For anyone who has been around me for any period of time, you know that I LOVE running gear. Be it, hats, sunglasses, shirts, shorts, socks, shoes…I love shoes…hydration items. I love them all!!!! In today’s post we’re going to be talking the items from the head down that are going to get you to the finish line comfortably on race day. We’re doing this a few weeks out with the hopes that if any of these items strike your fancy you’ll try them out a couple of times prior to toeing the line. I’ll talk about some of my favorite pieces and why I can’t live without them
- On Top
- As someone who is a pretty heavy sweater, I try to wear something that is going to keep the sweat out of my eyes, yet function in other ways. One of my favorite pieces of gear is a piece called a Buff…no…it’s not what you’re thinking…it’s a “multi-functional headwear” piece that can be worn as a headband, a scrunchie, a beanie, a neck gaiter, etc. They are PHENOMENAL!!!!! Stop in to see my friends at Active Endeavors to check out their selection. Whether you need just a standard one, wool one or little one for those with small heads, get one…or 20…
- Trucker hats – You will rarely find me without one. With the open mesh on the back, they are perfect for letting out the heat from your head and be able to block the sun
- A new brand to the running sunglasses scene is a really cool company called goodr. With all of their sunglasses offering polarized lenses at $25 (or $35 for the larger versions) how can you go wrong. With names of their shades such as “Iced by Yetis”, “Flamingos on a Booze Cruise”, and “Swedish Meatball Hangover” they come in a lot of fun colors. One thing that most people don’t realize is that if you are running and squinting, you actually are burning valuable calories that could be used as you’re a mile from the finish line and feel like you are being chased by an angry gorilla. The shades are bounce resistant and make you look AMAZING for those mid run selfies. Come in to Fitness Sports to see what I’m talking about.
The next few items are going to be completely my preference and will contain some useful information that you’ll need to find what works best for you
- Shirts/tanks are something that I’ve been experimenting with for many years. I started out wearing just a standard cotton t-shirt and soon learned the errors of my ways. Now that we are entering the cooler months, I will now shift to wearing merino wool tops. Now, I know what you’re thinking…”wool is itchy” or “wool is so hot” or “that’s what grandmas wear”. If you answered any one of those ways, I say to you “nay”. One of my favorite tops is from Smartwool and is SOOOOOOOOOO comfy. The one that I have is a few years old and wears just like it did the day I got it. For those who may be concerned with overheating wearing a wool shirt, look into the science of merino wool. You’ll be amazed at how great the moisture management is. It naturally heats and cools from the same piece. Nature is CRAZY!!!! Thanks little guy
- I love wearing shorts. I won’t hide that fact. For those who know, I’m lucky to work for a company that allows me to show of my beautiful legs all year round if I choose to do so. I am also pretty much an expert in shorts. I will speak to the “bros” reading this as I’ve never worn a ladies pair of shorts….that I know of….but I am a HUGE fan of a new company called rabbit. Based out of California, all of their products are made right here in the great ol’ U.S.of.A and the detail to making clothing that is comfortable and functional is hands down some of the best in the industry. As with goodr, they also have really fun names for their products. I train, primarily, in the “Quadzilla” shorts (which I’ve had for over a year and they look just like new) or the “Daisy Dukes” when I want to show a little more thigh (yes, they are guys shorts). The brief liner is amazing. The pockets can fit a couple of gels or a key. The waistband is really comfy and durable. The patterns and designs are pretty fun. Fitness Sports is the exclusive retailer for rabbit apparel. Stop in today to see what I’m talking about….Oh…and ladies….the females stuff is just as incredible in quality and have far more “cute” options 🙂
- It’s really most important to find a pair of shorts, tights or whatever that you feel comfortable in and that are functional enough to meet your needs. I tend to run with a handheld or waistpack of some sort, so having lots of pockets in my shorts aren’t that big of a deal, but for some you won’t like having to carry around a key or your gels in your hands for 13.1 or 26.2 miles and need those pockets to store things.
- Length of shorts are your own preference. Some dudes don’t feel comfortable in a pair of 3″ inseam shorts. That’s totally fine. I used to only wear basketball shorts and they worked, but as I got more comfortable, the inseam crept up. One of the greatest female ultra runners in the scene right now, Courtney Dauwalter, is out crushing races and beating most of the dudes in a pair of basketball length shorts. Find what you feel the most comfortable with and rock them.
- Socks are another really individual thing. For almost a decade I have spent most of my time in socks from a company called Injinji. Yes…they are toe socks…get over it…it’s not as uncomfortable as you’d think. I love the fit and durability of the socks. I struggled for years with blisters in between my toes because of what my family has defined as my “Franken-toes” and these have helped tremendously. I’m also a huge fan of Smartwool socks because of the reasons from above.
- The thing with socks is, yes, good running socks will cost more but invest in a couple of pairs. Your feet will be so much happier and blister free. Cotton socks are the worst. Find a pair that have a good blend of rayon, nylon, wool or polyester. Buying 500 pairs of “running socks” at Costco for $4 is not the best idea.
- This is a big point of contention among us runners. Minimalist. Maximalist. Supportive. Neutral. Pronator. Supinator. We’ve all of the terms and they make no sense. Trust me…I hear it every day. Here’s what I will tell you about shoes. GET FITTED BY A PROFESSIONAL!!!!!! The internet lies…A LOT!!!!! Stop in to one of the local shops in Des Moines or your area that is primarily a running store. Nothing against the “big guys” but the guy fitting you for shoes was probably claiming to be an expert in golf right before his lunch break. Also, the online retailers aren’t putting the shoes on your feet, telling you about the structure of your arches, aren’t allowing you to take a test run or watching your gait. Intimidated by the shopping experience? Stop in to Fitness Sports any Saturday and ask for Brad. I’ll make sure to take really good care of you
- Just because your friend wears “X” brand, doesn’t mean that you need to as well. I know there is a movie about the “traveling pants” but every person reading this has different feet, ankles, knees, hips, back from their “BFF”. Unless you are an exact identical twin you need to make sure the shoes work for you. I am a HUGE fan of HOKA ONE ONE and know that I could fit most people in one of their models, but know that they may or may not work for everyone. You have to find the shoe that works for you.
- The 13 year old in me hears the word and giggles a little bit, but if you’ve run for long enough, you know that friction happens. When friction happens, if there is no barrier, your post run showers are HORRIBLE!!!!! I’m a huge fan, and sponsored athlete, for a brand called Squirrel’s Nut Butter. Yes…the name is hilarious, but when you put it on before a training run in areas that are prone to chaffing or blisters…trust me…you’ll get past the funny name. I’ve been using SNB for over a year now and have yet to have an issue in common chaffing prone areas. Made of natural ingredients, it is basically magic in a tube…once again…Fitness Sports is an exclusive retailer in Central Iowa
OK…with that… I think we conclude just some things that you can think about. We won’t talk about nutrition…because I could write a whole piece just on that…but hopefully you get some ideas to get you to race day feeling the most confident and comfortable you can as you toe the line and cross that finish line.
Stay Strong, Run Long