Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Essential Gear, Part 1

If you are new to running, you might have some questions about what kind of gear you REALLY need, and what might be nice to have in the long run (pun intended). I want to do a "series" to tell you about the gear that I find helpful and to help you know how to shop!

#1 Running Shoes

Whether you're just getting started or you've been running forever, shoes are the most essential part of any runner's gear (unless you're into the whole barefoot thing, but that's a whole different topic we'll save for later (or never)). I run in Brooks Adrenaline model, which is a support/stability shoe for runners who overpronate.

I suggest that EVERYONE who runs or walks for exercise should go to their local running store and get professionally fitted for shoes (at least the first time you buy). These professionals will watch you run/walk, look at and measure your feet, and check out the wear patterns on your old shoes. All of this information helps them determine whether you need a neutral, motion-control, or stability shoe. They will then pull several different makes/models of shoes that fit your needs and have you try them out. Whichever one feels best to you is the one to go with. If your ideal shoe only comes in hideous colors, try to get over that. Running is not about fashion (for the most part). Once you've purchased your first pair of shoes, you can buy subsequent pairs online, usually for less money than the local store. However, it's always nice to support your local running store (LRS).

#2 - Wicking Socks

Wicking socks are great for preventing blisters. They wick the moisture away from the sole of your foot, keeping your feet cooler and drier than regular cotton gym socks. Some good brands are Balega, Feetures and Thorlos. You can also find Nike socks in packs of 3 for pretty cheap. My favorites are my Balegas, because they are really thin and comfortable.

Check back later for more gear suggestions!

Monday Night Run 1/23/12

Last night we started our run at about 9:30PM. We were only scheduled to do 2 miles, so we set out on our normal route through the neighborhood. The weather was pretty nice, barely any wind (thank goodness!). Can't remember the overall pace, but it was a little faster than 15 min/mi. My legs and feet felt a lot better than they have the past week, which makes me happy. Husband and I had a difficult conversation at the beginning of the run which put my mood in the tank, unfortunately. I have been feeling very stressed lately, so I'm hoping getting in a good long run soon will help with that, but you never know!

Run Stats:
2.04 Total Mileage
29:02 Total Time
14:13 Average Pace

Next scheduled run is 3 miles on Wednesday.

Monday, January 23, 2012

"Long" Run - 1/22/12

So, yesterday was supposed to be a "long run" day. My running partner (aka Husband) and I procrastinated badly, and so ended up doing our long run at about 8PM. We started out with the intention of doing at least 7 miles, but the weather made other plans for us.

We headed out to the local "rail trail", which is a long, paved trail that runs alongside our local commuter train tracks. We parked at one of the train stations (where there were exactly zero other cars), and started off down the trail. The trail is not really lit along the way, so it was pretty dark for the most part. We brought a small flashlight so we could keep an eye out for wildlife (i.e. skunks) that might cause problems for us.

The first mile I was in a horrible mood (because I didn't want to be running). After the 1-mile mark my mood started to lift, and we continued to take advantage of the strong tailwind that had been pushing us. My lower legs and feet were burning (I think I pushed too much during our long run last weekend), so we decided to turn around at the 2-mile mark just so we could be closer to the car if we needed to cut it short.

Miles 3 and 4 were killer. We were facing 20-30mph gusts with constant wind in between, which made it feel at least twice as hard as any other 2 miles we've run in the past. We decided to stop when we got back to the car (at four miles) because the wind was just exhausting. I still need to check my Garmin to see what my average heart rate was... but it didn't feel that high for the most part. It was really just my legs/feet that were holding me back, which is a total 180* from where I was 2 years ago. Yay for cardio endurance!

Run Stats:
3.94 Total Miles
57:02 Total Time
14:29 Average Pace

Tonight we're scheduled to do an easy 2-miler, so check back tomorrow to hear a bit about that!

My first post!

This blog is really just a way for me to journal about my running-related activities. I have been an amateur runner for the past 2 years, and have completed 4 half marathons in that time. I am currently training for a 15k and a half marathon, both of which are in February. After that I'm setting my sights on my first full marathon, the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage, Alaska.

I will be training for Mayor's with Team in Training, which is a part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We fund train for endurance events (anything from half and full marathons to triathlons, century rides, and hiking), raising funds along the way to aid blood cancer research. I am also a fund raising mentor for my team.

Anyway, if you've stumbled upon this blog and have any questions, feel free to leave a comment! :) More posts to come soon.