I am part of a little online running community called Runners’ Lounge. There is also a blog by the same name. Today the blog is doing an experiment called Take It and Run Thursday and the topic is the basics of running. They have invited runners (any runners) to share on our blogs what we think to be the fundamentals of running. As such, I have decided to share a list of items that I feel are essential to beginning the long journey to the marathon. I have shared this before, but in this post, I will include links to everything, as well as a song or two. Now, the things I’m listing are the items/activities that worked for me as a non-runner. Just opinions, not science. And no, I have not been paid by any of these companies (I wish), so this is free advertising for them. These are REAL endorsements.
- As you start on your journey, or in preparation of it, I’d recommend a little light reading, The Nonrunner’s Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training. Besides being helpful, this book is quite entertaining and well written. It does scare you just a bit, but my experience ended up being quite a bit less painful than the author’s, which left me feeling totally satisfied.
- Pick a race that allows you a realistic time line for training. And in order to do that, you need to know what your time line is. For that, I’m a fan of Hal Higdon’s training guides.
- Shoes. This is not somewhere to skimp. Find your local running store. In Utah County, Runner’s Corner is my store of choice. You go, try on shoes, run in them. You’ll discover your footfall and the best shoes for you. And, really, they try to keep the prices as competitive as possible.
- For women who are at all endowed (in running, having a flat chest is definitely a great advantage): A good sports bra. My personal favorite, Champion® Vapor™ Seamless Sports Bra. I love it! No chaffing problems, as there are no seams, and it offers great support.
- A running buddy. Even if you don’t actually run together, you need someone who is counting on you and who is supporting you. For me, it’s the aforementioned Anne. We live on opposite sides of the country, but through my friend and yours, the Internet, we are able to share the joys of running, and keep each other going. And come marathon day for a beginning runner, having a friend to run with makes all the difference in the world. And I would go a step further and recommend trying to find someone who’s at about your pace. It made running the marathon so much more enjoyable.
- The Marathon Machine, as Anne likes to call it, which is known to most people as the iPod nano with the Nike+. Hands down, this was my single, most important non-necessity training tool.
- In order to prevent chaffing Sport Shield. (If you’ve never experienced the chafe before, you will if you don’t take measures to protect yourself). I know people swear by Body Glide, but I found that Sport Shield provides a lot more slip, thereby eliminating chaffing all together. I ran 26.2 miles and the only place I had an issue was under my sports bra on my back…a place I have failed to apply protection.
- Last, but not least (nor essential), a few of my favorite running songs:
Clothes Off – Gym Class Heroes
Find a New Way – Young Love
Glamorous – Fergie
Summer Love – JT
Workout Plan – Kayne West
There are several other things I could list, but I think this is a good place to start. When it comes to apparel, I think it’s so dependent on your body, your style, and your climate that I didn’t want to put anything on here…other than I think Under Armor rocks.
Good luck in your running adventures. If you want to read more about my marathon training, just click here.
***ETA – Based on a comment from Anne, I realized that I forgot about fuel. How could I forget that? Oh…maybe because I’m way behind on my training schedule and I’ve been treadmill training. Anyway, two important things of note with fuel. First, the fuel belt: I love my Nathan Speed 4 belt. I like this better than the Amphipod and the Fuel Belt because of the amount it holds, the pockets, and the bottle holsters. Personal preference. Then there’s the fuel itself. I run with water, not energy drinks (which I thoroughly enjoy after a run, particularly Gatorade…but it’s too sweet during one) and CLIF SHOT ®BLOKS™ chews. I am not a GU fan. I think it’s disgusting (I’ve never actually tried it, but just the thought grosses me out). Fueling is something that takes some time to figure out for your body, so be patient and take it one step at time.