Let’s break free from “my story,” for a little bit. I know runners love to hear about other runner’s favorite work out gear, apparel, brands, and for lack of a better word, technical support. I think Nike has the best running apparel, it is not only fun in design and color but it is practical. Their shorts fit great, rain jackets are amazing, and technical t’s are light weight. One of my favorite Nike apparel items is the Nike Pro tights. They fit me just right, eliminate chaffing, and are affordable ($39.99, most running tights are $100+)! Nike Pro is not a running line but the tights work just as good if not better than any “running tights” I have worn in the past. However, I am not crazy about Nike running shoes. They always seem to be a little wide for my foot. I have a skinny, high arched foot (with bunions, yuck)! I don’t like my foot to move around in the toe box and for some reason it does in every pair of Nike’s I have placed on my feet.
My favorite running shoe brand is Saucony. Right now I am running in the Kavaria. I feel like Cinderella every time I try on a pair of Sacony’s, they are the perfect fit for my foot. I especially love the Kinvara because of their bright colors. I was running through an urban part of town a couple of days ago when a girl from the Tarc stop yelled, “I love your pink shoes!” Saucony has come out with a line called Vizio-Pro. It is designed for others around you (meaning cars) to see you no matter what time of day it is. It is a marvelous product with purpose and functionality. Kudos to Saucony! Just recently I have began running with Super Feet inserts (orange) and I love them! They help with plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the bottom of your foot that connects your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis can cause intense heel pain). They last for a long time (800-100 miles) and you can switch them in and out of all your shoes. You have to try these! When purchasing a new shoe, the fit and feel is up to you. If it doesn’t feel right, it won’t run right! Get to know your foot and what works for you. Fleet Feet stores specialize in the fitting process.
In today’s world technical advances has made running a lot easier. I don’t know what I would do without my Garmin 110! She is my best running partner; I refer to her as “Carman.” She is always there for me and never lets me down. We have spent countless miles together. If I was stranded on an island one of the three items I would want with me would be my Garmin. During my run she provides my pace, heart rate, splits, over all time, and distance. When I am finished with my run I plug her into my computer and I receive graphs, a course map, calories burned, reports, elevation, moving pace, average pace, detailed splits, goals, heart rate and much more. I can share my runs with all my friends on Facebook. It is extremely interactive, who needs a coach with my Garmin!? I use to train with the Nike+. It is not an accurate device (it is a lot cheaper than the Garmin). I personally do not recommend the Nike+ to anyone. If you are not ready to invest in a Garmin, just visit mapmyrun.com, track your course and figure your time and pace out from there. You will have an accurate understanding of your training.
My favorite running nutrition company is Cliff. They have one hell of a marketing team. I have always ate Cliff and Luna bars but never tried their Cliff Shots or Blocks until Columbus. When I ran Columbus I registered with the Cliff Pacer, to insure I would qualify for Boston. One week before race day I received a small box in the mail from Cliff. There was a cute post card inside from the President/Founder of Cliff and a pair of shoe laces. In short the letter thanked me for joining the pace group and offered to help get me started by “lacing my shoes up.” What a memorable gift! One week post Columbus I receive another small box from Cliff congratulating me on finishing Columbus and qualifying for Boston. This time they sent me Cliff Blocks and Cliff Shots to kick off my Boston training. I tried both products on my runs last longer than 1 hour. I loved them! They were easy to open, use, and eat. They did not leave a gross taste or feeling in my mouth. They are the best tasting as well. I think the Sport Beans are hard to eat and often get stuff to my teeth; and the Gu’s taste bad and leave a weird film/coating over my mouth. Cliff Shots are by far the best!
I am not a huge fan of Gatorade, it’s loaded with sugar. Gatorade works because it is filled with sodium which makes you feel thirsty thus you continue to drink. It also replenishes your electrolytes (potassium). I prefer to use coconut water along with water on my longer runs. Granted it does not taste as good as Gatorade but he helps just as much if not more. It is loaded with electrolytes and is a natural product. Many races overseas provide coconut water instead of a sport drink. Sometimes I use electrolyte tables (such as Nathan’s or Nuun’s). The only problem with these products is they “bubble/fizz,” causing the water bottles on your fuel belt to leak. It is annoying to have a wet back side during a run. Although aggravating they are worth it on runs lasting 20 miles +. I encourage you to try them all and see what products work best for you.
Some food for thought; within 20 minutes of finishing a run lasting one hour plus drink a protein shake and stretch! For some reason us runners hate taking the time to stretch but it does wonders for recovery. Also consume as much water as possible to flush out all of the toxin within your damaged muscles. Running is a repetitive motion and will break down the muscles. Make sure you restore those muscle post run. I try to ice my knees and ankles as well. I would love to take an ice bath but there is no time with a baby and husband. I just make a few ice packs, sit on the floor and play with my daughter.
I hope my “favorites” help all you runners out! Good luck with finding the products and brands that work well for you. It is a fun process (however, it may take a while; it is trial and error). Happy running!