Sunday, November 23, 2014

Training for 13.1: What I Like And What I Use

So, during my training for my ninth half, I got a lot of questions about my training and what products I used. So, here we go!

First thing I did was pick a race. I decided on a half marathon and then I decided to do one back home in Manchester, NH so I could visit my family. The Manchester City Marathon was perfect. The race looked tough, but not impossible for me. I convinced/bullied my two cousins to join me as well. It's always nice to share the ups and downs of training with someone.

Second thing I did was get a coach because I wanted to get back to running, and I wanted to be smart about it. I didn't want to go all out and get injured, but I also didn't want to half ass it either. I contacted Lou Ann with Off To Run Personal Training and set up an appointment. We met at Starbucks and discussed my running goals and such and she emailed me a plan. I checked in every week after my long run and she answered all my questions. It was great and it made me stay accountable.

I also decided to relaunch my blog and focus on my training. That helped a lot, especially as my followers grew. Then Mike Lowe of Mike Lowe Media contacted me to be a blogger for the Manchester City Marathon and I enthusiastically agreed. I decided to write two blogs a week and that kept me accountable and on track too.

I have used the Galloway Method for years because I get overwhelmed with running all the time. The walking breaks also help my knees. I've had two right knee surgeries and it can get painful and swell if I'm not careful. Since I started using the Galloway Method, I haven't had too many knee issues. I use my Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver with Heart Rate Monitor  (which is now discontinued) and enter in the intervals I want. When I first started, I set it for 30 to 60 seconds of running and 2 to 3 minutes of walking. I did the Manchester with 3 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. Next time I buy a watch, I hope I can buy one that vibrates my intervals. The beeping can drive me crazy.

Once my mileage was over six miles, I had to add water and fuel to my runs. I really like my Camelbak Rogue 70oz Hydration Pack because I hardly notice it. It doesn't bounce or chafe me. The only negative is that it accentuates my uni-boob.

I have struggled with what to eat during my runs because I get nauseated and cramp from a lot of gels, blocks, etc. I was pretty much ready to give up when I came across Cytomax energy drops, I was amazed. They taste good, they aren't too chewy or sugary and they give me the extra energy I need. They have two flavors Orange and Tangerine (caffeinated) and Tropical Fruit and Pomegranate Berry (non caffeinated).

One new thing I tried on race day (which you really shouldn't do, I took a pretty big risk) was Run Gum. I ordered a box a few weeks before my race and thought I'd try it on my last couple long runs. Well, I totally forgot and decided to try it on race day, luckily it went well. I took the first piece at the start of the race and then another at about mile eight or nine. I definitely felt more energetic and would use it again. The mint flavor wasn't my favorite, but I can get past that. They offer mint and fruit flavor, hopefully I'll like the fruit better.

I thought I had found the perfect running bra in Enell, but no. I won't go into detail, but I was a bloody mess after my race and I am currently searching for a new brand for DD's. The hooks wore down and bent after about ten washings. It isn't a super flattering bra because I'm basically one giant boob, but I was willing to overlook that because of the support. It's a shame it tried to kill me by slowly draining my blood. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

I got new running shoes this season and I love them. Brooks maybe be insanely expensive, but they are the most comfortable shoes I've run in, by far. I bought the Brooks Transcend and I was surprised how little my feet hurt....well, most of the time! I'll probably stick with Brooks for a long time.

I've got big thighs, so running pants/tights are vital because of chafing. I found the perfect pair and bought two pairs. I bought ASICS Women's Legato II Running Tights on Amazon. They are a bit long, but I don't care. They are made of a lightweight compression fabric and they are comfortable. They are currently out of stock at Amazon and I'm freaking out a little bit.

I normally don't care about shirts, but since I've gotten a bit bigger, I get concerned about the shirt riding up over my muffin top and/or stomach. I've found that C9 By Champion Performance Tees are perfect, sometimes I can find them as low as seven bucks at Target.

Compression calf sleeves are something I just started using about the last year or so. I was having a lot of issues with my calves during my (failed) marathon attempt last year and someone had suggested compression socks. Well, I hate the socks. My feet were hot and I'm a girl who is barefoot whenever possible. I found that Zensah had just the sleeves and I was sold. I got black and pink and a lot of times you can get them for 20% off with a code.

One thing I wish I could say was beneficial to me was my foam roller, but that is only because I'm completely uncoordinated. That thing was made by a person who hates people. I have yet to figure it out without looking like a complete jackass. I used The Stick a lot more and it wasn't as evil as the foam roller.

 I ordered about ten new pairs of socks because my Injinji socks crapped out on me for the last time. They were great, but they never lasted longer than a few runs. I bought and tried a few different brands and fell in love with Swiftwick Plus Zero Socks. They didn't give me blisters, stayed up and washed well. Second place was Smartwool Women's PhD Running Ultra Light Micro with ReliaWool.

I still haven't found THE perfect headband that stays on my head, but BondiBand is pretty close. They still slip off my head ever so often, but they do absorb all my sweat and they come in cute designs and colors. I really want to get one that says: "Will Run For Mudslides"!

One headband that worked awesome during my race, because it was freezing, was the Hot Headz Polarex Fleece Ponytail Ear Warmer Headband. I wore a BondiBand underneath it to help with wicking and it worked awesome. It kept me warm and didn't slip. Awesome.

One thing different I did this race was to order a fun sparkly skirt. I went online and found a cute Etsy store called ChaseThisSkirt and ordered a purple one. Jules also ordered one in red. The skirts shipped fast, were good quality, a great price and looked fantastic! 

Body Glide.......c'mon now. This is just common sense. This stuff was made by someone who really loves people. This is just as essential as water or air.

Road ID is essential to stay safe on the roads. It is bracelet that has a code on it that emergency personal can use to obtain your medical info like allergies, medications, insurance info, emergency contacts etc. It can save your life. 

Sometimes during a race I need music, for Manchester I did. Matt bought me the Clip Sport 8GB and it was great. It will play music, podcasts and audiobooks. It is super easy to use and I had no trouble with it during the race.

I read A LOT of books to keep me motivated during training. Not only do I love to read, but I read very fast. I read books by Mo Farah, Alberto Salazar, Brian Baleno, David McGillivray, Dean Karnazes, Jeff Galloway, Kara Goucher, John Bingham, Jenny Hadfield, Mark Remy, Matt Log, Usain Bolt and many others. You can look at some of my favorites in my Favorite Section.
One thing I got involved with that I had never thought of doing before was interact with chats on twitter. My favorites are RunChatBibChat and HealthYourOwnWay and I have really enjoyed it. I've learned a lot and stumbled across some fun blogs and people. It really motivates me to get out there! I really encourage you to join in, it is fun! 

Lastly, I made a motivational board with a white board for my schedule and inspiring quotes. I hung it in the kitchen, so I saw it everyday. It was motivating tracking my progress and having a daily reminder why I was doing all my training.


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