Runner’s Wardrobe Malfunction

Since I’ve started running again, I’ve had a problem with figuring out what to wear, when.

Figuring out what to wear on top is pretty easy: for my shirts, I really like Xersion racer-back tanks, which are made up of a polyester/spandex blend. These are really nice because the fabric sticks close to the body and doesn’t irritate my arms when they swing by my sides. I wear it underneath an Everlast quarter-zip pullover when the temperature’s between 50-55 °F (10-13 °C), or under an Under Armour fleece pull-over when the temperature’s between 45-50 °F (7-10 °C). I’m a California girl, so if the temperature’s any lower than that, I just don’t go running. Nope. Not doing it.

During the winter, I would wear capris instead of regular pants because they are more affordable and I didn’t have to worry about them being too long. I did manage to get a pair of pants towards the beginning of spring, but by that time it was too warm to be comfortable in them. Also, they were too tight in some places (calves) and too loose in others (thighs), so it seemed like they were slipping while I was running, and it was a distraction more than anything else.

Done with the cold and the rain, I had gotten pretty comfortable with what to wear based on the weather conditions for a given (cold) day. But, as we move further towards summer, things get warmer and what goes for the cold doesn’t necessarily go for the heat.

Take, for instance, one particularly hot and humid day at the gym. I had just gotten a pair of zebra-striped (don’t judge me, it was on sale) compression shorts with a 3″ inseam. At the time I was going to the gym 4 days a week, alternating between 3-mile and 1-mile days. This particular day, I was doing the 1 mile run (thankfully), and I somehow got the idea that- “Hey, it’s hot, and if I wear a shorter pair of shorts, maybe the sweat will evaporate faster and I’ll get a breeze to help keep me cool.”

First off, you can tell I’m from California because I have no idea how humidity works. I later learned that high humidity essentially means that the sweat sticks to you, and therefore doesn’t evaporate. At all. (It’s a really good thing none of my chemistry/biochemistry teachers are here to read this.) Secondly, I was running on the treadmill, so unless people were whooshing past the treadmills, there was no breeze. (Like I said, I’m from California. We have Silicon Valley and a not-so-great educational system.)

I think some of the girls at the gym knew exactly what would happen as soon as they saw what I was wearing. It was a combination of being thigh-gap-less and the shorts not staying in the place they were meant to. By the time I was done with my mile, my shorts had bunched into less-than-shorts, and I vowed to never again wear  a 3″ seam so long as I had thighs.

This situation happened over the course of maybe 30 minutes, but I was embarassed to go back to the gym the next day. I fell back on what I knew best, and went to my normal Xersion compression shorts with a 6″ seam and a back pocket for small items. The pocket placement is awkward, and if I try to stretch, I usually end up sitting on my key and stabbing myself in the back, or sitting on my iPod shuffle and wondering why the sound is randomly being turned down. Recently, I also got a couple pairs of Everlast shorts, which are pretty much the same, except for having a slightly thinner material and and more comfortable pocket on the front-right. Ultimately, I prefer Xersion because they’re thicker (and maybe slightly tighter), so they’re less likely to bunch/hike up while running long distances.

Surely, this won’t be the last time I endure a runner’s wardrobe malfunction. That’s why they say you have to be comfortable with what you wear on race day, and save new things for training days- malfunctions happen, but it’s better to avoid potential problems by going with what you know so you can run your best. Anytime you introduce a new variable, there’s a potential for something to go wrong. But it’s okay if things go a little wrong sometimes, as long as we learn from them.



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