Friday, January 26, 2024

Miscellany: Mulliga Runs a Marathon, Part 3 - The Gear

I'm planning some serious training runs this year to prepare for my December marathon, so I'm making upgrades to my old running setup:

Hydration Pack - Hooking water bottles on a waistbelt just doesn't cut it when you're out for a 20-mile run, so I decided to pick up a "hydration pack" (essentially a form-fitting vest with onboard water). Lots of companies make good packs, so you'll have to narrow down your choices with some questions. How far are you running? Are you running on the road or on a trail? Do you prefer using water bottles or a water bladder (or both)? Ultimately, I went with the Nathan VaporAir 3.0 7L - it's lighter than it looks and can hold a full 2L bladder, plus two more soft water flasks in the front shoulder pockets.

GPS-Enabled Fitness Tracker - When I was starting out, I ran all my training runs the same - at a steady pace that was somewhat slower than what I could do in a 5k.  Now though, I am doing all sorts of runs - long distance stuff, speedwork, and everything in between, along with "easy" recovery runs to add time on my feet. To track all that, I use my Apple Watch, but really any GPS smartwatch or wearable would be fine - Garmin has plenty to choose from.

Chafing Protection - For any run over 5 to 6 miles, I watch out for chafing and blisters.  That means wearing synthetic or "technical" shirts and socks, lubing up any high friction areas with a Vaseline stick, and perhaps most importantly, protecting myself from bloody nipples (NipGuards - a very silly name, but they work).

Nutrition - For any run over 10 miles, I like to fuel with some in-run nutrition (you know, what normal people call "food"). There are a host of products out there designed for long-distance runners, most of them pretty artificial and processed, but I am usually so hungry during and after a run that I just don't care. If you don't want to break the bank, you could probably get away with stuff like raisins or gummy bears - anything small, self-contained, and sweet.

Medical/Emergency - I have never run over 13 miles, but the training runs on my plan go way over that distance. That seems like a long time to me, so I plan on taking some basic lightweight first aid and emergency items (cash, etc.), just so I can get myself back home safe.


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