Today’s the day! I’m officially starting my training for a 10K I’ll run on April 21. As I already mentioned, I’m running this race for speed. I’m notoriously slow, so my training schedule has a lot of focus on speed intervals and on conquering hillicide (you know, when running up hills kills you). I work with a personal trainer once a week and he’s added in some extra focus on my hamstrings to help me get moving faster. I’ll share my hamstring routine next week!
Let’s start out on the right (or left) foot and talk about good gear for successful running. Below are my Top 4 Must-Haves for a good run. What gear do you use when running?
1) Good shoes. I can’t stress enough the importance of well-fitted, supportive shoes that have been chosen based on your unique anatomy or running style. When I started running I got horrible shin splints until someone recommended I visit Fleet Feet (locations here). The employee watched me jog around the parking lot, asked a few questions and put me in a pair of New Balances with some arch support inserts. iVoila! No more shin splints, no more lower back ache after a long run and no more bruises on the tops of my feet. To make sure you’ve got the right kicks, I recommend visiting a store like Fleet Feet that specializes in running or customized shoe fitting.
Six years later I’m still sporting New Balances. I bought these a week ago.
2) GPS Running Watch. I know, I know. Not really NECESSARY. In fact, several weeks ago I would have told you these were a waste of money. Then, one night I snagged my husband’s Garmin Forerunner 210 and I am IN LOVE (with the husband and the Garmin). This little watch tells me exactly how fast I’m going and how far I’ve gone and it’s helped me understand why I experience so much hillicide: I actually speed up a the bottom of hills (presumably to get it over with) which wears me out! Using the Garmin, I can better maintain a constant speed and slow down when I need to. Many models can also track your heart rate, body fat and dozens of other measurements. Strong recommend for anyone who suffers with “Horse Running for the Barn” syndrome!
3) Tunes. Second to good shoes, good music is the most indispensable running tool I have. The right mix of music can pump you up when you’re getting tired, help you keep pace when you’re starting to slow down and keep you entertained when you’re stuck on a treadmill. Load songs on your iPod by beats-per-minute at JogTunes or enjoy a few of my favorites.
Good Feeling – Flo Rida
Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins (oh yeah)
What Doesn’t Kill You – Kelly Clarkson
Basket Case – Green Day
4) Good socks. When you buy those new shoes I suggested up there, buy some good quality socks too! In addition to shin splints, my first year of running was marked by some really bad blisters. The good folks at Fleet Feet stuck a pair of Balega Lady Enduro socks “just to try”. Verdict? Haven’t had a blister since. These running sock dynamos provide foot support, wick away moisture to keep feet cool and dry, fit like the proverbial glove and provide extra cushioning for the most punished parts of your feet.
5) Support. Sure it helps to have support from friends and family, but I’m talking about support for The Girls. Ladies, if you’re even a little bit on the curvy side, you know the bounce of running can be really uncomfortable, but did you know that without the support of a good sports bra, you could irreversibly stretch the ligaments that support your “girls” and cause back and shoulder strain? I’m a firm (ha!) believer in the sports bras sold by Title Nine. This shop offers a wide variety categorized by level of support and reviewed by real women. While many of the bras aren’t cheap (my favorite below will set you back $54), they’re support is superior to and longer lasting that any of mass-marketed models I’ve tried. The “7 Wonders Sports Bra” is my favorite!