Running wear: Tie a simple head wrap in four easy steps

Head wraps are popular accessories for runners in almost all sorts of weather. From stretchy bands to fleecy wraps, such headgear offers comfort, while keeping both hair and sweat off the face during a race, workout or training run. Running experts advise head covering for both hot and cold temperature jaunts.

Adapted from public domain artwork.

NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No
republication is allowed without permission.

The simplest head wraps can be made from basic bandannas, square scarves, or fabric squares. Here’s how to do it, in four easy steps.

1. Spread the bandanna or square scarf on a counter, table, or large flat surface. Fold in diagonally in half, matching the corners, to make a large isosceles triangle.

2. Take the long edge, and fold it back into the triangle to form a one- to two-inch cuff.

3. Stretch the long folded edge against the forehead with the loose paired corners at the back of the head.

4. Wrap the folded cuff around the head to the back, and tie it snugly in a knot.

Consider these five popular variations on the simple head wrap:

1. For a jauntier pirate look, follow the same directions with this simple change: Shift the bandanna to the left or the right, and tie the knot on the side of the head.

2. For an old-fashioned Rosie the Riveter style, use the same method, but place the bandanna at the nape of the neck, and wrap it forwards, tying the knot on top of the head in front.

3. For a vintage kerchief option, simply fold the bandanna or scarf diagonally in half, place the fold at the forehead, and tie the knot at the base of the hairline in back. Allow the ponytail or loose hair to fall over the knot.

4. To make a basic headband, fold the bandanna or scarf diagonally in half to make a large triangle. Beginning with the right-angle pair of midway points, roll the triangle lengthwise to make a sash-like shape. Wrap this around the head, and tie it at the top of the head or in the back. Allow hair to hang loosely or anchored in a ponytail or braids, as desired.

5. The simple head wrap may also be made from a tee shirt. Lots of runners do this, if they choose to remove their tees during a run. (Hey, female runners sometimes dress in layers.) To do this, simply flatten the tee, and fold the hemline up to meet the neckline. Place the folded tee atop the head, and tie the sleeves snug enough to fit the head.

However it’s tied, a simple head wrap can keep hair contained and out of the way, especially when one is on the run.

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At the gym: 12 treadmill etiquette tips

What general rules of courtesy come into play, when a runner takes to the treadmill in an indoor setting, such as a gym or fitness center? Certainly, this is an entirely different world that the outdoor track, the scenic trail, the neighborhood jaunt, or the roadside run.

Here are a dozen basic etiquette tips for those using treadmills at the gym.

Many of these may sound like common-sense practices, but it’s amazing how uncommon they may be. Several will apply to the use of all sorts of fitness center equipment as well.

1. Wear appropriate attire. Wet swimsuits, skimpy clothes, pajamas, and yesterday’s stinky gym wear have no place on the gym treadmill. Decency plays a large role in public politeness. Also, participants should choose clean, soft-soled athletic footwear to protect the equipment.

2. Place-holding is a gym no-no. You can’t exactly hang a towel or gym bag over a treadmill handrail and expect to save it, while you dash off to lift some weights, work out on the elliptical, or hit the mat for some pre-run stretches. When you show up to claim a treadmill, you should be ready to run (or walk).

3. Don’t share your sounds. Music is like a universal language to runners, but that doesn’t mean we all like the same stuff. Isn’t that what headphones are for? The same rule goes for treadmill-mounted TVs.

Grunting and groaning (and singing along to your own tunes) are out of place in such crowded quarters as well.

Along similar lines, it’s considered considerate to tread lightly, if possible, when using a gym treadmill. Not only does this practice help to preserve the equipment, it also keeps the clomping and stomping noise down. Occasionally, a machine will grow noisy with repeated use. When this happens, it should be reported to gym staff.

4. Keep your spit, snot, and sweat to yourself. Sure, runners tend to spit and blow snot on the trail and road shoulders, but that’s definitely a no-no at the gym. Got an issue? Take a tissue, and then take it with you when you leave the treadmill. And if the gym does not provide towels, it’s a good idea to bring your own for longer runs, so you can wipe off excessive sweat mid-workout, rather than splashing all around.

5, Run like the wind, but break wind somewhere else. It’s OK to pour on the power, while running on a gym treadmill, but please keep your own natural gases to yourself. Even fitness centers with adequate ventilation cannot keep this problem at bay. That’s what bathrooms are for, folks.

6. Respect others’ workout privacy. It’s easy to succumb to peer pressure, essentially racing the treadmill runners on either side at the gym. Although there’s pretty much an unwritten rule about chatting during equipment workouts, the temptation to glance over and take up the challenge to meet or exceed others’ paces or distances (or both) is strong. Discretion is the key, if one wants to play this game. Constant and obvious monitoring tends to make people uncomfortable during their workouts. More than one treadmill user has tossed a towel over his or her console for precisely this reason.

The same principle applies to privacy of TV viewing or reading material selected by treadmill neighbors.

7. Honor personal space. Whether waiting for access to the equipment or working out adjacent to others, it’s important to keep a proper distance. Sometimes one has to walk right next to a machine while someone is using it, and that’s OK. Hovering is not.

