Don’t make the same mistake that I did. We were working off a pile of grad school debt and avoiding expenses. So, I started marathon training wearing all cotton: socks, shorts, tanks and college-era sport bras (and college was NOT recent for me). It took exactly 2 long runs and a bad case of boob chafe to determine that I needed better gear. Thanks to Dave Ramsey and eating a lot of beans and rice, our debt is now gone; and those running clothes are too! Along the way, I discovered a few items that I wouldn’t do another long run without…
I’ll hit the highlights today. A series of posts on gear will soon follow and will include details on: options, technical names and why each item is needed. So here goes. My list of the minimum running gear needed for marathon training:
#1 – Running Shirt
Discovery: Not the same as a regular work-out shirt. The right running top made the difference between feeling like I was running in a sweat-suit in a sauna and feeling comfortable.
#2 – Anti-Chafing balm
Discovery: That can chafe? It can, and it did…if I ran far enough. Admittedly, I have sensitive skin, so anti-chafing balm is a god-sent for me. Put it on, and goodbye chafe!
Discovery: Nipples can bleed? Yikes! Fortunately, I was forewarned, as was my husband. For me, the running bra alone did the trick. However lots of men and women suffer from chafed nipples. For men (and ladies who want extra security), I highly recommend nipple guards.
#4 – Running bra (Gals)
Discovery: Must be industrial strength. If not, OUCH!
#5 – Running Short
Discovery: The piece of running gear that gave me the most trouble. After three marathons, I finally figured out what worked for me. Voila! No more painful chafed thighs (or walking around like a bowlegged cowboy!). You want to get this one right.
#6 – Running socks
Discovery: Want blisters? Run in regular cotton athletic socks. Want to feel like you’re wearing clouds on your feet? Run in socks for distance running. My mom bought me 3 pairs as stocking stuffers after my first marathon – I was the happiest girl ever!
#7 - Running shoes
Discovery: Brand name didn’t guarantee anything. Neither did what model I last had. Each model felt different from the last (hence I have developed a stockpiling habit when I find a shoe that I like). Comfort (and not fashion) is king!
Discovery: I didn’t know I needed this piece of running gear at all. So let me underscore this one. You must run with fluids – ALWAYS. I hated running with anything extra. In fact, I avoided running with any fluids until I hit about 8 mile runs in Texas summer heat, and then I caved. When I did, I discovered the lovely perks of running with a bottle – extra storage galore!
Discovery: Those little gel packets aren’t just for professional athletes! It turns out that water alone isn’t enough to keep you going on longer runs. Lots of scientific talk about this one. In a nutshell, your body sweats out a ton of fluids and minerals when you run. It also uses up a lot of energy. If you want to have the energy and physical ability to keep going, you have to try to replace what has been lost/used. Gels and energy drinks did the trick for me.