t forget a hat or visor to keep the rays out of your eyes when you’re running. A good pair of sunglasses can prevent your eyes from tiring during a run, and sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher will protect against sunburn and long-term skin damage. These items are especially important if you are a frequent runner.