Archive for the ‘Running Gear’ Category

In my last post I argued why running in blistering heat is good for you!  In the second part I’ll talk about some tips I’m using or plan on using this summer.
They say in running all you need is a pair of shoes.  As I and every runner out there looks at their closet, we all know that’s not true.  Aside from vanity outfits and fancy watches, every drastic season requires its gear.  I think true fall and maybe spring (not that I know what spring is since Boston goes from snow to 95 degrees) are the only times of the year where I can take my sneakers, throw on any capri & shirt and just go running.  Summer; however, just like winter requires some extra thought before I head out.

Hot Weather Essentials – What  I found I need to survive a hot run

1. Water Device – This is a must when it’s really hot.  Some people stash water bottles or rely on water fountains but if it’s 95 degrees out there, you should play it safe and bring your own on you.  They say you should drink at least 8 oz. of water every one to two hours on your run. Usually that means taking a sip here and there every 15-20 minutes for me.  There are tons of options out there!  My choice is a handheld. I like how it’s easy access to water at any moment.  Only annoying part is I have to carry it.

This one on amazon seems pretty similar to mine.  I like to put my iphone in the side pocket and that works for me.  Ultimate Direction Fastdraw 10-Ounce Hand-held Bottle.  Tony on the other hand prefers his fanny pack like this Nathan Speed 2 Waist Pack with Two 10-Ounce Nutrition Flasks one.  I personally find them a little annoying to manage and the bottles bruises up my hips.  Regardless, get one that you find comfortable and you’ll use all the time.   I saw a bunch of them at Marshalls for around the same price as Amazon so check them out there.

2. Electrolyte replacement – I hate to break it to you but no matter what you’re going to sweat and it’s going to be a lot.  With the water bottle above you’ll be able to replace some of the water you sweat out but not electrolytes.  If you’re going outside for just a 30 minutes run I think you should be okay.  Again I’m no doctor or expert but that’s a small rule I follow for myself.  For longer runs I use 1 nuun Active Hydration Drink tab.  I haven’t worked up to 20 milers in the summer yet but I think once I get up to that I might use 2 Nuun tabs by refilling my bottle on the second part of my run.  They sell the single tubes at running expos for about $5 and running stores for like $6 a tube.  My favorite flavor is the pink lemonade followed by the ice tea one.  Some people also mix Gatorade or Powerade with water and take that on their runs.  My stomach wants to punish me badly every time I go near Gatorade so it’s not for me but others enjoy it.  Other suggestions I read was carrying pretzels or some salts packs on you. Play around with different things on your shorter runs until you find some electrolyte balancing method that works for you and use it!

3. Sunblock, Sunblock, Sunblock – Skin cancer is bad mmmkay…. wrinkles are even worse (jk, kinda haha).  Either way for vanity or health wear at least SPF 15 pretty much everywhere. I just ordered Neutrogena Ultra Sheer SPF 45 Twin Pack 3.0 Fl Oz from amazon to bring one bottle to my parents house because they have this theory that sunblock doesn’t expire and use some stuff they brought a decade ago. Speaking of which, sunblock expires!  Don’t buy a Costco bulk unless you plan on using it all up in one season.   While expired sunblock won’t hurt you, it won’t be protecting you either.  If you use coupon code SUN58965 on the amazon link you get an extra 20% off. I wear that stuff on my face too but I guess you can buy face specific sunblock as well… I have to admit though I’m one of those girls that in the winter, I decide that the SPF in my moisturizer and make-up is enough, but in the summer I don’t play that game.  Sunblock! Sunblock!

4. Great Socks – For the most part I can run in any type of sock and don’t have issues unless it’s hot and humid.  Blisters suck! When it’s humid and hot there’s only so much moisture most socks can take.  I know some people bring an extra pair and switch.  I hate carrying things so I try my hardest to avoid that.  I did find a pair by accident and so far a year later it has yet to fail me.  I only have one pair and I only use it on race days and long runs when it’s above 80. I ordered ASICS Women’s Hera Quarter Running Socks on amazon last year and didn’t realize that for $11.99 you only get one pair. However, after the 5 hour nightmare that was the Boston Marathon, I don’t regret it. In the winter I used these Thorlo Unisex Experia CoolMax Mini Crew Sock (I got them at Marshalls for half the price) but I find the thick bottom and top too hot for the summer.  Tony doesn’t have this issue but I guess I just sweat at ton more than the average human.

