I saw a lot of different news stories late last year about people completing races in some non-running outfits. There was a recent Amish runner, Leroy Stolzfus who competed and finished the Harrisburg PA Marathon in Amish clothing. His time was good, he ran it in three hours, 5 minutes and 45 seconds, only missing his Boston Qualifying time by less than a minute. There was also a Canadian blogger Nicholas Mizera, who broke the World Record for the half marathon while wearing a suit in one hour, 35 minutes, and 47 second. It makes me wonder, why the heck have I spent so much time and energy getting the right running clothes, never mind the money? I've tried a lot of different running outfits over the years I wish I could say I hadn't. I don't even normally care about the idea of an outfit, but while running I've learned the hard way: it's better to have a plan. I have plenty of stories, of how water changes the your most comfortable article of clothing into one of the most painful things you've ever worn. Unlike Nicholas or Leroy, running in a regular shirt to me sounds like a nightmare. Not because of fit, but because what happens over the course of a race; if it starts out as light and airy and it often becomes wet and clinging, especially if it's cotton.
In a race situation a lot of people dress for the start; the thinking is, it's cold I better wear a jacket! Running or otherwise it's always best to dress for the weather, but personally I try to dress strategically, it's better to think about what you will feel like while you're in motion. I personally usually stay away from traditional jackets. Seams can be absolutely awful if they are in the wrong spot. I a love close fitting base layers close to the skin, I find it it rubs a lot less and gives you plenty of warmth. In the non-running world I could care less wicking fabric, while running I love the stuff.
Personally I try to stay as streamlined as possible (I feel sorry for the people who see me run by) because extra fabric rubs and regardless of the material it gets heavy when wet. I have seen people run in everything from jeans to sweatpants if you're comfortable with it, go for it. I personally think jeans are way to heavy and rub way too much and sweats are way too baggy. I've had lot of rubbing on long runs with just 'normal' running clothes. The very idea of wearing normal pants just sounds painful. It's pretty hardcore to wear normal pants but I can't say that I think it would come with a price, the only kind of blistering you should have is a blister pace.