Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Running Gear Essentials

Get Ready for Racing!

I've been thinking about all the crap I use when I run. There's so much of it that I forget to bring/pack/wear something half the time. I've created this handy list so I can refer to it whenever I need to. There's a lot of preparation that goes into training and racing, and this barely scratches the surface.

Normal Everyday Gear - This is the stuff I use every time I go running.

  • Tech Shirt - On warm days I prefer sleeveless shirts. On super hot days I've gone shirtless. I'm fond of Nike products.
  • Tech Shorts - Some of these have built-in liners. They're very light weight and provide a lot of cooling and prevent chafing.
  • Compression Shorts - I wear these under unlined shorts and pants to prevent chafing.
  • Tech Socks - I found some cheap Russel Dry-power socks at Costco that have never caused me an issue. (half the price)
  • Running shoes - I prefer New Balance 857. To me, proper shoes are the absolutely most important gear I wear. Bad shoes cause untold pain and injury, and I believe it's the #1 reason why people quit running.
  • Visor - Keeps the sun and sweat off my face.
  • Sunglasses - Because I'm kewl.
  • MP3 player - Currently on my 4th player...a Creative Zen Plus. It's really tiny but can play videos and receive FM. Unfortunately it's not waterproof. I found that out the hard way. Remember to charge it! Remember to synch it!
  • GPS Pedometer - This gives me time, distance, pace, and I can download details of my run to my computer and analyze with free software. I use the Garmin 305. Remember to charge it!
  • Heart Rate Monitor - I have a separate Polar HRM I use at the gym but my 305 also has one built in. I do all my runs based on heart rate. It's the most accurate measure of effort.
  • Water - I wear a CamelBak 2 liter pack except for races. It's 5lbs full. It really helps on warm days. If you buy one from REI they'll replace it if it ever starts leaking (like mine did).
  • Body Glide - On wet days or high mileage days I apply this liberally to certain areas. For long races I even put it on my feet!
  • Inhaler - Lately with the new dog I've needed this to clear my lungs before I run. It's also good to have for emergencies.
  • Cell/Camera Phone - Once in a while I just need a pickup because some days I just don't have it because I feel sick or I hurt something. The camera is a plus because you never know when you'll want to snap a picture during a run. The "bird on a stick" picture is one I took on a run. Remember to charge it!

Cold Weather Gear - When the temps get into the 50's or below, I need more layers to keep warm. The general rule is to dress like you would standing still at 20+ degrees warmer, but with rain and wind that more of the exception. I try to wear stuff with zippers so I can open it up as I warm up

  • Long Sleeve Tech Shirt - Somewhat heavier than the T shirts but very breathable.
  • Long Pants - Usually with zippers on the side. On really cold days I wear them over regular running shorts.
  • Running Jacket - I like the Wind Stopper type which aren't really for running but whatever. They're expensive but worth it.
  • Rain Jacket - This I'm still working on. I have a very lightweight plastic one but it isn't very repellent. I'm going to get a new one sometime this winter.
  • Gloves - Fleece gloves wore well. I generally take them off after a mile or so.
  • Hat - This just fits over your head. You want one that breathes.
  • Ski Gear - For extreme cold, I have fleece leggings and sweater. I wore these for the Seattle Rainathon last year but they absorbed way to much water. But on dry days they work great.

Gym Workouts - Nothing too exciting here. I generally go to 24 Hour Fitness, but I also now have a membership at the Pro Club.

  • ID Card
  • Lock
  • Towel
  • Sweatband
  • Filled water bottle

Race Day - I've come up with a special race-day routine. I also do most of this routine for my long-run so my body gets accustomed to it and I can make adjustments when needed.
  • Protein Shake - Here's my recipe: Cream, Plain Yogurt, 1/2 banana, 1 egg, Sugar-Free sweetener, Soy Milk, Cocoa. Throw it all in a blender. Ok, there's probably more fat than protein in here but it helps stave off hunger until after the race.
  • Caffeine - A must for any race. I either pull a couple shots into my shake, or lately I've been drinking a Starbucks Sugar Free DoubleShot Espresso.
  • Registration - Some races require don't forget your number and chip!
  • Cash - Sometimes they have stuff for sale at the finish line. Also if I register day-of-race I like to pay in cash.
  • Snack - If the post-race food sucks then make sure you have something. I like the EAS Carb-sense bars.
  • Change of Clothes - I generally wear my race-shirt home (but never during the race) but sometimes they run out.
  • Gels/Beans/Energy - I don't use these except on the longest runs, because once I start eating gels, I get a little burst, but then I crash. I need to keep eating them throughout the rest of the race.
  • Garbage Bag - Don't laugh. If it's rainy out, why get all your tech gear wet when a simple garbage bag will keep you dry? After the race starts and you warm up you can throw it away.

I hope this helps you understand what you'll need over the course of a year to be able to run and to race.

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