Archive for March 25, 2010

I’ve been fielding a lot of questions this week from friends in Boston that I’ve made through Run for Dom as well as family members who will be making it to the race in Hopkinton wondering what I will be wearing on race day.  The first extended weather report for the Boston Marathon will not be available until April 5th, so at this point it is a little premature to commit to my race gear as New England spring weather is famously erratic – but there is one piece of gear that I really hope fits the bill at Boston.  My Moeben arm sleeves.

Moeben Arm Sleeves in action (behind the back water bottle flip - needs work)

Learning to run in the right gear for the temperature and weather conditions is definitely both art and science.  Not all 50 degree days “feel” the same.  Humidity, wind, cloud cover and rain can all make a huge difference in the way a certain temperature feels for a distance runner.  And a key to running your best race is to make sure you are dressed for the conditions.  Being overdressed or underdressed for the elements on race day can significantly impact your performance.  So like all things when it comes to marathon training – practice, practice, practice makes perfect.

After hundreds of training runs in temperatures ranging from as low as 18 degrees and as high as 100 degrees, in rain, sleet, ice and snow I feel like I have a pretty good feel for the various conditions and how they affect my performance.  I very rarely roll over to the weather and run indoors on a treadmill.  In fact not a single training mile preparing for Run for Dom was covered indoors. 

At this point if you give me a temperature, precipitation and wind reading and I can tell you specifically what I need to wear to be comfortable from my toes and legs to fingers and ears.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way which is how most of my running knowledge has been acquired – but it is definitely nice to be able to check one “variable” off of the worry list come race day.

For me the magic barrier is 42 degrees.  Below 43 degrees I need leggings (long pants) to stay comfortable.  43 degrees and above I am good to go in shorts.  A long sleeve top from 40 – 45 degrees, short sleeves from 46-49 and a singlet (tank) for 50 degrees and above.  Skull cap for anything between 40 and 45 degrees, my arctic beanie under 40 degrees, no hat at 46 degrees and above.  Gloves?  No problem, my heaviest gloves under 40 degrees, my mid-weight gloves for temperatures between 41 and 44 degrees.  I only need my light-weight gloves (liners) from 45-48 degrees.  No gloves 49 degrees and above.

Clif Shot Bloks

This is all personal preference of course – many runners like to be warmer, some like to be cooler – but for me the above works like a charm.  That was until earlier this year when the Moeben Arm sleeves entered my life.  Once I slid them on for the first time – my trusty clothing regimen was altered forever.

I’m really not sure what made me try them.  I think it was a combination of the fact that I really like running in a singlet – it allows my arms to swing more freely – but sometimes it is just too cool to do so.  I think I also was hoping that the small pocket would allow me to store my gels in an easy to reach location and not around the back of my hydra-belt – where I have to fumble around and break my stride to retrieve them.

The Moeben sleeves really did the trick on both counts – they are perfect to store my gels and they now allow me to run in a singlet all the way down to almost 40 degrees.  From a comfort standpoint they are tremendous.  The sleeve is tight enough at the top to stay in one place (even loaded with gels in the pocket) – so chafing is not an issue – but not too tight to cut off circulation.  They are long enough to tuck into your gloves on a cold day – but not too long to interfere with your wrists and become irritating on a warmer morning.

White Nylon Moeben Sleeves

Racing this year at the 3M Half-Marathon I used the sleeves for the first time in a race and absolutely loved them.  They performed as advertised and allowed me to race in just a singlet on a cool 44-47 degree race day very comfortably.  It was then that I began hoping for similar conditions at Boston and Pittsburgh.

The Moeben sleeves come in solid colors, prints and even a fleece line for colder days.  They even have an eco-friendly hemp line that instead of nylon.  

You can check out Moeben sleeves here:  http://www.moeben.com/

So what is in store for Boston?  I am really hoping for cool enough weather to wear the Stars & Stripes sleeves that I have been wearing for my last three training runs of 18+ miles. 

Paired with our Blue RFD Asics I’m hoping we can honor Dom and Patriot’s Day properly in Boston.  Please be sure to check the blog on Sunday, April 18th as I will be putting up a post the day before Boston letting everyone know what Runner 7929 will be wearing on race day.  For everybody who plans on being in  attendance this year – please be on the lookout – we will be looking for all the encouragement we can!

Moeben arm sleeves …. two thumbs up!