In the beginning when I ran, I suited up in an old pair of gym shorts, a t-shirt, target sneakers, and cotton socks and sports bra. Little did I know that this was wrong, very wrong. Within every sport or hobby lies an underground circle where rules are made, tips are swapped, and special attire is sported. After initiation and paying my dues I was officially inducted into the club of the Secret Society of Runners (SSR). Then I gained access to top secret communications the runner’s uniform.
DUM DUM DUM!!!!
Now, if you promise to keep this undercover, I will risk indefinite revocation of my membership by breaching the #1 command of SSR:
Never impart the chapter and verse, whether it be written or oral, to any non-member of the Secret Society of Runners. All non-members shall be defined and classified as those who are not a challenger, competitor, contender, contestant, games player,iron person, jock, jockey, muscle person, player, professional, shoulders, sportsperson, superjock or gorilla.
I am going to expose the SSR uniform. Keep reading and by the end I will cloak you from your sneakers to your headbands.
My momma always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where the go, where they’ve been. I’ve worn lots of shoes, I bet if I think about it real hard I can remember my first pair of shoes. Thinking….thinking….thinking… darn I can’t remember my first pair of shoes. Having bought my first authentic pair of running sneakers two months ago it is indubitable that I would forget how I felt leaping across the pavement on my first run in them. My momma is right, ya know. The breadth of a runner’s story flows from her shoes. From the splattered mud to the visible tread marks one can recognize the places they’ve run, the miles accumulated and injuries spent.
If you plan to take running seriously, then get fitted for a genuine pair of running sneakers. Ten dollar gym shoes at Walmart does not count. The reason you want to do this is to prevent injuries such as banged up knees, a sore back, and shin splints. You can read my how I got fitted for my first pair here. My mama liked my new shoes. She even said they were magic shoes and would take me anywhere! Well, at the very least I’d run like the wind. RUN NICOLE! RUN!
Navigating the by way of an asphalt warrior will lead to a lifetime of Kodak moments. Not I – Not anyone, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself – With comfy socks of course. There is one item of SSR gear that can be the difference between life and calluses. Socks. Throw out those cotton socks with your ten-dollar gym shoes. Well wait, stop. Save them for gardening or something like that.
Socks can be a tricky thing. There are compression socks, moisture wicking socks, socks to prevent plantar fasciitis , thick socks, thin socks, knee highs, no show etc. Most of the “feetures”, ha play on words, we’ll get to that in just a sec, on socks are fashion preferences/comfort. Let me break it down for you:
1. Thick and thin- You want some support, but it’s your own personal preference on comfort.
2. Knee highs and no shows -Again a personal preference. Some like to rock the knee highs while others feel less dorky with the no show tabs.
3. Compression – These are for people with cramping in their calves. I can’t really tell you much because I don’t wear them.
4. Plantar Fasciitis – If you have heel or foot pain you want to consider these.
5. Moisture Wick – It is unquestionable that you buy anything else! When shopping for socks look for moisture wicking material or similar like nylon or polyester. Sweaty feet are magnets for blisters.
At the Disney Marathon Health Expo I picked up my first combo of running socks. The brand I purchased was Feetures. I’ve ran ran 4 miles, in hot weather, and my feet had but not an ounce of sweat. It’s been almost two months since buying them and I wear them almost every time I run. They don’t fall down my ankles, and give my feet extra cushioning. I wear and wash once a week and I find they do not wear out. The only downside? The price! I have two pairs and each pair cost me $11 – $12 a piece.
One day at Marshalls my nose sniffed out a bargain. 3 pairs of Saucony running socks for $5! I love these socks too. The protect my feet and have the same benefits as Feetures but for less the price.
If you want further expert advice read why running socks matter.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing else. ” Helen Keller.
The same should apply to the duds you don. The SSR dress code mentions only but one rule – no cotton- the rest is but an empty canvas waiting to be discovered by your artistic abilities. This includes tops, bottoms, sports bras, and panties
I fancy black bottoms with fluorescent tops. I am not a skinny Victoria Secrets models who thighs magically stand 5 inches apart. Instead I would describe myself as a curvy woman “blessed” with thick thighs that rub together. I’m inclined to fitted pants because they don’t ride up my thighs and butt like a cheap 50 cent hooker. The best shorts are the ones with the built-in panties. My friend Denise from RUN DMT told me the funniest comment about wearing cotton panties. Boy, I wish I could remember what she said.
Also I am crazy for shirts that have humor or motivational quotes printed on. If I could pick the perfect quote for my next tee it would read “I used to run to get to where I was going, but I never thought it would take me anywhere.”
I am already in hot water by exposing the SSR uniform, however I’ll go one step further. The best kept secret is you can save money by buying name brand/moisture wicking threads at Marshalls, TJ Maxx, JC Penney, and the bargain bin at Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sports Authority.
The SSR rule book states the accessories as optional. I am going to tell you what I think you might want to consider purchasing.
My favorite accessory is my ArmPocket Armband. I too got this at the Disney Marathon Health Expo, though you can buy one through their website. They come in different colors and sizes with an adjustable strap. I bought a size small hot pink for my Samsung smart phone. Inside fits my smart phone, keys, cash/credit cards. There is a hole at the bottom where the ear phones come out. The armband has a water proof padding. When I come home the padding is soaked in sweat, yet the material isn’t itchy. Furthermore, it protects my smart phone from being ruined by the salt in my sweat. I “feel” the armband after first putting it on. However after the first couple of minutes the armband is lightweight and flexible that I forget it’s there.
The headphones I wear are cheap JVC’s I got at Target. Honestly I don’t get the need to buy an expensive set. These never fall out of my ear and the sound is clear and crisp.
I like to wear head bands to keep my hair out of my face. I’m not too picky here and buy them at JC Penney because they come in hot pink and purple. If I could afford it I’d buy the Bondi Bands and Sweaty Bands. Seriously check them out. My friend Jenny from Metamorfit decorated her head with a Bondi Band yesterday that said “Suck it up Buttercup.” LOVE IT.
Now you know what it takes look like a runner. See how many fakers you can spot next time you go out. If you see a member of the Secret Society of Runners give them a high-five and ask them if they beat their PR today. Stick with me kid and you will go places. Running is like mouthwash; if you can feel the burn, it’s working.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor or an expert. I am just lending my advice and review on what works for me. Some quotes were taken from the movie Forest Gump. I do not own the right to these quotes.