When I first started running as a chubby teenager trying to shed some pounds, I liked how running required the least amount of equipment. After all, running is the most basic of human activities, so you should be able to just lace up some good shoes, take a water bottle with you, and just go.
I continued running off and on in my 20s, and that remained the case. Throughout that decade, how I listened to music along the way evolved; first I clipped an ipod to my waistband, then it got smaller and the shuffle clipped to my shirt, then it got bigger again as my phone became a part of it, and I banded my phone to my arm. Other than that though, equipment never really changed as I would run on average 3-4 miles to keep in shape.
But now that I am training for my first marathon, I am realizing that it requires a lot more gear. Without investing in the following, I would not be able to run more than 10 miles:
A good sports bra.
I have big boobs, so proper support while running has always been an issue. Since they don’t make many sports bras that can really hold my ta-tas securely in place, I used to wear a cotton underwire bra underneath a medium- support sports bra. But after running several miles, that Ian issue. The bra underneath began to rub and dig in painfully underneath my breasts, to the point where it left huge blisters and even rubbed the skin raw. A blister between the boobs is not something anyone should ever experience. It also rubbed painfully deep grooves into my shoulders. I learned the hard way that investing more money into a very supportive sports bra is the only way to go.
I used to think socks were socks, and I just wore plain Hanes white cotton socks while running. Like the boob situation, I had to learn from painful blisters that not all socks are the same.
I use these
and have not had any foot blisters since. I was resistant at first because they’re pretty pricey for socks, but, my tootsies are so happy I did.
When I used to run shorter distances I would either drink water just after a run, strategically hide a water bottle, or carry a bottle with me. None of those work when you’re running 15 miles. For me, the most comfortable device is one of these waist packs.
I like this one with the two bottles; they sit at about where your kidneys are and the curve of the pack and the bottles make them pretty comfortable. I should be upgrading soon to one of the 4 bottle belts, but since my run takes me through state and city beaches, there are water fountains every 1/4 mile, so I usually just refill my bottles during the run. Something about the 4 bottle belt reminds me too much of Duff Man from The Simpsons:
When I realized that you need to consume something during a long run, at first I was like, whaaa? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? But I quickly learned after running more than 10 miles that yes, you need to refuel at some point. For instance, according to my run keeper app, my run yesterday burned 1800+ calories. You need something along the way to keep your potassium and electrolyte levels up. So far I use these
They’re a strip of gummy chews that you can break off and chew very quickly. I like the texture and the flavor of them, but I haven’t tried many other products, so I am open to suggestions. I also bring along with me a packet of iodized salt (you know those little packets you can find at fast food restaurants) for a salt lick, and I add just a little (less than half) of a small bottle of zero-calorie Powerade to my water.
Okay, so I was a little embarrassed at first about buying this. I chalked it up to having fat thighs and hoped that several weeks of training would eliminate my need for this. It doesn’t work that way. Everyone, even skinny people, chafe from running long distances. Sweaty skin rubbing against sweaty skin = chafing, and it doesn’t mean you’re fat if you experience it.
A flashlight headband
Does it look dorky? Yes. But is it a good idea? Absolutely. Running on streets during the day is dangerous enough as it is, but at night, you’re just asking to get hit by a car or to trip on uneven road. Safety first, yo.
I am learning so much as I go about what it takes to make it to 26.2 miles. Are there other products that I should know about? Has anything worked well for you?