I’m often asked about where to buy running shoes, what kind of gear one needs, and other running and fitness-related stuff. It’s part of the gig and I enjoy sharing information and helping people. I’m also a big fan of giving unsolicited advice. But then you knew that already!
Here’s a brief rundown on things. Things that work for me. Things I recommend. Things I personally do or use.
This is where you should spend most of your running budget and where you should devote some time. There are a lot of opinions on running shoes. People swear by their Sauconys, Nikes, Newtons, Hokas, minimalist, etc. We won’t even talk about barefoot running. Because if you ever look at people running barefoot or in those platypus shoes they look miserable.
I strongly encourage people to find a local running store and get fitted in the right shoe. Because no matter what you read or hear, the best shoe is the one that fits your foot and supports what needs to be supported. And here’s a tip, running shoes should not (circle with a slash through it) need to be broken in. Sure there will be some molding that occurs when you wear them but if they are not comfortable at the store, you can bet your IT band that they will not feel good on a run.
Here’s where you can save money on your shoes. Once you find a pair you like, head over to the world wide web and go to www.roadrunnersports.com and order a second pair. They will be a little less expensive and you can rotate your shoes.
Wicking Stuff – Otherwise Known as Technical Clothing
I learned long ago that ‘cotton is rotten’ for running. It does a delightful job of absorbing all of your sweat and then it has a unique ability of holding on to it making your shirt heavy and wet. And cold. Plus chafing happens. Wicking clothing (dry fit, cool max, etc) is designed to draw sweat away from your body and dissipate. Sure, there are better explanations but trust me, once you wear the wonder stuff you won’t wear cotton tees anymore for running. Unless they say OutFIT Marin Boot-Camp. (shameless plug, whatevs).
Technical clothing; shirts, shorts, pants are lightweight, comfortable and last a really long time. They can be super-pricey but you can always find less expensive brands online (www.roadrunnersports.com), or at Target, Big 5, Dicks, Shiels, etc. And if you run races you usually get a free technical shirt with your registration. Ha ha, yeah, I know the joke’s on us because we paid $90 for that “free” shirt. Regardless of how you look at it, the shirts are usually great BUT don’t wear them on race day. The shirt is your reward for finishing the race. More on that in another post.
And let’s not forget socks. Thick, cotton socks that your kids wears for volleyball are not the best running socks. Technical socks (ah, there’s that word again) are thinner and provide more comfort for running than bulky socks. And yes, if you like some cushion they have very thick socks you can buy. I used to wear very thick socks (just like I used to run in long pants, a long sleeve top and a vest) but now I like thinner socks. Less bunching and blisters. But that’s just my opinion.
When I go for my 5:30am runs I’m wearing my reflective vest, 2 reflective straps around my ankles, a flashing light strapped to the top of my shirt and I carry a Knuckle Light. I used to have 2 Knuckle Lights but had an “incident” at Ragnar Napa last year and sadly one ended up broken into a few pieces on the Valley of the Moon road at about midnight. However, I digress.
It’s a good idea to carry your phone too, especially if you are going to the trails. Or at least run with a friend who carries their phone. Just don’t lose them on the trail.
As I’ve gotten, um, more mature, I value the ability to move after I run.
The foam roller is for my back, IT band and legs, well all over. The lacrosse ball is to apply a “delightful” hit of direct pressure at or around sticky spots. The mat is for yoga and stretching. The cat, well Cody just goes wherever the yoga mat is. He’s my cat on a mat.
There are also a few books that I recommend. One is more for technique and one is to help you regain mobility. They are very different in approaches but both have the same focus on running healthy and injury free. And to
As in duration, not miles. Well, both really but mostly so you can keep running as you get older. Moving on…
Chi Running is by Danny Dreyer. If you have ever wondered why I love hills so much, it’s because I was taught to run them and not get my ass handed to me each time. His approach is form based so that you are efficient with your running, utilizing only what you need at any given time. www.chirunning.com/
Ready to Run is by Dr. Kelly Starrett and TJ Murphy. This book is designed to teach you how to become and stay healthy as a runner. His approach is no joke and it’s not entirely comfortable. But. And this is a big but, the more I do some of the exercises the better I’m feeling. There are 12 assessments to do along the way to gauge where you are on the scale of mobility. And then you can identify exercises to do that focus on the weakness you have. For example, I have superb plantar flexion but horrible dorsiflexion. Who knew. www.mobilitywod.com
So many choices! I am a big fan of Yoga with Adriene. While a little quirky, she’s serious about her practice and teaching but not in that polished “yoga” video way. You know what I mean. That breathy yoga voice and cuts to the wind blowing through the willow trees? Yeah, she’s not like that. But she knows her stuff and you’ll be breathing in your Baddha Konasana before you know what hit you. Check her out Yoga with Adriene.
When DIY Isn’t Enough
I have a great chiropractor/sports med guy and a wonderful massage therapist. If you need one I’m happy to refer you. Email me.
Eating and Drinking
Here’s my rule of thumb. If I’m running more than 6 or 7 miles I eat before I run and bring water with me. If it’s 4-5 miles maybe I’ll have a half banana and less than 4 it’s nothing. Except coffee. A lot of it, before any run.
For trail runs and longer runs I’ll bring water and some kind of something to top off the tank. A GU, bag of Sport Beans or half a PowerBar. It needs to be carb rich and easily digestible. If you bring, say a bag of nuts, it takes your body time to digest them so you don’t get that quick shot of fuel you need. GU hits the bloodstream like a shot of espresso. Perfection.
Some people can’t run with anything, even coffee in their system before any runs. You should experiment because everyone is different. Coffee, for example can have a disastrous effect on a run. “Nuff said.
I know it’s a lot but experiment and use what works. And please let me know what you have in your bag of tricks that works for you. It’s great to share!
Now go run!