During the least crowded gym hours, the most courteous participants will refrain from choosing treadmills immediately adjacent to others, if possible, unless they know one another. This unwritten buffer rule exercises common courtesy.

8. What if you need to rest mid-run? Plenty of treadmill users adjust their paces frequently during their workouts. Lots of folks even pause, stopping the treadmill for stretching or time-outs. This is perfectly acceptable, as long as users do not go beyond the equipment time limits. It is, however, considered poor form to stand on a treadmill to take phone calls, send text messages, surf the internet, or socialize with a neighbor – especially when others are eager to use the machines.

9. Observe treadmill time limits. If the treadmill max is 30 minutes (or 60 minutes), then you need to end your run at that point. Many gyms pre-set equipment for automatic cool-downs or switch-offs at certain times. Once that happens, participants may re-start or select other machines, if vacancies exist. During peak hours, though, other athletes may be waiting for their turns.

10. Take your trash. No one wants to step up onto a treadmill and find someone else’s water bottle, paper towel, tissue, or chewing gym in the cup holder.

11. Wipe it down when you’re done. Maybe sweat does a body good, but no one wants to share someone else’s. And we all know how body fluids can spread diseases. Most gyms provide paper towels and disinfectant spray. Others offer wet wipes, or at least towels. Considerate exercisers wipe off the handrails, the sidebars, the control console, the TV remote, and every other surface they’ve touched. It’s not necessary to wipe off the treadmill belt, though.

While cleaning up, clued-in athletes also re-set the incline on the treadmill, if it has not automatically returned to zero.

Extra-careful folks also clean off the treadmill console (and handlebars) before they start using the equipment, just in case the previous person overlooked this step.

12. Know and follow the gym rules. Operating hours, guest policies, minimum age requirements, cell phone restrictions, and other instructions count. In some fitness centers, users are expected to reserve machines in advance.

These basic gym etiquette rules may not apply to runners employing treadmills in the privacy of their own homes, unless perhaps they share the equipment with others.

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Running gear: 12 key features of the best sports bras for runners

Real lady runners may not be picky about fitness fashions, or they may be. But females who fly across the miles, using their own two feet, will likely be choosy about two things: sneakers and sports bras. Volumes of sports shoe selection strategies abound. But what really counts, when it comes to sports bras?

Adapted from ABS FreePic image - public domain

NOTE: Written by this author, this copyrighted material originally appeared on another publisher’s site. That site no longer exists. This author holds all rights to this content. No republication is allowed without permission.

Smart women runners look high and low for these 12 key features in suitable sports bras.

  1. Support. Save the compression fabrics for shorts, sleeves, and tops. Compression sports bras really only work for the slimmest of women with few or no upper curves. Besides, the uniboob look is out.
  2. Sizing and Fit. The most functional running bras feature actual sizes – not just small, medium, and large. Look for numbers and even cup sizes, if possible.
  3. Comfort. A smart shopper would never buy an everyday bra without trying it on first for comfort. A sports bra needs to feel good and stay in place when a women bends, stretches, and runs.
  4. Sturdiness. Too many sports bras have removable cup pads, which twist and slip out in the wash. The best styles contain sewn-in cups.
  5. Moisture wicking. Cotton is super for everyday wear, but modern-day technical fabrics are better for running and working out.
  6. Breathability. Cheap polyester is no bargain, when it comes to a sports bra. Who wants to risk chafing and rashes?
  7. Adjustable straps. These are hard to find among sports bras, but well worth the search.
  8. Closure. Over-the-head sports bras are difficult to put on and take off, especially after sweating. Pick one that opens and closes in front or in back, just like a regular bra, and the difference will amaze you.
  9. No inner seams or labels. This is a pet peeve among lady runners. Well-constructed sports bras may have seams stitched to the outside, so the inside remains smooth to prevent itching, rubbing, or chafing.
  10. Coverage. Modesty matters, especially during runs or other rigorous physical activity. On the hottest days, lady runners may run without tanks or tees over their sports bras. That pretty much rules out skimpy ones.
  11. X-straps or Racer-back Styling. Strap slippage can be a constant annoyance on a run. If a sports bra has traditional shoulder straps, they may need to be tied or clipped together.
  12. Price. The right sports bra counts for plenty to a serious female runner, so it may be worth the investment. Also, favorite sports bra brand names may count with many lady runners. But even the top brands can often be found at discounted prices, if a woman is willing to shop around online or in stores. Here’s a tip: A savvy runner will scoop up more than one sports bra at a time, if she finds the ideal style at a super price.

Careful readers will notice that aesthetic details, such as color and styling, did not make the list of 12 key features of the best sports bras for runners. Sure, personal style counts for plenty, especially when a lady runner’s warm weather ensemble leaves her sports bra partially or fully visible. Still, aesthetics tend to come into play after the practical considerations listed above.

A woman runner might skimp on apparel. She could win races in cheap tees and hand-me-down shorts. But a smart sports bra is a worthy purchase – the foundation of any female runner’s ensemble.

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