Chris King is a coach with Team In Training (TNT) and trains runners of all experience levels to make their marathon a success. In the weeks leading up to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon Chris will offer some essential training tips.
To kick things off, let's focus on the most important gear you will own this training season: your shoes and your hydration system.
A few key principles for shoes:
Substance over style! It sounds silly (and is silly!), but I guarantee that many new runners make the mistake of buying a shoe for looks. I promise that you won't care what color shoes you're wearing at the 13-mile marker! Forget about flash and gadgetry in shoes. Buy your pair based upon proven technology meant for longer distances, not because it's cool and new.
Get shoes that work for you. What works for your cousin Bill won't necessarily work for you. Feet type and running style are uniquely personal. There are hundreds of different types of running shoes because runners have so many different types of feet and running styles. Make sure to get what's best for you even if your best friend raves about her new pair!
Let the experts help. Go to a running store to buy your shoes. If you're training with a team like Team In Training, your coaches may have a list of running stores in the area that will not only help you to get the right kind of shoe for you, but may also offer a discount. The trained staff at these and other running stores all around the Chicago area will talk to you about your needs, measure your feet, watch you run, and then recommend the best shoes. Most stores also allow you to return shoes within a certain amount of time if they don't work for you.
To keep your newly-clad feet and body moving safely, you need to stay hydrated. We make it mandatory for Team In Training participants to carry a hydration system at all times while training. I strongly recommend you do the same!
You can always carry a water bottle to stay hydrated, but a few other systems customized for runners are likely available at your local running shop.
A fuel belt, the Amphipod, and the Amphipod hand-held are all bottle-carrying systems, for the waist, the lower back, and the hand, respectively. The fuel belt and lower back Amphipod each come with space to store keys, phone or other items. For virtually hands-free hydration, a Camelbak pouch rests in the middle of the back and flows through cord and valve system.
With so many options there's no excuse not to stay hydrated and comfortable while training.
As with shoes, pick an option that works for you. Don't just pick the most stylized hydration system. An effective system is essential to safe and successful training.
Chris King is a coach with Team In Training (TNT). Join Coach Chris and train for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon with TNT. You can still sign up until June 30 and help create a world without cancer at www.teamintraining.org/il/chicagomarathon.
Team In Training, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's leading endurance sports charity training program, has prepared more than 440,000 people to achieve their dream of completing a marathon, half marathon, triathlon, 100-mile (century) bicycle ride or hike adventure. Since 1988 participants in TNT have raised over $1 billion to support blood cancer research and patient services.