Aside from training, gear is the most important part of running. Proper gear can make the difference between a successful run or race and an absolutely miserable experience. We are going to start winding down this mini-series today by covering random gear that doesn’t really fit in any other category that we’ve covered. Next week we will conclude Gear for Beginners with gear for recovery gear.
Running in the Dark
Whether you are getting up before sunrise to get your runs in before work, or running in the evening after a long day, eventually you will end up running without daylight, especially in the winter time. Depending on the time of year, most races start either just before or right around sunrise, however night races (like runDisney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon) are growing in popularity. With running in the dark comes reduced visibility. So it is very important that you make yourself visible to those around you, especially if you are running in an area without sidewalks, or near any sort of roads (even if there is a sidewalk). There are several products that can help with that. Reflective tape, reflective belts or vests, and clothing with built in reflective fabric are all simple and effective ways to be seen by vehicles. Another option is LED lights. There are bracelets you can wear that flash as you run, as well as LEDs you can attach to your clothing or tie on your shoe laces, there are also lights that attach to the heel of your shoe like spur.
And if you aren’t running in a well-lit area, you will likely want some sort of light to illuminate your path, because the last thing you want is to injure yourself because you tripped over something you could have avoided if you had seen it. Headlamps are the most common piece of gear for this, however there are other options, such as lamps that attach to your shoes, or to your hydration vest/belt.
Blisters and Chafing
There are lots of ways to help prevent blisters and chafing. Proper fitting running shoes, quality running socks, and moisture wicking clothing all go a long way to help prevent these problems. But sometimes that isn’t enough to completely prevent them. If you find yourself consistently chafing in specific areas, Body Glide is going to be your best option. It comes in a package similar to a stick of deodorant, and you apply it in a similar manor, except instead of under your arms, you apply it to places where you experience consistent chafing. Body Glide also has a formula specifically made for feet to help prevent blisters. A lot of runners also like to use Moleskin to help prevent blisters on their feet. Of course, in a pinch, Band-Aids are also an option, but not a very reliable one on your feet. However, while I don’t have this issue, many of my male running friends say that Band-Aids are the best thing to use for a common issue for male runners: nipple chafing.
Running in the summertime can be brutal, especially if you live in a warmer climate, like Florida, California, or Texas. Even running before sunrise or after sunset you can still find yourself in temperatures in the mid 80s to mid 90s, which can make even the easiest of runs more difficult. I have 2 products that I absolutely love to help keep me cool, both of which I discovered more or less by accident. The first is my cooling towel. runDisney handed them out to the finishers of the Expedition Everest 5k, and for me it was love at first use. I don’t go on a run without one now. I like the Mission Enduracool products (they also have hats and headbands with the same technology if you don’t like running with a towel in your hand or around your neck), but there are lots of brands out there that all do the same thing. The second product is my Mist N Sip water bottle. Even though I absolutely adore my Camelbak water bottle, I managed to forget to bring it with me to my first half marathon. So in a panic at 5 am the morning of the race I stopped at the first 24 hour location I came across: a Walgreens. I grabbed the first squirt bottle I found; it was fortuitous that it happened to be such an awesome water bottle. What makes this water bottle unique is that it has a misting pump. In the middle miles of my half marathon I was so thankful do be able to spray my face with refreshing mist, instead of pouring/squirting water all over my face (which I don’t find pleasant or refreshing)
We covered running apps in a previous installment of this series but what we didn’t discuss was accessories for running with your phone. I just carry my phone in the pocket of my running skirt, and I know other runners who keep their phone in their running belt (especially if they have a larger belt, like a Flip Belt), however those options don’t always work if you listen to music, as headphone wires can get in the way. One solution to this problem is an armband. Depending on your phone model you may have a really easy time or a super difficult time finding an armband that fits your phone. One word of warning: be wary of cheap armbands, as they tend to get moisture built up in the part that holds the phone, which can damage your phone.
Another option is wireless headphones. A lot of runners have issues with headphones either being damaged/corroded by sweat or the ear buds not staying in their ears while running. There are both wired and wireless headphones made specifically for runners. Yurbuds is a popular brand among runners, but Sony and many other companies make “Active” headphones as well.
TMSM is very excited to publish the “Racing Disney” runDisney series by Addie Clark and Tali McPike. Please keep an eye out for more of their amazing and informative articles! If you missed of the articles in this series make sure you check them at www.themainstreetmouse.com/tag/addie/ and www.themainstreetmouse.com/tag/tali/
If you are planning on running in a runDisney event and have questions, or have participated and want to talk about your experiences make sure you visit our runDisney Forum at http://goo.gl/RLB5ka
- Racing Disney: The Importance of Tapering - January 4, 2016
- Racing Disney: Running (But Not Racing) at Walt Disney World - November 30, 2015
- Racing Disney: How Running Changed My Life - November 23, 2015