The most important part of your run are your shoes. If you need guidance on what shoes to buy, then visit my blog post Lace it Up, Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Foot Type. Last week we talked about running apparel and to accommodate that apparel, you need some essential accessories that will benefit your runs. You don’t need to spend a lot of money when you buy items to run as the most important investment are your running shoes. When you start to get into racing and long distance running, this is when you want to start thinking about the quality of the accessories you are purchasing.
Not all of below items I currently use myself, but I have used them at some point in my running career. However, I do recommend some of these items for people who are starting their running journey as it will help guide them and make their running experience that much comfortable . I don’t recommend any accessories that I haven’t used myself. With that being said, let’s get started.
Watch/Heart Rate Monitor
If you are new to running and starting with a walk/run program, it’s best to have a watch or some type of device to keep track of your time so that you are not over doing it. If you are starting to increase your run distance and need to keep track of your time, then there are so many technological devices on the market now that can provide you with what you need.
Having a heart rate monitor can be a very useful tool when training for a race. It basically tells you how hard your heart is working during your run. If you are new to long distance running regardless of the distance, it’s important not to run too fast too often as you put yourself at risk for a potential injury. Knowing where your heart rate should be is also important as how fast you’re running.
We use a tool called a training heart rate zone and it’s important that you know your numbers and train in your target zone.
So what is your target zone?
A target zone is a heart rate range that helps you maintain an intensity level while you work out. There are different target zones for different types of athletes and levels of exercise you are following. Target zones typically correspond with a specific exercise goal and helps to effectively grade if an exercise is actually working for you or overworking you.
|Age||Max heart rate||min target 60 sec||max target 60 sec||min target 10 sec||max target 10 sec|
Water serves as a very important role in the functioning of the body, and sweating can lead to excessive loss of critical nutrients if not properly replaced. Dehydration can have a large impact on health and exercise performance. The amount of fluid and sweat losses during exercise depends on the intensity of the exercise, environmental conditions, and the type of clothing worn during the exercise. To avoid excessive fluid losses, a person should begin exercising in a well-hydrated state.
Generally, one to two hours prior to strenuous exercise, drink approximately 20 fl oz (500ml) of water to ensure proper hydration at the onset of exercise. Keep the body hydrated during exercise by consuming water every hour.
So how do we carry this water? We use a water bottle. During the hotter months, it’s important to carry a little more water instead of not enough. If you are planning a longer run and don’t have enough water, then map out your course and drop off a water bottle in an out of the way spot so that no one can see it (behind a bush or tree). This will prevent any dehydration that you might experience.
So how do we carry all of this water? Waist bags and pouches come in many shapes and sizes and can be a useful accessory to store anything essential when you are running. From keys to wallets to cell phones, some running belts and pouches can carry it all. Some runners don’t like to carry anything at all when they run so ensure that you try the many varieties to see which works best for you and your needs. If you are going a short distance, then sometimes it’s better to run without carrying extra weight. You will need to determine what works best for you and your training.
Running Arm Wallets
This is become a popular accessory for runners who want to use a device that does everything. From playing music, to tracking your speed, distance, and race route, it’s an accessory that many more runners are purchasing to hold their device.
There are a few precautions when using your digital device. First of all, as a security measure, make sure that you are always aware of your surroundings. If you are running by yourself in a secluded area, make sure that you keep the music volume to a minimum so as you can hear anything or anyone approaching you. If you are racing, some races do not allow you to use music devices and ear buds so ensure that you check with the race organizer to see if you are allowed to use it during the race.
I have suffered from chafing early in my marathon career. It can be extremely painful and slow you down and at worst, stop you from running or racing. It’s a common skin irritation that can cause a burning sensation when your inner thighs are constantly rubbing together. During the heat, sweaty, moist skin can be more susceptible and lead to chafing. Other common areas of the body that you are likely to experience chafing are the armpits, nipples, and groin.
So how do you prevent chafing from happening? Purchase clothing with sweat-wicking material that is designed to wick the sweat away from your body. Clothing that is too lose can also cause problems sometimes when it constantly rubs against your skin so choose clothing that is designed for running. Staying hydrated can also be a preventive measure against dryness and dry skin that can cause chafing. Other options such as petroleum jelly, baby powder or cornstarch applied to the area before you run can help cut down on chafing. I like to use natural products so I’ve recently started using aloe vera and I apply it to my inner thighs when I run outside in the heat. It’s also a good idea if you are carrying a running belt or pouch to take extra lubrication with you just in case you need to re-apply during your run.
I generally always wear sunglasses when I run unless it’s raining. Even on a cloudy day, I like eye protection and any debris that comes off of the road or trail, my eyes are protected from it. If I’m running in the warmer months, I like to run earlier in the morning or later in the evening when the sun is not at it’s hottest and the temperature is cooler. I will sometimes wear a hat (running hat or visor with mesh panels for ventilation) to keep the sun off of my face but now that I run earlier or later in the day , I like to keep the hat off my head to let the heat escape.
Again, try different varieties of eye protection to see what fits your fact when you are running. You don’t want your sun glasses to move around on your fact so fit is very important and you want to be as comfortable as you can when you run to have that overall exhilarating experience. As for head gear, select well ventilated options especially if you are running during the warmer times of the day.
When it comes down to running, being comfortable is really important. The right shoes, clothing and accessories can make all the difference. My best advice to anyone that is running for the first time or is making a comeback to running is to try different products. There are so many different varieties of belts, hats, tracking devices, that it’s hard to find the best one. Do what is best for you and what fits you the best. There is not one product that is better than the other. You make that decision.
I have learned by trial and error that some products even though people swear by them to be the best, don’t work for me. I use to wear a hat all the time when I run but now it doesn’t feel that comfortable to me. However, I do spend most of my time now running on the trails in the spring, summer, and fall months where I don’t require any sun protection. As for running belts, I have had the same running belt for the past 25 years (I can’t seem to part with it) and even though I have tried other lighter weight products, this is what works best for me so I continue to use it.
Eat clean & live green!
Your Compassionate Coach,