Friday, March 21, 2014

Runners Tell All

I haven't gotten into running blogs.  Honestly, from what Megan - who writes the only healthy living blog I read, and that's because she was my friend in real life before either of us blogged and she is just as happy to eat pancakes with me as to go on a run with me - says about running blogs, it might be safer for my sanity if I stay away.

However, I am absolutely not ashamed to admit that Amanda's running posts are my favorite part of The Lady Okie, and I'm also proud to admit that it was through one of those posts that I found out about Sunshine to the Square Inch.  Beka's actually a repat, too, having lived in South Korea for a year, so we have a lot in common!  That's why I'm delighted to be sponsoring and co-hosting Amanda and Beka's monthly running link-up today - I hope you'll join us with your own post!  Plus, you can enter below to win a $30 gift card to Lululemon to match this month's theme:

favorite running products/gear


Whenever people tell me they want to start running but that they don't know how or they tried before and couldn't stick with it or that they have physical issues that make them nervous to run, my first piece of advice is this:

Go to a store that focuses on running, get your gait analyzed, and ask the staff which shoes will be best for you based on your body and how it moves.  Everyone has their own physical quirks, and how all those quirks - your weight, which part of your foot hits the ground first when you step, whether you over- or underpronate, and more - combine to require certain things from a running shoe if you want to be a happy and healthy runner.  Yes, good shoes aren't cheap and you should replace them with a new pair every 300-500 miles, but they are so worth it!

That's why my favorite running gear is my shoes.  I probably wouldn't still be running if I hadn't made getting the right shoes a priority from day one!  Right now, I'm working on a pair of Brooks and I wore Saucony before that.

Through some trial and error, I've found a few other products that help me run and recover:

Most energy drinks are too sweet for me, but I love Nuun tablets to help me rehydrate - the strawberry lemonade flavor is my favorite!

Honey Stinger energy chews power me through long runs - I discovered them at a local running store after almost giving up on gummies and gels and bars because I was grossed out by the texture of options from Gu and Clif, the two most popular brands.

It turns out I like holding my waterbottle in my hand, even if I don't have Charlie's leash in my other hand to balance me out, and I don't like putting anything substantial in the pockets of my tops or crops, so I found a great double-pouch belt that will carry everything else I need for a long run but that doesn't waste space with waterbottle holsters.

Unfortunately, I'm having some knee pain (again) and so another current favorite product is Rock Tape.  Fingers crossed this helps me sort out my patella tracking issues and I won't have any problems on my 10 mile race on April 13!

running gear


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Runners Tell All Linkup Rules

1. You must leave a comment on the person’s blog who linked up directly before you. This is not a linkup for the sake of linking up. This is a linkup to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners! Don't be lame.
2. Only link up posts related to our running prompt. Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog’s homepage, or we will have to delete your link. (Amanda has done it before too, so she's not joking.)
3. Please link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can come here and join in! Or grab the button above - the code is on their blogs - and add it to your post.

 photo 866de425-8336-4c63-9efd-1c4dd8bf0e62_zpsafe0d56b.jpg

53 comments:

  1. Good choices! I love the strawberry lemonade Nuun too! Even if you don't like the Gu texture, you should try Agave #9. It's basically pure chocolate. It's my favorite choice for refueling. But I do like the Honey Stingers too. They're easy to carry with. Body Glide or Skin Sake (my favorite but way more expensive) is a necessity for warmer runs too!

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  2. You are definitely right about having a good pair of running shoes! That is critical :) I love my Nike Structures. I've never tried the belts, but I usually just run with my phone so it's not too much to carry. Maybe I'll give them a shot at some point. Good luck on your upcoming race!

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  3. if I win the giveaway, I'm totally spending that $30 on one of Lululemon's tanks that have pockets IN THE BRA. perfect for holding a phone! haha

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  4. ooooh what is skin sake? (I totally read that as sah-key. Like the Japanese wine. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? yikes.) I have Body Glide, but I've actually never used it - I hate running in shorts and only wear crops, so I think that's helped me avoid some classic chafing :)

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  5. I also totally agree about the shoes. My first pair of Brooks gave me the confidence to keep running and not worry about foot/leg issues (internet medical hypochondria, anyone?!). For anyone just getting started, given the higher cost of good shoes, it might be an idea to embark on a running program near a birthday or festive event - that way you could spend some gift money/vouchers to soften the blow! If you're counting the pennies, that is.

