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Marathon Prep: The Gear

I’m going to be running the NYC Marathon tomorrow, and in preparation, here’s a brief rundown of the gear that I’ll be using. Although running is a relatively gear-sparse sport, there’s still a good amount of thought that goes into each thing I carry with me – which I’ll need to lug for every step of the 26 mile race.

  • Shoes – Asics Gel Kayano 17. Previous marathons have been run in Saucony Grid Stabil’s, but after receiving a free pair of these Asics a few months ago, I’ve grown to like them quit a bit. Chalk one up for the Asics marketing and promo dept, good job, you’ve got another convert. They offer good support, and the gel in the heel does a great job with shock absorption. They’re about 9 months old now, so this race will likely be one of the last major races I run in them. The thing to keep in mind when deciding to replace running shoes is that the shock absorbing and stability qualities of the shoe tends to wear out before the shoe actually starts to look worn and broken down. Looking at these shoes, they still have a good amount of tread life left, and they’re not too broken down – but I have a bunch of miles on them, and they need to be replaced after this race. Wanna hook me up with a fresh new pair, Asics???
  • Socks – Wright Socks dual layer socks. Normally I run with Ultimax single layer running sox, but for longer races I like the blister and abrasion prevention from dual layer socks. These things are a pain to get on right without wrinkles, but once you’re running in them, they’re great.
  • Shorts – Nike coolmax running shorts. Normally I hate running-specific shorts because they have a built in bathing suit style liner. However, for races pairing down and just going with the shorts+liner is simple and cool. Plus the shorts have two front pocket, and one back hip pocket that’s perfect for carrying a credit card and ID. The front pockets are essential for races too, because it allows me to stash my hat in the right pocket when I warm up, and put the second of the powergel packets I get at mile 18 in the left pocket, to be used at the end of mile 21. (powergel #1 gets used immediately at mile 18. #1 is chocolate, #2 is strawberry)
  • Shirt – Helly Hansen long sleeve tech shirt. I got this shirt, along with my Helly Hansen hat, for free at some promo event in Vail in 2001. The shirt is over 10 years old, but its still doing great. It’s a bit tighter fitting and black. The tight fitting allows it to wick moisture easily. The black color makes it a bit warmer when the sun hits you. The cuffs on the long sleeves are nice and stretchy, so the sleeves stay up and out of the way when you push them up a little. There are also black and white stripes on the shoulders and arms, which I think looks cool.
  • Hat – Helly Hansen lightweight hat. I got it for free and it’s made out of the same thin material that the shirt is made out of. Fits securely, not too warm, but perfect for sports. Super small when you put it in your pocket. I’ve traveled the world with this had, and I love it. The red Helly Hansen logo on it is cool too.
  • Anti-Chafing – I use a bit of BodyGlide under my arms and between my legs for longer races – it prevents chafing, and tends to work for the entire race. I also used to put bandaids on my nipples, but have stopped doing that lately – I think i have developed calluses or something there, because I no longer get chafing. Maybe I’m just not running long enough anymore.
  • Watch – Garmin Forerunner 310XT. This GPS watch is great, when it works. I could write an entire blog post about it, but the basics are that it tracks me via GPS, gives me pace info, and connects to other wireless sensors. I also wear the Garmin foot pod on my left shoe to track stride distance and cadence, as well as the heart rate monitor around my chest.
  • iPhone Case – I have a $4 generic elastic iPhone arm case, which works great. The case is water vapor permiable, so I keep my phone in a zip lock bag, and then put it in the case, so it stays dry.
That’s all that I ran the marathon with, and got through it just fine. It’s always funny to see people on the starting line with giant fuel belts, camelbaks, and all sorts of esoteric gear – I think it’s nice to go out simply – but simply for me may be complicated for you.

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