I thought I would share with you all the tools I use to have a great run, and sometimes a great race. First and foremost would be my running stroller. A great running stroller makes all the difference in the world. As I mentioned in my first post, I began my running journey with a second-hand running stroller. I think I spent $50 on it. It was an old Jeep stroller, and I still wonder if it actually was meant as a running stroller, or if it was just a tripod stroller. I say this because the wheels were plastic, and they were not stationary. Shows you I didn't do much research on running before I ran!
Even though it may not have been an actual running stroller, it got the job done. I think it must have been a bumpy ride for Little Dude, but he always seemed to enjoy it. I never knew how easy running with LD could be until I got my new stroller. Last year for Christmas my parents asked me what I would like and I told them a new running stroller. Luckily for me, they love me a lot and got me a BOB running stroller. The present came early and so did my Christmas! I couldn't wait to try it out. It is such a smooth ride for LD, and after a few runs I got the hang of maneuvering it with ease. I am using the BOB Sport Utility Stroller which is for all terrain. I have never tried trail running with LD, but maybe one day in the future I may. My only complaints about the stroller are that you have to buy the trays, etc. separately, so it can be a pretty pricey buy, and it is bulky (it takes up most of the trunk space in my Honda Accord). Overall, I am very happy with the stroller we use! I have seen some other moms out there running with their tripod strollers and I feel like telling them if they are serious about running, invest in a good stroller!
Just as important as the stroller is what I wear on my feet! I realize that there are debates out there about barefoot running, and I have heard both sides of the argument. I just know what works for me and what feels good on my feet. When I started running seriously, I began with Xero Shoes. I sent in a drawing of my foot and a few weeks later I had my running sandals. I did like running in them, my only complaint was the laces. Since the laces rub against the ground, they will wear out. And when you're in the middle of a long run and your laces break, you are S.O.L. and that sucks. They have new shoes out that apparently don't have that problem any more, but I tried a different brand. I am now a big fan of VivoBarefoot Achilles Sandals. They are super comfortable and easy to run in. They also have a small lip on the sides which helps to prevent getting little rocks and pebbles in your shoes while you running. The back strap is padded as well, so you don't have to worry about getting a blister there. There are some complaints about getting blisters between your toes, but I have kind of finagled my way around that by wrapping my big toes and second toes with electrical tape. Sure, it looks a little weird, but so do the shoes and it gets the job done! I get comments and questions everywhere I go about the shoes. If you're interested in barefoot running, read and research about it first. You MUST start slowly, and if you're not willing to give up heels, don't bother. All of my shoes are zero drop, I wear lots of ballet flats going out. You risk injury if you go from barefoot running to shoes with heels in your working/going out life. VivoBarefoot make casual shoes as well, although they are pretty expensive (in my opinion). Maybe that will be on the wish list in the future...
Another tool that is important is a training plan. What is your goal? Are you preparing for a 5K? Do you just want to start running for fun? Find a good training plan that you can easily stick to and do it! As I mentioned in my previous post, I began with the C25K app on my phone. It was perfect for a beginning runner. When I was ready to train for my half marathon, I used the training plan for beginners off the Hal Higdon website. He has many free training plans for all types of races and runnners. And now I am using a training plan from my running bible, Build Your Running Body. I love this book, it is an excellent tool itself. It is so comprehensive that I am going to do a complete review of it on an upcoming post.
So, that is it for now. I'll post part two next time. Until then, what is your most important tool you use?