    Good luck for your race on 13th April! I'm also doing a race on that day (10k) - I'll send your knees some positive vibes!

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  6. I am laying on my couch with tight legs from my first run after a loooong time, starting couch to 5k all over again. I know I need to go get shoes, that is on my list to do this weekend!

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  7. I just started wearing Hoka One Ones instead of my beloved Brooks Adrenalines, and oh man, it's like running on pillows. Glorious. They look stupid but I just don't care.

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  8. I've tried the Honey Stinger waffles but didn't know they made chews! That fruit smoothie one sounds super delicious. I've been sticking with Shot Bloks but I've eaten so many on long runs in the past few months that I don't even want to look at them anymore!

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  9. I love your favorite things too!

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  10. I didn't really like the texture of Gus, and a lot of the chews don't work for me because I don't like a lot of fruit flavored stuff. (I'm super picky.) I did have luck with the Jelly Belly sport beans though. I liked that they were really easy to chew up during the run.


    I also want to hug you for talking about getting fitted for shoes. I worked in a shoe store for 6 years, and I heard story after story of all the terrible things people went through because they didn't take the time to find a shoe that truly worked for them - especially people who had pronation issues. I'd rather not require surgery just because I've been wearing the wrong shoes! I get on my soap box about this a lot. :)

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  11. I love your suggestions! How does the Rock Tape work? Could I wrap it around my knee? I want to try those energy chews too...I'm not too enthusiastic about the GU either, but I really haven't tried it, so it may not be fair for me to judge. It' just doesn't seem appealing.


    Thanks for sponsoring this awesome link up!

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  12. Hello! Visiting from The Lady Okie. Loving this link up! I love honey stinger chews as well. So much that I have them auto-delivered by Amazon through the subscribe and save program. I also get the waffles, which I eat before a long run. They seem to be the only thing I can eat that won't weigh down my stomach or cause other issues. Looking forward to reading more!

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  13. I totally agree with the shoes - I have terrible foot problems after a training season where I wore the totally wrong type! Now I buy shoes every new season and have them analyze me each time. Great advice!

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  14. Yes! The waffles are so good!

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  15. This One Italian GirlMarch 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    I've never heard of the Nuun tablets, are they like the energy chews but in liquid form?

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  16. I'm going against the grain to say that I disagree about shoes. As you say, running shoes are expensive, and unfortunately, for many, the chances that they'll be running enough to merit the purchase are low.


    I think before shoes, I would advocate -- PADDED SOCKS. I remember my first run with these, after I'd already been running about a month. It was like running on a cloud. I recently suggested them to my mom, and she too is amazed at the difference. They're cheap, and I think they can be a good intermediate step before investing in special shoes. I didn't buy my special shoes until I was running 13-mile long runs, about 6 months into my training (and actually, I didn't use them for my marathon, as my boring old Asics were still more comfortable to me).


    It's too easy for new runners to read too much from very serious runners about over-pronation, under-pronation, gait, minimal shoes, etc. etc. and get scared off getting out there (as another commenter said -- internet hypochondria). I would suggest most people who are just starting out are not running far enough or long enough to truly encounter these problems, and would be better off getting started than waiting until they've invested the time and $$$s on special shoes.


    Anyway, just a different view. I have another tip I'm going to put in a separate comment, so it doesn't get lost in disagreements over this one. ;)

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  17. Ladies.

    BUY A PROPER SPORTS BRA.

    This should be one of your very first purchases.

    I see so many girls out running who clearly do not have proper support, and it makes me cringe. If you are anything more than a B, your fashion-over-function Target and Lululemon "sports bras" (basically just crop tops with a little elastic around the bottom) are not going to cut it!

    You can do permanent damage to the sensitive tissue, leading to life-long sag. How sad! Also, it hurts, especially when you start running for very long periods of time!

