Saturday, March 10, 2012

What are some of your favorite running products?

I’m hoping a post like this will jump start my running, since I’ve been off for 6 weeks because of a knee injury and I have a race in about 5 weeks!! EEK. 
When I started seriously running a few years ago, I got a pair of shoes, running shorts and running shirt. I figured that was all a runner would ever need. It’s true, you can run with just those things, but when you start running distance, with a kid, you need more than just shoes and a cute outfit.
I’ve had lots of people ask me about my shoes or my stroller, and I thought I’d go ahead and do a blog post on my favorite running products.
To start…my shoes. This is a picture of all my running shoes. I replace them every 6-8 months (or about every 300-400 miles). I have purchased about 6 pair of the exact same shoes (different colors because they are from different seasons). I donated 2 pair, so all I have left is the most recent 4.
2011 09 16_0782
Why do I have 4 pair still in my possession? Because, my most recently purchased running shoes are used only for running, and only on the road. I need an older pair for mowing the grass, running on the trails, running in the rain, spare pair in the gym bag…you get the picture. I do not use my newest pair for anything other than running (on the dry road)!!
How did you select this particular pair of running shoes? Well, that is because of some really friendly folks at Varsity Sports in Baton Rouge, LA. (They have recently opened a location at my gym in Harahan, so this will be where I go from now on, but I purchased all my other shoes at the same store in Baton Rouge). It is very important to be fitted for your running shoes. I love my Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ running shoes, you may hate them. Find a local running store and get fitted!
My shoes are amazing, but they can’t work alone. You need socks. You will have stinky shoes and blistered feet if you run with no socks (I have unfortunately had to do this before when I went to the gym with no socks). You can run in your white Haynes cotton socks if you wish, but you will regret that decision. A rule for running….COTTON IS THE ENEMY! If you put cotton on your body for a run, you will later regret that decision. You will be blistered, chaffed, and hot. Don’t do it!
I own about 10 pair of Nike running socks. Of course, I can’t find the exact type online! They have kept me from many a blister. The thing to look for in great running socks is they are not cotton, they are tight, they are some sort of dri-fit technology, and they differentiate left from right (this may not seem too important now, but let’s face it, your left foot is different from your right, and your sock should know that).
Personally I have not found a pair of running shorts that I love. I love the look of running shorts, but they just don’t work for me. I guess I just have fat legs or I’m misshapen or something. My running shorts do what I call the “fat boy crawl” and that’s not attractive, and a good way to get some serious chaffing. I prefer running tights such as these. Ok, these are certainly not the most attractive pair of pants that have ever stretched across my rear, but they work. They stay in place, they work for Louisiana summers and winters, and they don’t cause chaffing.
For running shirts, I go cheap. So long as it is not cotton, it’s good. I’ve recently become a huge fan of the Target C9 brand of running tops. They fit well, they wash well, and they wear well. Best part is that they are not as expensive as the Nike or Under Armor shirts, but I find that they work about the same. The only exception I could see is if you are looking for something specific (such as a top that can be used for swimming, running and biking….like in a triathlon…you may need to go for something a little more expensive so that it will not break down in the chlorine in the pool and it will keep its shape).
As for my support, or my bra, I go the expensive route. Get fitted! Give the girls the support that they deserve! I’m still working on supplementing this section of my wardrobe, but little by little I’m finding what works and what doesn’t.
Ok, enough about the clothes, now for more fun running products. I mentioned chaffing earlier. It’s an evil side effect of running. I never really had a problem with this until I started doing long runs (more than 8 miles) and bike rides (a long bike ride for me is anything more than 45 minutes). I recommend you get a stick of Body Glide, well, make that two sticks: one for the house, and one for the gym bag. It’s great, and because it is dispensed much like deodorant, you don’t have a sticky mess on your hands. Vaseline will also work if you don’t have any Body Glide. Remember to put this stuff everywhere! I put it between my toes, along any seams of my clothes, on my arms, legs, anywhere to keep them from rubbing blisters or chaffing…it’s great stuff!
As for the fuel, I recommend Strawberry Banana Gu. The first time I ever took this stuff, I hated it. It was a weird consistency, it made my mouth feel funny and I burped a lot, so don’t let the first time you try it be on race day. Now, I can’t go anywhere without it. I’ve learned how to get past the burping (drink water shortly after taking the gu) and the consistency is not a problem at all anymore. Strawberry Banana is my favorite, but they have lots of flavors to choose from…take your pick!
Garmin Forerunner 405 Water Resistant Running GPS With Heart Rate Monitor and USB ANT Stick (Black)
My newest toy is my Garmin Forerunner 405 GPS Watch. I got this watch for Mother’s Day 2011 (good to be a mom, hu?). I’m a numbers nerd, so I love that I can see my stats on the watch during my run, then get more detailed information when I download the info on my computer at home. It is a bit of a luxury item to have for running, but I LOVE it! Cohen does too…he loves that it beeps on the miles, and that means he gets a sip of water, or another pop tart, or a short conversation with his mom.
A race day must have is the SPI Belt. I got one of these for my first half-marathon to hold my gu, and I’ve used it in every race (and some of my long runs) since that day. It is the perfect size to hold your cell phone, keys, money, gu, etc. It also holds your race number! This means that you no longer have to PIN that number on one of your favorite running shirts. HUGE PLUS!
On to another fun tech toy…my ipod shuffle. Unless you’ve been living in a bubble for the last decade or so, you know exactly what this is, so I’m not going to post links or pictures to the Apple website. I will give you some fun music suggestions…
The Letter Black
Barlow Girl
December Radio
These are just a few of the bands on my “Running” playlist. I’d love for you to leave a comment if you have a favorite band that you think I’m might enjoy.
Last, but certainly not least, my jogging stroller. Jace’s parents gave this to me as a baby shower gift, and what a great gift it has been for us. I have a Baby Jogger Performance stroller and I love it! I love the size of it, the weight of it, and the huge wheels that can run over anything. It has a five point harness for Cohen and shocks, so he rides safe and comfortable. I love that the front wheel is locked in place and I never have to worry about Cohen going the wrong way. I love that it will hold up to 100 lbs, guaranteeing that I will have a few more marathons in my future. I love that Cohen loves it too! It’s comfy for him…he’s taken lots of naps in this stroller. Yes, it is big and sometimes I find it difficult to take down and fold up, but this is not a stroller for shopping at the mall or going for leisure walks around the park. This stroller is for jogging, or running. Cohen and I have put it to good use. There are leftover pop tarts, crackers and gummy snacks permanently caked into the back of the seat.
I’d love to give you a link to this amazing stroller so you can get one for yourself, but it appears that Baby Jogger has stopped production on this particular model. Sad day! If you are in the market for a new jogging stroller, I would highly recommend you take a look at a Baby Jogger. They have lots of single and double strollers to choose from. I love mine and plan to use it for a long time (or until Cohen reaches 100 lbs, I guess).

I’m hoping this post has lit a fire under you. The weather is perfect, lets go running!

1 comment:

  1. Love all this post. After Matt and I read it, we headed to Academy and picked up one of those SPI belts. I can't wait to use it for the CCC. I also picked up some NIKE capri's, a lil different from yours. So now we are almost set. Be both got new running shoes about a month ago, so we are lookig for good shirts. I use the C9 brand sports bras, Compression style), and I love them. They seem to be the only kind that work for me since I am a lil top heavy. Good luck finding your fit and thanks for posting your fav's.