Running away with the cycling jersey

Now that the temperature has plummeted to zero, sub-zero and single-digit celcius, it’s time to alternate cycling with running. I’m not about to blow more money on running kit, after all that crazy spending spree on cycling gear. So I have taken to running in cycling jerseys.

But isn’t cycling jersey too tight-fitting and ‘windproof’ to allow for appropriate sweating and ‘breathability’ whilst pounding on the pavement? As far as ‘brands’ and the associated social decorum are concerned, I am promiscuous.

I am pretty agnostic when it comes to running gear. I mix and match anything. The whole point of doing sport is to get fit, look good as a result, and then any rag you put on will look good on your good-looking body.

The Brownlee brothers going for glory in their triahtlon kits. Those work in summer. Image:
The Brownlee brothers going for glory in their triahtlon kits at the London 2012 Olympics. Those kits work in summer. Image ©

Running top vs cycling top

Both the cycling and running tops allow for comfort and sweating, but the cycling jersey has back pockets and is designed to absorb perspiration and / or stop the wind when you are riding on the bike. So it is customarily short in the front but longer at the back to cover the top of your ass.

Also, the cycling jersey is tight because, similar to the horrendous rowing unitard – or ‘onesies’ – it is designed to optimise your speed. You are not supposed to be flapping in the wind. You can read more about this here and here.

Not all cycling jerseys are great for running

Having said that, not all cycling jerseys are comfortable for running. If you are thinking of running in your tight-fitting XS Specialized cycling jersey, you are going to be sweating like hell, and possibly find the neck too tight as you gasp for air. Oh, have I done this before? Oh yes, in one of my attempts at brick cycling, where I cycled to a park and then ran for a bit, and cycled back.

Bespoke Owayo cycling jersey in R-Tex material. Running in this is heavenly. Design by Holmes cc

I could just about pulled it off with an XS long-sleeved Castelli Trasparente windproof jersey on a very, very cold morning. In a temperature that reaches eight degree celcius, I would be sweating.

However, I found that running in my custom-made Owayo size S jersey in the brand’s lighter R-Tex material – unisex in shape and a tad bigger than a Specialized or a Castelli top – can be quite a comfortable experience. The back pockets are a god-send. I can have my food, keys and mobile phone in them during the run.

Of course it works. Firstly, my twin designed the jersey for me, and she knows my body shape well. Secondly, Owayo gave me the fitting jerseys and cloth samples before we went ahead with the design, so I was able to customise the top according to the sporting activities that I want to do.

Underneath the jersey, I normally would wear a cheap Nike running top bought from Lillywhite’s over a men’s base layer from Decathlon to absorb the sweat.

I wear men’s base layer because I am skinny and haven’t got much of a curve.

But is it sacrilege?

There will be purists who say you can’t wear X for Y’s sport and vice versa. Well, sod them. You’re the one doing the hard work. I learned to mix and match during my physically unproductive time coxing where there was no hard and fast rule about dressing up in a small boat where you are always wet and cold all the time. By mixing skiing, running, hiking and fishing (yes, fishing!) gear together, I just about survived winter rowing. After an outing, I stripped and ran or cycled back.

It isn’t a religion. If you feel comfy doing a quick run in your cycling kit, and think you look good doing your duathlon in it, just do it. It’s your pain, and thus, you choose how you should look whilst enduring it.

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