A Few of My Favorite Things…

Good evening!

Today is a scheduled rest day for me – I was actually feeling antsy about it earlier in the day but I am really trying to stick to my training schedule as much as possible, and if a rest day is called for, a rest day I shall take. I felt so good yesterday morning after my 12-miler that I was able to do my high-intensity cross-training class – I felt awesome! And I still feel that bridge/skullcrusher set in my triceps, C!

Since I didn’t work out today I thought I’d focus on some of my favorite running accessories – I see other bloggers do it so why not. 🙂 First off, apparel – must run in my Brooks stability control sneakers. I bought them when I first started running 11 years ago and have been faithful to them ever since, side from a short dalliance with an Adidas stability shoe and a Mizuno one. When I need to replace a pair (for me, that’s twice a year, typically), I just walk into a Fleet Feet and ask for the latest iteration of my sneaker model – it takes two seconds and I walk out of there with cushiony, bouncy sneakers. And always in new colors – my last version was PINK (which I totally loved) and my current one is blue (which is also cute but I do heart pink). The way my training season is going, I’ll be buying a new pair before the big day, probably mid-September before my 20-miler.

Socks – right now I’m alternating among Bombas for my regular workouts, Feetures for short runs, and my go-to Balegas for long runs. My Balega running socks are suuuuper soft and cushiony – like a tiny pillow for my toes! I never get blisters when I wear Balegas on long runs, and they last forever. The Feetures are a new addition to my running clothes drawer; the ones I have actually have a little bit of stability control woven into the fabric. They are thin, so I don’t wear them beyond 5 or 6 miles, but I feel like I’m helping my feet when I wear them. They’re also great for walks. The Bombas are kind of halfway between the thickness of the Feetures and the Balegas – perfect for a regular workout.

Clothes – I am committed to capris (with a drawstring band) in warm weather and full-length running tights in the cold weather. Some of my friends wear shorts when it’s super hot out but I actually don’t mind the capris at all. If it’s that hot, I’ll wear a sleeveless tank (I LOVE the ones from Athleta with the elastic bottom – they totally stay in place, especially during my cross-training workouts when I’m doing burpees and planks and crazy yoga poses – I never have to worry about my shirts getting out of place), and if it’s more temperate I’ll wear a regular t shirt. Always with the dry wick material. Always.

Sports bras – oh good God, I could go on forever on this subject. Anyone who knows me has heard me whine about how well endowed I am – it’s hard enough for me to find normal tops, let alone sports bras that will be supportive and will last. Right now I’m committed to an Enell bra with front hooks – “committed” because I accidentally ordered three on Amazon (long story!), and I will say that they really do hold me in and eliminate most of the bouncing. On the other hand, I need a LOT of Body Glide (next!) so that my chest isn’t totally marked up with chafing after a long run.

Body Glide – something I never used until this year! Looking back, I’m not sure how I trained for the Marine Corps in the middle of the DC summer without it – oh right, I barely ran during that training session! Now I slather it all over my chest and on my left arm (next!) where my iPhone band goes. I think the last run I took without the Body Glide was the Soldier Field 10-Miler over Memorial Day weekend – suffice it to say, I learned my lesson. No more runs sans this product, at least not in hot weather!

Arm Band – it’s funny, I was trying to remember what I did with my phone when I first started running – and then I remembered – I left it in the car and actually held a DiscMan with me when I ran! Amazing how technology has evolved in such a short time, and how products have evolved right along with it. I’m not crazy about the arm band I have now – I really, really liked the one that I used when I had the iPhone 5, but it didn’t fit my 6 so I had to get a new one. This one is…meh. It’s multi-purpose, meaning it can also hold an Android, and I think that might be part of the problem – I may need one actually tailored to the iPhone. The good news is that I can play around with the screen without taking it off; the bad news is that I never feel like it’s appropriately secure – it either feels too loose or too tight. But it’s manageable for now…I may treat myself to a new one before the big day…maybe when I buy my new sneakers!

Bananas and Shot Blocks – I really, really don’t like bananas – I would never choose to eat them. But god bless them for being the one food my little tummy can tolerate first thing in the morning! As of now I won’t run more than 6 miles without eating a banana ahead of time for energy (I used to try to push the distance, but no longer – I have seen the value of the pre-run snack and I am sticking to it!). And after some experimenting last weekend, I’m going to try again to eat 3 Shot Blocks once I’m around 45-50 minutes into the run, and continue the trend. I happened to buy a box of the wild cherry SBs in bulk from Amazon, but I’ve also had the mixed berry and the margarita flavors – all yummy! Some come with extra salt and some (like my current flavor) have extra caffeine – if slurping down gu isn’t your thing, I’d definitely recommend trying these. I also liked when I tried the Jelly Belly sports beans – they’re like jazzed up jelly beans – but I wasn’t coordinated enough to chew them all and run at the same time. 🙂

Foam Roller and Stretching Band – two new purchases that I think will help me stay loose and limber. All I did was Google “foam roller for runners” and I found a bunch of videos and pics to lead me through some sample exercises, and the stretch band I bought actually came with an instruction manual of sample stretches, so I’m hoping I stay diligent and do at least one or the other every night. I also have a yoga mat and have done SOME yoga poses at home – just not enough. But I’m working on it. 🙂

Music – When I do the long run with my group on Saturdays I leave my phone in the car, but when I’m on my own I rely on music to power me through the run. Just a little while ago I was scrolling through the RunHundred.Com website for songs – first I did it by decade (I picked 1990s), then I did it by tempo of the song (130-149 BPM or higher seems to be my sweet spot). I’m picky about my music so typically I’ll download a bunch of songs and run through them once – if they resonate, I’ll keep them, otherwise I’ll delete them from my phone. There’s nothing worse than hearing the start of a song you’re not in the mood for but not being able to slow down and putz around your song list until you find a new one!

Apps – Right now I’m just sticking to RunKeeper and we’re doing well together. I’m still suspicious of the speed it whispers in my ear but I figure it’s just a gauge – if it’s not wholly accurate, whatever. I’m pretty rules-oriented in my real life and I know sometimes I just need to take a break. 🙂  I really do want a fancy schmancy Garmin watch but I’m using that as a weight-loss incentive! 🙂

Belt – last but not least. When I first started running, my coaches beat into us the importance of carrying water with us – it’s funny, I notice that more runners seem to rely on water fountains, but I much prefer having my own. I guess it’d be weird to run a lot and suddenly put on a belt with a full water bottle and try to get accustomed to the feeling, but it’s all I’ve ever known so I’m totally down with it. I still try to get drinks at the fountains and the water stops when I need it, and that way I’ll still have my own supply if needed. There is a tiny zippered pouch on my belt and that’s where I carry my Shot Blocks, Chapstick, and sometimes Kleenex (I put my keys in the zippered pocket of my running capris). It takes a little finessing to get the belt to rest on your waist in a comfortable and secure spot, but once you do, you’re good to go.

And that is all from me! Off to find a few more tunes and then it’s bedtime…early to rise tomorrow for a 6-mile run before work!

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