Saturday, February 2 kicked off the first official day of Cleveland Marathon training for me, and I was pretty excited. I busted out a 6 miler (granted it was on the treadmill, but still), and it felt great! When I was running, I was thinking of things that I feel are absolutely essential for me. Here’s the rundown of my favorite running things.
Mizuno Running Shoes – I have been singing their praises since I first put my feet in a pair of these over a year and a half ago. I used to be a Nike girl and then an Asics girl, but I kept getting blisters or had that weird break-in period where runs were really uncomfortable. All of that ended when I got Mizunos, especially the Wave Inspires. These shoes are seriously amazing. I purchased the pair that I am currently wearing about a month before the 2012 Columbus Marathon. My other pair was spent, and I knew I had to get a long run in, in new shoes no less! I was a little worried, but it was all for nothing. I put in a 14 miler right off the bat with no foot pain and no blisters! How cool is that?! These shoes also have worn well and have lasted much longer than previous pairs. I currently have about 250 miles in my current shoes, and they still feel great and have plenty of tread left. I was able to snag another pair of the same shoes on sale from Running Warehouse (in an even better color, I might add), and I am (semi)patiently waiting to wear them. They are the shoes that I plan to wear when I run Cleveland in May.
Garmin GPS Watch – I didn’t have a GPS watch until last year (thanks, Raymond), and I love this thing! I used the Nike + system before this, but once I had to get a new chip, it was very inaccurate. I have the Forerunner 210, and it’s perfect for me. The size is small, so it fits well on my wrist and shows all of the information that I need. I like knowing exactly how far and how long I run, and I can honestly say that since I received this watch, I have only completed two runs without it. Best. Christmas. Present. Ever.
GU Energy Gels – Truth be told, I do not like gels. I think most of them have a horrible taste, and the consistency is hard to swallow, literally. But I feel they are necessary for my long runs because they are easy to carry, don’t make a mess, and give the energy boost I desperately need. Luckily, I found three flavors that I like. GU makes vanilla, chocolate, and peanut butter gels, and without them, I would not be able to complete a long run, let alone a marathon. The peanut butter is my absolutely favorite of the three. If you aren’t a gel person and are looking for something besides fruity-flavored nastiness, I suggest you give these a try.
Nathan Trail Mix 2 Bottle Belt – this thing saves my life during any distance over 10 miles! It has room to carry everything I need – cell phone, gels, water, chapstick, and a Powerbar (I eat those when I run, too). I am able to carry enough water for even my longest training runs, and the best part about this belt is it is comfortable to wear. I will note that it runs a little big, in my opinion, so if you are itty bitty, I am not sure how this will fit you, as I have it on the smallest setting and I am not that tiny. I rigged it up a little differently for the Columbus Marathon, and it didn’t budge. It also has an ID built right in and two adjustable cords to hold things like extra gels, gloves, or hats. Mine is pink (go figure).
Road ID – I don’t feel comfortable running without this, and if you do any sort of outdoor sport, like biking, running, etc., I feel this is an essential piece you should add to your gear. I wear mine on my wrist (you can also get them for your shoes or ankle), and it has info about me, as well as my emergency contact information. If something were to happen to me, I feel safe knowing that my family would be contacted quickly. It’s a life saver.
Under Armour Sports Bras – Nothing spoils a run like too much bouncing, but nothing takes care of that like Under Armour bras. I can’t say enough about these. They are super comfortable and keep you in place. I have two different types, the Endure, which zips up, and the Armour Bra, that fits like regular bras. With the Armour Bra, you select it based on cup and band size, giving you a perfect fit. And it looks cute too, if you care about that sort of thing. For the genetically- or surgically-blessed ladies especially, these bras are a must because floppy isn’t a good look on you.
Body Glide Liquefied Powder– good shoes and socks definitely make a difference in keeping feet blister free, but I don’t like to take chances. I have tried regular Body Glide before, but the Liquefied Powder is where it’s at! I find it works better, and I like the way it feels on my feet. You can also use it as you would regular Body Glide on other areas where you might have friction. Try it, you’ll like it.
Sparkly Soul Headbands – this is a new obsession of mine, and even though I just got my first headband, I am completely in love. I refuse to spend money on other ones that don’t work as well or look as nice. These headbands are seriously cute, and you can get them in either thick or thin sizes. Instead of relying on binding elastic or a silicon strip, they grip your hair using a velvet-like material. What I like best is they don’t squeeze your head, and they hold your hair through an entire workout without slipping out, plus they look fabulous! I definitely plan on adding more of these to my running gear collection, and I am going to buy a set of green ones for my daughter and me to wear at the St. Malachi Run in March.
What are some of your running essentials? If you could only have one thing with you on a run, what would it be?