Marathon Diaries: My Top Five Training Accessories
The Nike for Women marathon is in three days. Six months ago I made a plea to my three-mile-jogger self that I was going to run my first marathon. I've built up my lactic acid threshold, I've tapered, and, now, here I am, having completed my last training run (a whopping two-miler), ready to take on the whole shebang.
Throughout my training, I wore a variety of apparel–shorts, capris, tank tops, t-shirts–but there were five things that stayed the same on every run: my watch, sunglasses, shoes, water bottle, and nutrition supplements.
Watch: Garmin Forerunner 110, $200
There's something about knowing the exact distance I'd gone that pushed me to go further. This GPS-enabled watch ticks off the miles for you down to two-tenths of a mile. I credit the watch for reinvigoration mid-run: the little beep that signaled I'd gone yet another mile was like a reward for my efforts. It tracked my pace more accurately than, say, a pedometer, and let me upload it all online so I could look back at my runs. The only downfall: the heart rate moniter was too big even when adjusted to its smallest settings. And putting it under a sport's bra band isn't comfortable for 20 long miles.
Sunglasses: Costa Del Mar Isabela, $149
Two parts style, one part tech-y, these sunglasses let me feel a little more feminine out there on the road. And not at the sake of quality. These bad boys are polarized and have grippy rubber in strategic places so they don't slide around when you sweat. Nylon composite frames keep these subtly-oversize shades lightweight and the plastic lens option means you can take these mountain biking too. Also available with glass lenses. Rx-able.
Shoes: Nike LunarEclipse+,$130
The first words out of my mouth after trying these were: “I have to gush about these.” A protruding panel under the forefoot promoted forefoot running (something I hadn't really made an effort to work on), which ultimately made me faster. My speed was also helped by the dense foam around the heel bed–it let me spring right into the next step without wasting time in the back seat. The airflow is breezy, the look is stylish, and I can't wait to run the full 26.2 in these babies.
Water Bottle: CamelBak Insulated Podium ChillJacket Bottle, $20
A lot of people don't like to run with things in their hands. I'm not one of those people. Dog leashes, water pottles, iPods, keys, I can happily jaunt along holding all of the above (not all at once). The insulation in the Podium bottle kept my water fairly cool out on the trail, while the “jacket” held ChapStick, a car key, and a GU (all at once). My ID fit in there, barely, which was a little annoying, but otherwise, the strap kept the bottle glued to my hand without requiring a white-knuckle grip. And, I could even change my grip up if my hand started to get sore.
Because this is only my first marathon, I wasn't that versed in nutrition. Like, I didn't know that I needed an electrolyte supplement in my water or I could get very ill. Or that eating 30 grams of carbs every five or so miles is what your body needs to keep going full-steam ahead. GU's flavors are palateable: mint chocolate, triple berry, vanilla bean. The only ones I couldn't eat without grimacing were the coffee-flavored gels. Nuun hydration tablets kept me from getting super-salty when I was out there for hours. Favorite flavors? Cola and Lemon Lime. I never tried the Banana, though.
What are you favorite training accessories?