Some say the days go by slow, but the years go by fast. Truth. When I think about my running hiatus, it can be so hard to believe it was 15 years ago when I walked off the track and hung up my running shoes.
Now, running is still the same; yet so different.
In the 90s, I pretty much donned a pair of trainers, maybe put on my Timex and went for a run. Maybe, someone would drive around and measure a course to navigate and off I’d go. I had no idea of pace; distance during the run or heart rate. I just ran. I’d finish my run and then drink tap water.
Coming back into the running world, wow, was I overwhelmed with new products and gear. Today, we are surrounded by GPS watches, a myriad of running shoes, compression gear, hydration replacement, fuel and so much more. This last year, I have been educated in many of these areas and have tried a variety of new gear. I thought I’d share my favorites for any runners who may new to the game.
All opinions are my own and not influenced by any brands mentioned.
I’m pretty sure my first pair of running shoes were a pair of Nike Air Pegasus and I know I definitely had the Asics above at some point. When I started running again, I tried to go back to my tried-and-true Asics and unfortunately, this brand just didn’t work for me as well as it once did. While training and racing half marathons, I was suffering from blisters often.
After researching and talking to friends who run in zero drop shoes, I decided to try a pair and I LOVE them. I wish had several pairs of Topos! Since I switched to a shoe with a wider toe box and also started wearing a better sock, I haven’t had a single blister.
No fancy GPS, pacing or heart rate tracking here. Push start at the beginning and stop at the end….or wow, take splits! In college, one of my teammates was a math whiz and she would calculate our pace then inform the rest of us. Otherwise, we just tried to base our runs off of perceived effort.
These days, I have a simple but much more impressive Garmin – love being able to just hit the road running and have an idea of how far I’m going without necessarily having to plan a route beforehand. I do have to say I like the instant gratification of knowing my mile pace.
When younger, I usually rehydrated with basic H2O; most likely straight from the tap. Yikes. Maybe we had Gatorade or how about AllSport?
After training for a marathon throughout the summer, hydration was key for performance and recovery. I tried a variety of beverages to rehydrate during and after my long runs. Some made my stomach feel not too great. I’m happy to say I found Nuun and now I’m a Nuun ambassador. Clean product and perfect for me after a run or working out.
As far as basic water, learning about pH and the alkalinity of bottled and tap water has been eye opening – do you know what’s in the water you are drinking?
Now, this was a completely new area for me. I have struggled with hypoglycemia, so I was “fueling” 5Ks back in the day. Often I’d have an apple or bagel about 2 hours before I’d run. Some race days, you’d find me with a blue tongue prior to the race – I used to eat blue raspberry blow pops before races to give me a quick burst of energy to last through the 20 minutes of racing. Then, I’d crash.
When I started to train for half marathon and marathons, I asked many friends and researched fueling options including jelly bean and goo options. I headed to the store and purchased several different types which I tried during my training runs. Some were pretty gross and some were like candy (maybe my blue raspberry pop wasn’t too far off!).
My suggestion is to try several and find what works for you..and try them during your training runs, not race day!
Another new area of gear I’m learning about and I will be sharing more information on this category soon! Watch out for some news and a review in the upcoming days.
Often, I think about how lucky I was in high school. My dad, mom or coach gave me a leg massage before every.single.race. We’d break out the Atomic Balm and I’d get a fiery leg massage before heading out on the track or course. Some serious ointment although these days, I use something less atomic.
Foam roller. Ahhh, my saving grace after my 1st marathon. I’m pretty sure every single muscle was sore after 26.2 miles. A friend suggested foam rolling, so once again I headed to the store in search of a foam cylinder to help with my aches and pains. Since I don’t have my full massage team at my disposal these days, being able to replicate a massage with the foam roller is great!
So, there are a few of my new favorite things.
Have you been a runner for a long time? What gear do you love now? What gear do you miss?
Until next time,