It is Time to Stop Experimenting as Much

Barefoot Running 9-18-12Over the course of the next 13 months I am looking to start using running equipment that I will be using to train for the Marine Corps Marathon 2013 under 3:30.

There are new and not so new innovations that can help runners train more efficiently and effectively, as well as reduce downtime due to the little aches and pains we all seem to collect when training hard.

This past year has been about finding out what running equipment works for me and doing a lot of experimenting with different shoes, apps, clothes, socks, etc. It is now getting the equipment that I will be using to prepare for MCM2013.

Running Shoes

I have gotten the running shoes choices down to three manufacturers that I will choose between. Making this decision is something that really want to do soon and really is not an easy decision. This way I am not experimenting with the next “new” great shoe that comes out over the next year, instead of focusing on my training goals.

Ideally I will have my primary model identified and run in that model most of 2013.

What am I looking for?

  • a lighter weight shoe (preferably around/under 10 oz.)
  • promotes forefoot/midfoot landing
  • a little more cushiony feel than firm
  • lower drop (4-8 MM) I am not sure that zero drop is right for me or not yet?
  • a sole that will last 300-400 miles (500 would be even better).
  • closed mesh upper – I run on too many dirt roads and on dirt shoulders/ditches to have an open mesh.

One company has a bit of a lead over the others, but I looked at a couple of their newer models at a store today and well, I refuse to do shoe surgery again when I buy a new pair of shoes. So I may need to look at more of their models and models from the other companies a lot closer.

GPS

Sorry Amanda over at Miss Zippy, I want to focus on my running and let the electronics take care of the mundane things like mile splits, approximately how far I am running. mapping courses and the other things that GPS watches or apps can do.

I have to choose between getting a basic GPS watch or going ahead and biting the bullet and getting another smart phone, so I can use one of the various GPS Apps (probably Nike+ or Garmin Connect).

The smart phone can do a lot more, but is bulky and I would have to wear a belt of some kind to have it with me, since I don’t like the arm holders. Then there is the data bullet and 2 year plan that I would have to bite no matter which carrier, I choose. The GPS Apps works fine without using a data plan, but as far as I know there is no way to turn off the data upload, when I just want to use GPS and running 40-60 miles a week would eat up a 2GB data plan pretty quickly.

I am really up in the air, which way I should go with this, both have their pros/cons, Maybe do both – get a cheaper GPS watch and then get a Droid Phone, then it is an extra $30.00 a month for 2GB of Data.

Decisions, Decisions. I have a feeling that either way, I will end up with a less expensive GPS watch.

Socks

These are often overlooked, but play a huge part in how your feet feel during a race or training run. I have found out that compression style socks whether ankle or full-length don’t work for me when I am running. They cram my toes together too much. I prefer to let my toes splay out. I have found some socks that I like a lot, but still am not completely happy with them.

Who knows maybe I need to try a pair of toe socks and see how they work.

Compression Gear

I like compression gear. I have compression: socks, calf sleeves, knee sleeves, shorts and shirts. However, I don’t wear the socks during my runs, I found for me they work better after the run. The compression shorts I wear on almost every run – they are the best thing I have found to prevent chafing and help my legs feel better during a run. the shirts prevent under arm and nipple chafe, but I usually wear them under other shirts, I am not “buff” enough to run in them too much in public Smile.

Hat

I don’t have sunglasses so I almost always wear a hat when I am running. I am finding that my hat from JackRabbitCaps is becoming my go to hat for running. It is comfortable and wicks sweat away.

Clothes

I definitely need to update my running shorts, they are all large and extra large from the early part of the last decade – so it is time. I have plenty of tech t-shirts and cotton shirts, so this isn’t a problem. Outerwear, like running jackets, gloves/mittens, hats/head bands, wind pants, I am in pretty good shape. Although I do need to look at getting some winter running pants/tights to get me through the winter.

The vents mmm I mean holes in the sides aren’t supposed to be there.

The reality is that

I am going to figure out which shoes I will be running in sooner rather than later. The GPS system I will be using to track my approximate mileage I want in place by the new year so that I can get used to it and have 2013 data there and available to do keep track of how I am doing or if I break down and get a coach.

