Monday, April 23

Rules for running attire

Are there rules for running attire?

Some runners dress to impress. We all know runners who have spanking-new, matchy-matchy clothes and look like they just stepped out of a Runner's World photo shoot. These runners are willing to spend a pretty penny on their gear, but other runners wonder why.

Some runners have strict rules about the dos and don'ts of running attire. I personally wear almost nothing but race t-shirts. (Why buy new ones when I have dozens of perfectly good ones?) But, I will not wear my race t-shirt until after I have run the race. I'll use the shirt as a car-washing rag if I (for some reason) can't or don't run.

In short: I will not wear a race t-shirt that I did not earn.
By earn, I mean run the race.
Having "paid for" the shirt is insufficient license for me to wear it.

In the same vein, I think it's a little weird when runners wear a race's t-shirt at that race's the starting line. (Don't you know the rule about no new gear on race day?) But I bear no ill will toward those whose t-shirt etiquette is different from mine. I just think: "must be newbies."

And what about post-run clothing?

I have, on many occasions, gone for breakfast, burritos, or beer (or all three) after a long run without showering and changing into "appropriate" attire. I often wonder if the waitstaff hate runners, so I try to leave a good tip. (Ignore the fact that the $10 is slightly damp, please.)

Even Viper, who I always assumed would be above this sort of sartorial concern, questioned his decision to be seen in public post-run looking (in his words) like Richard Simmons.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are plenty of runners who care not what they look like while running (even if that means running naked). Case in point: The Boring Runner revels in his bad runner fashion.

I think we know which camp I belong to. My running t-shirts are race t-shirts. My favorite shorts are a pair of blue Brooks I bought in 2004. The hem is coming un-sewn. There's a hole in the pocket. But I love those shorts! (I might have them framed...)

So, to be clear, I'm not against nice running gear. (Full disclosure: I do love my very pretty INKnBURN shorts.) I just can't bring myself to spend extra money when I get race shirts for free.

That said, sometimes I have the decency to take a wet-wipe bath between racing and breakfast. (And sometimes Hubby has the good sense of humor to collect blackmail material take photos.)
"Changing" into flip-flops for the post-race party on Saturday.
At least I used wet-wipes before sitting down to eat with 1,000 of my closest friends!

What's your take on running attire? Do you plan color-coordinating outfits or just wing it in race t-shirts and 10-year-old shorts?


  1. I like to wear nice looking running clothes. I won't do the knee socks or sparkle skirts though. I don't have to dress up for work (jeans & Ts) so I might as well spend my clothing budget on something!

    I do the post-run wet wipe bath thing too!

  2. Unfortunately for my bank account I am addicted to shopping for running clothes (and shoes). I guess I just migrated an obsession for life clothes to workout clothes.

    I agree with your race shirt rule though...never wear it before or during the actual race! Bad luck in my book!

  3. Matchy matchy I am not! I just go for the most functional attire for the day. Like you, I won't wear a race shirt until post-race either. No race day shirts from that race!

  4. haha wet wipes are your friends. :) I'm all about function over form at all times! :) That said, I have to admit the people in costume were the most entertaining for spectators at the Boston Marathon. I'm just not sure I'd want to run in, say, a tutu...

  5. I usually buy whatever I can find on sale! I do like running in the free tech race shirts, not so much the cotton. Somehow I've ended up with a lot of Nike clothes, just because I like how they fit me, though I was (lovingly) teased recently for looking like a Nike ad at a group run! I will absolutely go to breakfast/brunch before showering amd changing, most often with my running group so the staff must REALLY love us ;) Oh and I never wear make up when I run... I just don't think it would help me, my race photos are hysterical enough as it is without smeared eyes! Thanks for leaving me a comment on my blog, btw! I'm brand new to blogging and appreciate the support. Happy to find your (super fun) blog too!

  6. I mostly wear black shorts so I am usually color coordinated. Not that I really care. I leave the fashion, or lack thereof, to other folks.

  7. I wear the same shorts for every race, regardless of the color of shirt, which is usually a tech tee from a previous race...NEVER the one from that particular race. In my town though, they always give white cotton shirts with the logo on it, and I hate white t-shirts, so I only wear those to bed.

  8. I wear former race shirts on most training runs and races ( but not the event race) and I still wear cotton. I may look like a newbie, but I've been in the game for almost 5 years now!

  9. Ha ha, thanks for the shout out! Yes, I totally agree on wearing the race's race shirts to races - I always assume they are newbies! We bought a bib off Craig's List for my husband for the Memphis marathon last year and the guy insisted on keeping the shirt….yet he didn't even start the race, much less finish it!

  10. I didn't realize there was race t-shirt etiquette! Cool. Love reading about running culture. :)

  11. I wear race shirts all the time for training and races - I rarely buy new running clothes! I have a pair of Lucy capris that I wear the majority of the time - between washing and wearing, they are starting to go downhill. I am completely the same about wearing the race shirts to a race - except for our local Shamrock run where I always wear the race shirt on race day- and I don't really know why I make this exception, but I do it every year. Maybe because I never really "race" this race?

    1. Oh, good point. I don't think it's weird at all when runners at the McGuire's St Pat's 'Prediction Run' 5k wear their shirts on race-day. (Then again the 5k is more a drunken festival than a race... so maybe that one doesn't count?)


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