Skirt Sports Blog

Core Moves for Your Workout

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 04/13/2015 03:19:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

It's time to add core strength to your work out.  These 3 workouts are a great addition to your routine!

All photos taken at Core Studio Pilates and Yoga in Monroe, NC.

*Consult a physician before performing this or any exercise program.

The Aging Athlete

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 04/03/2015 10:42:00 PM | 2 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

It hit me the other day. I’m not getting any younger. It takes me a good five minutes 
to roll out of bed in the morning. My back yells at me when I stand up too quickly.
My knee has a twinge that hasn’t gone away for two weeks. The kicker was when my 
3-year-old daughter observed my 43-year-old nighttime stretching routine and said, 
“Mommy, is your body getting old?”   
Why yes, honey, it is. My body is getting old and there’s nothing I can do about it. 
Getting old is a major mind-screw. You spend your twenties and thirties riding the 
wave of your physical prime. When something hurts, you rest for one day and it goes
away. It’s called magic. 

The day you turn 40, the magic stops. Okay, maybe it’s not exactly 40. In my case, it
was hard to know the exact day the magic stopped, because I had my first baby (via
c-section) when I was 39 and 10 months. I spent my 40th birthday zoned out on the
couch nursing a 6-week-old, wondering when I would start working out again.  

When I did start working out consistently, things had changed. It took me almost a 
year to feel normal again, but it was a new normal. Injuries that had plagued me a 
decade earlier came back with a vengeance. I would feel some pain, take a day off, 
and it would still be there, sometimes worse than before.   

I have a theory on athletic aging. I call it the law of aggregate miles. I’m probably not 
the only person to come up with this theory, but it makes me feel smart so I’m going 
to share it. Basically it means that your athletic lifespan is the culmination of your
lifetime miles (or hours) spent training and racing. If you are like me, and you 
started running competitively at age 11 and swimming year-round at age 6, then
you have quite a few miles in your body by age 43. Your likelihood of injury due to
having amassed many, many miles by 43 is much higher than the woman who 
discovered running at age 36. She could still be running at 70 before her major
declines hit!

This topic intrigues me now more than ever which is why I decided I would put 
myself out there and talk about all my old-person issues which seem to be cropping 
up daily. What is sore versus injured versus the law of diminishing returns? When
do you push through the pain and when do you go to a physical therapist or a 
psychotherapist for that matter? 

Stay tuned for thoughts on the above in my next article tentatively called “Why does 
my heel look like swollen butt cheek?” (That visual should keep you riveted!)

Your Pre Race "Flat" Preparation

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/19/2015 11:25:00 AM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

What it takes to create a Flat Jenna

A few years ago, I saw a friend post a few photos of their race outfit, the night before the race. It was called a Flat person, as there was no body in the outfit. I thought it was a pretty cool idea. A great way to make sure you have all your gear ready to go for the next day and not have to worry about it in the early morning hours before the race. This was the start of a fun pre-race tradition: creating the Flat Jenna.

Most of the time, Flat Jenna is by herself. Sometimes, while at a race out of town, Flat Jenna will have company. Flat Carolyn or Flat Gina usually, but sometimes other Flats will join in. This may be just me, but I usually think about my race outfit in the days leading up to the race. Do I need a new skirt? Do I need a new top? Visor? Is what I want to wear clean? What shoes? The bigger the race, the more I think about it. For the Sarasota Half Marathon, I knew right away that I wanted to wear my Half Fanatics tank top. It was going to be a warm and humid day, so a tank top was a definite. Plus, this would be my last half marathon until the Fall, so I wanted to show off my Fanatic Pride. This would be half marathon #56! The skirt to wear with the tank top, took some thought. I admit, I have a Skirt addiction. Over 30 skirts, which include Gym Girl Ultra, Happy Girl, Lotta Breeze, Race Belt Skirts and Cover up skirts. I decided to wear my newest skirt, the 261 Switzer Skirt. In addition to the pockets on each under short, there is a small zip pocket in the back of the skirt. The black and grey color would go nicely with my bright blue and yellow tank top. I pulled out the blue compression socks, Newtons, race belt, visor, blue hair flower, Gu’s and race bib. I arranged them all on my bedroom floor with the Skirt and tank, to take the Flat Jenna photo. The final step is to post the photo to Facebook. I love to read through all the comments, most of which are wishing me good luck for the race. Love to have those positive vibes with me as I run a race.

So, that’s how I get my outfit ready for race day. Why not have a little fun with all your pre-race gear. Next time you are getting ready for a race, create your out Flat person!

