Whatever sport you’re into, there are always accessories that can make the experience better. My husband’s pretty into surfing for example (been hard here in Dallas), and I remember him always wanting to check out accessories for his surfboard ranging from high to low end. The same goes for any sport including running. I try not to get into the accessories of running because it’s such a simple sport, I’m not sure I need them. Since I’ve been doing long distance running though, I think they can be important in insuring a comfortable run and recovery.
Here are some of the products I use during my runs or after.
Polar Heart Rate Monitor
I just got this Polar Heart Rate Monitor for Christmas and I use it all the time. I’ve never used a heart rate monitor before when racing but I find it really helpful. I’ve relied so much on my Nike Plus program (which I still really like) but I like the heart rate monitor because I think it’s more accurate. It measures my heart rate (obviously), records time, and calculates calories. It has definitely pointed out that my Nike Plus over exaggerates the calories I burn which is a damn shame :). The only thing it doesn’t do is calculate pace and distance, but with the time I can figure that out.
I know the Garmin’s are the gold standard of heart rate monitors. I’ve heard really good things about them, they’re just a little pricey. Maybe one day when I’m super rich and am looking for things to spend money on I’ll buy one! Until then, the Polar will do just fine! One complaint I have for the Polar (and it might not even be its’ fault), is that the band you wear around your chest rubs me so bad it made me bleed after a run! So, that’s not good hah. Hopefully, after this marathon I won’t look like someone stabbed me in the chest during the run. I’ve been rubbing anti-chaffing stuff on the area and I think that helps a little. It might just be my sensitive skin..who knows.
Body Glide Anti-Chaffing Stick
Speaking of chaffing…BodyGlide Anti-Chafing Stick ! I’ve never actually had a problem with chaffing to be honest. Only in humid weather do I notice it. I usually just roll it on my inner thighs (sexy huh?) and on the inside of my arms under my biceps. It’s something I forget to use but definitely need to in Eugene. I hear it rains there sometimes? So, I’m counting on humidity!
Chaffing is obviously super uncomfortable especially after a couple hours, so it’s important for long runs or races.
Mmmm Gu. This might sound kind of gross, but they taste really good! During these ridiculously long runs, you need some sort of fuel to keep going. Some people eat jelly beans, some eat energy balls, some eat gels. I chose gels, in particular, Gu. I like Gu because it’s not loaded with sugar and they taste really good. Chocolate Outrage literally tastes like brownie mix. I love it! I’ve tried the espresso flavor, vanilla bean, and chocolate mint too and they are all good! Gu has a little caffeine in it too which always helps when you’ve been running for 3 hours. So, I love Gu. I usually just buy a box of them on Amazon.
Lululemon Head Band
When I run, my hair gets out of control. It drives me crazy! I’ve tried other head bands but they always end up riding up my head and coming off. So, usually I don’t wear one, I just deal with the hair sticking to my face. I just picked up a head band though at Lululemon and it has elastic on the inside which helps keep it from riding up. I have really fine hair so I think that’s my problem. But I’ve ran a couple times with this headband (20 miler) and it stayed on! So, I’m hooked! If you have trouble with headbands staying on, give this one a try.
My IPod and IPod Case
Some people don’t like listening to music when they run. They like their alone time with their thoughts…I am not like that. I love music and find it really motivating especially when I’m feeling tired and run down. Actually, I ran the Chicago Marathon (the first time) without music. They had a rule that you couldn’t use Ipods, MP3 players, etc. while running and I was so scared of getting disqualified I followed the rules! Well, apparently I was the only one. Everyone had their Ipods and I’m assuming none of them were disqualified. It actually wasn’t that bad without the music mainly because the crowds were so great. But, I still think music helps me so I’ll definitely be bringing it to Eugene.
I just had to show you guys my Ipod case. It is looking rough these days. Pieces of it come off during my runs and it’s now a nice brownish/gray color…used to be white. The front of it is ripping too…maybe it’s time for a new one?
Zoot Compression Socks
As you know, I recently starting using these. I try to wear them after every run, if not, at least the long runs. Honestly, I’m still not sure if they make a difference or not. They may have helped my calves recover from long runs, but who knows. I was really hoping they’d help my feet but I don’t think they have.
I’ll continue to wear them after runs, but I’m not sure I’d recommend running out and buying a pair especially because they aren’t cheap. They do feel good though especially after long runs. I try to wear them to bed but get a little too hot for that!
I have to say, I hate running with belts. To me, they’re just added weight and a pain in the butt. I wear them though because I can store my gels in the pockets as well as my phone (yes, I bring my phone…ya know, in case I need to make a call. Just kidding, to find people after!). In the past few races, I wasn’t necessarily going for a certain time so I also used my phone to take pictures since it’s a pretty cool experience. This time around, probably no time for pictures!
Anyway, after every race I’ve worn the belt in I always have bruises around my waist from it bouncing up and down. I also found that I didn’t even use the water and gatorade I brought along with me on my first race. There were so many water and gatorade stations, I didn’t really need mine. Maybe this time around I’ll wear the belt without the liquids, just the gels, phone, chapstick and anything else I might need.
It’s a good belt though, it lets you hook 4 wattle bottles onto it and has 2 pouches for everything else.
Those are just a few of the goodies I use during and after runs! Do you have any “go to” items for your runs or workouts?
In other news, happy Boston Marathon day! The race is over and those elite runner’s blew those world records away! I have to say, watching the marathon coverage has really motivated me. I’m actually feeling really excited for this race coming up. Obviously, I’ll be bummed if I don’t qualify for Boston, but regardless this race will be a lot of fun. Congrats to all you Boston finishers! You are all inspiring and amazing athletes!