It’s all about the gear.

Posted: December 3, 2009 in Training

December 3rd – just under two weeks before Boston Training begins in earnest leading up to the first marathon on April 19th.  18-weeks sounds like a long time to train, but in my experience it seems to be over in a blink of an eye.  Maybe it is because each of the 18 weeks has a specific focus and in fact each of the 89 training runs is designed for a specific purpose.  89 runs, covering 682.75 miles all for a 3+ hour 26.2 mile test.  Honestly – I love almost everything about it.

One of the things I find so interesting about training for and competing in a marathon is that you spend most of your training period covering hundreds of miles learning about running, then come race day you spend the next 26.2 miles learning about yourself.

More on self-awareness down the road, but I did want to post today about a valuable lesson learned when training for my first marathon which is when it comes to distance running, it really is about the gear.  Some people will tell you that they took up running as a sport because they could do it anywhere, anytime and all they needed was a pair of running shoes.  Well, I will admit that I do enjoy the fact that I can (and do) run just about anywhere while I am on the road traveling – currently my list of training locations for the Boston is up to 17 cities from San Francisco to New York, NY (found in the side-bar to the right at the bottom).

But there is a multi-billion dollar industry out there dedicated to the runner.  Shoes, Socks, Underwear, Shorts, Visors, Shirts, Hydro-Belts, Jackets, Gloves, Hats, Tights, Anti-Chafing creams, gels, glasses, wraps, you name it.  All of which serve their purpose to some degree or another – but for me finding that running shirt or singlet to wear during a marathon is really key.  Encouragement is yelled frequently over the course of the race – and hearing your name, your college mascot (Go Cocks!), or a cause yelled at you is a great pick me up when you are searching for inspiration.

It is not as easy as simply putting on that trusted college t-shirt and heading down the road – not for anything longer than 2 miles that is unless you are looking forward to that heavy cotton shirt getting heavier and heavier, rubbing against your skin and other small protrusions over the course of the race.  Enter – the technical shirt.

RFD Racing Singlet

Made of moisture wicking fabric – these running shirts do a great job of moving moisture away from your skin (sweat) – but also dry quickly in the case of a brief rain shower – after a few miles in the wind the shirt will remove all of that moisture as well.  Couple this with a healthy dose of bodyglide (an absolute must!) and you are ready for all that 26.2 miles can throw at you.  I found a company locally here in Austin, TX called Running Banana (website here: http://runningbanana.com/ )- who designs technical running shirts that can be customized with your own logo.  You can also pick from some of their stock logos which are a good mix of humor and inspiration.  They use a process of dying the fabric that neither disrupts the wicking of the shirt nor does the logo block the fine mesh of the fabric – they created the first RFD official racing singlet for me in November.

So how did it perform?  Excellent.  The singlet is very well made, quality wicking material, the logo work was spot on and a personalized running shirt for about $25 is tough to beat.

RFD Race Day Singlet - Back

Given the fact that race days are unpredictable from a weather standpoint a short sleeve and long sleeve version will need to be ordered and broken in prior to the race at Boston as experienced runners will tell you to never try anything new on race day.  No new socks, underwear, shorts, tights, wrist bands, hats, glasses, belts, breakfast routines, energy drinks, energy gels – everything should be tested during training and tested again.  No surprises come race day as every one of those 26 miles and 385 yards will surely provide enough surprises along the way.

Running Banana – Two thumbs up.

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