Probably the most important part of my running. Well, one might argue that it's the shoes, but the wrong socks can make your running a complete pain in the @ss.
In case you can't tell, these are the socks I received from the Iron Girl gift pact, and I like that they tell you to "do more with grace". These socks are thin with a blend of nylon, coolmax, and lycra. The webinar panel stated that a synthetic blend is great for running, basically anything that isn't entirely cotton and wicks moisture to prevent blisters. It's the friction between the skin and socks, which is also brought on by excess moisture, that leads to blisters.
Personally, I've found that I cannot run in thin socks. In fact, I prefer socks with some cotton and synthetic fabrics so that my feet are more protected and I still get the benefit of moisture-wicking. Currently, I bought some runnings socks from Target that have been great because they're a bit thicker and provide more cushioning, and they're cheap. I was using some bamboo-blend from the Wal-Mart that I really liked, too. I'd like to try out a pair of Injinji socks because the concept sounds great (the concept being that these are toe socks, so each toe is separated from one another, further preventing friction from rubbing together inside a traditional "mitten" sock).
- Blister Treatment
If you decide to deviate from what you know works with disastrous results (*cough*), you're going to need to do something about those blisters. I swear by Spenco 2nd Skin Blister Pads. You remove the cover and simply cover the blister with the hydrocolloid pad, which lasts for up to five days to help the blister disappear without scarring. I sometimes have trouble keeping them on for five days due to taking a shower, small toes, etc., but they really do work.
Yeah, sunscreen is important. Prevents skin cancer, rapid aging, all that stuff. But I'm talking about ways to avoid the sun beaming directly into your eyes, which I found has the unwelcome tendency of seriously draining me of energy during a run. When I don't squint constantly during a run lasting longer than an hour, I save a lot of energy. So. Sunglasses, hats, anything to keep the sun from your eyes. You don't have to spend a lot of money here. These sunglasses I bought from Target from their Ironman line since they were the most snazzy. They offer complete eye cover for me, so when I look down I don't see a line between the end of my lenses and the ground (this annoys me). The edges of the... uh, handles? They have this rubbery grip on it. Basically, they don't move or jostle when I run. They offer 100% UVA protection, which you should look for when you go to purchase a pair of shades.
The interesting part about me and sunglasses is that I refuse to race wearing them. I'm not sure why, it's just that I've never done it and don't care to start. I feel like I can't "see" people when I wear them, so I keep them off. I will, however, race wearing a hat. Like a Colts hat.
Much like socks, you will probably feel better if what you wore wasn't soaked with sweat that clings to your skin. Cotton absorbs moisture, but doesn't release it (like a sponge). I used to run in cotton shirts so I have nothing against it; however, as I bought more running shirts with synthetic fabrics, I feel much more comfortable during my run than before (also because I seem to sweat more than I used to).
Another article of clothing we don't often consider until it's too late is underwear. Yeah. It can bunch up and make for THE MOST uncomfortable run of your life. This is not that big of a deal if you run in a completely secluded area where you don't have to wait until you're out of eyeshot of houses to deal with it, but if you run in a neighborhood or city you're pretty much screwed. I've found that seamless underwear with a synthetic blend to be the most comfortable, and actually, some of the underwear that Victoria's Secret sells has been the most comfortable for me to run in because it just stays in place and doesn't move. It's so thin that it's like a second skin that you don't notice.
Which leads me to a discovery I found on a blog called Rundurance for a brand of Brazilian-inspired underclothing called Vivvos. I haven't tried these at all, so if you click on the Rundurance link it'll take you to a review on her site. What I like about them, besides the fact that they look hot, is that they're a very thin, microfiber underwear designed to stay in place without bunching up. Much like the Victoria's Secret pair I have, the review says they seem smaller than you'd expect, but that's exactly why they stay in place.
You all probably know by now how much I love my Moeben running sleeves. Literally the best discovery I've ever had for my running. They keep you warm in a different way that a long sleeve shirt does, and they are very comfortable. And eye-catching. The offer UV protection and also come in an eco-friendly line. They keep you warm in the cold, and cool in the heat (the fleece-lined sleeves can be dipped in water).
Garmin, regular watch with a stop-watch, anything that can help you gauge your time and pace is very beneficial to your training. Sure, you can go to the extreme with it and find yourself needed to back off, but for the most part it's a good tool to have. I have a Timex Ironman watch that is really good. There are two models, I believe, one (the 50-lap model) that includes more features, such as the ability to store workouts and recall them to figure out your average pace, fastest lap, etc., an interval setting, and a countdown timer as well as three different alarm settings. I have the 30-lap model, and I miss those extra features, but I still get along fine. You obviously have to manually press the lap button yourself (which you don't have to do with a Garmin) and know where the mile splits are, but it fits your wrist nicely. Both models are water resistant and has an "indiglo" light, plus two time zone settings.
As the temperatures warm up, you'll need to pay more attention to hydration during your run. I bought a Amphipod hand held water bottle that carries 22 ounces of liquid. There is also a pouch to stuff some gels into, as well. It took a little bit of time to get used to, and I still don't particularly like running with it because during the end of my run I start fiddling with it because my hand begins to sweat underneath the strap. However, the times I have intentionally left it behind, I end up regretting it. I try to keep the bottle in the freezer for at least an hour before heading out so the stuff stays cooler longer.
That's all I can think of for now, and I'm getting bored. I'd like to know what you guys use, so let me know in the comments!