Maybe you’re sitting on your couch tonight, trying to get motivated. Maybe you have a friend who’s considering running. Maybe you’re tired of that post-child (where did that come from??) stomach, those ba-donka-donk thighs, and the fact that you can’t click on a website without realizing you now have to shop for clothes by the shape of fruit. (I’m a Pear. Don’t you wish you were a Carrot?)
Whatever the situation, perhaps you’ve decided you’re turning over a new leaf. You’re going to start walking for 30 minutes a day. Or maybe (gasp!) you’re going to take The Plus Runner’s Gobble This challenge and you’re going to run or walk the Turkey Trot in your town on Thanksgiving day. Whatever the case, you can start getting on the road whenever you feel like it.
Or, you can treat yourself to some new clothes, to make you feel all Supah Motivated.
So, because it’s fall, and because many of us ARE going to start taking advantage of the great weather outside, I’ve done some searching for tights, pants, long-sleeved shirts, and jackets. These are the foundation garments for any walker or runner who wants to hit the streets any day of the week, and not let the weather keep her inside. Because I’m also vain, the clothes are kinda cute. But maybe you’re also new to this, and don’t know what to wear, at what temp. So to help, I’ve included some basic guidance on temperatures and clothing along with each piece, to help get us started.
How many layers should you wear for 50 degrees? 40? 30?
The general rule I use for running is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer outside than the actual temperature. This means when you leave your house, you might be a bit chilled, but if you’re running or run/walking, you’ll warm up in the first 5 minutes or so.
Keeping this in mind, when it’s 50, that means you dress as if it’s 70 – a big swing. When it’s 45, dress like it’s 65.
For walking, I think the temperature swings are somewhat less. Because it takes just a bit longer to get your body warm when you’re walking, I dress only as if it’s about 10 degrees warmer. And I make sure once it gets cooler that I have a jacket that will cut the wind – something that can really get to you if you’re out there walking.
So, tomorrow morning, when it’s going to be about 45, and I’m going for a walk, I will likely head out in a pair of wicking Capris, along with a long-sleeved shirt. Lucky for you, there are some great sales going on now if you need some new stuff. Below is a sample of some key pieces I’d recommend for this fall and winter, along with their prices, sizing, and when to wear them.
Nike Perfect Fit Capris: Up to size XXL. (Comfortably fits a 53 inch hip). $24.99 at nike.com (click here for a direct link.)
I’ve worn the predecessor to these pants for about 3 years now, and if you’re remotely pear-shaped, these are the ones for you. I have the capri and pant version, and they’re great – with one caveat. They will NOT hold you in – stomach or anywhere else. If you like a loose, non-body-hugging fit, these are great (keeping in mind that they have to be a little close to you in order to prevent chafing.) They wick; they have a great, wide waistband that stays put, and they look great on. Wear them down to about 35 degrees if you’re working up a sweat.
New Balance Tempo Long Sleeved Shirt: Up to Size 2X. (Comfortably fits up to a 48″ chest). $26.99 at nbwebexpress.com (click here for a direct link.)
New Balance has come out with some great clothing in the last year, up to a Size 2X. I know, you’re thinking “but I can’t fit in a 2X!” Wait – maybe you can. Or, maybe you’re not sure about your sizing. Don’t sweat it. If you’re ordering online, just check the size charts, and give it a shot. Trust me when I tell you that once you figure out your sizing, the online ordering will be the easiest thing you do to prep for a run or walk.
This shirt is the same fabric and cut of the summer shirt that I recommended earlier this year. It’s long enough to cover your stomach and it is flared slightly over the hips, so it gives some extra room, and is flattering. Plus, NB gets that we like cute colors. Pick your favorite, and go to town. For $26, you might buy two – I promise you’ll wear these all winter long.
What about rain or wind? And should I have tights?
Ah, yes, weather. Living in Chicago, I can almost gaurantee that at least one day a week, I’ll be running in something unsavory. I recommend a jacket that you can layer at least one, if not two pieces underneath – not extravagant, big fleece pieces – just a couple of t-shirts (polyester, of course) for when the temps drop. For the first time, I’m excited to share that New Balance has some jackets out there for women up to a 2X. For those who need a bigger jacket, I’m going to refer you to the Moving Comfort Jacket on the Weekly Gear Deal page – it’s the best deal going right now for a jacket in sizes 3X and 4X.
