Should you race in dark clothing? This viral video says no

Should you race in dark clothing?  This viral video says no

When it comes to race-day attire, choosing the right colors can make all the difference in your performance, especially on a warm, sunny day. A recent viral Instagram video demonstrates just that, showing a huge difference in temperature between light and dark outfits on race day.

In the video, two race outfits are placed on a picnic table in the sun. After an hour, the surface temperature of each outfit is checked with an infrared thermometer, revealing a 20 C-plus temperature difference between the light and dark race kits. (The dark kit was hotter.)

While the video may not be a scientific test, it is widely known that certain colors can affect body temperature during exercise. White material reflects sunlight and heat, while black material absorbs them, causing an increase in body temperature. Wearing black or other dark colors can therefore lead to discomfort, fatigue and reduced performance.

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On the other hand, wearing white or lighter colors can have a cooling effect. Light-colored fabrics reflect sunlight and help dissipate heat, which may help a runner maintain a lower core temperature. Opting for lighter colors may improve comfort, enhance endurance and result in better performance on warm race days.

Toronto 10K 2022_3
Photo: Inge Johnson, Canada Running Series

It is important to note that individual preferences, team or run club obligations and experiences may vary, but choosing lighter colours, particularly white or light shades, can help minimize heat absorption and provide an extra edge.

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When choosing your race day outfit, it’s also essential to consider fabric breathability, moisture-wicking properties and comfort. But if you’re striving for an extra boost in performance, being mindful of your color scheme can potentially provide a competitive advantage by helping you stay cool.

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