The 2018 Marine Corps Marathon is now less than 20 weeks away, so it’s officially marathon training season! In the last couple of months we have discussed the importance of finding a crew to train with, as well as mentally preparing yourself for the challenge you’re about to undertake. Whether this is your first marathon or you’ve done many of them, those two aspects cannot be overlooked. Another important part of training for a marathon or half marathon, though, is having the right gear! There are so many options when it comes to gear, and it can be hard to differentiate between the “need to have” versus the “nice to have.” Below are the must-have pieces of gear for summer marathon (or half marathon) training:
This is THE most important item on this list, which is why it’s listed first. Before you start your training, you’ll want to make sure you have the right pair of shoes to run in! If you haven’t been fitted before or haven’t been fitted for awhile, the staff at Pacers can watch you run and help you find a pair of shoes that is both comfortable and best for your particular gait. It’s important not to randomly pick a pair that looks cool or is on sale at DSW – if your shoes don’t fit your gait, you risk injury and no one wants to put themselves at a greater risk of injury. In terms of how long shoes last, the general rule is 300-500 miles, so if you’re not sure when you last replaced your shoes, it’s better to get a new pair. Note that you will likely need 2 pairs of shoes for the next 4 months if you are training for a full marathon, so if you find a pair that works well for you, buy another pair!
Clothes Made with Wicking Material
This is even more important in the hot summer months. 100% cotton clothing absorbs a lot of moisture and holds in heat because it’s staying on your skin instead of evaporating and cooling. (This is why humid weather is so much harder to run in – the moisture stays on us, so our bodies can’t cool down very well) Wearing fabric that wicks away your sweat will help you stay cooler. Look for clothes that are at least 50% polyester. This is for all parts of your body – shirts, tanks, shorts, undergarments, and socks!
Hydration Pack or Handheld Water Bottle
If you’re going out to run anything more than 4-5 miles, you’ll want to bring water with you to stay properly hydrated. If you’re running less than 10 miles, a handheld bottle is usually enough. These are more comfortable to hold than a regular water bottle. If you’re going for a longer run, a hydration pack or belt is useful, as it holds more water, and it will also hold items such as gu.
Body Glide/Anti-Chafing Cream
With warmer temperatures comes shorts and tanks, which means the chance of skin rubbing against itself is increased. Chafing is no fun, so help prevent it with something like Body Glide. Put it anywhere that may rub together – common spots include between the legs, under sports bra straps (ladies), nipples (guys), and armpits. Other brands I like to use are 2Toms Sports Shield and Trail Toes. Vaseline can be used in a pinch, but it contains oil, so it can stain your clothing.
Protect those eyes! Wearing sunglasses not only protects your eyes, but it also reduces squinting, which can take away energy from the rest of your body. I’m a big fan of Goodr’s – they come in a lot of fun colors and are pretty inexpensive compared to other running sunglasses. A hat or a visor is another great way to keep the sun out of your eyes – look for one with a wicking fabric so the heat can effectively evaporate from your head.
Protect that skin! If the sun is out or if there is any chance it will be sunny on your run, make sure you put sunscreen on your exposed skin. Make sure it’s water resistant and won’t sweat off easily. You will likely need to try a few different options to see which is right for you.
As noted at the beginning of this post, there are so many pieces of gear that you could buy, but if you’re on a budget, focus on these six. Other items such as a foam roller for recovery and nutrition for long runs are also essential, but those will be talked about in other posts.
All of these items can be found at your local Pacers Running store, so stop in to stock up and get ready to train!
Tammy Whyte is the owner and head running coach of TW Training and Wellness. She has group training programs for fall marathons and half marathons, which start the week of June 25th. Building an inclusive environment for runners of all levels, as well as incorporating strength into training, are two big components of her training programs. Learn more and sign up at www.twtrainingwellness.com.