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Today we have a guest blogger - Akron Marathon's Race Director Brian Polen addresses a topic that has probably entered your mind, even if you never thought to ask it out loud. And being early April with Northeast Ohio's extreme weather changes, it's very relevant!

"Trying to figure out to what wear to ensure a comfortable running/walking experience can sometimes be as daunting a task as completing the run/walk!  Knowing what to wear when it is sunny, warm, and beautiful outside is easy, but what do you do when the weather is less than ideal and you still need to get outside?  Experienced runners use the trial and error of past workouts to help them know what to wear and when, but what if you are just getting into the sport and don’t have the luxury of hundreds of hours outside testing your apparel?  Below are just a few quick tips, mostly addressing inclement weather, to help you get your own journey started:

1) Layer up!  If the weather is cool, it’s smart to have a base layer (typically something short sleeve and soft with moisture wicking properties, not cotton), mid layer (usually long sleeve), and a zippered light weight jacket.  The goal of the jacket would be for it to be easily removable so that as your body heat increases, you can either  drop the zipper a bit to allow a little more air in (and body heat out) or eventually remove the jacket and just tie it around your waste.

2) Protect the Extremities! Rarely do runners complain of being “cold”, usually it’s a case of cold fingers, toes, ears, face, etc.  It’s a smart idea to have a great pair of gloves, appropriate running socks, and a good running hat that covers your ears while not holding moisture.

3)  If it’s cold outside, plan to be “comfortably cold” at the start of the run/walk full well knowing that as your body heat increases during the workout, you’ll be comfortable throughout.

4) Avoid cotton where possible! This is extremely important in regards to the layers that are in direct contact with the skin.  As you work out, increase your heart rate, and begin to perspire, any cotton layers that you have will soak up that perspiration and start to become saturated. Saturated cotton tends to be uncomfortable, cause chaffing, and be uncomfortable in general. Moisture wicking materials, mostly containing polyester, tend to manage the moisture better and cause a more comfortable running experience.

5) Add notes about your running apparel to your running log!  Write down the distance and pace of your workout, of course, but don’t forget to write down some notes regarding the air temperature, conditions, precipitation, and what you wore (including how it worked). Having these notes to go back to will help you determine what to wear on your next run.

In addition to these few simple tips, there are some online tools to help you get started as well.  I like this one from Runner’s World that allows you to import your information and get geared up appropriately: http://www.runnersworld.com/what-to-wear

Good Luck!

- Brian Polen