Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Newbie's Guide to Gear

Have you ever wondered how it's possible for a race as large as the Chicago Marathon to sell out in just a few days?

I know how. Peer pressure.

Though I'd hope that talking someone in to signing up for a marathon is good peer pressure (as opposed to the negative peer pressure your parents warn you about in your pre-teen years).

Peer pressure is alive and well in my workplace. Earlier this year, I convinced a co-worker to sign up for the Chicago Marathon.

As training demands more of us in the later part of July, there are questions.

The same questions I asked Mark the first time I trained for a marathon. He always had good answers, too.

Over time, my friends and I have transitioned from asking questions to answering the questions. Though we certainly don't know it all, we enjoy helping newbies out. There's an excitement to living vicariously through someone else as they train for their first.

Earlier this week I was asked "Where do you get your gear?"

Seems like a simple enough question, right? I didn't have a simple answer.

Endurance athletes can't walk into their local Wal-Mart and walk out with everything they need. (This scenario doesn't work for a variety of reasons, most importantly being that Wal-Mart only sells complete crap. I could go on, but I'll spare you.) Instead, you find yourself on a scavenger hunt for good gear, based on recommendations by other runners and online reviews.

I wrote down a hit list on a large post-it note and handed it off:


Shorts & Shirts: Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, Nike Outlet or a speciality running store. Try a variety of moisture wicking material cuts. Determine your favorite and buy more.

Socks: Buy a variety of pairs a running store recommends. Test them out, then by a small collection of your favorite online.

Shoes: Get fitted at a REAL running store. If you love the shoes they've put you in, continue to buy them. (Don't mess with what works unless the shoe model changes or you find something better.)

Nutrition: REI.com If you're looking to buy 12+ Gus and the like, you get 20% off and free shipping to their stores. They have a wide selection to pick from which will let you test out different brands, flavors, consistencies.

Miscellaneous gear: Fuel belt or the like, Body Glide, a foam roller. Talk with friends to gather their options. Test out items and purchase at a running store or if you know it's a sure thing, buy online.


Six years of distance running gear advice fit onto a post-it. Not bad, I guess.

1 comment:

Kelly Janowski said...

I also subscribe to a bunch of the active-lifestyle clearance sites like Schwaggle, The Clymb and LeftLane Sports. You never know what you'll find.