Happy Tuesday! Today I bring you a post from the lovely Brandi who blogs over at Java & Sole. As you can probably tell from the name of her blog, Brandi is a big fan of coffee and running (girl after my own heart!) and is here to share the best products for a long run. You’re up, Brandi!
Hello new friends! I am so thrilled to be guest posting for Nicole today as she enjoys some much deserved time unplugged. I love all things pertaining to fall, football and most importantly, my family. And I love to run. I run because it’s (sometimes, depending on the race) cheaper than therapy but mostly because it means I get to start my day with some of my best friends.
Many of us met through a half marathon training program nearly 5 years ago and have been running together ever since. Though our little Runner Girl group has grown significantly in that time, our unwavering dedication to coffee time after every run remains the same 🙂
Since fall weather is my favorite, it should come as no surprise that fall races are an absolute must on my calendar. It’s a ridiculously busy time for most of us, right? Between our kids’ sports schedules and extracurriculars, an extended two-week Fall Break (thanks to a balanced school calendar) and general fall fun like picking apples and pumpkins at the orchard, cheering on our beloved football teams and enjoying the last beautiful days outside before the bitter Midwest winter rolls in, it can actually be quite challenging to squeeze in a few races while the leaves are changing color.
Dressing for those fall races and long runs can be tricky as the temperature varies so much hour-by-hour and the humidity (or lack thereof) could be your best friend or your worst nightmare.
Last weekend marked our longest training run in preparation for the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon: a 15 miler that I started dreading the day I put it in our training plan. Yes, I know a half marathon is only 13.1 miles but so much of running is an internal battle between your head and your heart anyway and I needed to bust through a personal mental block before this next race. So 15 miles it would be …
But how on earth was I going to dress for this long run? Layers, of course! We started at 5am, long before the sun came up but would finish 3 hours later and 12-15 degrees warmer.
These pants from Ella Mae’s Boutique are amazing! The length is perfect for fall and the wide waistband is generously forgiving of all the carb-loading necessary for a long run. The moisture-wicking material is thick enough to not worry about panty-lines but still keeps me cool on a humid day … and the $28 price tag simply cannot be beat
This tank (and its long-sleeved cousin) from Athleta are my go-to’s for nearly every long run. I own 4 of each and make sure to always have them ready. They are super soft, long enough to not ride up and odor resistant so I don’t stink up the car on the way home!
I’m not usually one to get excited about undergarments, but a good sports bra is obviously essential to a pain-free long run. Or any run for that matter. This one by Moving Comfort takes the cake. I have spent a fair amount of time and a LOT of money searching for one that fit me just right. The adjustable straps can alternate between a regular or racerback style, which allows for optimum fit and comfort without feeling like you are wearing a strait jacket. You. Are. Welcome ☺
Don’t worry – I haven’t forgotten about the shoes! Of course, shoes are such a personal preference and will vary greatly depending on your feet, your gait, your mileage and your comfort needs. I have tried lots of brands and lots of styles within those brands over the years and I keep coming back to these. Nothing beats finding your perfect running shoe!
Speaking of feet – don’t skimp on your socks! I don’t necessarily have a favorite sock – Feetures, Swiftwick and Balega are all great choices!
Distance runners know a long run isn’t just about the clothes – nutrition and fuel are extremely important too! A bowl of oatmeal and a Honey Stinger Waffle about 30-60 minutes before I run is essential. I have learned (the hard way) that many of the GU’s and sport beans and blocks don’t agree with me so I was relieved to find that these squeeze applesauce pouches were the perfect amount of nutrition and sugar to keep me going for 15 miles! (Yes I did steal these from the kids’ lunch box stash! But, bonus, they are readily available and you probably already have them in your fridge or pantry. Plus, you can freeze them in the summer!)
And HYDRATE! Lots of water the day before my run. Before, during and after on the day of my run. The entire next day … you get the idea! I didn’t used to take hydration so seriously, especially in the fall and winter months when I didn’t feel as thirsty but I have learned over time that hydrating well can make such a huge difference! Last weekend, as is typical before any run over 8-10 miles, I like to add a Nuun Active to my 28 oz. water bottle the day before, then have a second one waiting for me as soon as I finish. They have 11 flavors to choose from, and these are some of my favorites!
Finally … Safety! We run at “dark thirty” during the week and oftentimes on the weekends in the fall and winter months as the daylight hours are weaning. A couple of the girls ordered these Tracer360 LED-lit visibility vests from NoxGear and were excited to share their thoughts with us; the lightweight, customizable fit and 40 hour battery life make this a great choice for safely running (or cycling) in all weather and in the dark! They are running a seasonal sale right now for 25% off! Use code GEARUP for a great deal!
A very special thank you to Nicole for allowing me to share some of my long run favorites with her Fitful Focus family! I’m still looking for playlist suggestions for my race on November 7 – I’d love to hear your favorites!!
Happy Fall Running!
What are your long run essentials?