The smallest things that can make the biggest difference in training and racing

Sometimes it’s the smallest things that can make the biggest difference in training and racing. We’ve all read plenty of training advice, monitored our food intake to make sure our diets are race-perfect and it’s taken as read our shoes are comfortable and ready for the task in hand. But what about underwear?

“Amazingly, I’ve found that comfort we all take for granted in our everyday lives is something that’s pretty hard to get right in training and racing,” says Kirsty Longley who, having finished runner-up at the Great Birmingham 10k at the end of May ahead of Olympian Jo Pavey, will no-doubt start amongst the leading pack for the up-coming City of Preston 5 mile road race on 11 August. “It may seem a little OTT, but choosing something from the Runderwear range can really make a huge difference,” she says.

Seriously, it’s something we all should give some close thought. We know shoes can rub, running vests can cause infamous runner’s nipple - not a good sight - but, whisper it quietly, your underwear? Really?

Well, yes.

Obviously, your pants won’t exactly make you run quicker - now that would be something to talk about - but get them wrong and they most definitely make you go slower.

So, what you should look for?

  • Chafe free
    Make sure there are no side seams and the underwear is label-free to prevent irritation and rubbing. The technical fabric used needs to be extremely soft, breathable and highly effectively at wicking sweat away from the body, ensuring you remain chafe-free in ultimate comfort, no matter how many miles you run.
  • Moisture wicking
    Runderwear uses a technical Polyamide and Elastane fabric which is lightweight and highly effective properties at removing sweat from your skin, eliminating any irritation and ensuring you keep dry and can run chafe-free.
  • Breathable
    The Runderwear technical Polyamide and Elastane fabric is lightweight and well-known for its highly effective properties to remove sweat from your skin, eliminating any irritation and ensuring you keep dry and can run chafe-free.
  • Fabric choice
    Merino wool is a great option as it boasts natural anti-bacterial and temperature controlling qualities.

Temperature control

It may seem like a small thing, but maintaining the right temperature while running is massively important when it comes to performing at your best level. Even a 2 to 3 degree increase in body temperature, from a resting value of around 38 degrees C, can cause physical and psychological problems when exercising.  Scientists have shown that physical and mental performance suffers when more than 2% of body weight has been lost by sweating. It’s a small thing, but the right clothing will help.

Bra selection

It should be tight but not restrictive. As a general rule, you should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your shoulders. Interestingly, the industry standard recommends your bra should last around 30-40 washes as the technical fabric will loosen with each cycle, making it less effective. Like your shoes, make sure you’ve worn it at least a dozen times before the big day.

Recover in style

Research suggests that compression clothing may aid in the recovery of exercise-induced muscle damage. Runderwear are on the case and make some great compression socks. The bottom line is these are great for recovery. Compression helps reduce the risk of injury during endurance training; it allows your muscles to work more efficiently therefore needing less time to regenerate after training. Easy!

Don’t go freestyle

No discussion about underwear can ignore the phrase: commando. Well, Runderwear has some timely advice stitched to the very comfortable waistband; ‘Don’t run commando’. Their reasons are simple: quite apart from the support and breathability they provide, the pants are stretchier and higher waisted than others and are very secure - non of that infamous movement that other pants can sometime fall foul of!

Discounts for Registered Athletes

Don’t forget that as the Official Underwear and Bra partner of England Athletics and RunTogether, all members get 20% off their Runderwear order. Just go to the Athlete Portal at or see the next edition of The Edge for the code to claim your exclusive discount at and enjoy chafe-free summer running. The Edge is sent to all our registered athletes who have opted in – so make sure your details are up to date!

Click here for more information about Runderwear on our Partners Page