5 Quirky Must-Have Items for Runners
It’s really no secret that runners tend to be very Type-A, performance driven people. Some might even call us crazy! (As if getting up at 4 am to run 13.1 or 26.2 miles in the cold and rain just so we can get a medal and an overly ripe banana is not actually fun!) Yes, we runners might seem like a different breed of people to the outside world and perhaps it is true. And just like our crazy, dedicated, Type- A personalities are all unique (and awesome), so too do we all have our quirky race-day habits, traditions, superstitions, and specific running items. If you are a newbie to the sport of running, definitely check out the list below. They might seem a bit odd or different, but this list compiles all the quirky running stuff that you did not even know you needed!
1. Chafing Gel or Cream
This one gets personal. Chafing is one of those things you do not really think about until it is too late and you are walking around awkwardly, trying not to let your clothes touch your sensitive areas of chafed skin and wishing you had known that cold weather, moisture, and dry skin are a combination for a painful disaster. One of the worst parts about chafing is that it typically occurs in some very, er – personal – spots. (Think under the arms, nipples if you are a man, and the groin region.) This makes it all the worse, but there is a solution. Especially if you are a heavy sweater, if you plan to run in the rain, if the temperatures are dropping, or you have overly dry skin, rub down the areas of your body that will be touching a hemline of your clothes (hems, elastic bands, and other close/tight fitting parts of clothing are most likely to cause chafing) with an anti chafing cream, gel, or lotion before you hit the trails or road for your run.
2. Fanny Packs (or Running Belts)
Let’s throw it back to circa 1995, when a fanny pack and a visor made you too cool for school. Nowadays, while they might not make you cool, the fanny pack definitely can make your run a little easier. (The visor also doesn’t hurt, if the suns out!). Especially if you are training for a marathon and are logging some longer distances, you need something that you can easily strap to your body that can hold your essentials – a phone, a music player, your fuel, keys, etc. If you want to spend a little more, opt for a running belt, which is specifically designed to keep your belongings safe and secure, and often even come with built in mini-water bottles to keep you hydrated along the way.
3. Compression Socks and Gear
This one is essential for speeding up recovery for runners. Compression gear includes articles of clothing that you can put on after a run (or any time, really) to help increase blood flow to your limbs and speed up recovery time after a killer run. The downside is that compression gear often looks a little funny when out at public. For example, weekend priorities might mean you have to push your long run to Friday morning instead of Saturday. But your calves NEED the security and recovery benefits that long compression socks offer, so your “Casual Friday” work attire might look like a pair of jeans and flats covering up a neon green pair of compression socks. But it is worth it!
4. Dry Shampoo and Baby Wipes
When you are a runner, you have to prioritize. Otherwise, you simply won’t get done everything you need to. And let’s face it – if you actually wake up with your 4:30 am alarm to get your run done before the rest of your house is up and ready to start the day, you are already way ahead of the game. Then as soon as you finish, it can look like jumping straight to breakfast, getting kids/spouses/pets ready for the day, carpool, grocery store, etc. Sometimes, taking a shower just has to take a back seat and for those days, dry shampoo and baby wipes can be a life saver. Runners have been known to keep them in their cars or gym bags/purses to spray and wipe down with right after a run. Then a quick change of clothes, and the sweaty stench of your 10-miler is pretty much kept at bay until you can find the time to really freshen up.
So maybe this one is not quirky per se, but we are not talking about icing down your favorite sports drink (though that can really make all the difference when you’re running in the summer heat!). We are talking about the excruciating-yet-ultimately-relieving pain that comes from a full on ice bath. As soon as the free post-race banana has been downed and the medals are hung around the neck with pride, many runners head straight to the nearest convenience store to grab two or three bags of ice (or four – one to ice down a cooler of adult beverages, which deserves a post all its own!) to fill up their bathtub and sit in for twenty minutes. Icing down those heavy legs can be downright painful, but EXTREMELY beneficial in helping your aching muscles recover faster after a really intense run.
If you are looking to get active and incorporate more running into your weekly workout routine, do yourself a favor and go ahead and stock up on some of these items. I promise you they will come in handy!
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