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Fine-tuning the gear aspects of marathon training is a major part of preparing for a race. Making the wrong move with nutrition or forgetting to put on some Body Glide can be the difference between a pleasant race and a miserable one. Nothing worse than dreaming of stopping halfway on the Greenbelt and enjoying a nap just to stop the chaffing!
We spoke to many of the #TPOR #ToInspire participants to see what gear they’ve picked up at their local Fleet Feet Sports that they can’t live without as race day approaches.
“The program has been really helpful with nutrition education and testing,” said Kendell Snyder, who is training for the Soaring Wings Marathon in Conway, Ark. “Each long run we try a different product [like] gels, sports beans and electrolyte replacements, so that we can experience how the product works for us prior to race day.”
He noted the importance of hydration planning, and credited training program coaches Monica Zaremba and Noelle Coughlan of Fleet Feet Sports Little Rock with assisting him in developing a strategy.
“The South [is] in a very hot and humid summer, and [I’m] a ‘heavy sweater’ (not the kind you wear for Christmas), so I have had some rehydration and electrolyte issues,” said Snyder.
Snyder settled on Huma Chia gels and the GU Brew electrolyte supplement for his workouts.
“Prior to the training program, I bought most of my running stuff at Fleet Feet Sports Little Rock,” said Snyder. “Now that I am better educated on what to buy, I still purchase exclusively from Fleet Feet Sports – I know more than just buying ‘stuff,’ I can get advice and help with my problems.”
Linda Taylor, who is training for the Chicago Marathon, found regular food mixed with traditional running nutrition worked best for her.
“I eat salted cooked noodles or Uncrustables,” said Taylor. “[But] I cannot go without my GU.”
While training for the Portland Marathon, John Wilson likes to use both GUs and Nuun Plus.
“The Nuun Plus is great,” said Wilson. “It mixes with regular Nuun to superpower it and adds things like carbs that you just drink throughout the run.”
Snyder said a “must-have” for him is a foam roller. He also regularly foam rolls to an audience of canine companions, noting wryly that foam rolling is a family affair.
“Learning rolling techniques and having a roller at home has made a big difference in recovery [and] prep for the next run,” said Snyder.
Yolanda McKinney recently began trying compression sleeves, but wasn’t thrilled with them initially.
“I didn’t like them because they made my legs hot, so I rolled them down around mile six on my 18-mile run,” said McKinney, who is training for the Marine Corps Marathon. “Around mile 14, I pulled them back up and was able to make it the rest of the way. My legs felt good, [and] no cramping post-run.”
Dana Ward, who is also training for Chicago, found that a heart rate monitor helped her dial in her recovery runs.
“I use my Garmin Fenix 3 on all my runs and started using a Scosche Rhythm Plus heart rate monitor paired to it,” said Ward. “I have been doing my short runs by pacing using heart rate to ensure they are true ‘recovery’ runs.”
For hydration gear, Wilson already owned a Nathan HPL20 running hydration pack, but he picked up an additional Nathan bottle to add to it.
“I put it in the front holder with an energy mixture,” said Wilson.
Taylor decided a hydration pack wasn’t for her.
“Camelbak was getting too hot on my back, so [it’s] a Fuel Belt for me,” she said.
“I always wear my Nike 2-in-1 running shorts I bought from Fleet Feet Sports, any random running shirt from various races, and most importantly my Feetures Elite Light Running Socks,” said Wilson. “The Feetures are the only socks I will run in these days.”
Ward noted a key piece of apparel for women – her sports bra.
“My favorite sports bras are [the] New Balance Smooth Operator,” said Ward. “I'm obsessed. I used to wear Gap Fit sports bras, but now the New Balance are the best.”