While my life coach/personal stylist, Miss S, might be the expert in all things fashion, I can claim the master of all things athletic apparel related. The connoisseur of swoosh, if you will. While I’m quasi-retired/on indefinite hiatus from running, I still like to talk about shoes and all the goodies.
From time to time I get questions about said running equipment, clothing and accessories. One such inquiry came recently from the hambeefjustinsteak lover, ms. leenmcdermott.
1. Recommended training programs for a 5K/10K/marathon/etc.?
I’ve very loosely followed training programs because 1) I hate doing speedwork and 2) I’m generally lazy and never follow instructions and 3) just try to run everyday/regularly and usually that will suffice to run/race fast (for me at least). But structure is always good. I have Nike+, so you can record and view your runs with a plug of a USB port, which is always good for a number crunching MBA type like yours truly. While it’s not as precise as a GPS running watch, for $60 and a much cooler look, it does just fine.
There are a number of training programs out there, as a quick internet search would suggest. Runners World, Jeff Galloway and Cool Running are well known race training resources. Most importantly, find a schedule that accommodates your life and schedule — fitness level, rest days, duration (# of weeks before slated race day), etc. Also, remember that you can change the days of the training program — so if you don’t want your rest day to be Monday, just adjust the schedule to match up with the days of the week that work for you, but generally try to keep the order (you don’t want two rest days in a row). And if the duration is slightly off, say you have an extra week or two before the actual race day, I would repeat the second to last week on the schedule — usually the final week involves some tapering.
And all this is subjective — if you feel good, you can up the mileage/intensity. If you’re not feeling good, you can take it easy for a workout — there’s no shame in walking for a segment (sometimes I’ll get a cramp and just take a small break and then start up again). It’s more important that you’re getting out regularly and building general fitness than meeting a specific pace.
The most helpful thing for a beginner or advanced runner is to find a running partner or group. For beginners, it makes you accountable not to skip the workouts, for advanced runners, it’s a good way to make sure you’re getting your speedwork and drills in. The one time that I regularly did speedwork was for the NYC Half Marathon, with the Nike Run Club, and it turned out pretty well in the end.
Most important winter clothing: gloves and dri-fit base layers. Layers are good cause you really warm up and you don’t want to sweat — that will make you cold. I always try to dress so that I’m slightly uncomfortable when I start out running — by a mile in, you’ll be warm but not overheating. Here‘s a clothing calculator of sorts that you might try. Generally, here’s how I gauge temps and outfits:
60 degrees + = tshirt or tank, shorts
upper 40s-60 degrees = base layer tshirt, long sleeve shirt, shorts
30-mid 40s = base layer tshirt, long sleeve shirt, long running tights – I always wear long pants once the temps get down to the 40’s, not so much for the overall warmth, but just to protect my knees from the cold. Knee injuries are forever.
Below 30 = base layer tshirt, fleece lined long sleeve shirt and/or wind jacket, fleece lined running tights
Below 20 = treadmill. Hey, I’m a southern belle at heart, especially when it comes to cold weather.
Favorite shoe: Nike Zoom Miler, circa 2004-2006. I’ve had several instances of this shoe, including multiple pairs that got busted airpockets. Sadly, they only exist now as cross country spikes. I do have one last pair of Zoom Milers still untainted in their original shoebox which I found on ebay that I have been holding onto for the right moment/race. I believe this pair makes six total. Currently running with the Zoom Victory, which was based on the Zoom Miler and launched for the 2008 Olympics.
Favorite shorts: Nike Tempo Shorts. Nike keeps releasing the same short in various colors for the last 5 years now, so I oblige by picking up the entire spectrum — from blue to burnt orange to pepto pink to white hot. If it ain’t broke, buy the whole line.
Why Nike?: Capitalism got me young. Just before I turned two years old, barely talking, for Christmas I asked for ‘Nike shoe’. My mom didn’t know how I even knew what Nike was. In my more hardcore running years though, I simply like the way they fit — I have narrow, flat and skinny feet. And generally, I like their stuff — the fit, style and variety. Just cause I’m athletic doesn’t mean that I don’t care about fashion.
I could write a novel on running stuff, so I’ll continue in future posts..
“as your running email was so nice and comprehensive, i would now like one about google wave. GO.” -KMM