I’m 4 months + 1 day away from my half marathon! Thanks, readers, for the tips and words of encouragement you’ve offered me since I’ve opened up about my training. Now it’s my turn to give back! When I began running, I know one of the most intimating things for me was the wide array of running gear available. Now that I’ve been training for a couple of months, I have some preferences down. Here’s what I currently run with:
- A good running tank for summer. One of the cardinal rules for running clothes is no cotton, because cotton holds moisture and increases your risk of chafing. For shorter runs, of course, you might be able to get away with it. Proceed at your own risk, though.
- Ditto on the no cotton rule for bottoms. I exclusively run in capris because my thighs don’t take kindly to shorts, but there are lots of good running shorts out there for those who are so inclined. Sidenote: running clothing can be super expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. This is my favorite running outfit, and I bought at at my friendly neighborhood Target (pronounced “tar-jay,” of course).
- Reflectors are a really smart idea if you’re planning on running early in the morning or late at night (which you should be if where you live is as humid as it is here). My favorite running pants have them built in, which is super handy.
- A good sports bra is, of course, a must. Ideally neither your sports bra nor your undies should be made of cotton. One thing I’ve discovered in the bra department is that too loose is, of course, bad, but for long runs, so is too tight. Go for something supportive that still lets the girls breathe a bit.
- One more note on the no cotton rule: this includes your socks. Cotton socks will lead to blisters eventually. It finally happened to me at 4 miles, which is when I finally shelled out for these lycra blend ones. There are wool socks available as well, and they are much less itchy and much more awesome than they sound.
- A good pair of running shoes is everything. I had a pretty good pair when I started out that fit my feet nicely, but they had almost no cushion on the bottom. I began having pain on the bottom of my foot during long runs, just from pounding the pavement so much. I went to my local running store for a custom fit. They filmed my feet while I ran on a treadmill and then recommended about 5 shoes just for me. I got to try each one out on the sidewalk before settling on this pair (New Balance 980). I didn’t pay any more for them than I would have at any other store, so I highly recommend a fitting at your local running store if you’re in the market for a new pair of shoes.
- My iPhone is my music player, my GPS and my workout tracker when I’m out running, so an arm band to hold it is a must. This one gets the job done, but I’m not super impressed. The velcro isn’t 100% effective. I can’t remember the brand of this one but it was the cheapest one last year at a store that rhymes with “small smart.”
- So if you’re going to listen to music on your runs and not annoy everyone in the neighborhood (or park or trail…) where you’re running, you’re going to need a good pair of headphones or ear buds. I bought these particular ones after Voxie chewed another pair of earbuds, but real talk: ear buds are not working out for me. I don’t know if my left ear is deformed or what, but no pair I’ve ever purchased has stayed in that ear. Also, the minute I start getting sweaty (usually around mile 2, depending on temperature), the right one starts jumping ship, and I spend the remainder of my run jamming it back in. So unless your ears and just perfectly shaped and never sweaty, I don’t know that I would recommend ear buds as running accessories. Maybe those over-the-ear ones?
- Not pictured/bonus: My 5 mile run was the only long run I’ve done by myself so far, and for that run I purchased this hydration backpack. It certainly got the job done, and I’m happy I have it, but hydration backpacks add weight, and even when they fit well, they can feel a bit restricting. If I don’t have to run with it, I don’t want to run with it.
Part 2: Training Update.
Here’s what I’ve been up to since my last post about training (numbers, once again, begin where they left off):
- 4.9 miles in 56.52
- 1.6 miles in 18:38
- 16 minutes of interval training (average pace: 10:23)
- 3 miles in 33:53
- 4.5 miles in 55:31
- 19 minutes of interval training (average pace: 10:45)
- 2 miles in 21:41
- 5 miles in 1 hour
- 20 minutes of interval running (average pace: 10:41)
- 3 miles in 31:35
- 5.7 miles in 1 hour 9 minutes
- 20 minutes of interval training (average pace: 9:24. Fastest ever!)
So I’m still love/hating interval running, but I’m really glad I’m doing it because my long runs have been going well and I’m getting faster!
So that’s the scoop on my running this go-around. Runners: any advice regarding ear wear?