While I recently wrote a post about my favorite running gear, there are a few very specific items I not only associate with my Richmond Marathon training, but that I can no longer imagine training without. I’m not going to repeat any items from the last post because boring, but every single item in that post also applies here. Especially Oiselle Roga shorts – I cannot and will not wear anything else. (Thanks Theodora for the post idea)
Dori’s Shiny Training Favorites
CamelBak Arc Quick Grip – CamelBak sent this to me for free to review, and I am really glad they did. I was using a much heavier, less comfortable running water bottle. Before that, I was using one that spilled all over the place. Unless it was really hot or humid, I wouldn’t bother bringing it because it was too annoying. The first time I used the CamelBak Arc Quick Grip I felt so relived that a running water bottle could be so easy. It’s lightweight, is molded to the palm of your hand, is easy to adjust, easy to drink from, doesn’t spill, is easy to clean and has two pockets. One of those pockets fits my iPhone 5 if I choose to bring it.
I now bring it on every single run, no matter what the weather is or how short the run is. I love having easy access to water (or in my case, Ultima. More on that next) and it forces me to stay better hydrated since I want to make use of the thing I am carrying.
Ultima Replenisher, Grape – When the Portland Marathon announced that the official electrolyte drink at the race would be Ultima Replenisher in Grape, I figured I should practice with it. I am SO glad I did because I love this drink! I take it on every single run (even short ones) and I drink it during the day at work or home. It’s been crucial to my hydration strategy this marathon training season.
I would never choose Grape on my own, but I’m glad PDX did it for me because I love the way this tastes. It’s not too sweet and it is really delicious. It also includes actual grape skin as an ingredient. It is sugar- and artificial-sweetener free.
Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves - My motto about compression sleeves is this: “They can’t hurt.”
Whether or not they help is up for debate, but I can tell you that wearing these makes me feel like I’m doing something to keep my injuries at bay. That mental comfort is good enough for me and if they actually DO help physically, even better! These serve an added bonus of keeping my legs warmer since it’s cooler out lately and coming in fun colors and prints, making them a favorite running accessory.
Picky Bars - I used to think I couldn’t eat before a run, now I don’t think I can NOT eat a Picky Bar before one. I’m a member of the Picky Club which comes with some fun swag (if you join, size up on the t-shirt. Mine is too small to ever wear!) and 18 bars a month. My favorite flavor is Smooth Caffeinator. Not only does it contain caffeine (ideal since I don’t drink coffee before a run) it is HAZELNUT.
I have another motto:
“Everything hazelnut flavored is delicious, while actual hazelnuts are just OK.”
These bars further prove my motto true. The hazelnut pieces and chocolate chips are SO GOOD. This is my favorite snack even when I’m not running.
Injinji Compression 2.0 - I hate my feet feeling bound, and standard compression socks are like torture for me. This is why I am so thankful that Injinji (the original toe sock) makes compression socks! Not only can I not run (or Refine or walk my dog or do anything requiring socks) without Injinji socks, their compression socks are a lifesaver for me after long runs.
I have both the first version (pictured above – what other compression socks can you wear with flip flops!) and the brand new Compression 2.0 (pictured below) which improved on the original and comes in fun colors. Ideal for anyone who wants proper toe alignment (so… everyone?).
Birkenstocks - As an injury prone runner with a bunion, I cannot say enough good things about my Birks. I bought myself a pair of Suede Arizona Birkenstocks last year after being diagnosed with my bunion and it was like night and day! These are by far the most comfortable, supportive shoes I have ever worn — more comfortable than any sneakers — and I don’t want to ever wear anything else. Not only can I tell an immediate difference in my bunion pain between these and other shoes, but I can tell the difference in my calves and knees too. Birkenstocks take off so much leg pressure associated with other shoes, and I truly believe they kept my injuries from getting worse throughout this training cycle.
I randomly won a second pair (pictured above, the Cortina Black Gizeh) at the NYRR Fitness Magazine Mind, Body, Spirit Games 4 Mile last year! I got to the race early (what else is new) and had some time to kill, so I waited on line and spun a wheel and won a pair of Birks.
Life is good.
I haven’t found any other shoe that comes close in support and comfort, which is actually frustrating because true Birk weather is over. I stretched it out as long as I could, probably longer than appropriate.
I did get one of their closed shoe styles (the Dundee) which are great with yoga pants and flared or boot cut jeans but not with any straight pants. I hope they make a tall boot.
I also ordered their inserts so EVERY SHOE CAN BE BIRKS. But they don’t work well with every shoe. So instead, some shoes can be Birks.
In an ideal world, I would live in climate where every day is Birk weather and I would work in a job where Birks are appropriate office attire (which is actually true of my current job).
Lululemon Run Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve - This top is way too expensive, but I managed to get all three that I own on sale. And for that, it is so worth it. Very lightweight and breathable with thumbholes, this top is perfect for chilly morning runs. It is on the longer side, which I prefer because it doesn’t ride up and looks more flattering. It’s also super comfortable, soft and not too tight. I have a issues with many long sleeve shirts (and running crops/tights) because my skin is extremely sensitive. Many tight fitting long sleeve tops make me either itch or feel restricted and uncomfortable.
I also wear these as regular shirts — including on my very first nachos date with Andy — and find them to be very flattering in the boobage area. Just FYI. It worked for me. That’s all I’m saying.
Last week’s training
As for my training, last week was the first of three intense weeks before I taper. Because my knee was still hurting from the Portland Marathon, I had a massage on Wednesday and I skipped the 35-40 minute run scheduled for Friday. I almost did that run on Sunday and then realized that would not be the best decision. My knee won’t recover from a 14 mile run without rest. I am not (always) dumb.
Week 15: October 14 – October 20
- Monday – OFF
- Tuesday – 15 min w.u. 12 x 1 min on, 2 mins off 15 min c.d. (6.1 mi)
- Wednesday - 50 mins easy + 4x100m strides (4.41 mi)
- Thursday – Refine Method
- Friday – OFF
- Saturday – 14 miles easy (2:36)
- Sunday – OFF
Total: 28.3 miles
Because I skipped a run and ran extra slowly, my mileage is lower than I’d like so close to race day but it was a solid week of training. That speed workout killed me; I started each ‘off’ with a walk until I could get myself jogging again because I was so spent from each interval. I kept telling myself I could stop at 10 (coach put 10-12 on the plan) but what’s two more brutal minutes? Of course I did it.
Unrelated notes: My husband Andy has a new Twitter account to coincide with taking over Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks. Follow him and enjoy your new twice-daily procrastination tool. My only complaint is it needs more of his face.
Speaking of procrastination tools, I just started a(nother) Tumblr: The Gray List. I haven’t done much with it yet but I intend/hope to. So far, I’m enjoying it as a way to aggregate news stories that would otherwise be scattered across the internet in a much friendlier way than a news reader.
What one item can you not live without while training?