Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A few of my favorite things...

I am still working on answering all the great questions you asked. Here are two questions (with my answers!) that go together really well. It's way fun to talk about running gear!

Calico asked - How much would someone need to budget to become a runner? The shoes and marathons plus travel seem very expensive!
One of the best things about running is that you can do it just about anywhere and anytime, and all you really need is the right footwear (and ladies - a good bra). A good pair of running shoes should last you at least 300-350 miles or more, and for many runners, especially newer runners, that means one pair of shoes is going to last you quite a while.

That said, there is lots of running stuff that is helpful and/or fun to have (that can add up!), but none of it is necessary, especially if you are just starting off. I will detail the gear, etc. that I use below to answer the next question. Yes, it does add up, but I just continue to add to my collection of running clothes and gear one thing at a time (for birthdays, holidays, etc.)

And yes, racing can be expensive. I know people who run every day but never race, and then I know others who race almost every weekend. What it costs to race depends on where you live, if you travel, what races you are running, etc. With our limited budget, I definitely have to pick and choose which races I do (because I love racing and could happily do LOTS more races), and since I do spend my "me" money on races I don't spend money on nails, hair, tanning, shoes, expensive make up, eating out, expensive clothes, Starbucks, etc. etc. I am really low maintenance and low cost in all other areas. :)

So to answer the question, I would say the only amount of money you really NEED to budget to be a runner is about $100 for a good pair of running shoes every 300-500 miles (and for your first pair you should go to a good running store and be fitted and evaluated. After that you will know what you need and can look for good sales online).

Leah asked - I'm new to running at 31 years of age, and I find your blog inspirational. I'd like to know about your favorite running gear (ie shoes, attire, energy gels, etc.)

Ok, this is a fun one. I am starting from the feet up and will share all my favorite running "stuff". :) For new runners, let me tell you now that COTTON IS NOT YOUR FRIEND when you run. Cotton holds on to moisture (sweat) and rubs, chafes, etc. You can get a pair of athletic shorts and an athletic shirt really cheap at places like Target. The Champion brand is super affordable and I like lots of their stuff.

Here are a few of my favorite things. :)

-On my feet, I have been running for almost a year exclusively in the Brooks Ravenna's (these are the Ravenna 2's now). LOVE THESE. They are on the lighter side yet hold up to tons of miles and hard training. They are good at fast paces and for slower runs and they are perfect for my mild overpronation (just enough support without TOO much support). After three full marathons in these my toenails have all remained happy and I have had zero aches, pains or injuries in my feet (or anywhere else besides this minor achilles thing but that was my fault not the shoes). ;)  That said, I have preordered a pair of the Brooks Pure Cadence (same support as Ravenna's, lower heel drop, lighter weight) that are coming out on Oct. 1 as part of the Brooks Pure Project. As a natural forefoot runner I think they will be a great shoe for me. Can't wait!
My trusty Ravenna 2's. I go through a lot of pairs of these suckers!

-For socks I am not super picky. I have a lot of brands that I wear and I grab running socks whenever I find a good sale. I like the low cut or no-show socks with a tab the very best. I don't like the toe socks (although Josh SWEARS by them) and I don't like to run in compression socks (although I do wear them for recovery).

- For my lower half, this time of year I almost always wear my Brooks 5 inch woven shorts. Seriously, in my opinion, there is no better running shorts. LOVE these. Not too short, super lightweight, do not bunch up or ride, and come in lots of cute colors.
I am a big fan of compression tights too. I have a pair of Sugoi and a pair of SKINS that I really like. So far I have run all of my marathons in compression tights (they were all in cooler weather, although the tights are not very warm and are very breathable). I am trying to decide for Pocatello if I will wear shorts or the tights. Hmmmmmm...

- Bras! For summer time, treadmill running in the winter, and for races, I love a good running tank with a built in bra. Here is the front and back of the North Face Eat My Dust Tank that I will be wearing in Pocatello (in 17 days!!!)
For outdoor running the rest of the year I like a good "pull-on/wrestle-off" compression bra. I have a Zensah one I like and a couple of Champion ones that are just as good. But I don't need a whole lot of "support" (because I have almost no boobs at all. Seriously, someone recently told me that I have the body of "a nine year old girl". Gee thanks!)

