Thursday, January 23, 2014

Running in the Buff

What is your one absolutely most-trusted and favorite piece of running gear?

Probably your shoes, right? Or some garment that has kept you free of chafing for years? I've been thinking about this, and for me it might be the Buff.

I never even knew there was a word for this. In fact, I went to and noticed that they need to update the definition for "buff" because there is nothing that represents (a) the way fit people get "buff" through muscle toning, or (b) multifunctional running headwear from ASICS.

I have two buffs, and I just laid them out side by side above in the deep snow on my deck to show you what I'm talking about. Looking through my running pics I can see that I have often run in the buff, wearing it around my neck so it is ready to be summoned if needed.

The first one was in my registration bag at the 2012 Marathon de Paris expo, sponsored by ASICS. It's the blue one. I wasn't sure what it was for at first. I immediately realized its value the next day, as a strong and punishing cold wind blasted us at the start and then stayed in our face as we ran the six or so miles along the Seine. I ran many of those miles like a bandit, pulling the buff up over my nose and ears to cover the lower half of my face as I hunkered down. It is sheer so you can still breathe through it, and in fact it helps filter out the especially cold air that practically numbs your tonsils. And it dries immediately, a good thing because of the wetness around your mouth. Then I pulled it back down around my neck as needed.

The second one was in my registration bag at the expo, again sponsored by ASICS, right before the decision was made to cancel the 2012 New York City Marathon. To give you an idea of the versatility, I even brought this black buff to the Fort Lauderdale A1A Publix Marathon last February. They had near-record cold temperatures at the start, and again I found  myself running against a ceaselessly cold wind at an unexpected location, this time up the beach. Once again, I was running marathon miles wearing a buff for some respite, and once it warmed later in the race, I pulled it off and stuck it in a pocket.

Here are some examples of running in this buff:

Even just running training miles in the summer, I sometimes will wear the buff at Central Park instead of a hat, letting the length flow down my back like Arabian sun protection. It's breathable so it lets you release heat from the top of your head. You can wear it as a headband, on your wrists, ankles, whatever works. I wash mine on cold and delicate with my other gear, and lay it over a clothes rack to dry. Never, ever use a dryer for that or any other running gear.

Do you run in the buff? I mean, you know, the one you wear. What's your real go-to gear?


CTBamaFan said...

My go to has to be compression shorts. Has prevented significant chafing issues over the years and miles.

Hoping that 2014 will be the year I can actually run again and put the compression shorts to better use.

Mark said...

Hey Jeff - yeah gotta get you back out there full-time dude! Thanks and I have to agree nothing beats comp shorts that keep you worrying about nothing!