Running Gear on a Shoestring: Technical Running Wear

When I first started running, I wore cotton T-shirts and cotton shorts (supplied by the army). It was functional and that was what I wore during army physical training. It was adequate for the beginning.

When I started hitting 6km per run, its shortcomings became evident. While sweat soaked cotton tee was acceptable at 5km and below. It started becoming heavy and chilly as I approached 6km. And that is at a warm air temperature of probably 29 degrees Celsius. Aware that will be a receipe for catching a chill. I immediately cut the run short. It was also getting uncomfortable to continue running. When I reach my end point and got back to my car. I took off the cotton tee. I could wring pespiration out of it like a wet rag.

Note that average temperatures in Singapore stay at a constant high of 28-32 degree Celsius daily year round. Humidity is also at a loft 90 percent daily year round. So what happened to me may not happen in a cooler or drier location.

I began sourcing for running tops from sport shops but boy, were they expensive. Nike Dri Fit, Mizuno Quickdry plus, Adidas Formation were some of the brands available. These moisture wicking apparel are effective but they could be too costly for the beginning runner. Afterall, wasn't running one of the more affordable sports?

For Singaporean runners on a budget, you may want to consider going to Uniqlo to look for those quick dry tops that they have. They may not be as effective in moisture wicking but they cost only a fraction of what the big sports brands offer. For European runners, you may find the same at H & M. I worn Uniqlo tops for a long period of time for my runs. At that time, I didn't wanted to spend so much money on running as I wasn't sure if I would continue for long.

The effect of wearing this technical apparel is very obvious. After running more than 6km in 29 degree Celsius, the tee shirt may be moist but it will not be soaked. It will continue to feel light and flappy. Many of the tops also offer UV protection which will protect the runner from the sun.
So far I have only Mizuno tops and shorts in my wardrobe as I was able to get pretty cheap pieces of this brand from Malacca,Malaysia. It is a good brand but it remains very expensive in Singapore.

If you are still wearing cotton tees for your run and have been catching chills because of the wet tops. Give technical gear a try, it will definitely help those going on long runs.


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