Tips for Running in a Costume

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tips for running a race in a costume Tips for Running in a Costume

Tis the season! It’s that time of year again. Turkey Trots, Santa Jingles and Resolution Runs means more crazy costumed runners than most other times of the year. For most of us, the day is inevitable – running in a costume. It is bound to happen sooner or later.  It seems that as the popularity of running has increased so has the desire to run in something other than our normal running gear. What Turkey Trot isn’t complete without a few hundred turkeys and a couple of Santa Clauses? The good news is there are more options than ever for choosing a costume to suit up on race day.

Running in a costume is much more common place now than even five years ago and everyone wants to get in on the action. There are somethings to think about before committing to a costume.

Themed Races

A little dab will do you at one of these and that can be a good thing.  For example, think about the Disney Princess Half Marathon. If you found running clothes that sync up with the color scheme of Snow White or Sleeping Beauty, you may be able to get away without a “costume”, and instead, just comfy color-coordinated running clothes.  The nice thing about a themed race is that you can run in actual running clothes or you can saunter up to the start line in a Cinderella ball gown.

Run/walking a 5k in a full length ball gown can be done depending on your comfort level with the distance as well as your goal for the race. Running than that? Consider altering a costume. Maybe you hack the ball gown off at shorts length and make sure you have on a pair of those shorts underneath. The truth is that the pomp and circumstance is gone pretty soon after you start running, after that you’re in in for the long haul or at least the next few miles in a potentially annoying or uncomfortable costume. Themed races can offer both the options for the minimum costume and the extreme depending on your goals.

Charitable Choice

Often when running for a charity a costume of sorts is almost a prerequisite. The key is to not overdo the outfit choice. Choose something that highlights the organization you’re raising money for, not necessarily drawing attention to the costume itself.

St Jude has a level of fundraisers that are called St Jude Heroes.  Most of them wear tank tops provided by the organization when they hit the fundraising level that makes them a Hero. However, some take it up a notch and wear attire related to heroes: capes, masks, arms cuffs, crowns, superhero tool belts.  Try to make sure the accessories are lightweight and won’t be a nuisance, especially if you are planning to run a half or full marathon.

Hot & Humid

When it’s sticky and hot, no costume is going to be fun, but you can make it less painful. Any costume worn during the summer months should be targeted at “less is more”.  A lot of women’s costumes call for tutus. When it’s hot out, the tulle can get heavy and wet quickly. Make sure to safety pin a short tutu onto your shorts so that the bottom of the tutu doesn’t hit your leg.  A waist band on a tutu can be a good idea but your base layer must be set in place to make sure any up and down (and up and down) don’t cause any issues.  Specifically for men, being aware of the “fun” shirt you have on is crucial. An emblem – think Captain America’s shield- on a seemingly lightweight shirt can really affect the way a shirt sets on the chest and can cause chaffing. An easy and fun addition to consider is adding a cute lightweight accessory, like something on your head.  The goal of a costume race should be fun, not heat stroke.

Cold & Cloudy

This is an ideal time to wear a costume. The layers that can be needed to accomplish some costumes can be a welcome source of warmth during extreme cold. People come up with elaborate ideas and incorporate some really spectacular special effects.  Choosing a costume, like a gigantic ape suit, that you can wear on top of running tights, a long sleeve shirt and possibly even a a skullcap  will help keep you warm as well as prevent any unforeseen chaffing that can come from wearing an outfit not made for running.

Also, if possible, consider testing out anything that goes over your head. Anything you place on your head could hinder your view, especially a large costume head. Keep in mind the weight it adds on your body as well. Even though you probably are not in it to perform at your maximum, there still is the bouncing up and down (and up and down) that can wear on you and your energy level.

For some of us, it’s fun to let loose and be silly for others.  That’s the whole goal of the race.  No matter what your end goal, running suited up for fun shouldn’t have any negative consequences and the costume should make it happily across the finish line.

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