Jenna O'Horan

Skirt Sports Ambassador and author of See Jenna Run Blog.

The Three R's

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/07/2015 12:31:00 AM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax

You train hard. You race hard. You need to rest hard too. This is probably the most underappreciated aspect of training. If you don’t rest properly, you may get injured, your career may be cut short, and you just simply won’t be as happy as your rested self!



You jump out of your chair, lace up your shoes and head out for your lunchtime interval run. Since you’re tight on time, you cut the cooldown short and skip the shower. Within minutes you’re back in your chair typing away. Sound familiar? I am guilty of this bad recovery behavior. In fact, I engaged in this behavior for a solid five years after my professional racing career ended, culminating in a long-term injury that has forever changed my running future.


It only takes a few minutes to give your body some pre and post workout love. To keep it very simple, make sure your heart rate is fully recovered and you aren’t sweating anymore before you move onto the next activity. Choose a focused array of cooldown stretches so you don’t tighten up immediately. At night, stretch your body for ten minutes before you plop into bed. Small things can make a huge difference.



I’m talking about the off-season. Your A-race is over and whether you ended the season with success or disappointment (or as I like to say, with a strong learning curve), you need to be very disciplined and NOT sign up for another race for 6-12 weeks! Seriously – I give you permission to chill out for a couple months. This is important so that you can give your body a true recovery, not just a day or two after a hard effort.


Let me clarify. Relaxing over the off-season does not mean sitting around getting bedsores. You need to stay active, just don’t get stuck on a strict schedule. Change it up – this is the perfect time to snowshoe, ski, surf, hike, get into the weight room,  do whatever activities you can’t do during your strict training regimen. Just as importantly, drink beer, and eat what you want. It’s okay to put on a few pounds (but maybe not 30!), knowing that you are going to be more disciplined again soon. Enjoy your off-season.



Massage time! Plan in some body treats. Yes – pedicures count too. And let me know when you’re going, I like to rejuvenate any time of year!

No to Heels; Yes to Skirt

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/04/2015 03:17:00 PM | 2 Comments Celebrate, Run

I'll confess, I'm a t-shirt and jeans kind of person.  Getting dressed up is not my thing.  Dress clothes make me feel uncomfortable and don't event talk about high heels.  I am not a "girly" girl.  

So why do I wear a skirt when I run?  I don't remember how or when I stumbled upon the Skirt Sports brand of clothing. I'd never even seen someone run in a skirt before.  But when I saw the "tattoo" print skirt, I knew I had to have it.  It was pink, had slits cut up the side, and the hem that was well above the knee.  It was nothing I would ordinarily pick to wear ever, let alone for running.  I was not even sure I had ever owned anything pink in my life.  

The package arrived and I tried it on.  I instantly felt like a different person.  Then I went for a run.  The sides swished up and gave a little flip at the end of my stride. It felt breezy and light.  It was fun, cute and a little sexy. Did I mention my husband loved it?

How can a piece of clothing change you? Well, I'm not rail thin and I don’t like the way typical running shorts put everything out there to be seen.  Every lump and bump visible to the world.  Running skirts made me feel different about myself, stronger and more confident.  I felt like the cool kid in high school, which I assure you I probably wasn't.  I started wearing the skirt to races, and eventually to my first 50 mile trail race.  Sometimes when a girl passes a guy on the trail he will say he was "chicked."  I heard one guy say when I passed him that he’d just been "skirted." 

My friends now can tell it is me from a great distance on the trail because of the skirt.  I've even been recognized from behind, I hope that is a compliment.  

I know that I am a better person when I run.  It clears my mind and refreshes my soul.  My Skirt Sports running skirts have helped define me.  They created an even better version of myself because I feel great when I wear them.  

To sum it up in the words of Nicole DeBoom, the Skirt Sports founder, "When you look good, you feel good.  And when you feel good, you perform better."


261: The Goddess Inspiration

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/03/2015 03:54:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

Before we started the Spring/Summer 2015 product line with Kathrine Switzer, I wanted to dig into Kathrine’s world more and read Marathon Woman in preparation for the upcoming season. As I was reading, I put some post it notes on pages that inspired me when I thought of product. One of those pages talked about Diana the Huntress, the Roman goddess of the hunt, moon and birthing.

Kathrine discussed Diana because she was inspired by how Diana was athletic AND feminine. This got me thinking about product ideas, and while I was researching the new season, and old photos of Kathrine, she decided to send me her favorite old school top for addional inspiration. When I received it, it fit perfectly into this roman goddess appeal, it was simple and athletic and feminine, so we transformed the top into an updated classic, now called the 261 Kathrine Tank.

