When it comes to running, I’m a huge nerd (well, more of a nerd than usual). I’m the girl that makes spreadsheets. I make spreadsheets with my current training plan, complete with formulas to calculate total mileage and colors that indicate whether I completed the run or not. I make spreadsheets with pacing strategies, calculating splits and paces down to every last mile (also color coded). When Google launched Google Drive, I became even nerdier: all of my spreadsheets are on my Google Drive, and I have the app installed on my iPhone and iPad – you know, so I can have instant access to all of my information at any given time. On my Google Drive, I also have a packing list saved for each race I travel to. The items on my list vary depending on season, location and mode of transportation, but there are some items that remain constant on my list regardless of the race. And so, these are a few of my favorite (running) things…
Who travels to a race and forgets their sneakers? That’s right: this girl. Before my Newton wearing days, I was a Brooks girl. I was driving to the Diva Half Marathon in Long Island, and as we were just entering New York we were talking all about our shoes and….oh SHIT. My sneakers were back in Pennsylvania, right where I left them after my last run. I had to buy new kicks at the expo and break them in on race day (and ran a 6 minute PR). It was fine, but needless to say my sneakers are always the number one item on my list to pack. Most recently, I’m wearing the Newton Energy NRs. They don’t have as drastic of a heel toe differential as my beloved Distance Us, but they have an extra lug on the forefoot to help with my weird supination and don’t put as much pressure on my calves while I’m still recovering from my injury.
Garmin Forerunner 310xt
Of course my Garmin makes it to the top of my list. But the thing is, the 310Xt is absolutely my weapon of choice. It’s a large and clunky model, and I’ve entertained the idea of buying a smaller version. I’m sure there are other watches out there that are better than mine. There are plenty of newer models of Garmins out there, too. This particular model currently retails for $249.99 and is the multisport option, meaning it’s meant to be submerged in water. So come race day, I’m not too worried about a little rain and how it will affect my pricey watch. On top of it all, it’s super easy to use for running and biking. I’m still not that good at using to to calculate a swim, but I only really ever use the swimming feature if I do the occasional triathlon. I heard that there is a recent software update that improved it’s swimming capabilities, but I’m not installing anything until after the fall marathon season. In triathlons, you don’t have to stop and reset anything – you can start timing your next leg (including transitions) as soon as you want. I’ve always liked it and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to venture into the world of GPS enabled watches.
As in, my iPod shuffle. Yes, I run with music. I realize that many die hard runners think it’s lame. I consider myself to be a die hard runner, but I’m down with the music thing. I first started running simply because it was the one type of workout that I could completely just zone out and listen to song after song. Plus, the longer I run, the more music I can listen to. So a full marathon is a great opportunity to load up my shuffle with new albums and take in the surroundings. By the time I finish, I’ve not only covered ground in a new state, but I likely have a few new favorite songs that will always remind me of the event.
It’s no secret that I have a pretty severe Starbucks addiction. I’m fairly certain that my addiction to coffee has grown proportionally with my addiction to running over the years. I always like to have a cup (or two) of coffee before running a race. In the beginning, whatever the hotel stocked in the room was fine. Then, it was all about the Starbucks Via packs. Though they still don’t compare to a real cup of coffee, were better than your average hotel room cup of joe. This evolved into bringing my own coffee filters and ground Starbucks coffee choosing hotels that had mini coffee makers in the room. Since most hotels now have the Kuerig – style machines (but not quite as nice), my most recent evolution in my pre race coffee routine is carting along the ground coffee and a mini french press . I could run the water through the instant machines or use a microwave if necessary to heat the water, and voila. I’m just one step short of hiring my favorite Starbucks baristas from Schoenersville Road along to all of my races.
Though it always makes my list, I often buy it at the race expo. Honestly, as long as it says GU and has caffeine, I’m fine with whatever flavor I have that day. I prefer the GU Roctane – specifically the Chocolate Raspberry – but any of the flavors are great. I’m is not so good with other brands, but I can easily stomach the GU and often think they taste pretty good…during a race, that is. I can’t look at them anymore by the end of a marathon.
I can’t remember running a race where I didn’t eat some sort of nut butter before, but all natural peanut butter is my personal favorite before running. Outside of running, I often prefer cashew or almond butter. All natural peanut butter has less fiber and more protein than the other nut butters, so it’s a better choice for my stomach before running. I put it on bagels, toast, bananas or whatever my pre race meal is at that time. Either way, it’s part of my day and makes my list every single time.
I’m not a snob when it comes to clothes, and I don’t care about brand names…unless it comes to running clothes (okay, or jeans). I can’t remember the last time I ran a marathon and didn’t wear something (or everything) from Lululemon. It’s easily the most comfortable and most practical gear out there. Their bottoms fit perfectly and have storage in all the right places (read: perfect sized butt pocket for GU and a little front pocket to clip my iPod onto). The running tanks are always made of breathable, comfortable material. Oh yeah…and all of their stuff is super cute.
In the event that my lovely Lululemon gear fails me, Vaseline is my backup. I realize that there is that great stuff called “Glide”, but I swear by good old vaseline. It’s always proven to be effective, and it’s never ruined any of my clothing. It’s been around forever, and it works. So it’s one of my staples.
There are so many variables that are out of your control when race day rolls around, but having my stash of my favorite things makes it just a little more manageable and a lot less stressful.