If you are able to fit into a 2X (check the size recommendations here) there are three jackets to choose from for the fall. Depending on your budget, climate, and routine, one of these three jackets will work for you.
Sequence Jacket: $50.99 . Click here for more information.
I’d recommend this jacket with a long-sleeved shirt until about 30 degrees for running; with a long-sleeved and a thermal shirt until about 20 degrees. It’s very lightweight, so it may feel like you’re not getting a lot – but I ran in a jacket just like this for about 5 years, and you’d be amazed at what a light windbreaker can do. Plus: it’s relatively inexpensive for a windbreaker, and you won’t need to buy another one for about 5 years. Cons: It’s not waterproof, or even water resistant, so you’re looking at primarily a windbreaker. And if you’re a walker, this may not help you much when it gets below 30 degrees.
Lightweight Convertible Jacket $89.99. Click here for more information.
If you want to invest in a jacket that has a bit more functionality, this is the one for you. I often wished I had something like this when I was traveling for work – in a different city each week, I often found myself guessing about which clothes to pack for running on the road. If you’re trying to get into a new fitness routine, this is a good investment. The sleeves zip off, so if you’re dealing with a bit warmer conditions, you can lose them. If you’re in a cool climate, add them back. Plus the coloring on this is darned cute – and flattering. There are some nice perks, too – a pocket for your iPod, and keys, etc. Wind and water resistant – which means if you’re not out there for more than an hour, you should be fine. And there are thumbholes in the jacket sleeves, which means you won’t have to pack your gloves for those cool but not cold mornings.
Location help: If you live in the South or Southwest, this is the most jacket you’ll ever need. For those in the North, this jacket, coupled with some good layers, might get you through the winter.
X-Treme Jacket: $107.99 Click here for more information.
What’s the point in spending over $100 on a jacket? It’s a fair question. The answer depends on who you are.
Some people I know don’t run outside after October. They hate the wind, and they’d prefer to be in a gym, inspired by their fellow half-naked runners, than on the path, looking at mummies all winter. Me, I live in a city with a wonderful lakefront, and spend a lot of time surrounded by others. So when I get the chance to be outside, darnit, I’m outside. That means I run or walk all year. And I determined awhile ago that I’m more likely to keep working out if the clothes are up to the demands.
This jacket is truly an “investment piece.” I don’t mean that in the Shopaholic sense. I mean that in the “if you buy this, you won’t buy another jacket for at least 5 years – unless you see something cuter” sense. It is waterproof in the front, breathable in the back (which is what you need). It has vents in all the right places, thumbholes, and all the bells and whistles of an all-weather jacket. It will block the wind, and preven the rain from doing you in on a run or walk. It’s also the best jacket I can find for women up to a Size 2x who want to be outside and active all fall, winter and spring. I’d wear this with a long-sleeved shirt down to 30 degrees; with two layers down to 20 degrees.
New Balance Control Tight $51.99. Click here to order.
Finally, we get to talk about tights. As I mentioned above, I’ve been running in Nike’s Perfect Fit Capris and pants for awhile now, but when I first started running, I was in tights. Yes, tights. Those curve-baring, spandex-clad things that only “real” runners wear.
As time went on, I transitioned to the pants because they were cuter. But I’ve also found that runners wear tights for a reason: they support your muscles, constrict the movement of bodily parts (i.e. that stomach I’m trying to slim down) and make sure that I don’t zig when I should zag. So…I’m about to purchase a pair of tights for this fall’s running, to also help support my return from this injury. And these are the tights I’ll probably buy. Why these? Well, to start, they have 10% spandex, which means they’ll hold when I need them to hold. Second, they have leg zippers at the bottom. Trust me, this helps when you’re having trouble touching your toes! Tights without them can be your worst enemy. Finally, these are really well constructed, with flatlock seams, good pockets, and a look I like. Sold.
The New Balance tight will keep you warm up to about 30 degrees. For an alternative that will keep you warm until about 20 degrees, plus some serious wind or rain, check out their X Treme Tight, here ($67). Or pair these tights with a regular pair of wicking or windpants.
And that’s all I have for the fall running report! Happy purchasing! Later this week: The Plus Runner’s Gobble This Challenge.
I’m off to bed (and an early walk…).
See you all on the path!