September 16, 2014

Running 101: The Essentials

For the better part of my life I've been a runner in some regard. I was hardly a runner in the traditional sense. I wasn't on the track or cross country team but I played soccer until I was in my 20's. My particular position is oftentimes referred to as the, "one that runs a lot." I've dabbled in 5k's both before and after having a baby and I've never been one to shy away from the treadmill.

Lately, however, I'm finding a lot of joy during my runs and my pace, distance and frequency is slowly climbing. Just this past weekend I put in a five mile run for a personal best distance (post baby). When I mentioned I wasn't a runner in the traditional sense what I really meant to say was - there's no way in hell you'd ever find me out running five miles unless someone was chasing me or I was on the field chasing a ball. I can't explain the sudden change but I'm starting to look forward to my afternoon runs when it's just me and the pavement (although in fairness most of the time it's me, the pavement and my son whom I push in his stroller).

With my new affinity toward running I've found several things that have made my runs more enjoyable. I'm a big believer that the right gear can work wonders and even with something as simple as running, it's no different.

Here are my running essentials:

Running Essentials

Running Shoes - There's no secret here, if you are going to put miles on your shoes you need to make sure that they are up for the challenge. If you do nothing else, invest in a good pair of running shoes. Head to your local running store and get fitted. Let them talk to you about your arches and your pronation and your stride. Small, specialty shops do it best so make sure you carve out 30-60 minutes of your day and have a candid conversation about how many miles you're running and where you track those miles (i.e. trail runs, sideways and other pavement, grass only).

Sports Bra - Ladies, just because you're working out doesn't mean it's time to ignore the obvious. We need to strap those suckers in so they don't knock us out while we run. I'm a lady with some assets - if you catch my drift - and for the past 10+ years I roll with two sports bras. I never wear an underwire when I work out and I'm a big fan of dry fit sport bras if they're available. I've tried several different options for support over the years and I've found that the tired and true traditional sports bra really does the trick.

Running Shorts 
- I never paid much attention to what shorts I wore while running. I have a healthy collection of soccer shorts which I've accumulated over the years and it seemed like the obvious transition that those shorts would work great for running. But why take up a new hobby if you can't get a new outfit? So one day I tried a pair of running shorts. They're shorter, sometimes with small slits on the sides and oftentimes they're a lighter weight. Wow! I was shocked at the difference in my stride when I wasn't trying to pick a wedgie every 50 steps. On occasion I'll still run in my old soccer shorts but I'm telling you there's nothing quite like a good pair of running shorts and most of the time you can snatch a pair for a fairly reasonable price.

Socks - Much like with shoes, I've noticed a huge difference in my performance after investing in some running socks. It's hard to believe that socks can have a big effect on a run but I hardly ever struggle with blisters anymore and I truly believe that they help aid in the blood circulation in my feet. Personally, I prefer Balega socks but I've heard great things about Feetures.

Wanna go the Extra Mile? Grab a...

Dry Fit Top - I love a cotton shirt. I sleep in them almost every night but when I'm running I hate them. They get sweaty and sticky and the air just gets caught trying to make it's way around you creating a parachute effect. If you have the guts and the abs to run in just a sports bra good for you - you will continue to be my motivation. I on the other hand will be wearing a dry fit shirt in some bright color so that motorist can easily see me.

Running Water Bottle - Hydration is the key to success for every sport. You have to treat your body well if you want it to perform and a balanced diet, rest and WATER are absolute essentials. Running water bottles allow you to strap on the hydration, whether it's a belt or a handheld there are awesome accessories.

Tracking Device - If you're getting serious about running you need a way to measure your distance and your pace. There are great GPS, watch-like devices, FitBits or even phone apps. I rock the phone app so that I can simultaneously listen to my music.

Be Blessed,
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  1. I am completely not a runner -- more like an occasional elliptical user in the privacy of my own home -- but I love having my fitbit to track the work out!

  2. I love an elliptical and I've heard great things about fitbits. I bought one for my husband, maybe it's time that I invest in one for myself.

  3. I'm going to go ahead and warn you that a step competition will occur if you do -- which can be good -- but can also result in *someone* running circles around the living room before midnight to beat your daily steps.

  4. Girl I'd be right there with you. I get so much more motivated to stay active when there are other people involved. Here's to running around a living room just so I can sit on the couch with wine later!