So you’ve decided you’re up for running a half or full marathon. Congratulations, welcome to the insane asylum. Hopefully before this point you’ve done one or two 10Ks so you have a general idea of what you’re getting yourself into.
Once you have picked out your half/full marathon, it can get to be confusing. Where do you go from here? The following items listed below will help get you on your way to conquering your race!
Note: It doesn’t matter if you’re running a half or full, all of the essential items remain the same. The only difference is you’ll be needing more of certain items that I will explain in a bit more detail.
- Training Plan
- GPS Watch
- Hydration Belt
- Energy Chews/Gels
- Shoes – These babies will be your biggest tool what gets you from point A to point B. While yes, you can go to Target or another convenience store and buy a pair of tennis shoes, I do NOT recommend this. Go to your local running store and talk to one of their professionals. A good running store will have someone who will sit down with you, go over your foot features (width and length), watch you run and have you try on a few different shoes. While yes, it is not $30, it is money that will keep your feet happy while beating the pavement and help prevent injuries.
- Training Plan – If you expect to go out and randomly run a few miles each week before your big race, you’re going to be in trouble on race day. There are several options out there; make sure they have easy run days, speedwork (sometimes called tempo or fartlek) days and long run days. Hal Higdon has several plans for you to choose from, from beginning runners to more advanced. He knows his stuff and has gotten me through several marathons.
- GPS Watch – Now that you have your shoes and your training program, you now need to make sure you’re actually getting the right amount of miles in while you run. Garmin is my trusted brand (love my 200). Not only does it tell you your mileage, pace and time, you can also hook it up to your computer and have it store your history. I have also heard good things about Soleus (that is a bit less costly.)
- Hydration Belt – Repeat with me: “I am not a camel.” Shorter runs you can hydrate before and after, but during your longer than 6 mile runs, you should really have water on your person so you can drink during. Water bottles are nice, but hydration belts give you more water access as well as room for your phone, keys, pepper spray, and…
- Energy Chews/Gels – So you’re not a camel. Your body, after a certain point, also needs to refuel on energy. For me, it’s about an hour. If I don’t get something after this point, by the time I get home I feel sluggish. Honey Stingers are a great energy source. They taste like gummy bears and are made with natural ingredients. ½ package per hour out running. GU and Huma are gels that also work for energy.