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  • Runners Checklist

    Posted on April 21st, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    I’ve never liked PE classes when I was a kid or teenager, but couple years ago I started running and training for races and have finished several marathons. I enjoy the cleared head after each morning runs, and love the I-can-do-anything feeling when I cross the finish lines with arms raised and Vs into the air. Through runnings, I learned to see distance in different perspective, and appreciate being healthy and active. Also got the opportunity to meet new friends and learned training tips from very good runners. Over time, friends and colleagues started asking me about how to become a runner or a better runner. So I think it will make a very good start for my blog — share my running experiences from the very basic “Runners Checklist”.

    PROPER RUNNING SHOES – The right shoes will help prevent injuries or problems you might have by correctly aligning your body. Everyone runs differently, and you will be surprised how little you know about your feet. Visit your local running store and get yourself fitted and get the correct amount of support for your specific type of training. I usually have two pairs for each training season, and always allow myself  3, 4 weeks to break in a new pair before race. And girls REMEMBER this — choose the right type of shoes instead of the colors you love!

    MOISTURE-MANAGEMENT SOCKS – Remember, no cotton! Cotton soaks up sweat and stays wet. Moisture causes friction, and friction causes blisters. Socks made from moisture-managing fibers, like Coolmax will wick moisture away from your feet and reduce friction. Once you enter longer runs for your marathon training, I recommend Toe Socks which works like gloves to your feet and can prevent friction between toes.

    MOISTURE-MANAGEMENT APPAREL – Whatever you choose: short-sleeve, long-sleeve, tank top, shorts, pants, leggings, etc, just remember that cotton is not nice during exercise. A light weight water proof jacket with mesh lining at the back and underarm will keep you dry and cool, and still allow you to swing your arms during raining seasons. Pocket at the back of a shirt or pants will allow you to carry GU Gel and car keys.

    SPORTS BRA — A must for women, a properly-fitting sports bra is just like a properly-fitting shoe. It needs to have the right amount of support, but even more important, it needs to fit well. Otherwise, it’s not able to do its job correctly. Bleeding nipples is not unusual among guys, and I will cover this later.

    ENERGY/ELECTROLYTE SUPPLEMENTS – Energy and electrolytes are essential for success in training. Gels (i.e. GU Gel, Power Gel , Clif Shot), non gels (i.e.Clif Shot Bloks, Jelly Belly Sport Beans) and sport drinks (i.e.Accelerade ,Gatorade) will help. I usually buy the powder and mix with water — just cheaper that way. If you buy the bottled ones, you might want to mix the sport drinks with water (50/50) to lower the sugar. Just remember that once you start taking it during your run, you need to keep doing it. Otherwise, you can crash. You may increase the intake of salt in your diet before race day. And try the gels or drink during your training to see what works for you, and never never try new supplements beforeor on your race day. You don’t want anything that might upset your stomach.

    HYDRATION BELT – I call it Fuel Belt! Dehydration can cause fatigue, cramping, headaches and stress, just to name a few symptoms. Just remember, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated! I carry 4 bottles of water/sport drink mix with me for every race, even though there will be water stops along the course. Remember water may run out at big event or in hot weather, so be prepared.

    HYDRATION PACK – Trail runners like to carry hydration pack instead of fuel-belt, because it stays on your back and you hardly notice it once you get used to it; it also provides hands-free hydration which I really like. Some runners like that for marathon races as well, so they don’t have to slow down their pace when cruising through aid-stations. Many refer this to CamelBak but doesn’t always mean by this brand; their are many options that you can find at sporting goods store. You want to wear it and test it to see if it fits right, and jog a little to see if it bounces, also check the amount of liquid the pouch will hold.

    REFLECTIVE GEAR – When training at night or early morning, blinking lights or reflective gear (i.e. vests, wristbands) are obviously important. I don’t recommend running on streets, but if you don’t have better running routes and have to run on streets — remember that you should run facing traffic, so you can be seen. Last week an avid runner in VA, Meg Cross Menzie, was hit by a drunk driver about a mile from her home during her morning run, and that sadden all running community worldwide.

    ANTI-FRICTION STICKBody Glide and SportShieldare just a few options you have to help prevent chafing. Apply it to the hot spots of your feet, or where your body parts rubbing: inner thighs, side of your upper torso, inner upper arms…etc. And guys can use this to protect their nipples from rubbing against their shirts. I have experienced rashes at on my back and shoulder in the summer, so I spray TriSlide made for tri-athlete on my back and on my shoulder where the CamelBak and sport bra straps touch my skin. Easy and pain-free!!

    RUNNING WATCH – Having a watch keep time (or distance) for you allows you to set and attain goals. Some watches are capable of keeping multiple timers, called interval timers, just in case you’re doing a run/walk program. I found this very helpful when I first started running. My old and faithful pink Timex has kept me going for seasons and don’t worked well for my first two Half marathons. Once you are more serious about training for longer distance like full Marathon, consider a Garmin, TomTom GPS Watch, which track your distance, pace, elevation, cadence, and heart rate if you purchase with a heart rate monitor. Last few years, there are many good running apps that you can use with your iPhone or Android phone and you can save yourself few hundreds dollars that way if you choose to run with your phone.

    RUNNING SUNGLASSES -Sun protection should always be in mind when training outdoors during the day. Running sunglasses should be light (to minimize bouncing), should have polarized lenses (to minimize glare yet maintain, if not enhance, clarity) and should be vented (to minimize fogging). It always shields you from bugs as well.

    RUNNING CAP – Again, sun protection is very important. A running cap should be made of moisture-managing fibers, so it’s not soaked at the end of your run. When running in rain, a beanie will keep your head warm and prevent your body temperature dropping too fast.

    * updated Jan 2014.


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