All the gear you need for your marathon
So you well underway with your training and for me there are a few things that are key both in terms of improving your performance but also in terms of making the training more enjoyable. For my first marathon I did almost all my training inside on the treadmill and cross trainer. My new strategy involves almost exclusively running outside so assuming you live in Northern Europe or the USA this involves a whole new set of factors as a Spring marathon involves winter training in the cold, in the dark and dealing with frost and rain. Its so easy to put off your training due to weather – if however you are properly organised it makes getting out of bed in a dark cold morning or miserable night bearable.
Here is my list of key items needed to undertake your training, I added to them as I went along but this should help cut through all of that for you. I am putting them in order of importance.
Number 1 on my list is a GPS watch, while of course everybody has different levels of competitiveness and probably marathoners are more competitive and determined than most, you will need to know how far you are running so you can build this up. But for those of you who want just more than distance it’s a great way to track your progress when it comes to pace and varying the speed of your runs. While of course we all live in a modern age of computers I strongly recommend recording this in some sort of diary so you can look back in a glance and see what improvements your are making and there is definitely a sense of achievement and motivation in this – more on that in a later post. For the record when I upgraded my watch this season it was money well spent – my old one sometimes took 5-10 minutes to catch a signal and this one also plays music so you don’t need to bring your phone.
Absolutely essential as more than lightly you will be running in cold dark mornings or nights and if you are not dressed correctly this can be miserable, however if you get it right it actually is not too bad when you step out. I see loads of guys and girls running in shorts and T-shirts and I feel like stopping them and saying you can actually improve your enjoyment by getting the right stuff.
First off invest in a baselayer top, the Zerofit MOVE is simply awesome, you start off cosy warm but as you heat up you don’t overheat, due to the unique polypropylene material you get zero moisture between you skin and the garment. Thus when you stop running you get zero cold sweat.
Secondly get some thermal leggings, I am using the Zerofit theroweave which is a special order from Japan but they are phenomenal, I never thought about wearing something like this but I could not do without them now.
From a safety point of view I also recommend a lightweight hi-vis wind top which ensure road users can see you and it also turns a light shower. I recently added in gloves which ensures I am cosy warm and ready to get out in all conditions.
Obviously it goes without saying to ensure you have good shoes, many places over free gait testing if you over perinate which helps to avoid injury.
While you probably will be happy enough running without water on 5-15k when you start increasing the distance you will need to have the ability to take on board water and various other energy supplements. Have a look at water solutions now as while you are probably not running far enough to need now you will definitely need to get something when you start getting up at distances of 18K+ thus rather than running with a water bottle for 3 hours have a look at this now so you are not last minute.com on getting something that works. I used an American one called Ultraspire which is very good and enough to get you around your longest runs. Some can be quite expensive so worth a little research.
The first 18 months of my running I used cheap earphones that constantly where either breaking or falling out of my ears. I recommend something with ear hooks so they don’t fall out – I opted for powerbeats and have had zero problems with them.
I guess this could be covered in a different section as its not really ‘gear’ but really important when mileages really creep up as stops ‘chavving’ of thighs and other areas. At the start of my long runs I regularly suffered from bleeding nipples – Vaseline sorts this out!
Overall training and getting ready for the big day is stressful so hopefully these tips will help and mean you can focus on your running.
For those of you who have not read the blog before this is a beginners guide by a beginner, just to clarify my running pedigree’ I am 46 years of age and like so many stopped active sport when I left school….25 years later (aged 43) and at 17.5 stone I realised I needed to do something and started running. Initially I couldn’t run longer than 5 minutes without stopping but 18 months later I ran my first half marathon and just over 2 years after lacing up my trainers I completed my first marathon. I said at the start of my marathon training that this would be a one time thing so I wanted to get around in a time that I felt was achievable and I would personally be pleased with. For me and many its breaking 4 hours, I managed to get around a bit under that at 3.46 – so as I say if you an elite athlete this feature is not for you however if you want to live the journey with ‘Jo everyday runner’ then tune in for what I hope you find will be an engaging blog feature. All advice is purely based on my experiences, talking with regular runners and what I have read – so it comes with a huge health warning! I found too much stuff on line was written by elite runners, was far to structured and was not relevant to my level.