Funny Things / life / running

Running style. A beginner’s guide.

In the middle of September, a couple of us in the old gang decided to drive out of Amish Country, sign waivers stating that, among other things, we knew the water we would be crawling in/wading through/splashed by had been treated for neither human nor animal disease, and then jump over fire/crawl through mud/climb over things/throw ourselves down a massive slip-n-slide. And it was only logical that my friend Abby and I did this in tutus and crazy socks.

When I think about the races I’m running, I don’t worry much about training. Instead, I focus on my day-of-race styling. You know, the important stuff.

Because everyone knows there’s no race that isn’t a costumed race.

Yes, sure, there are races that are “costumed,” especially this time of year. Runners who participate in events in the fall and winter holiday race season often find themselves running through the streets dressed like very fit escaped mental patients who loves them some Santa. It’s Halloween/the day after Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s and we were going to wear layers anyway. So, why wouldn’t one of those layers be a full Raggedy Ann costume? Mop wigs are the new hats.

Let’s face it: if you’re nuts enough to spend your Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons running around with similarly unstable people, you might as well embrace the moment and slap on something fun, even when the occasion doesn’t explicitly call for it. Because there are advantages to plain white t-shirts and dark-colored, solid shorts, I guess. But if you’re going to run (and get honked at) in public, you might as well go out like this:

So, in no particular order, here are some handy-dandy pointers for running costumes:

But first, the don’ts:

  • Ignoring safety and comfort is a big “no.” Running a marathon in a thong is asking for a disaster of epic proportions, as is running an obstacle race in a cape.
  • Keep it family friendly. You want to avoid living with the psychic burden of making somebody’s kids grow up too fast.

And now, the dos:

1. Consider some fun socks or tights (legwarmers will also do). Check your ladies’ hosiery department (unisex suggestion), check the soccer socks, check out the ladies’ fashion sports socks department. Or, if all else fails, get yourself a large pack of men’s tube socks, some rubber bands, and a good amount of RIT dye. (Bonus: Your hands will match your socks!)

2. Pick a color scheme. Seasonal is nice, but if there’s no available holiday/theme/season/moon phase to guide you, go where the spirit moves you.

3. Try to match the theme of the race if there is one. Baseball race = baseball socks. Zoo race = Awesome knee socks with florescent pink tigers on them. Easy-peasey.

4. Don’t hold back. Sure, you could go halvsies and no one would really know. But you would. And that would trouble your soul, even if you didn’t fully recognize it on a conscious level.

5. Coordinate with a friend. Makes memories and giggles.

6. Don’t worry about looking silly. You will. (Anyway, getting up at 6am on a Sunday to run 3.1/5/6.2/10/13.1/26.2 miles already makes you look silly to rational people.)

7. If you don’t have a head for costuming, find a friend who does. He/She/I will spend the day/evening/weekend chasing down all the necessaries because of some strange inner drive to win at nonsense.

8. Play.

9. Remember functionality. You’re still going to a race, not a costume party.

10. But definitely, above all else, have fun. It feels good to run. It feels good to laugh. It’s surprisingly good for you to do both.


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