Several of you asked about running gear and fuel/nutrition on this entry. It’s actually a harder question to answer than you would imagine. And the reason is two-fold. The first part is easy: Every runner is different. But the second part is something you don’t realize until you’ve been at it awhile: Every RUN is different.
Last year, when training for my first 50K, I kept Uncrustables at my aid stops. I prefer actual food instead of running supplements if I have a choice. Partly because I get hungry, partly because food sits better on my stomach. So, last year that’s all I trained with. But, come race day? I could only stomach one. And this year after 15 miles I didn’t want anymore either. You just never know how you’re going to feel so if you can it’s always good to have options.
But, tomorrow I’ll be on the road doing 20 miles without stopping at my own aid stop. I’m throwing uncrustables out somewhere on the course, but with me I’ll carry Honey Stinger Chews. There’s other variations of the same thing: Gummy Running fuel. And most of my running friend prefer them over Gu-type fuel because of the consistency. They also travel well, obviously I can’t bring Uncrustables with me on a run, they don’t travel well.
If I were to give advice it would be to TRY EVERYTHING. And if you can – have options on your race day. You really don’t need to start thinking fuel until you run longer than an hour, but those hour-long runs are great to test things out on. Take the fuel before that one-hour run so that if it doesn’t sit well, you aren’t looking down the barrel of 15 miles to suffer through.
I have a Garmin. It’s a 110, which was the cheapest when I bought it, but they don’t make it anymore. This whole GPS issue is so non-important to me. I am not a data-runner. But I am rare. Most of my friends and ESPECIALLY my husband obsess over GPS data. But, when I remember my Garmin (which I often forget) I tend to screw up in starting and stopping it. So, obviously? My GPS is not an important part of my run. So, I bought the cheapest GPS I could that would give me pace/distance. That’s all I cared about. So, while I can tell you what I use? Know that I am NOT a good person to consult because I rarely even remember the damn thing.
Cold-weather gear is another issue that is very personal and I highly recommend trying everything and KEEPING TRACK of what works. Last year? I monitored what I wore at what temperature so I could be better prepared to just look at the temperature and know what to wear. This year it’s gone much easier. My legs don’t get too cold so I wear shorts unless it’s below 40. And colder than that? I have running tights. Luckily, in Alabama, it doesn’t stay super-cold all winter.
I also rarely wear a second layer on top. I usually opt for short-sleeves and removable arm warmers/sleeves. Again – unless it’s under 40 I don’t worry about a second layer on my upper body either. The short-sleeves and arm warmers are enough.
But what I will wear even if it’s 50 is an ear wrap and gloves. It turns out, my ears and my hands are my weakest links. If they’re cold? I can’t function. It’s so important I keep backup gloves and ear-wraps in my car so that I won’t be caught unprepared. I’ve even been known to wear gloves with tank-tops.
If it’s raining? I’ll wear a wind-breaker type jacket if it’s bad, and a visor to keep the rain out of my eyes. But truthfully? The rain doesn’t change much for me. I only wear that jacket if it’s pouring.
SO! There’s a breakdown of some of my running tools! I hope I covered it all.