In which I get some new pants

30 Apr

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Throughout my life I’ve often been “that person”. You know, the one who can’t seem to figure out why or how all the pencils she put in her backpack didn’t make it to school (yes, that was totally me in 4th grade math writing assignments in with a yellow crayon–the discarded one found in the corner of the classroom). I was the kid without gym sneakers that fit properly, with the hair tied too tightly, with the tights that kept  sagging in the bottoms, with toothpaste in her hair, with lunch that leaked all over her homework and with the umbrella that blew inside out during a rainstorm. Yes, friends, this has been my life.

Based on my previous postings, you can probably tell that I am also the same person who’s made it into adulthood experiencing moments of grave distress upon arriving in yoga class only to discover the hard way that: no, these are not the pants with an intact crotch, in fact, they are, ripped through the bum. So, determined to move beyond this long-standing sense of self-loathing, I decided to buy myself some pants…or, just shorts for that matter. Everyone has to start somewhere. To illustrate this point, I attach the following, unfortunate image of my baseline (aka my ripped pants):

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If the above embodies your approach to workout wear and if you’re like me, you probably don’t want/have time to read an exceptionally long article on how and why to buy a pair of pants for highly active sports, such as running. So, I’ll try to make it easy. Here are a few ground rules:

1.) No cotton.  I know! Cotton feels nice whereas spandex-y microfibers can make you feel like a baby seal stuffed tightly into its skin, but newsflash: cotton is NOT aerodynamic! And, from experience, I have learned that it can seriously annoy the insides of your thighs on longer runs. So, if your plan is to achieve more than a 5k, opt for something with glide.

2.)  Try it on or measure it out. The biggest temptation for me is to order this stuff online because it’s quicker. There have totally been a zillion times where I’ve bought something online to save time. In the end I’ve just ended up losing money because it doesn’t fit and the product totally wasn’t what I thought it would be. I also get distracted and forget to return the product. Hence, I have been left with a drawer of ill-fitting sports bras for years. At any rate, if there’s a fit guide on the site, read it. If there’s a measurement guide, use it. Otherwise, go and test this stuff out downtown. There really is no substitute for knowing and don’t kid yourself into thinking otherwise.

3.) Not too loose. If it’s too loose now, it will only ride down on you during a run. This is just plain old annoying. And, if you’re trying to cut down on a run time, it will only hold you up.

4.) Look for products with microfiber or something that says moisture wick. I typically think most of this stuff is all just a gimmick to make you feel as though you’ve invested in a superior product, but I kind of buy into the whole microfiber thing. Finding good absorptive materials is key. Should it rain or should you sweat excessively, there’s probably nothing worse than the feeling of being damp…which always seems to leave me with a sick chilly feeling.

5.) To compress or not to compress? This is the question. I have seen contradictory reports on compression socks. Even on the same websites and blogs. I am totally torn on this issue, readers. Basically, compression supports muscles and allegedly increases blood flow to help speed recovery. Some research suggests it’s actually best to pull on compression hose after a good run as it’s most effective for during that time. Although my fiance loves to tell me I have a WebMD (haha…not, I’m not laughing, actually. have you ever checked out that site? It’s like you either have a brain tumor or a bruise and there is never any in between with them…it’s so, so scary!). The short of my point is that I have essentially no understanding of anything scientific. Seeing as this is the case, I invite you to play around with cuffs and socks only if you’ve got the cash to spare (they seem to start a $40 and go up from there).

After some shopping around and returning, here are my top picks for running/activewear:

1.) REI Airflyte Running Capri Pants. Available online at REI.com. These run a little small, so I’d order two sizes or go and try them on. Here they are featured on the website:

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…and on this blogger during my run last weekend (below and to the left).

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2.) For full length pants, I like Nike Tech Tights. They give you that seal-like feel mentioned above, but get over it. Something about being all compressed feels kind of good on the trail.

3.) And, as far as shorts are concerned, I really love these Under Armour shorts.  I totally feel like a walking endorsement for Under Armour, but I’m kind of on roll with them right now. These shorts were just the right amount of tight and nothing but good. I’m not pulling them up or down when I run and they are…you guessed it, compression shorts! Yay! It may be a placebo, but I feel so amazingly agile in these suckers. Like, I’m not even sure what I’m doing in the picture featured below, but I totally blame it on the combination of my shorts and CEP compression socks. I was basically bouncing off the walls at both of my 5ks this weekend.

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In short, these investments may be worth the upgrade. I am not suggesting you all go out there and start burning up your credit cards, but good gear can make you feel a bit better about your practice. For me, at least, there is nothing quite like knowing you can run like the wind without having to worry whether or not you’re blowing in it instead.

; )

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