The goddess inspiration is a common theme within this 261 collection, not only for inspiration from the top, but for the bottoms as well. The 261 Courage Capri Skirt 261 Switzer Skirt both have beautiful asymmetrical design lines that were inspired by a photo of Kathrine running in 1972, which was the first year women were officially allowed to run the Boston Marathon.

So be fearless and be free in the new Spring/Summer 261 Collection!

Shop the 261 Collection>

The Right Shoes for You

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/03/2015 01:13:00 PM | 0 Comments Run

How to Find the Right Running Shoes for You

Shopping for running shoes used to be easy, efficient and without a lot of drama.  Walk into a running specialty store these days and it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.  The good news is there are a lot of options.  But that also what makes it a challenge.
The shoe shopping process can be quite enjoyable once you know how to go about finding the right shoe for you.  Here are a few strategies to employ on your journey.
Get to know your feet by performing a “Wet Test” to determine the shape of your foot.  It’s an easy way to zone in on the functions of a shoe style for your foot type.
1.    Wet the sole of your foot.
2.    Walk onto a paper towel, paper shopping bag or piece of paper.
3.    Look at the shape of the wet pattern.  It will indicate whether you have a high or low arch or are neutral.  [Editor note: can you add a visual of foot types to illustrate]
4.    From there you can narrow down your shoe options to match the shape of your foot.
Ultimately, it comes down to fit and feel.  Once you determine the shoe style based on your foot type, finding the most comfortable model is
the next step.  The shoe should feel comfortable the minute you put it on.  If it doesn’t, keep shopping.
Make sure they measure your feet seated and standing and have you run in every pair of shoes.  Some stores will even video tape and analyze your foot strike in the shoes to see if they are doing the job in supporting your body as you move forward.
If the shoe doesn’t feel right, try another.  It may take several pair before you find the right match.  I once spent a lovely afternoon shoe shopping at the Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago trying to replace my favorite pair of running shoes that went out of production (I hate it when that happens).  Needless to say, it took another three visits to figure it out.
Make friends with the running specialty store employee and let them know about your running life.  Are you new to running?  Do you run on trails, treadmill or road?  Are you running long or short, training or staying fit, etc.  The more they know about you, your feet and your running history, the easier it is to dial in to a model that will work for you.
Shop later in the day when your feet are swollen to avoid buying shoes that are too small.  Your feet will swell when running and it’s important to find a size that will leave a thumbs width space between the front of the shoe and your longest toe.  It’s also important to fit the width and volume of your foot.  Nothing should bind or feel tight.  If is does, try another pair.
Bring in your current running shoes and the socks you normally run in and keep an open mind to colors and styles.  It may not be the color you wanted, but when you put it on it might be the best fitting shoe ever.
When you find something that works – stick with it!  It is best to follow the old adage that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. And if you do change, remember to take time to adapt to the new style or model of shoe and run several shorter runs to test the waters.
A few other shoe tips to consider.
•    Going with less shoe (minimalist) requires patience and time to develop foot strength and balance.  Make sure you are well-educated on how to make the transition before you reduce the support in your shoes – especially if you’ve been running in supportive shoes for awhile, have injuries or are training for long distance events.
•    Just like running shoes there are a variety of trail shoes too.  If you’re running a trail race on relatively groomed trails you can get by with your regular running shoes.  If you catch the trail running bug and start running on more technical trails over longer distances, it’s time to invest in a pair of trail shoes.  Start by finding a shoe that emulates the properties of your road running shoe (support, neutral, stability) and remember a shoe that is lower to the ground is best.  You need less cushion and more stability on uneven terrain.
•    Write the activation date of the shoes (the date you begin to run in them) with a black marker on the side of the sole.  This is a great way to keep track of how many miles and how much time passes before you need a new pair.  It varies form person to person mostly due to their weight, wear pattern, the shoe model, how much they wear them in and out of running and more.  The general rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes every 300-500 miles of use or every 4-8 months.  Having the date on the shoe is an easy way to remember when to buy new shoes and keeping your shoes fresh makes a huge difference in keeping the aches and pains away!
•    It may be time for a shoe switch when you begin to feel aches and pains while running.  In many cases this is due to the age of the shoe, other times it is related to modifications in the shoe model or your running fitness, strength or form.  In general, the more fit and strong your body is in terms of running, fitness, strength, balance – the more you can weave in less shoe (lightweight shoe) as your core, lower legs, and feet are strong enough to support you stride for stride with less support.  Some runners can run in less shoe while others struggle to make that transition.  Tune into your feet, your body and you’ll find the right shoe for every stage of your running life.

