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Finding Your Inner Superhero: The Psychology of Performance Clothing for Athletes

June 9, 2019

Finding Your Inner Superhero: The Psychology of Performance Clothing for Athletes

Over on Women’s Running, I’ve been writing a bit of fashion-related content lately… And one thing I wanted to start with was why and how it can actually matter to you as a runner. Sure, it doesn’t *really* matter what color you’re wearing if your clothes fit and feel good. However, if wearing a certain style or color palette makes you feel more like a speedy badass, there’s a lot of science that backs up the notion that feeling fast/good about what you’re wearing can boost your performance. Think Clark Kent morphing into Superman. Side note: there are, of course, female superheroes I could compare to, but none lend themselves quite as easily to the mild-mannered reporter joke for me, or for using this GIF:

Getting Ready Clark Kent GIF by HULU - Find & Share on GIPHY

What I really liked about this was that there wasn’t one ‘this outfit makes you perform better’ answer—it’s all about personal preference (at least until we’re talking about eeking out those tiny percentage points when racing at the highest levels). ANYWAY… The full article is here:

What Are You Wearing? Fashion Plays an Important Running Function

So, what’s my best runner uniform? Racing and workouts differ because for my hardest training workouts, I rely on ‘good vibes’ versus technical apparel to feel like a badass, while for racing, I go for the performance fabrics (and the short sleeves from a chafing standpoint). I love my cycling caps, my lululemon speed shorts, and—very specifically—this singlet that only comes out for the toughest workout days because it’s so old and worn-out, I don’t want to waste a single wear. My dad got it back in the 80s as a bonus gift when he subscribed to Triathlete Magazine in it’s infancy—I love it because it has a nerdy reporter/magazine undertone for this journalist, and my dad wore it a ton back then when he was training, so wearing it now has that association. Anytime I put it on, I feel awesome.

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I just wrote an article for @womensrunningmagazine about how our running clothes can impact us on a mental level—while normally I’m all about the all-black-everything, when I need my serious business motivation, this is the outfit I turn to. For those tri geeks (especially those who subscribed to @triathletemag back in the 80s!) this singlet came with a subscription that my dad got 30+ years ago. It’s my good vibes top and it’s gotten me through a lot of gnarly miles. (Also, #capsnothats and @lululemon speed shorts to round out the look.) It may not be the most fashion forward, but it makes me feel like a boss. What’s your go-to for running superhero-style? #runningstyle #ultrarunning #trailrunning

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Let me know in the comments—what’s your uniform for when you mean business on a run or ride?



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