    I spent far more than I thought was sensible for a piece of underwear (around $50) for a proper sports bra early on. It is ugly. It is scary. And I literally can't expand my lungs even close to all the way when I put it on. http://www.boobydoo.co.uk/shock-absorber-run-bra-b5044.html But once you're out there, you forget you have it on, and you experience absolutely no impact discomfort.

    (I also bought two of these, for shorter runs. They are less scary, but still do their job. http://www.movingcomfort.com/Fiona/350003,default,pd.html )

    I can't stress this one enough.

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  18. I think we're going to have some Nuun in an upcoming RTA giveaway! I've never tried it, but I've heard good things. Also, I second the Honey Stinger waffles. Those things are gooood. Hopefully you won't need the tape for long. Thanks again for cohosting and sponsoring!

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  19. haha my sister would agree with you on this one! I do like the one sports bra I bought at Lululemon, but I've found other great ones - from all different brands - on the sale racks at running stores. crucial!

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  20. A lot of the foods designed for workout/recovery taste so artificial to me, so it's good to hear about these tablets. Also, seconded on the shoes. I'm close to wearing out my current pair but I don't really want to switch when I know I have a race coming up! Do you have any suggestions for "transitioning" from one pair to a new pair? Like, can you just switch right away, or should you alternate for awhile? I might be overthinking this as I'm more familiar with the transition to barefoot-style shoes...just wanted to see if you have any tips!

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  21. Internet hypochondria definite exists! And you're almost certainly not going to develop any serious problems from one week of something like Couch 2 5k. But I think you're being a little pessimistic - sure, a lot of people who start running won't keep it up, but they're LESS likely to stick with it if they don't have shoes that will help them. Many people who start running in their 20s and 30s have never been active before in a real way (like I wasn't) and it's all too easy for them (us!) to get discouraged and say "oh, I'm not a runner" when the thing stopping them from being a runner might be as simple as shoes that don't fit right. Getting recommendations from an expert at a running store doesn't mean you're going to be overdiagnosed and it doesn't mean you're going to be overcharged, but it will mean that you're properly prepared to physically invest in running and it might mean that the financial investment encourages your emotional investment :)

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  22. I'm on Team Nuun, too. That stuff is great. They're tablets that you dissolve in water that give just a bit of flavor, but they won't smack you in the face with sugar and fake flavor like other electrolyte drinks. I also swear by not just my shoes, but the Superfeet insoles that I put in them. They're kind of expensive, but for me, totally worth it. I also swear by Body Glide and my iPod shuffle that is older than dirt, but it was free and it still works!

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  23. Ooh! How long have you been using the Hokas? I've been curious about those!

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  24. See Carla's reply above! Picture giant Alkazeltzer tablets that taste like Crystal Light and dissolve in water :) They're chock-full of electrolytes to help you rehydrate! I get headaches after long runs if I don't rehydrate properly and these DEFINITELY help.

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  25. haha Megan gave me internet hypochondria when she sent me to a website that taught me how to put on the tape - I just thought my knees were sore from the old problem, but the website was like YOU MIGHT HAVE A TUMOR. haha!

    and good luck to you too :)

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  26. WOOHOO you go girl! also good SOCKS seem to be a popular suggestion around here :)

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  27. what happened to the colorful shoes I saw you in the other weekend!?

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  28. haha fair enough! like Karen said above, I'm sure most people don't come into a running store with major issues... but your health is worth investing in.

    I'll try the sport beans! I tried one brand - can't remember which - and they tasted really gritty, but I'll try the Jelly Belly ones :)

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  29. YES! here's the video that Megan sent me to for instructions: http://youtu.be/v2xYUxXrjxk I hope it works for you and you feel better!

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  30. you are a wise woman. now that I'm starting to get into my longer runs as I prepare for my June half, maybe I should get auto-deliveries...

    p.s. Charlie, my dog, really likes them too. I wish we hadn't discovered that. oops!

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  31. Yeah, it was interesting to see what had changed when I got my third pair of shoes from when I got my first - I weighed 25 lbs less and had been running consistently for more than a year, so they recommended a different style for me!

