There are really few things you can’t run without. Most of us have their favourite things but at the end it all comes down to shoes.
There are though things that we had no idea they existed and now they seem indispensable. You know what I mean: your garmin, gels, fuel belts and so on. Who thought that running needs so much gadgets!
Recently I’ve been thinking what were the best discoveries I made as a runner and that help me to feel better about what I do. Some of them are quite cheap and surprising, others..a bit less. Here they are
Because I’m an artist.
Seriously, clay is the most incredible discovery I made in the past 6 months. First time that physio told me to put some clay on my left foot (I was just diagnosed with plantar facsiitis) I thought I heard wrong. Clay? Like for making vases? I put it on my foot and it made the pain less painful but I still thought it was a placebo effect. The truth is that clay is a great tool every time you have an inflammation in your body. When I feel my foot or knee are swelled of hurt I put clay on it, wrap it with some plastic foil and leave it for the night. Clay has absorbs the toxins and impurities in this area. It’s not magic but it does wonders.
It’s also quite cheap, especially if you buy it in powder and not as ready-to-use paste. Plus once you have it you can use it for many other things: face and body masks. I guess you could make yourself a bowl but a face mask was always my choice…
Not so cheap as clay but more durable is my second discovery: compression socks. Btw, if someone can tell me where to buy the pair you see below…
If you start running longer distances you’ll hear about them sooner or later and you’ll find them a perfect ally. If, like me, you have big calves (I mean, my calves are so big I actually have to buy compression sleeves not socks because size of my foot does not match my calf..) you will love them. They will make your blood flow better and save you so many cramps. You may wear them also for the night after race/long run to recover faster.
Protein recovery shake.
One of those things you hear about and you think that you don’t need it and that you prefer to eat a huge pizza after a race or a long run. Guess what: it won’t work in the long run (word play, nice, eh? ;).
Right after you finished your body should get proteins to rebuild muscles and the best amount of protein you can get fast is to get a shake. In the first 20-30 min after you finished you probably can’t get a steak or a tempeh burger (my case) so take a shake, it will help you recover faster. There are different brands, I use For goodness shakes, it comes in handy sachets I put in my bag to drink after a race
Vaseline. Oh you knew that one was coming. Slick subject.
I decided to use it some time ago because as we all runners know chaffing is a big problem that can be solved easily. You just put it wherever is needed. Legs, feet, nipples…It’s cheap, it works and in winter you can put it on your lips so it won’t be chapped.
and now..last but not least…
Running program/running coach. Once I was a runner that dreaded the thought of running scheme. Me? I’m a free spirit, you can’t throw someone like that into a routine, can you? I heard something about intervals, tempo runs but I knew better. I would go for my 10km run at whatever felt good. The day after the same. Maybe a day off and then another 10km. Boring? I thought so too so I would add a half marathon in the weekend. Every weekend. You heard right.
Result? I wasn’t a very good runner and I wasn’t getting any better by doing all those races. At some point I told myself: I have to have some help. The problem was I couldn’t run with anyone, all my friends who lived by were faster than me. That is why I decided to get myself a coach.
I never regretted it. My training became consistent and…interesting. Different types of runs adjusted to my needs and goals and a person who always listens. It’s an online relation (as most of couches do these days) but wherever I am i can call my trainer or mail him and I have a certainty that he will listen, give me support and advice. I consider this the best money spent on running.
How about you? Any surprising discoveries in the running department? I’m alway curious what other runners do, what makes your running more interesting, what are your gadgets