(Originally published in Women’s Running)


261 Tips from Kathrine

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/03/2015 12:58:00 PM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

Ladies!  We are eight weeks out from the Inaugural 261 Fearless Virtual Run!  If you have not yet signed up for the event, now is the time to do it.  There is only one Inaugural, so register now and make this an annual event.  A few years from now, we’ll be having a ‘virtual’ reunion of first-timers and you don’t want to miss out of that celebration!

OK, I know this is the toughest time for many of you on your running schedule, so I have devised some unique (and some not-so-unique) tips to help you get you ready for the big day.

No matter what distance you plan on running on April 18, these are your most important training weeks, and you can’t afford to miss your long sessions. Fortunately, the long runs are the most fun and empowering.

Unfortunately, Many parts of the United States are experiencing the worst weather conditions in your memory.  Unless you have access to a treadmill, you are going to have to steel yourself to miserable conditions.  Fortunately, the hardest part is getting yourself out the door!  Once you are out there, runs in the snow are often the most exhilarating.

Are you planning on running the marathon?  Unfortunately, if you have not yet begun runs of over 90 minutes, you must begin right now or seriously consider doing a shorter distance on April 18.  Fortunately, if you are in good shape and can easily run 10 miles, you feasibly can cover the marathon distance on April 18 but you will need to do a longer run –12,14,16,18,20--every weekend, getting in at least one 20-miler or 3 hour run by April 9. This kind of rapid progression can lead to injury; take care.

Don’t forget: running is supposed to be fun and life enhancing.  Don’t make it another stressor in your life.  Dialing back on distance is OK. Nobody’s judging you!

In bad conditions, make sure you have a running partner.  If you don’t, make sure people know where you are and consider running loops in your own neighborhood so if weather changes, you can get shelter quickly.  If you are running an out –and-back long run, make sure you have the wind behind you on the return portion.

Try to run in daylight. If you must run in the dark, please try to have a partner, wear reflective gear and have a headlamp on.

If you are lucky enough to be in fine weather, remember the conditions on the day of the event may not be so good, so be trying out different gear that you could be wearing.  You don’t want to wear anything untried on the day of your event!

If you have bright sun during your hot or cold training runs, wear a hat or visor, sunscreen and lip protector.  Hydrate well even during cold weather; you are losing a tremendous amount of moisture just by breathing.

How are your shoes?  Now is the time to start breaking in new ones if those you have are close to the use-by date.  Shoes often ‘go flat’ suddenly.  You don’t want this to happen the week before your run.

As you amp up your training, try to get more sleep, and eat wholesome food. This is not the time to think of cutting back on food; you need fuel.

Ask family and friends to indulge you in this endeavor.  You need their support and encouragement, not their grumpiness.  Tell them you’ll make up for your time apart from them after you do your event.

Begin to recruit family and friends to help you out on the course, or even standing by the treadmill if you are running your race inside.  They can help you with water, gels, or being a cheering section. Get your virtual friends online to form virtual cheering sections—you for them as they run, and they for you.  It is really wonderful to be running and know that even if you are alone, you have people who are virtually running alongside of you, chatting away, sharing the distance and the dream.

Have fun with this, and I’ll check in with you in a couple of weeks!




Shop the 261 Collection>

Introducing the 261 Fearless Collection

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/03/2015 10:51:00 AM | 0 Comments Celebrate, Relax, Run

Kathrine Switzer & Nicole DeBoom team up to launch the 261 Fearless Collection with Skirt Sports running apparel.


Unite with women everywhere and express your freedom to run. Be it your first mile or 100th mile, Be Fearless Be Free.


Shop the 261 Collection >


Kathrine's story

In 1967, Kathrine changed the sport of running as she became the first woman to officially run and finish the Boston Marathon. She stood strong as race officials tried to push her off the marathon course and strip her of her #261 race bib (no women allowed!). Finishing the race with more determination than ever, Kathrine went on to create the groundbreaking Avon International women's race series which introduced the sport of running to women around the globe. She was also instrumental in bringing the Woman's Marathon to the Olympics. Today, she is using that special bib number to unite women everywhere. 261 has come to mean so much more than a number; it symbolizes strength, courage, confidence, sisterhood and most importantly, fearlessness.

Watch Kathrine's retelling of the 1967 Boston Marathon >


Nicole's story

Almost 40 years later, Nicole DeBoom, a professional triathlete donned a prototype of the first ever running skirt and won Ironman Wisconsin.  Propelled by the excitement of women who witnessed her courageous race, in 2004, Nicole launched her business, Skirt Sports, and brought the running skirt to market. Her message that women did not need to sacrifice their femininity for their athleticism sparked a revolution in the women's athletic clothing industry. Today, Nicole uses Skirt Sports to inspire women to live a healthy active lifestyle and motivate them to pursue their greatest fitness ambitions.