-If I am wearing a tank, especially at early start races, I start off with arm sleeves. Moeben are my favorite. They are super light and comfy, don't slide down and have really handy pockets that are the perfect size for a gel. Here I am at Disney in my compression tights, tank and arm sleeves. :)

-On my right wrist, I usually have on "Coach Bob" (affectionately known as just Bob), my Garmin 305. I love Bob. I think this is my most favorite piece of gear. Knowing my pace when I am training has really helped me to make the most of my runs. Whether I am doing a long run, tempo run, track work out or marathon pace run, I know that my paces are right where they need to be. I also love knowing how far I have gone and not always having to have a route planned out before I start running. Twice a week though I leave Bob at home and just run by feel (on my easy days). I didn't get Bob or start caring about pace until I was training for my first marathon.

-On my left wrist, if I am running outside, I have on my Road ID Elite in super awesome green color.

-If I am running "double digit" miles, or running in heat, I carry my Nathan 22 ounce handheld. I have tried belts that carry your water/drink around your waist and I hate them. The handheld doesn't bother me at all. Since I like to follow a careful hydrating/fueling plan when I race (and am picky about my drink) I even carry it when I am racing a half or full marathon. Plus, the pocket is a great size. I can easily stuff 4 gels in it.

-In my handheld I either have water, or my running drink of choice, Accelerade. I like the Lemonade and Fruit Punch flavors the best. During a marathon I will drink a full bottle of Accelerade plus water that I grab at aid stations. I also use the Accel Gels exclusively right now (usually in Vanilla flavor). I love that the Accel Gel is thinner than a lot of other gels and goes down easier (and is easier to get out of the packet) and these products do not bother my super-sensitive stomach. I generally take a gel ever five miles (if I am running more than 10 miles). Accelerade and Accel Gels have protein and carbs in them (where many sports drinks and gels just have carbs). It works for me.

-On my face, I love my Tifosi Logic sunglasses. They work well and are light, comfortable and stay put. And pretty cool looking. Nuff said.
-On my head I use a variety of headbands, beanies and buffs depending on the weather and my hair length. I never liked the Bondibands super much when my hair was long, but right now they are perfect with my short hair. I need a new running pic with my short hair because I don't have one yet. I will definitely get some in Pocatello!
-If I am running by myself, a lot of days I carry this-

Yup, it's a runner's mace. I live in a very (very) safe area, and I don't intend to ever use it, but better safe than sorry. And honestly, living in the country I worry just as much about loose dogs and wild animals as I do scary men.

-I very rarely run with an IPOD or music if I am outside. Every once and a while I do. When I do, the only earbuds that stay in my ears and don't make me crazy are Yurbuds.
-I don't have problems with chafing, but before a marathon I do "lube up" key spots with 2Toms SportShield.  I have tried a lot of other similar products and this is my favorite by far.

-I am very good about stretching after every run, and I also ROLL after every run. (On days that I have a really tough run, like a 20-miler or a big track workout, I roll and stretch again at night too). I am a HUGE FAN of the foam roller and I believe that using this religiously has really helped me stay healthy. When I started getting tight IT bands I started using a foam roller and as soon as I made it a regular part of my routine, all of my tightness and soreness went away. I even have a little travel size foam roller I take with me to races.

-And I guess I have to include on this list my NordicTrack T9 CI treadmill. I much prefer running outside, but the treadmill saves me during our ridiculous winter.

Ok there you go! Those are my favorite "running things".  What are some of your favorite pieces of running equipment, gear or supplies?


Emz said...

Ok. I had no clue you had a TM!! Yay!!
I'm with you on the champion brand stuff!! Love the bra tops!!

Great post!!

Christine said...

Wow awesome list! Thanks for sharing your faves!

Laura said...

Great list...I love hearing about other people's fav things.

MCM Mama said...

Hmm, those shorts look awesome. I'm gonna have to try those out. Nice list!

The Jackster said...

love my yurbuds... got them at Disney expo in January, and swear by them. Mine are pink!!

Where did you find your sunglasses?

lindsay said...

Great post for beginner runners out there! I learned a lot of this the hard way back when I started running :)

Running *can* be expensive if you make it, but like you said so can a Starbucks habit. There are definitely ways to run cheap! Sales on clothes/shoes, registering for a select number of races (and during the early bird price), etc.

Jen @ Run for Anna said...

Great list! LOVE that tank...really cute!