I recently mentioned to some colleagues how much I enjoy the vast selection of fun colors and styles for running apparel out there for women. My colleague said the exact opposite was what she enjoyed about her workout program she tried a few months ago, where the instructors did not allow the participants to wear anything other than their program t-shirts and sweatpants. The thought behind it was that the workout was not a party or public event at which to look good – it was about the work.
My colleague said that’s what she loved about it, so it seems to work for some people. Which is great! Except this particular colleague went through the program once and is now back to never working out. Her reason for starting the program was to lose weight. She lost some weight and then stopped her exercise routine.
When I cheerfully responded to her description of this program’s apparel philosophy, by simply saying, “Oh I love deciding which fun sports bra to wear or when my running shoes match a detail in my compression tights!”, she smirked and said “You never would have made it through [Program Name Withheld].”
Eh, so what. Clearly, neither did she, as she’s not continuing it. And me? I’m definitely continuing to run. Farther. And faster. In my cool duds and snazzy gear.
To me, whatever motivates you to get out and do it, whatever makes you happy while getting healthy, I say do it! It’s better than not doing it at all! If feeling scuzzy while you work out makes you dread working out, get some cute clothes!
When I first started running, all I had were some gray drawstring sweatpants and a bunch of old t-shirts. While correlation does not equal causation, it just so happened I also had a really hard time getting motivated to get outside and do my run. Part of the reason I’m sure was that I began running in the dead of winter.
So the first thing I did was invest in a fleece jacket with pockets from Target, something like this:
It helped me keep my phone safe while I used it for music on my run, and even gave me a place to put my hands when it got too cold to maintain proper running form. I didn’t yet know about runner’s gloves and didn’t know how to be able to skip songs on my iPhone without proper touch capabilities, ie, my bare fingers.
Which brings me to my next crutch: my playlist. I know a lot of runners can abandon music on runs and just appreciate their surroundings, but I’m not that evolved yet. I definitely get a boost when I feel like quitting from songs that mean a lot to me. In fact, sometimes running is an excuse to get out of the house and spend a good chunk of my time just alone with my loud music, controlling which songs are played, allowing myself to connect with the songs in my own personal way. The first thing I bought when I got my current job was a phone to replace my busted, cracked, falling apart iPhone 4S. Sure, it was a downgrade to a 4, but considering I don’t really notice the difference between it and my old 4S? It gets the job done. I can see #runspiration photos without squinting, I can skip songs without slicing my fingers open on cracked glass… I’m happy with it.
One of the most important things as a female runner? Sports bras! Before running all I had were some basic white cotton sports bras from back when I kind of sort of sometimes went to the gym out of feeling like I was obligated to lose weight. Fuck that! Who said I’m in this to lose weight? I’m in this to constantly challenge myself and up my game.
And when I have a whole heap of fun patterns and colors like these to choose from? It’s like going running is an opportunity play dress up! Plus I love the seamless cami sports bras like these – they don’t remind me of being awkward in middle school when all I wore was sports bras and I’d always have this big chunky strap showing through my t-shirt neckline.
I’m at the point now where I need to constantly repeat to myself if I’m in any running apparel store “I do not need another sports bra I do not need another sports bra I do not need another sports bra.” But that crazy hot pink and orange one looks so badass- NO! Control yourself. Go home, put on your favorite turquoise and yellow one, and go for a run.
What would a post about bright colored running apparel be if I didn’t talk about running shoes?!
This. This, the Brooks Ghost 6, was my very first pair of real runner shoes. When I first started running I was using the sneakers I’d had since like, sophomore year of college. (Read: 5 years.) No wonder I had such major shin splints! These were expensive as hell as far as I had ever known – I don’t think I had ever spent more than fifty bucks on a single pair of shoes by myself in my lifetime. $120 for one pair of shoes? You promise these will get rid of my shin splints?
I haven’t had shin splints since a week after bringing these babies home. Unfortunately, I put so much mileage on them in the spring and summer that early this September I had to bite the bullet and buy a new pair. I got Glycerins, and they’re this bright shiny blue, and they look kickass. I miss my Ghosts, because they were like running on a cloud and my Glycerins do not have that much cushion, but they’re working fine.
I’m increasingly intrigued by all the pretty colors that Saucony has on their shoes. I went to my local running store the other day and wanted to buy everything I saw in Saucony. I needed to get a windbreaker for fall running, and some tech, breathable long-sleeved bases for the chilly weather that’s coming, and I found this:
Um, it has pockets and a reflective flashlight on the wrist and coral details?!?! DO WANT. How fly would I feel wearing that thing? I have a feeling it would carry over into me actually flying across the pavement. (Unfortunately it’s a little pricey for me so it is on my wishlist.)
My point is, some people might be super low-maintenance and evolved and feel good running no matter what they’re wearing. But for me? If I feel schlubby, I’m going to perform schlubbily. (Words. I make them up.) I feel like I look fly, I fly. My first few races after my first 5K, I showed up in cotton t-shirts and long sweatpants, and it was a nightmare. I know part of the enhancement of my performance is just more training, but I also know wearing breathable apparel and feeling like I look kind of cute and being excited to have my picture taken my the race photographers has made me step my game up a little bit.
The above tank top is on my wishlist. The Saucony jacket is on my wishlist. I can’t wait to save up some money, rack up some mileage, and add some sweet looking gear to my running wardrobe. If I look like a superstar while I run, I want to run like a superstar.
Running feels better. Lifting feels better. I feel better. And why force yourself to do something you hate?
I’ve adopted Brooks Running’s motto “Run Happy” pretty strongly. And I’m loving Saucony’s philosophy of “Find Your Strong.” When I look in the mirror now I’m not looking at my waistline so much as I’m looking for confidence in my eyes and a big, excited smile.
So maybe I would not have cut it for my colleague’s program, but I’m cutting it for mine. I’m lapping the people who quit after that three-month program, and running is quickly becoming a lifelong love.
On days it’s really hard for me to get off my comfy little tush, lace up, and hit the pavement, I remember how bad I want to rock some cool new gear. And I want to earn it. No point in buying a bunch of cute running clothes if I’m not going to get off my butt and run in them.
This is just what helps get me moving. Some people, the desire to lose weight might be so strong that it’s all they need. I hope somewhere along the way, they start to enjoy the whole experience enough that it’s not just about weight anymore.
“If you want to change your body, start exercising. If you want to change your life, become a runner.”