Ah the problems of a modern runner, sometimes it almost seems it would just be easier to go back to running like I did back in the 70’s – slather on the Vaseline, start my stopwatch, go run and then write down things in my training log.

Naw too many of the modern running accessories do make it easier to keep track of our running and help reduce down-time due to the aches and pains we tend to get. Plus if I ever break down and get a coach, it is easier for them to manipulate data electronically, than it is in a spreadsheet or this blog Smile.

So it is time to stop experimenting and figure out what works for me. Then after MCM 2013, I can go back to experimenting Smile, which I actually love to do.

Is there any go to pieces of equipment that I absolutely need or should be using, that will help me prepare for and finish the MCM 2013 that I missed?

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12 comments on “It is Time to Stop Experimenting as Much

  1. Good luck with your “trade study” on gear. I think you’re doing the right thing converging on what you will be using at the MCM.

    Mrs. Smiddy bought me a Garmin 410 with heart rate monitor for my birthday on May. It is without a doubt the best thing since cold beer (ok, pretty close). Having use quite a few of the phone apps, I have to agree, the bulk is a problem, unless you use the phone to play your music on, but I gather you don’t listen to music while you run (neither do I most days, some days it comes in handy). I like having it on my arm to look at when ever I wish, the phone is a huge pain in the behind to look at frequently and most apps only queue you at certain distance intervals, which could be problematic in getting pace correct. Love my Garmin. 🙂

    Shoes, well, you seem to know what you want already, nothing I’ve ever tried. Although I think I know which ones. 😉

    Gloves! Well, this is an area I’m currently having difficulty with deciding one how to approach it. MCM is late October and the potential for freezing temperatures is real (2010 my friend slipped on ice during the race). I have a pair of Mizuno gloves, but I am leaning towards some throw aways because once I’m warmed up by mile 5, even in cold weather, I don’t like wearing them. Something to consider.

    Nutrition: I have been doing a PB&J mid-run on 20 milers. I also am partial to Accel Chocolate Gels (actually, it is more of a syrup, less thick in consistency). Practice with what you intend to use. Unlike today, where it was in the low 50’s, I didn’t need any water for my morning 10 miler, nor do I take any nutrition during my weekly base or speed/tempo runs. Practice with what you intend to use, even through the summer months, it will become second nature to you. 🙂 The PB&J took a while to figure out how to eat while running, but I got it down.

    It looks like you’ve covered the other areas pretty well. 😀

    • If I get a GPS watch it will be a base model and a smaller one, don’t like big hulking things on my arm. I like the idea of the PB&j and will try that out – a heckuva a lot cheaper than the gels and other things – just have to get used to chewing while running. The throw-away gloves idea is probably one that I will do too, instead of putting them in my shorts like I usually do when I don’t need them anymore. I just want to get used to the equipment, so that using it becomes second nature, instead of fumbling around on race day with something I haven’t used enough to be totally familiar with the quirks that using or eating it might do.

      • On the PB&J I found that smaller bites work a whole lot easier. I use a lot of water too. 🙂 Agreed, intuitive use leave less brain work when you’re concentrating on the mile you’re in. 🙂

    • I am probably moving from the 80/20 rule to the 90/10 rule – 90% of the time I eat carefully and healthy, the other 10% I don’t much worry about it :-). Gotta be bad once in a while – takes the edge off, so I am not real bad. 🙂

  2. This is awesome!!! I appreciate your thoughts on all of this. I think I need toe socks too. and I think I want them 🙂 I am a #Polar girl myself (because I am a Polar Ambassador) but I do think you will be happier with a watch than trying to use a phone. It’s much easier!

  3. Skoras are zero drop and fit the bill. The pair of Forms I have sitting next to me right now have over 1020 miles on them. Also 13mm of high density EVA, rubber, and the insole are pretty cushy in my opinion. 13 months is plenty of time, and you’ll be stronger because of them.

    • They do seem interesting and I have wanted to try them out, but I wonder if they have enough cushioning for me to do a marathon in? When I get tired I revert back to a heel first landing. Not too many dealers up heah and I don’t really like ordering shoes without seeing them and trying them on. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Week in Review 9/23/12 | A Veteran Runnah

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