5. All your other clothes – I have to also confess, I like running in cute silly logos and quote cotton t-shirts and when I go to the gym for just a 5 mile run I still do; however, not for outside.  Instead when running outside in really hot weather, I look for light-colored, loose-fitting wicking running gear. Technical apparel will allow moisture to pass through them to be evaporated, keeping your cooler and your pores unclogged. Back acne will never be sexy. I buy these tech shirts at target in every colour when they become last season and become half the price.  For bottoms as you call tell from my other post, I’ve become quite the fan of searching Marshalls for running skirts (except Fila, don’t get those, they’re funky sizing at Marshalls).

6. Other things that are highly recommended – Sunglasses I hear are comfortable and would probably prevent my eyes from being closed in every racing photo; however, I don’t own a pair and have no advice to give on which ones work.  Hats are good too to cover up your dome. Sometimes, but not as often as I should, I wear this white cap I got somewhere.  It’s something like this ASICS cap  and really helps out on those days where there’s really no shade.  Only advice I can give is make sure it’s white.  I have a black one from the colder days and I can tell you one thing it’s not good for, reflect the sun.

Now that you have your clothes, socks and most importantly water with some electrolytes you’re ready to go outside!

Hot Weather Running Tips

1. Adjust your speed!  The American Running and Fitness Association recommends that on your first run in the heat you should cut your intensity by 65 to 75 percent. Then over the next 10 days, slowly build back to your previous level. I’m not sure what that means but I know my race speed is about 7:35 min mile, my regular run speed on my own is 8:05 and when it’s hot I’ve been running between 8:30-8:45 and feeling the burn.

2. Plan Ahead – Make sure you have a way out if you don’t feel well or have a water stop around or store (bring cash).  Carry a water bottle as I mentioned above and I usually break up my runs into 2 smaller loops vs. 1 giant loop to be closer to home in case I need more water.

3. Don’t forget to drink.  I know this is repetitive but by the time you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

4. Acclimate yourself by working yourself up to long runs as you get used to the heat.  It takes approximately two weeks of consistent running in the heat and humidity to acclimate to warmer conditions. Indications of dehydration include elevated heart rate during and after your run and dark, golden-colored urine. After your run, keep drinking fluids until your urine is clear.  I know I can’t be the only runner out there whose favorite thing to do after a long run is to check out her pee.

Running in extreme weather is risky and while I highly advocate working through this obstacle you should still be careful and be aware of the risks involved.  Marathon Guide has this cool chart that I am borrowing for this post.

Heat Stress Risk with Physical Activity
and/or Prolonged Exposure
90° – 105° Heat cramps or heat exhaustion possible
105° – 130° Heat cramps or heat exhaustion likely Heatstroke possible
130°+ Heatstroke highly likely

Check the Heat Index Chart for apparent temperature. This is the number that calculates the air temperature with the relative humidity to determine what the temperature feels like and if there is a risk of a heat-related illness.

Marathon Guide lists the following SIGNS OF HEAT-RELATED ILLNESS

Causes: Loss of electrolytes and accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.
Conditions: Muscle cramps and/or spasms, heavy sweating, normal body temperature.
Treatment: Drink water and sports drink, slow down, massage affected area.

Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition and loss of electrolytes.
Conditions: Profuse sweating, possible drop in blood pressure (less than 90 systolic, the top number), normal or slightly elevated body temperature, light-headedness, nausea, vomiting, decreased coordination, possible fainting.
Treatment: Rest in a cool place, drink water and sports drink, if BP drops below 90 systolic, call EMS, avoid activity for at least 24 hours, refrain from running or exercising in the heat for at least one week.

This is a medical emergency!
Causes: Intense exercise in a hot, humid condition, older age, dehydration, obesity, wearing heavy clothing, running in the heat when you have an infection or fever, certain drugs such as amphetamines, diuretics, beta blockers, cardiovascular disease, poor acclimatization, high blood pressure.
Conditions: High body temperature (106 or higher), lack of sweating characterized by dry, red skin, altered consciousness.
Treatment: Call EMS! Rest in a cool place, remove clothing to expose skin to air, apply ice packs or cool water to groin, underarms, neck (stop if shivering).

Other things of interest, while researching hot weather running I found this article from Running Times I though some might enjoy – Myths about running in the heat

That’s all the essentials that I can think of that I use, what are yours?  Where do you get them? When I lived in Brooklyn or Somerville, I used to go to stores to buy things but after dating Tony, Amazon prime membership came with him so with free 2-day shipping I’ve become one of those Amazon ordering freaks.

What are your other tips for running in the heat?  Any advice and lessons from the run?

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It’s my favorite holiday!  National Running Day!  I ran today!  After a 10 day break, it felt great to hit the treadmill!  I’ll go more into my doctor/running experience but I wanted to share some sales that are tempting me beyond human levels.

