As promised, here is part two of my running tips. The focus here is on gear. If you missed part one, you should check it out 🙂 Here we go!
Back in the day, before everyone had a smart phone, it was so much easier to go for a quick run without having to carry very much. I used to clip on a tiny iPod shuffle and be on my way. My running belt was crucial for carrying supplements, my phone, keys, etc during races or training, but it was easy for me to do a short run with no frills.
Nowadays, I like to have my phone on me for a variety of reasons. In case of an emergency, I can call someone without having to wait until I get back home; I can use running apps to keep tabs on my progress; I can listen to music without having to carry an additional device (my iPod); etc. While I’ve never used an armband, I don’t like the idea of using one. I have tiny arms so I doubt an armband would even fit me properly. I also imagine an armband would be constantly moving around on my arm which would bother me or I would be forced to keep my arm bent at all times just to keep it in position. Not to mention I tan very easily and I can’t bear to think of the unfortunate tanlines I’d get!
Having never used one, I don’t think I’d like a hydration belt because I just feel like I’d end up carrying too much extra weight, but if you’re running long distances without a water stop, that’s probably a good way to go. I’ve never done it, but tons of people do so it must work!
I have personal experience with two belts. My first fuel belt was a double pouch iFitness belt. It doesn’t look like they sell the one I have anymore, but it’s basically like this one. To the left, you can see me wearing my iFitness running belt during my marathon. Hooray for 26.2! It worked well and I still love it. The other belt I have experience with is obviously the Flipbelt I mentioned in my previous post. I won’t get into too much detail now about the pros and cons of each belt, but I’ll get into it another time. Promise. For now, I’ll say that both belts are great for different reasons. If you’re in the market for a running belt, I think those two places are good places to start your search.
When your runs get to be over an hour, you really want to think about taking a supplement while you’re out. When you run long distances, you run the risk of burning all your fuel while you’re out there and that’s no bueno. This is also the reason you need to drink water while you’re out there. If anyone’s seen footage of marathon runners collapsing just feet away from the finish line, this is a big reason why. I have never really tried anything but GU to serve this purpose, but I swear to you when you’re out there and you don’t think you’ll ever make it, the moment the GU hits your mouth you will feel like a new person who can take on anything. It’s the most amazing feeling! For a half marathon you’ll probably take about two (this is when your running belt comes in handy!!)
For me, this was mainly a blister-related thing, but I know a lot of people experience chafing in other areas of the body too. Since running is a repetitive motion (is this getting redundant yet?), certain areas of the body are rubbed too much and it can be painful. Nipples against clothing (I feel like this is a guy thing), thighs rubbing together, underneath boobs (I’ve heard, never experienced), and of course in my case my entire foot. There are two products I’ve tried personally. One is Body Glide which is kind of like a deodorant in how it’s packaged and applied and the other is Sport Shield which is like a thick liquid that comes in a roll on. I like the Sport Shield to address blister related chafing, but I imagine the body glide is nicer for body since it’s basically a solid and it’s not so liquidy so it is more likely to stay where you put it.
As I mentioned, this was a big problem for me. THIS IS THE WORST!!!! I got them on the bottoms of my feet and it was really awful. This is caused by friction and made much worse when your feet start to sweat (sorry, I know that’s gross). Just like with black toenails, if you’ve never gotten an athletic related blister, you can tell you’re prone to them if you’ve ever felt tenderness anywhere on your foot (mainly the ball of your foot or your toes), after you’ve run or walked a long distances. The best, best, best thing to do is get yourself at least one pair of running socks. NO COTTON ALLOWED. Actually, I live by this rule with all my running clothes. NO COTTON NO COTTON NO COTTON. It will soak up your sweat. It will stick to you. It will suck the life out of you. Don’t do it. Polyester = do it! Spandex = do it! Cotton = DON’T DO IT. I know we all like to save shirts for sentimental value even though they’re too big or too ugly or whatever. Save those for sleeping, not exercising. I can’t stress that enough. I am a blister expert, so I have a much more extensive technique for this, but if nobody needs it I won’t get into it right now. It involves proper shoes and socks, a lot of Sport Shield, and Moleskin (and no it’s not really made from the skin of moles…) If you’re running into this problem, PLEASE come talk to me. On blisters is no way to walk through life (see what I did there?)
Interestingly enough, I tried to go on a run with my old running shoes the other day and I still felt like I was going to blister even though I haven’t gotten one in a very long time. I’m starting to think that the insoles of my shoes were contributing to the problem as well. Thankfully they must have addressed that issue in the new design because it’s not a problem with my newer shoes! Yay!
This is not essential, but I personally prefer it. Running hats and visors keep the sun off your face and keep your bangs (if you have them) from falling into your eyes. Plus, if you have headphones that wrap around your ears, they can help keep those in place too. My hat is similar to this one. Again, I suggest no cotton. Nobody wants a ring of sweat to soak through their hat while they’re running. It’s worthwhile to get one that is light so it won’t move around too much while you’re running and it won’t fall down your face. I don’t remember what brand my visor is, I think it might be Asics?
If you remember from part one, my foam roller was the key to ridding myself of running related knee pain. Yippee!! I don’t know much about specs or brands here, but my foam roller has worked perfectly for what I need it to do. Using a foam roller is far from a pleasant experience, but at least the pain is productive rather than harmful. My old roommate used to affectionately refer to her foam roller as a “log of pain” and I can’t think of a more fitting name for it.
I don’t have much to say here in terms of product recommendations. The shoes that work for me may not work for you. I have been running in Nike LunarGlides since 2010 and I don’t feel the need to experiment with anything else. I learned to walk in Nikes. I’ve completed all my races in Nikes. I have always said that with the right shoes, a girl can do just about anything and I am a Nike girl through and through. I am also very into shoes, but that’s getting a little off the mark here.
In terms of what works for you, I’d recommend going into a running store and having them do some sort of evaluation for you. When I did this, they had me run on a treadmill while some guy thoroughly analyzed the way I ran. Based on his assessment, he brought out a few pairs of shoes. I don’t quite remember what happened next. I don’t remember what I did or didn’t like about the shoes I tried on, but I do remember it being fairly easy to choose. He may or may not have had me run on the treadmill again in the shoes I tried on. Or he at least he watched me walk in them.
Something I mentioned in the other post that I’ll repeat here is that for running shoes, you will probably want to go bigger than you’re used to wearing. I wear anywhere from a size 4.5-5.5 (depending on brand and style). My first pair of running shoes during training was size 6, but based on my tendency toward black toenails, all my shoes after that have been size 6.5.
Okay, I know this is long but I hope it’s helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions. If I don’t have an answer, I certainly know many people who probably do. This is by no means everything you could consider when it comes to running, but these are just the most important things to me to arm myself with. Oh, I also like wearing sunscreen. That’s good too.
In long distance running, nothing that is functional is dorky (I’m looking at you, running belt/fanny pack).