The right T-shirt can be the difference between a comfortable run and an irritating one, writes Nandini Reddy
We have come a long way from cotton t-shirts and sweat shirts in terms of running wear. We have a host of options from long sleeves to no sleeves and from cotton to breathable fabric and to dry fits. Today there is specially designed apparel that is suitable for long distance running. Apparel that can maintain body heat, fight static electricity, reduce body odour and prevent chaffing. There is even light wear in special material for running cold and wet conditions too.
So what should you look for when you buy a running t-shirt?
Check the weather – If you are running in warm weather then ensure that you wear clothes that can wick moisture and keep you cool. If its harsh summer weather then it would be a good idea to go for a full-sleeved t-shirt to prevent sunburns. If its cooler weather then check for insulated sports wear. You can even add a light jacket over your dri-fit t-shirt.
Drying– Fabrics that dry quickly will keep you more comfortable longer. Even if you are stuck in light showers, these fabrics will dry out fast and help regulate your body temperature. The dri-fit t-shirts are made from polyester fibres and microfibre material that has the property to dry every quickly.
Chafe free seams – The seams will be the most important part of the t-shirt while running long distance. You need to turn the T-shirt inside out and check if the seams are welded and flat. Especially around your shoulders and arm holes. A badly stitched seam will cause irritation during run and impede your natural running style.
Mesh Vents – Many t-shirts come with mesh vents on the back and underarms. These will help you cool down faster. If you are running long distance then these style of t-shirts will be more beneficial.
Sleeve Length – Long distance runners generally tend to prefer sleeveless t-shirts. But this may not be suitable in all weather conditions. The regular t-shirt sleeve should be wide and unobstructed. There are several new brands that have 3/4th length sleeves but this may not be suitable for all. If you are wearing a long sleeved t-shirt, ensure that the sleeve has flat seams that do not rub against your arms while you run.
Inner liner – A few brands sell t-shirts with inner liners to prevent chaffing. Chaffing injuries can be very painful during a run so its best to wear a t-shirt that will avoid this situation for you.
Reflective Fabrics – It is important that you are visible to others while you run early mornings. If you are not wearing a bright t-shirt then you need to add reflective strips to your t-shirt. You get reflective strips that stick to clothing and are not affected by sweat, you can choose from brands like 3M. You also get running t-shirts that have reflective strips on the front and back.
When you are on a run be careful not to overdress. You body tends to heat up during a run and its important that your t-shirt also aids in the cool down.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.