More things I know or think I know about running

I had to take a breather from yesterday’s post. I mean, you want to spend your day reading about running or actually have time to go out and do it? So here I am today with more “Things a person that doesn’t know much officially has learned about running”: 

Water

I used to think the rule was: don’t get dehydrated. But then you hear about water intoxication (rare, but something to be aware of I guess.) And Jeff always tells me not to rely too much on water breaks – I use it as a crutch. When I ran the Bridge Run with Jenny last year she told me she rarely stopped at the water stops on a 10K. What? I thought but I listened to her and it wasn’t bad. My New York twin Justin (he’s a graphic designer and a runner) turned me on to Amphipod brand where I purchased a water belt and took his advice: Always wear it on trail runs and runs more than an hour. When I saw the tiny 8 oz bottles I thought, “That will last me 10 minutes!” and it did the first time but in my defense most of it went to the doberman. Since then I have used it without the dog and it seems to be just the right amount of water to get me through a good long run.

And of course, like everything else, there are directions regarding how much water to drink before, during, and after your workout. I first read them in “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Total Nutrition” (excellent book, by the way!) but here’s a site that spells it out as well. So, Heather, I don’t know if I’ve answered your question but here’s what I do/have learned: 3 cups long before the run, 1-2 cups right before the run (make sure you pee before you hit the pavement!), then drink half a cup to a cup and a half every 15-30 minutes during. The water belt is a good way to cover that.  Then drink 1-2 cups for every pound lost during the run (because you lost water weight.) Now I don’t know anyone who actually weighs themselves right before and after a run, so my thought is to just “drink until you’re not thirsty but make sure you have more than 8 cups of water a day.”

GU/electrolytes/energy/sugar?

This is where I could use some help. This much I know: GU and other energy supplements should be taken 40 minutes into a run/workout. I know they’re somewhere around the neighborhood of 100 calories, and I know they’re full of sugar. So not the best for nutrition but good for performance? I am asking here. I’ve only taken it a few times, at one race and a couple other times just to test it out on a long run. The last thing I want to do is counteract my run by injesting sugar all along the way but if it’s actually “good” for you then I want to know that too. Kevin recommends Hammer Nutrition over GU; does it do the same thing or is it something else entirely? Someone also talk to me about post-sports drinks; should I protein shake before or after a workout? Does it matter? Sorry for the lack of knowledge here. 🙂

What to wear

Clearly, comfort is key. And I’m sure you’ve heard of moisture-wicking clothes that keep the sweat away from you. There are also SPF clothes and odor-reducing clothes and all kinds of other things out there. I fell in love with the running skirt last summer and I have 3 of them which I happily wear, despite reading a comment in Runner’s World from someone that said, “If I see someone in a skirt I’m going to chase her down. No one in a running skirt is going to beat me!” Fair enough. I’ll be your motivation then.

I can wear running shorts but they tend to ride up between my legs, and then I discovered BodyGlide (mistakenly called Astroglide by my sister the first time she told it to me, which caused both of us to crack up laughing, especially since she said it loudly in the grocery store.) Body Glide comes in a tube that looks like deodorant. It kind of resembles Vasoline but not nearly as gooey. It goes on wherever you want to prevent chafing or rashes or any other weird thing. They’ve got special ones for blisters and one that’s a sunblock. I just use it on my inner thighs when I wear shorts; otherwise they ride up and it hurts. I hear a lot of men use it for their nipples; women don’t seem to have that problem (sports bras?).

Of course, good shoes are key. Go to a running specialty store; my favorite is TrySports. They will tell you everything you need to know about what shoes you need. The last time I was fitted I got these special insoles to help with my overpronation (turning my ankles when I run.) The shoe expert at TrySports told me: “I would feel comfortable if you get them so I know you won’t get injured.”  That seemed pretty important and I’m so glad I went where I did. They also have these awesome shoelaces called Yanks which save you seconds every day that would have been wasted tying your shoes. Will change your life! Ok, not really. But they are fun.

That said, here are the things I will not run without:

– My Mizunos. Fitted for me at TrySports, it’s my second pair and I absolutely love them.
– My Garmin Forerunner 405. I just bought it two days ago and already I can’t live without it.
– My running skirts. C’mon, they’re cute! And really, they don’t ride up like shorts do. That said, I like shorts too – but must have the BodyGlide if I’m going to wear them.
– My music. This might be changing – Kevin convinced me to try running 6.2 miles the other day with no tunes, and it was actually a positive experience. Two days ago I listened to a podcast of talking instead of music. But for now, I’m at least bringing my iPod along just in case I need a good beat to get me home.
– My iPhone. I don’t really need it anymore for runs, since I can use my Garmin for GPS and my Shuffle for music. But on long runs where I take my running belt and I have the extra pocket, I like the security of having the phone with me in case of an emergency.

Knowledge is power. Goals are power too.

Justin asked me recently what my running goals were. “Uhm, to not get fat?” was my first thought. And it’s still my main goal. But I also want to do some other things, crazy things, things that a year ago or even a few months ago I would have laughed at.

I am putting my running goals here because once I publish them that means I can’t take them back. So, here goes: My running goals for 2009:

1. To run a half-marathon. I was thinking of doing one in April and I whimped out because I hurt my knee a few weeks before and I knew I would have a crappy time. I really want to do the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in September. They have something like 20 bands and 17 cheerleading squads all along the flat race course which is along the beach. Amazing! All in the details, too: The race T-shirts are moisture-wicking, not cotton. Awesome! Why doesn’t every race do that? I’d pay extra for that for sure.

2. Run a marathon. Ok, that’s partially depending on how things go in September. But Kevin asked me if I’d consider Thunder Road in Charlotte in December. No way, I said. Well, but it would be cool to get that 26.2 sticker for my car … I don’t expect to have great time. But I don’t want to have embarassing time either. That’s all I ask.

3. Crosstraining. I really, really, really want to get a bike. I just don’t want to pay for it. So if I have the money I will get one. That’s that. And no, I won’t be doing triathalons. I know enough about swimming to not drown. I do not know how to do it quickly or gracefully. I do want to start going to cycle classes again – I love those classes but I hate going alone. Any Peak Fitness members want to join me? (Or Sports & Fitness, as my gym randomly changed its name to a few weeks ago).