What to wear?

I like to think that I dress for the occasion.

I don’t wear a suit to the beach. And I don’t wear jeans when I interview the governor. 

I think before I dress.

That goes for running too, especially in November. The weather in Indiana has been swinging wildly in the last week, from gusty to balmy to frosty. It’s tough to know what to wear on a morning run.

Tclotheshis morning was a challenge. It was chilly, with temps so low that lawns were covered with frost and I could see my breath in the air.

Should I break out the cold-weather gear? Should I run in a cotton, wool, or high-performance synthetics?

Decisions, decisions.

I once had a running friend who always over-dressed in chilly weather. Whenever the temps fell below 35 or 40 degrees, he would bundle up in four layers: a T-shirt, a turtleneck, a sweatshirt and a coat.

 Then we would go running, and within 15 minutes, he would start swearing and shedding layers. He never learned.

But I learned from his mistakes. To this day, I’d rather under-dress than over-dress. When you’re running, you’re generating heat. Keep moving, and you’ll warm up soon enough.

So after mulling it over for a minute, I went for the “kind-of cold weather” gear. I wore a short-sleeve shirt, a wind jacket, nylon shorts, a cotton hat and Smart Wool gloves.

Would it be the right choice? There was only one way to find out. Start running.

I was just a tad chilly when I started off at about 7:30 a.m., running through the neighborhood. But within a half-mile, was feeling good, enjoying the crisp air on my face and legs. The air felt good in my lungs, too.

At one point, I passed a walker who was bundled up in long pants, shirt and a hooded sweatshirt. He took one look at my exposed legs and said: “You’re brave.”

I laughed, but I didn’t share his opinion. If I had worn long running pants, I would been burning up. I don’t get out long pants until the temps get under 25 degrees. Otherwise, I’m just taking a lot of extra material out for a run without a good reason.

I ran down the road, here and there, sticking to the quiet roads, avoiding the main streets. It was a good run, about five miles. My time was 44:38.

Then I came home, washed up and got dressed for work.

Uh oh, now it was time for the second clothing decision of the day. Coat and tie? Golf shirt? Something in between?

I chose an open-necked Oxfort shirt, Dockers, loafers and no tie. Hey, I’m just writing at my desk today. I don’t have to dress up for the governor.

You have to dress for the occasion, I always say.

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2 Responses to “What to wear?”

  1. When I lived in northern New Jersey our high school track booster club hosted a winter run called the Polar Bear Run or the Snowflake Run or the Freeze Your Freaking Ass Off Run or something. I had just moved there and had never been so cold in my entire life (and I had lived in Chicago). I had to watch my son run FROM MY CAR. There was a woman my age there who had short shorts on and she made sure everyone saw her and her beautiful bare legs. “When you’re running you’re generating heat” my ass.

  2. November weather can play mind games with you. Wear a long-sleeve top? Layer a jacket over it? Those tiny racing shorts could feel a little drafty, so better find those tights at the bottom of the drawer. But which tights? The lightweight ones; the medium ones or the heavy duty ones? And what weight of gloves? A cap, a headband or a fleece hat? And what is your body telling you as you prepare for the run? “I’m cold, so better layer up.” Or, “I don’t need any of that stuff, I’m cookin’.” This is where the outdoor thermometer is my best friend. I chose the gear depending on the temperature – no matter what my eyes and mind are telling me. This works about 95% of the time. The other times I either roast or freeze. Too bad life isn’t perfect.

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