How to care for your running clothes and make them last forever

Also titled: I just paid an arm and a leg for this.  Now what?

I just went to REI for one simple thing and walked out $75 lighter.  Woops.  It turns out that it's REIs big labor day sale.  I sort of knew that in the back of my mind but walked in unprepared for the grandeur of it all.    (Did you know REI is a Co Op you can join?)  The prices I paid for my gear, on sale, got me thinking about the price of running clothes, and why I'm always willing to pay it.  (Because I take care of my clothes and make them last forever.)

What I came out with:
  • Salt Sticks which is what I went in for, becuase Run N Fun was out of them.
  • A little travel pill container to put the salt sticks in for carrying on runs, otherwise they'd be loose in my pocket.
  • EZ Racerback Tank - I don't know why google could only find Canadian stores when I scanned the bar code.  I have tons of race shirts, but very few tanks that I like for running so I was willing to part with the cash.  Plus I love Brooks shoes and am hopeful their shirts are just as great.
  • Nike Women's Running Capris Mom got me a pair of these for Christmas and they are my favorite running pants ever.  I love the Nike DriFit material and I like they have a drawstring in the waist.  And they were a great price at REI.

How to care for running clothes - because they're expensive as heck and I want them to last forever:
  • I hang up my gear on hangers in the bathroom after a run, just to let the funk dry out. (I sweat a lot.) Once its dry, it can sit in the laundry basket for a week or two, no worries.
  • I wash everything in the normal cycle of the washer.  This may sound insane.  I don't even know if our washers have a gentle cycle.  (I live in a Condo with a laundry room.  It's very much like Big Bang Theory.)
  • No fabric softener.  The tags all warn it can destroy the fabric's ability to wick sweat away.
  • I hang absolutely everything to dry.  Smart wool socks - air dry; Sports bras - air dry; Nike running sweat pants - air dry; compression shorts - air dry; technical race shirts - air dry; winter gear - air dry.  My winter hat - air dry.  All of it.  Heat from the dryer destroys the elastic/compression quality of your clothes.
  • Do not let your dog eat your pants.  You know who you are.

Some of my other favorite items for running:
  • Every lady needs a sports bra, and maybe a second style for good measure.
  • Cold weather gear - Underarmour is my favorite for cold weather tops.  I like the bottoms but they lack a draw string.  Boo.
  • My favorite cold weather bottoms are Nike Cold Weather Running Pants.
  • For mild weather, the stuff Target sells by Champion is actually pretty good.  I got three pairs of pairs of these pants when I started running and I still have two pairs in good condition.  I also have the original black biker shorts I used to start running in reasonable shape, all by Champion.
  • Socks: I have some Smartwool socks for winter but don't by fancy socks for summer.  Sorry.

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