If you’re like me and signed up for races or other email lists I’m sure you’re email is going off the hook with deals.  Some of them are pretty sweet.  Here’s the ones tempting me at the moment.

Rock n Roll $20 off all races  – I think I’m going for the New Orleans Marathon for $75 in Feb.  Southwest flies there so bonus points!  I need to use my miles before they go bankrupt like all the other airlines

US Road Sports  – Only $10 off but their races are a lot cheaper than RnR.  I’m eyeballing the SLC marathon.  It’s around the same time as Boston but I think if I can re-qualify for 2014 I might skip 2013.  I know I want a redemption race from the 2012 failure but I’m not sure when I’ll take it.  Small rant but, I don’t think I actually enjoy Boston compared to all my other races.  In fact aside from the Spartan Race, I think Boston was my least favorite run. Having to take a day off from work and then sit around for 3 hours before running wasn’t too exciting.

City Sports – 20% off, not sure what I’m buying yet but I’m sure I can find a few things I need.

Let me know if you know of any other deals!

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I recently ordered the PRO Compression Baby Blue Argyle Socks.  There was a coupon floating around for $20 dollars off a pair.  So my total cost was $30 (free S&H) which felt like a steal compared to the $50 I paid for my CEP compression socks (review to follow eventually too).

Why compression socks?  Although I don’t usually fall into the runner trends (I don’t even own a Garmin or heart rate monitor and etc.) the potential benefits of the socks have been making me curious.  Plus I’ve always loved thigh-high socks and this baby blue argyle pattern just screamed out to me.

Doctors will often prescribe compression footwear for patients who have poor circulation in their legs and feet. The compression footwear applies squeezing action to the legs and encourages better, faster circulation.  Then someone got the brilliant idea to market this to runners.  Although this hasn’t been confirmed, the theory is that the repetitive movement of the runner’s legs applies outward force to the blood, or pressure towards the ends of the feet. This discourages blood flow back to the heart and lungs, which in turn affects the rate of oxygenated blood carried back to the legs. By squeezing the legs around the ankles and calves, the blood is helped to circulate through the legs and feet more efficiently.

I won’t go further more into what a compression sock is other than when you open up the package they look small and you can’t just jump into them.  You must slowly wiggle your foot in one at a time like your skinny jeans that are two sizes too small.

The Fit & Feel – They feel really comfortable and soft especially compared to the CEP socks.  The best part is that it feels a lot less medical and more like a casual sock I can lounge around as I recover.  My one gripe is that I think they run too big.  I am 5ft and about 110LBS and therefore ordered the XS.  My legs might be chunky but my shoe size is only 6.5.  If I roll the sock all the way up, it hits past my knee and feels very uncomfortable.  I think compared to the CEP sock, the XS in PRO Compression although is fitting on foot is much too long/tall of a sock for us 5ft tall trolls.  This issue is manageable since the material is not completely restrictive but would have been an issue if the socks were as tight as CEP brands are.
Upon ripping the package open with my claws bare hands, I wore them all over town on Boston Marathon weekend and in secret during the week afterwards at work as my legs recovered.

Sorry kids, this family snapshot of me showing my parents my new house and the ‘hood is the only modeling shot I took.  Next review I promise I’ll have more pictures of the product and myself.

Materials & Ease of care– PRO Compression socks are manufactured using a unique blend of high-performance materials including polypropylene and nylon allowing you sweat it up.  As with all quality athletic wear they should be washed in cold water and air-dried or machine on delicate cycle.  I personally wash all my workout clothes in cold delicate cycle and just allow them to air dry.  This allows me to own things forever until looking at them makes me bored and the voice of materialism and consumption awakens in me.  These socks are also made in the USA which is a rare thing in this economy so support your feet and support American manufacturing.

Overall – I don’t know just how ‘compressive’ your compression socks need to be in order for you to reap the benefits but I thought these worked for me.  I liked that they felt lighter and more comfortable than my other pair.  With other compression socks, I can only wear them for 2 hours at a time while with the PRO Compression socks I was able to strut all over town without my circulation starting to feel completely cut off.

I also found that the socks helped with some shin pain I felt after the Boston Marathon.  Although I don’t usually have shin/leg issues (aside from knees) because of the level of walking I did instead of running, my legs felt more shin and feet pain than usual.  I found that wearing the socks helped elevate some of the discomfort while my legs recovered.  Thus I wore them in secret under my pants at work.

I am not getting paid to write this review but all tips (cash and candy) are accepted =).  The coupon code I used was RR20 and here’s the link PRO Compression

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