Hi everyone, hope you all had a fantastic week! I’m back with the third installment of my Back in the Saddle guest post series (if you’re just catching up, my name is Becky and I am Claire’s twin sister. You can check out my first two posts here and here).
This past weekend I was actually back in Chicago visiting friends & family – Claire & I have a wonderful sister that lives there (yes, there are 3 of us!) with her beautiful family, including our 8 month old niece Natalie. It was so nice and relaxing to revisit my old haunts and catch up with family. Really good for the soul 🙂
This past week & weekend also saw me push my mileage a bit further and I’m happy to say that I’ve been able to successfully stick with my half training program thus far and everything is chugging along nicely. My long run this weekend was a 10-miler, done on my old stomping ground of Lakeshore path in Chi-town. I did it but it sure wasn’t easy; I’m remembering what it’s like to push your body way outside its comfort zone. Around mile 8 my hips have started to ache a bit, so I’ve been working to shorten and quicken my stride once I start to feel this in an attempt to save energy and run more efficiently.
Today’s post in my Back in the Saddle series focuses on prepping the part, or how to supply your training with the necessary gear to help you both look AND feel the part – necessary as an emotional and physical motivation kick. My ever-increasing mileage has forced me to reconsider running gear that will better prepare and support me (my running wardrobe is so outdated). I’ve also found that refreshing my gear has given me renewed motivation to hit the road.
Let’s start with the most important element – the shoes. Getting the right pair of running shoes for your feet is absolutely crucial to a successful training program. If you are just picking up running or getting back into the sport like me, it’s very important that you don’t just buy any shoe; get ye’ over to a specialty running store so they can measure your foot and watch your stride. These shoe gurus can then ensure that they outfit you with the proper support, whether you’re a neutral stride runner or an over/under pronator. I know many of you regular runners are thinking ‘yeah, yeah I know this already’ but take heed – your stride can change over time (and with age!) so I suggest you get your stride looked at every several years. For me, I ended up getting the tried and true Asics 2170 – essentially what the old Asics Gel Kayano used to be before it got super heavy with all the bells and whistles (just like my sister! Are we twins or what?). And, don’t you just love the color? Very fun to look down at my feet 🙂
In addition to the shoes, it’s important that you run in the appropriate clothing to ensure maximum sweat wicking and/or layers that can keep the warmth in if it’s still a bit chilly outside (Chicago was in the 40s and raining!) There are so many different types of running shorts, tights, and tops for every fashion-minded runner. I personally love Nike & Lululemon, but have also recently gotten into Under Armor for women….some of their thin long sleeved layering tops are amazing!
The final prep support comes in the form of items that give you emotional power when you’re hitting the proverbial wall. Runners, like many athletes, are very superstitious. Whether it’s a shirt you wear on your long runs because you were donning it when you PR’d in the last race, or even old running times that you keep stored on your watch (like me – I still have my 2007 Chicago race time on the ole Timex!), these things make you feel good out on the trail. My favorite items are a sweatband cuff that Claire gave me at my very first marathon (2006!) and my favorite Moosejaw sweatwicking hat that I wear on virtually every run – I love it so much.
There is still so much gear that I want to test out like compression socks/tights, which can potentially help me recover faster (I know Claire wears the 2XU capri compression tights and CEP socks).
So, gear up my friends – whether you’re a new runner or an accomplished road master, getting some new running items will pay off in spades as you work toward your own personal goals. Happy running!
What have you gotten lately that you love? Any good/new gear that you’d recommend?
Have any superstitious habits or good-luck items you need to wear out on your run?