It’s so easy dressing for summer runs. Since we can pretty much guarantee warm temperatures, we never really have to consider anything other than shorts and a tech shirt. For me, starting in April or May, I go with singlets (or “tank tops,” although I can’t say for sure if there’s really a difference between the two). Because I run so much in hot weather, it’s nice having something that wicks moisture and keeps me (somewhat) cooler.
I don’t know why I didn’t start wearing singlets sooner; they’re fantastic. (Of course, I don’t have the body of a traditional long-distance runner, so maybe I had to learn not to be so self-conscious.) I look back at some old race photos and really wonder what I was thinking for my wardrobe!
Now that we’re into November, I have to think about how much longer I can continue wearing singlets. I’ve worn one throughout the fall, and even over my last few long runs, I haven’t had any problem staying warm. Of course, fall will eventually turn to winter, and having such an exposed upper body will no longer be an option. But at what point does it become too cold to wear a singlet?
When Jen and I ran the Wineglass Marathon in early October, we both wore a singlet—even though the temperature at the start was in the 30’s (definitely winter-like). However, it turned out to be a PLEASURE because it warmed up to the upper 50’s by the time we finished, and I never felt uncomfortable.
When we ran the Walt Disney World Marathon last January, it was also in the 30’s at the start. (Yes, FLORIDA—it’s funny how temperatures can fluctuate at that time of the year.) But for the first 10 miles or so, I was so cold in my costume—a short-sleeved shirt and shorts—that at one point my fingers went numb. (Note: The race starts at 5:30 a.m.)
So it’s hard to say what’s too cold and what’s not. Of course, when running in the cold, we can just keep ourselves warm with layers and remove items if we get too hot. But the thing with me is that if I layer, I’ll rarely take the layers off. I’d rather not tie shirts around my waist or have to head home (or my car) to shed them. On the flip side, if I choose to wear less clothing, I run the risk of having a chilly, unpleasant run.
Recently, during some of my short, midweek, morning runs, I’ve had to put on a long-sleeved shirt. I’m not complaining because I much prefer the cooler weather. But with fall weather constantly changing, especially as it warms up from morning to early afternoon, it’s becoming tougher to plan for the start AND the later part of run.
Jen and I have one more big race lined up this fall—the Manchester City Marathon & Half Marathon in New Hampshire—and I imagine I’ll transition away from singlets soon after that. I really prefer to wear one in the race, since that’s what I’ve been training in for the last few months (and I DON’T want to overdress). If the temperature is going to reach the 50’s, I think I’ll go with a singlet, even if it’s supposed to be cold at the start. (That sort of answers the question in this blog’s title.)
I’ll bring plenty of backup options, though. Maybe a sleeveless shirt. Perhaps a short-sleeved shirt for more coverage. We’ll see. But if it’s too cold to wear shorts, then I KNOW I’ll have to keep my singlet in my suitcase.
Thanks for reading,