Your New Partner: Your Sports Bra

Posted by Noelle Wilson on 03/02/2015 11:44:00 AM | 0 Comments Run

Sports bras are as hard to find as a partner sometimes, but in reality, your sports bra can be and is your partner when it comes to choosing the right equipment for your workouts. Your sports bra can help you run faster, run longer, and even workout with less pain. Your new partner is there to support you, to comfort you when in need and give you the courage needed to complete that tiring workout.

How exactly does your bra work with your body? I bet there are some facts you may not know about your breasts and bras.  Here are a couple helpful tips and questions EVERY shape and size should know:

  1. Boobs ARE different sizes!

A woman’s left breast is generally larger than the right breast, so seek a bra that is effective for BOTH breasts, like an encapsulation bra with adjustable straps.

  1. Encapsulation – what’s that?

The bra is developed to contain each breast individually, which helps with shaping and provides 3D motion control, providing the most support and pain reduction.

  1. What is 3D Motion control?

When you move, your breasts move in 3 directions - up & down, forward & backward, side to side, so look for encapsulation bras for the most support.

  1. I have breast pain and my boobs sag – help?

Breast motion has 2 negative implications: breast pain & breast sag. There are no muscles in the breasts, only the skin and connective tissue (Cooper’s Ligaments) are the supporting structures. If you are wearing a poorly fitted bra with no support, you could damage those ligaments and they can lose their flexibility and may never be able to return back to position.

  1. I have small boobs, so why do I need support?

Even smaller breasts need support as your breasts are still in motion when working out and not having good support can lead to breast sag (see point 4 above).

  1. I have a sports bra already.  Why do I need a new one?
    1. If you have had your current sports bra for more than 6 months, it is time for a new one! You should replace your bra every 6-12 months because after multiple wears and washings your sports bra stretches out and may lose support.
    2. You should have at least 2-3 sports bras so you can have clean ones all the time, not washing your bra after 1-3 times causes excess sweat, dirt, bacteria and dead skin build-up and can breakdown the performance properties in your bra.
  2. I know my bra size already, so why do I need to measure myself?
    1. More than 80% of women wear the wrong size bra so even professional fittings may differ in opinion of what size you should wear.
    2. See our fit tips on how to measure, but always remember, wear a bra that feels good on you!
  3. How do I wash my sports bra?
    1. If there is a hook and eye, or hook and loop, make sure to fasten the hooks and straps BEFORE washing.
    2. Wash in a lingerie bag (using cold water).
    3. Do not dry in a machine; lay bra flat or hang dry.
    4. Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets.
  4. You don’t sell my bra size, or what if I like a style better that does not come in my bra size?
    1. You can always try a different bra size than your normally wear, as long as it is comfortable and supportive.
    2. Example: If you are a 36DD, you can also try a 38D, or if you are a 34E, try a 32DD.

Now that you have learned a bit about bras and boobs, how do you know if your current bra, or a new one fits correctly? Here are some signs that your bra does not fit and ways to find a good bra that does fit you:

    1. Loose fabric in the bra cup indicates the cup size is too big.
    1. If the band rides up in the back, then the band size is too big, or the strap length needs adjusting.
    2. Make sure the band fits snug around your rib cage so it won't move when active, while making sure it is not too tight to cause discomfort.
    3. If the band feels too tight, try going up a cup size instead of a band size, so to maintain the support level for high impact activity. Make sure though that if you go up a cup size, that the band is not loose.

    1. If the breasts are bulging or overflowing, over the top, then the bra cup is too small.
    2. The center front should sit flat against the body. If it is not flat then the cups may be too small.
    1. The straps should not dig into the shoulders or slide off. If the straps are uncomfortable causing neck or shoulder pain, then the band size may be too big and not offering enough support.

  1. WANT TO LOOK GOOD AND FEEL GOOD? Here are some more fit tips:
    1.  Make sure you put the bra on correctly. If the bra has a hook and eye adjustment, make sure you are fitting to the 4th (or 3rd) rows,  so you can adjust tighter as the bra loosens after wearing and stretching the bra.
    2. Adjust the fit by lifting each breast fully inside the cup, making sure to 'scoop' each breast into the cups.
    3. We recommend for larger cups sizes to have a snugger fit on the band in order to keep the weight off the shoulders.