Does your running apparel correctly reflect your running status?
Ah yes, as if we didn’t have enough to worry about when it comes to suiting up and accessorizing for a race – pronating, wicking, chafing, bouncing – the list goes on and on. But there’s also the issue of what your togs say about what kind of runner you are.
Take a look around before your next local 5k and you’ll see what I mean. There are people who are “on status” for every level of running. Elite runners like Ryan Hall adopt a certain look that identifies them as runners at the top of their game. Middle-of-the-packers have their name-brand, but relatively innocuous, running gear. Weekend walkers dress comfortably in stuff they also use for other physical activities.
But others stretch the boundaries. Dathan Ritzenhein’s Nike sleeves were a subtle addition, but even elite runners have to be careful to avoid a look that screams “Italian triathlete” or “no, really, this will shave 10 seconds off my PR.”
You can go under status as well. For one of my first races, I wore 10-year-old cross trainers, tube socks, old basketball shorts, and a cotton tee shirt I bought at the Alamo. And haven’t we all seen this guy at a race? Nothing says “I last got off the couch in 1976″ than this look.
It’s no different for women. The ladies love running apparel, but they are equally conscious of how it reflects their running status. Forgive me for generalizing, but the lure of “up-status” gear can be motivating. Women who want to be seen as serious runners will abandon the bargain bins at their local big box sporting goods store for the name-brands, bright colors and flattering fits. This ponytail hat says “runner.” This one says “my great aunt needs a new hobby.”
You know you’ve arrived as an elite female athlete when you can rock the Paula Radcliffe look. If I had abs like those I would augment the outfit with a big neon arrow on my chest pointing down to them.
Clothes don’t make the runner, but they can make you feel more like a runner. Otherwise we’d all be out there in gray sweats.