10 Things Every Runner Should Consider
Running is such an easy sport. A pair of shoes, a pair of shorts and a top, whether it is a sports bra or tank top, and you are ready to go. This is one of the many things I tell newcomers as a way to entice them to give it a try. And it is true. With those three things, you can get out the door and start your run. Still, experienced distance runners have their lists – the things that are a must have or at the very least a “would like to have” for every run.
- Glide/Vaseline/Aquaphor/Moleskin – These are just a few of the products runners use to prevent chafing and blistering. You don’t have to suffer the pains that come with friction. Finding the product or combination of products that work for you could mean the difference between improving your running or giving up altogether.
- Sunscreen – I have not always been a sunscreen fiend. My sister used to bug me every other day to wear sunscreen and I couldn’t be convinced. But then I had the privilege of meeting some of the 40-something professional runners who should have used sunscreen long ago and now, I am sold. The long term damage caused by too many hours in the sun is written all over their faces.
- Sunglasses – They don’t just make you look like a super-cool, official sort of runner, they make your run more comfortable. They keep you from wasting energy squinting through your miles and they keep pollen and other pollutants from bothering your eyes while you run.
- Road-ID or other form of ID – It doesn’t matter what you carry but if something happens to you on your run, you want the emergency services to be able to identify you and notify someone you love. The plus about Road-ID over a simple driver’s license is that it is easy to carry and has all of your information in one place – right on your wrist.
- A hat or headband – Hats serve a double purpose. If you aren’t going to wear sunglasses the hat helps to shade your eyes. But it can also act as a headband and keep the sweat from running down into your eyes. Even for the toughest among us, sweat in the eyes is no fun.
- A hankie or tissues – There is nothing like a good run to get the nose running. Tissues do tend to disintegrate but if you can’t find a hankie to tuck into the top of your shorts or sports bra, they are still a far better solution than the snot-rocket or the ol’ “blow it on the inside of your shirt” trick.
- A sports watch/Garmin/Nike+ – There are days we forgo the timing and measuring devices and just enjoy the scenery but it is nice to know how long we have been out or how far we have gone. It gives us a opportunity to track improvement over the course of our training.
- A training log (either physical or digital) – A training log is a great tool. Whether you use a notebook that you keep by the bed or a digital log like Daily Mile, you can track all of the information that is important to you. Not just the time and distance run but how you were feeling, if anything was hurt, whether you are running at altitude. All of these things can help you make improvements to your training plan or pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
- Hydration/fuel and a fuel belt – For short runs these might not be important. But once you start pushing your runs past an hour or an hour and a half and you need to consider your nutrition and hydration needs and how you will go about carrying them.
- Motivation –I put this list together with the help of over forty friends and motivation was on the list of more than half those runners. Almost all of them found their motivation in different ways. I am often motivated to get out for a run because of an audiobook I want to finish. Some are motivated because they have a goal. Some are motivated by a need for some alone time. Whatever it is that motivates you to get out there even on those days when you would rather stay in bed, find it. List it for yourself and pull it out when the need arises.
Runners are pretty easy. We don’t need a lot. We could walk out the door with nothing except what we carry on our backs, but there are days when it is more difficult to start that run than others. For most of us, the things we like to have with us on a run are a security blanket, a ritual of sorts. When we have all of the things we need or like lined up and ready to go, the run is easier, more enjoyable and much more likely to get done in the first place.
Written by Ann Brennan