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Running News Guy: Tweener Time - abc7chicago.com

"Aside from my occasional turn as a model for Fleet Feet's fashion shows, noone is likely to confuse me with a fashion expert. I have to wear suits for work, but, otherwise I live in jeans and t-shirts. When it comes to running clothes, however, I do have some opinions, if for no other reason than I wear them just about every day. But even then, rarely do they match.

Fashion takes a back seat to function in running. I dress for the weather. In the winter, that's usually pretty easy. Throw on a bunch of layers. Same for the summer. A t-shirt and shorts is usually good. But early spring can be more complicated. It's not quite warm enough for just a t-shirt, not so cold you need a bunch of layers, and you have to take the possibility of wind and rain into account.

That's why I called this entry 'tweener time'. And that's why I decided to write about some of the new running clothes I've been trying out, which are perfect for this time of year. I'm relying on my wife's photography skills and opinions about how the stuff looks. I can tell you how it is for running.

For my 10 miler on the Prairie Path Saturday morning, I had to take several things into consideration. It was overcast and chilly, but not cold. There was a possibility of some drizzle, but the biggest factor was a pretty strong wind that made it a seem little colder than it really was.

So I chose running tights, and a half-zip from lululemon. Over that I wore the new Hydrolite jacket from Sugoi. The combination was perfect for the weather. I was warm enough, but not overheated. The jacket is perfect for this type of weather, because it's incredibly lightweight, but very effective in blocking wind and rain. It was also very comfortable.
The tights and half-zip, I have to admit, I've worn for most of the winter as well. But they are very versatile. The tights were fine in temperatures in the upper 30's, but I also wore them for my coldest runs of the winter when it was near zero degrees. They are the most comfortable tights and top I own. Something about the fabric makes it soft and more stretchy than most of my other stuff.

The funny thing is that lululemon started out making women's yoga clothes, but they've branched out into running gear. About 75% of the store is women's stuff, but the men's stuff they have is really high quality. One of the guys I run with mentioned, out of the blue, that he likes the lululemon running stuff so much that he bought stock in the company. They have several stored in the city and suburbs, but you can also order their stuff online. http://shop.lululemon.com/store/productslist.aspx?categoryid=500&pagesize=15

When it's a little warmer, without wind, you can try just the top and shorts. Their shorts come with a liner which is  perfect for those 'not quite summer' days. It helps keep your hamstrings and glutes warm. My wife's opinion is that these are the nicest looking shorts I own.

Given the trend toward 'minimalist' running shoes, I call these 'maximalist running shorts.  For the sake of comparison, I took a picture of them next to a pair of Nike shorts I wear for races in the summer. I thought it best not to model them for you!

I also tried the Sugoi shorts on. The fit is a little different than the lululemon, but they are lighter and don't have the liner, so you might feel faster. When it's a little warmer, but you still want to keep you upper body covered, you might try the look below. I find my upper body needs a little more protection than my legs. Sugoi is the Japanese word for 'incredible'. The company is about 20 years old and was born in the basement of it's founders, one of whom was a cyclist who wanted to produce bike shorts that were better looking and more comfortable than what was out there at the time.

They now make some pretty nice running clothes as well. I've worn their stuff for years. You can find their clothing at most running stores in the area, but you can also find them online at http://www.sugoi.com/usa/eng/

Spring is one of the best times of the year to run, but you definitely want to listen to Jerry Taft before you head out so you can dress for the weather. The right running clothes for the conditions will keep you going longer and feeling better.

See you on the roads.....

"

Posted on Aug 1, 2011