We’ve done our fair share of running over the last few years (and had a good number of posts about it!), but we hesitate to call ourselves “professional runners.” We like to think of ourselves as everyday people who happen to run a lot.
Because of our amateur status, we’ve picked up a few tips and tricks that have helped us out on our runs without breaking the bank .
One thing we have learned about running is it’s important to find your preferences. Some people may swear by things that you may find doesn’t really work for you (looking at you KT tape), and that’s ok! None of the following items “makes” you a runner, but they’re just a few things that have helped us along the way.
Wearing your wedding ring on a run or at the gym can sometimes be more trouble than it’s worth because of the risk of damaging it or just because it’s uncomfortable. That’s why we have fallen in love with silicone rings.
We were so excited to partner with Groove to test out their silicone rings during the RunDisney Wine and Dine 10k and half marathon and now we are hooked. We were them for our midweek runs, OrangeTheory workouts and races.
For Jessica, her wedding ring and band are on the thinner side, so she was a little apprehensive about the silicone rings. The one she has been using is a little thicker than her ring and band, but it’s very comfortable.
For Tyler it’s the exact opposite problem. His wedding ring is super thick and really gets in the way when working out. By using one of the silicone rings, he’s able to have a tighter-fitting ring that is much more comfortable to wear.
The way Groove makes its rings, they are very breathable which is helpful when you are sweating. They also stay in place really nicely so you feel secure no matter what activity you are doing.
Handheld water bottle
Living in Central Florida, we have become very used to running in the heat. And when you run in the heat, you must have water with you. Early on in our running lives, we picked up a handheld water bottle at a local running store and it’s become a necessity for every race no matter the distance.
The handheld water bottles not only serve as a way to get hydration during the race, but a lot of them come with a zippered pouch attached to them as well, making it an easy place to store car keys, a credit card, ID or cash.
There are different sizes available, so it really depends on your comfort level. Our first bottle was on the smaller side and has worked out well for most races. We upgraded to a larger bottle for longer distances and RunDisney races. While there are plenty of water stops at a RunDisney race, having the larger bottle is great for refills and to give yourself a spritz to cool down.
This is one of those items we heard so many people talk about, but didn’t really take to heart until we found out the hard way why it’s so important. Chafing is not something you want to experience – during or after a race.
Jessica first started using Vaseline and it worked really well, but was a little messy to put on so she upgraded to the Body Glide stick. We were picking up our packets for a local race and saw it in the store and thought why not? Let’s try it. We haven’t looked back since.
The stick looks like deodorant and goes on in a similar fashion. It’s really easy to put on and you should really put it anywhere you think fabric may rub against your skin.
This one is going to sound weird, but before any races we eat an Uncrustable. Yes, those sandwiches which are a staple of an elementary school kid’s diet. We picked this up from a friend of ours a few years ago before a RunDisney race and it has become part of our pre-race ritual.
We are not registered dieticians or sports performance enthusiasts, but for us this has really worked. Maybe it’s the combination of protein in the peanut butter and sugar in the jelly, but we’ve found it gives us enough energy to start our race. Jessica even eats these sometimes before going to OrangeTheory.
We picked this tip up from a local running store when we used to run together after work during the winter. The sun goes down so much earlier and we found ourselves running in darkness a lot. The trail we would go on was pretty well lit, but there were places where it wasn’t. Adding shoe lights not only lets you see what’s ahead of you, but it also lets others see you.
We’ve seen other people wear headlamps, or vests that are lit up – again, whatever you find to be your preference. If you do go with shoe lights, be sure they are secured because if they are not it can get a little annoying as they move up and down with your gait.
If you are going to be running a long distance, compression socks are a must have. Not only do we think they enhance performance by improving blood flow, but they also aid in recovery, which for us and our back to back races during RunDisney challenges is a necessity.
We’ve talked about aZengear, but there are plenty of other options as well. We’ve found the full sock to be more comfortable than calf sleeves, but again, it’s all about your preference.
This is more of a Tyler problem than anything else. Not only can he not seem to work the safety pins and put his bib on straight, he hates poking holes in his shirts. He started using race magnets a couple years ago, converted Jessica to them, and now the both of us haven’t looked back.
The magnets we’ve used have all been super strong and have never come undone during a race. However, be warned, because the magnets are strong they have a chance to wipe out a hotel key/credit card or damage a phone. We keep our magnets in a little baggie and make sure the bag is far away from our wallets and electronics. Check out online stores for some fun magnet designs!
Our favorites are only the tip of the accessory iceberg. Specialty clothing, GU/Jelly Beans and water belts are other bits and pieces we see a lot during our runs. When it comes to accessorizing, we encourage you to head to your local running store and check out what they have for yourself. Much of what we got was just stumbling upon it while browsing for other things or picking up our packets.
But the most important thing to remember when it comes to accessories is just you do you.
Thank you to Groove and aZengear for providing us with some of their products.