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  32. I HATE flavored water and I like Nuun. if that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is! haha

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  33. I an definitely not an expert, but I was told to start working your new shoes in on training runs - switch on alternate runs between the shoes for a few weeks before a race, and then you'll know which you feel more comfortable in! That helped me keep blisters at bay :)

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  34. Those are the Hokas!

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  35. Just a few weeks. Got roped into them by friends who love them. So far, I'm a fan. My legs are less fatigued after a long run (I've only worn them for runs 9 miles and less at this point). It takes a bit of getting used to, but they're comfy!

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  36. haha clearly we have different definitions of "look stupid" because those were awesome.

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  37. As a former shoe salesman, .I have to say that being fitted is a huge deal. You don't necessarily have to I invest in a super expensive shoe just because you were fitted. I have a neutral gait, so it's not as if I have foot issues. The good thing about getting fitted is that I know I have a neutral gait and that I could potentially injure myself if I get a shoe that is meant to correct overpronation.

    "Special" shoes aren't always needed, for sure. Getting fitted will just help you know what kind things to look for or avoid in a shoe to be proactive about preventing future injuries.

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  38. They are cute from the top. Side view... they look funny because they're so bulky. But PILLOWS.

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  39. Sounds good! Now I just have to find a new pair of shoes I like (or buy a third pair of the same kind, which is also a viable option). Thanks Betsy!

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  40. You are completely right about getting good shoes. Getting my gait analysed was the best thing I ever did. I'm quite intrigued by those honey chews and the running pouch, I may have to try these out. Here's hoping they are available in the UK.

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  41. Awesome! I got new Brooks fairly recently, but I'm going to seriously look at the Hokas. I've committed to a couple of marathons (YIKES), and you might have just convinced me to give them a shot in hopes of not killing myself :)

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  42. I 100% agree with you on the shoes, it really does make such a difference. I'm so annoyed that it took me 18 months or so of running to realise this! I never really consider food for when I'm running but I'm starting to think I should look into it so thanks for the suggestions!

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  43. Georgia ChristakisMarch 21, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    Thanks for the giveaway! currently into my mizunos, although I've worn them way past the recommended 500 miles. best of luck on your race :)

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  44. my knees are the worst! that rock tape looks great!

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  45. Haha they're basically what they sound like! They're like little flat mini waffles. They're amazing. My stomach doesn't handle food very well when I'm running but I like them for biking!

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  46. Isn't it amazing how well Rock tape works? I always feel silly when I put it on and then better when wearing it.

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  47. I just got my first official pair of running shoes based on the recs from the guys at our local running store. I'm so excited to start using them!

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  48. Gah! Sorry about the knee pain! Hope it goes away and/or the tape helps out with that for your run! Running and I are frenemies in that if there's anything that interrupts it for any length of time, I can't get back into it or it's really hard to convince myself to get back into it!

    And YES! Avoid running blogs if you can if you're like me and are easily swayed by GEAR! I love me my gadgets and only began to amass MORE when I started reading running blogs and discovered all these things and I was convinced that it would make my running that much more awesome (or at least make me look like a legit runner LOL)

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  49. I have Body Glide but have never used it! AM I NOT LEGIT?!

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  50. I love your list! I haven't tried the honey Stinger yet but I really should. I usually eat the gu gummies. There is no way I could swallow a bunch of gu slime during a race. I'd be pulling over to vomit it back up.

    For your knee have you tried foam rolling? I had sever knee pain and foam rolling really helped me. I still foam roll know. If you want info on let me know and I'll send you what I know.

    What water bottle do you use? I had this one (http://www.amazon.com/Amphipod-Hydrform-Handheld-Thermal-Lite/dp/B005DN52RK) for a long time (it got lost at the pool) but I enjoyed running with it.



    Thanks for the nice introduction and I'm so glad you co-hosted with us!

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  51. Good shoes make all the difference! I switched to a different brand last year and found that they rub the back of my heels, even after a few weeks of breaking them in. Can't be having that! And for knee pain, I find my left knee acts up especially if my left ITB is really tight. So I do follow what Beka suggested in her comment - foam roll daily, until you can't stand it anymore. Really makes a difference! That, and keeping my calves loose. I use to stick to roll them, and it keeps all the knots at bay.

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I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.