In honor of Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon & Full- Marathon coming TOMORROW, I thought I’d divulge several of my running accessories & rituals I’ve become BFF with over my months of training. In no particular order, this list includes everything from gear to healthy habits! Some are a little out of the box so I encourage you to be open-minded 😉
The RIGHT shoes
Well, who didn’t see this one coming? I know it seems like a given but what a lot of people don’t know is that you should really be fitted for the proper shoes. Don’t expect to just purchase a pair of tennis shoes and be good to go for a 3 mile run. To ensure you’re wearing the right pair, take a trip to your local running store where someone trained can take a look at how you walk or even place you on a treadmill to see how you run. This way they can see your stride and determine which type of shoe is best for you.
If you’re running for an extended period of time, I highly, HIGHLY suggest these. Simply put, GU gels are 100-calorie packs of energy. That’s what I call them, at least. Made with maltodextrin, water, fructose among other ingredients, they are life savers come half marathon time. When you’re running and exerting your maximum effort for that length of time, you’re bound to lose steam after a while. With a lot of trial and error, I’ve come up with a good gu-gel schedule that really works for me. I (usually) take them at mile 5, mile 8 and mile 11.
Not everyone is a fan, but I adore my funny-looking, water-holding fanny pack! I recently purchased the Fitletic Hydration Belt and find it so much more comfortable than my previous. The reason being because it sits lower on your hips and STAYS THERE thanks to silicone grippers! A lot of belts ride up causing stomach discomfort; slip down causing bouncing or the Velcro goes bad over time causing the belt to fall off mid-run.. Safe right? Noot. The straps are adjustable, so you don’t need to go out and buy a new belt if you’re wearing a lot of layers or if you lose a few lbs! 😉 WIN!
OKAY, let’s get real here, ladies. It’s not sanitary to wear thongs while running, or working out for that matter. So what’s a girl to do when she’s sporting spandex on her run? I introduce these Under Armour Stretch Cheekies. These are amazing if you’re not a fan of the grannie-pantie line! I’ve found them 3 for $30 on numerous occasions.. Love em!
The ugly truth: your feet will never be the same after you start running. You’ll build calluses, blisters, and might even lose a toe nail or two. Luckily I’ve avoided the latter, so far. Every couple of months, I like to give my feet some love and get a pedicure. It’s a little ‘thank you’ for them withstanding months upon months of training.
Face Wipes & Spot Treatment
Another unfortunate side effect many runners face is acne. (Pun intended.) While some people are blessed to avoid this, I have not. Unfortunately, since picking up running my skin has never been worse. Running for long distances inevitably means I’m constantly sweating & clogging up pores. The best way to combat this, I’ve found, is to immediately wipe my face, neck, back & chest with a face-wipe. And of course, shower! I’m driving to where I run, I’ll bring a clean shirt to wear afterwards so I’m not sitting in the same one I just worked out in. It might not solve the problem, but definitely makes a big difference!
Repeat after me: SWEAT WICKING fabric. SO important! Basically what they do is move the sweat from your body to the outer layer of the fabric. In the summer, it’ll evaporate more quickly and in cold temps, it prevents you from getting cold as quickly after you’ve finished running! Other notable necessities: socks with cushion, mittens for the cold (mittens are warmer than gloves!) and ladies, get fitted for a sports bra!
While I love my care-free runs without watching my pace, a gps watch is so great to maximize your training. It’s beneficial to be able to pace yourself, track weekly mileage, gauge your progress, etc. As a bonus, I love being able to look back at old PR’s, compare them to my newer ones and see how far I’ve come! DC Rainmaker has an amazing product review of many watches that aided me in my purchase.
Epsom Salt & Ibuprofen
Post-run combo of champions. Just kidding. But really, I’m not a huge fan of ice baths.. Personally, it seems weird to plunge into a freezing, uncomfortable bath that makes me even more stiff. But to each his own! After I’ve done a really intense run, I’ll take a soak in a hot Epsom salt bath for a half hour. Training is a balance between recovery and adaptation, so I try my best to only use OTC meds if necessary.. But sometimes it is! In that case, ibuprofen works best for me. It’s pretty amazing to see the difference it makes in my recovery. Pair this with a foam roller & lots of hydration and you’re golden!!
Protection from the Elements:
So this is kind of a blanket list of so many items.. but SPF, a hat, sunglasses, a water-proof jacket, mittens and chapstick are my must-haves.
Other notable mentions:
– ID & cash. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where you need $$
– Pepper spray. Again, you never know!
– Reflective gear & head lamps! It’s so important to be aware of your surroundings while keeping in mind that your surroundings may not be aware of you. Wear bright colors, grab a reflective jacket and buy that goofy-looking head lamp because it may just save your life.
– Lastly, A BOMB @$$ PLAYLIST! I love Spotify!
And here is some funny running and taper-humor that has gotten me through the week! : ) Good luck to everyone who is running Rock ‘n’ Roll tomorrow!
QUESTION: What’s your one MUST-have for running?