Posts Tagged ‘hydration


Ten Running Essentials 2010 Edition

My first post about the ten running essentials served as my shopping guide when I was just starting with the sport.  Back then I had no experience to rely on so I was dependent on guides like these.  Now, more than a year hence I can say I’ve gained some knowledge to finally update the list based on my own experiences.  And here are my 2010 updates to the list:

  1. The right running shoe
    Your shoe is your best friend whenever you run so picking the right solemates is vital.  “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are” as they say and so with picking your pair.  If you know your feet you’ll know which is the best pair for you.

    K-Swiss K-Ona, my ultra-long distance racer

  2. Racing or Training Shoes?
    Racing shoes (“racers”) are the pairs you use during races and as such are usually your most expensive pairs.  Training shoes (“trainers”) are the ones that you use regularly when training or not racing and are usually your cheaper pairs.  Racers are usually your lightest pairs (lighter usually means faster) while trainers are usually heavier (and they should be) because it offers more protection for your feet.  Since racers are expensive you may want to extend its lifespan by using it only during races and for everything else in between, use the cheaper trainers.  If your budget permits it, have both.

    New Balance 681, my trainers

  3. A Watch with a Lap Memory (Updated)
    The purpose of having a watch is for you to monitor your progress both in training and in races.  Just about any digital watch is good for monitoring single laps but for more laps you should consider getting a watch that saves laps.  Expensive GPS watches are the most accurate distance-wise and convenient but are still optional.  Add to that the optional Heart Rate monitoring.  In case you have one you may want to turn on the Auto Lap feature to save your time per lap.

    Bench Pedometer and Garmin Forerunner 405

  4. Technical Shirts
    Technical shirts are just generic terms for shirts made of synthetic fabrics commercially branded as Lycra, Climacool, Dri-Fit, Coolmax, Supplex, Clima360, Spandex, Supplex, etc.  After joining a couple of races chances are you’d have a collection of these (normally in the form of singlets), but if haven’t done so, or those free shirts don’t fit you well, or it gives you a rash it’s better to invest in one.  Avoid anything that absorbs and retain water like cotton.

    adidas King of the Road 2009 singlets

  5. Hydration Equipment (Updated)
    If you run exclusively on well-organized races this is optional, but for those long runs this is a must.  For relatively short distances you may just opt to hand-carry that bottle of sports drink you have, but for convenience consider different hydration solutions (handheld, belt, or bag) that would fit your lifestyle.

    Deuter Nordic Lite, my hydration belt for relatively short runs

  6. Sports Drinks (Updated)
    Sports drinks are generally better than water during water because of its rate of absorption, minerals, etc. but it’s not the exclusive formula that works with the sport.  Note that sports drinks are different than energy drinks and which one works best varies by individual.  Even Oral Rehydration Salts (Oresol) and sodas (softdrinks) are acceptable drinks!

    Just a matter of which one works for you best

  7. Petroleum Jelly and Sun Block
    If you’d be running for a significant distance or time it’s best to apply these beforehand.  Petroleum Jelly reduces chaffing and sun block protects your exposed skin from burning.  You may need to reapply as necessary.
  8. Running ID (Updated)
    For emergency and identification purposes, this item is a must but it need not be those expensive road IDs.  The practical solution is to simply write your name and emergency contact information behind your bibs during races, and for non-races and long runs carry an ID (another reason to get a hydration belt/bag).
  9. Running Socks (Updated)
    By my experience socks are the primary reason for having blisters and not shoes as commonly perceived.  Having socks that don’t fit well is the primary reason and you can only tell if the socks fit you well when you’re already using it so it’s a game of chance.  Aside from blister issues, try to avoid cotton socks (same reasons with technical shirts).  Your feet will most likely be sweating a lot, and cotton tends to keep your feet wet.  Look for synthetic blends which are best at wicking away moisture.

    Nike Run Fast for sprints and medium distances

  10. Ice Bag
    If you’re running long distances chances of injuries are higher so you may want to consider having one not just for your own but also for your group.

To summarize the updates:

  • GPS watches are optional but if you have the means it’s a great motivator to running.
  • Hydration equipment is optional depending on the situation but more likely you’d need one sooner or later, it’s just a matter of which one you’d use more.
  • Sports drinks are a necessity but aren’t the exclusive drinks for the sport.
  • Running IDs are highly recommended but practical solutions abound that won’t break the bank.
  • Finally, running socks are more import than anticipated but you can’t really tell if it’s good beforehand (applying petroleum jelly beforehand may help).

I hope that this list along with my updates gave some added guide to runners out there.  As a final tip, don’t be conscious with looks or brand, stick with what really works for you.  You can’t look good if you don’t feel good, right?


The Natural Joy of Running: Barefoot?

Barefoot running?  It can’t get any natural than that—before civilization was invented, or any form of it, that was how our ancestors moved and survived eons ago.  Today in the 21st century running had become very technical—pronation, supination, compression, hydration, fartlek, Global Positioning System, etc.—isn’t it nice to not think of any of these terms when we think of running?

Running is not rocket science, or maybe now it is

Believe it or not, in the ancient Olympic Games athletes participate in the games in the nude so no one had an unfair advantage of using any tool except for what nature had given them—their bodies.  Back then there were no running shoes, chemical drinks, dope, or anything similar but runners were still able to compete in footraces in as long as 5K runs!  Even the barest of runners of our age would look luxurious! (The longest footraces in the ancient world are thought to be “only” about five kilometers long; the marathon was only introduced in the modern Olympic Games)

Long-distance runners of the ancient Olympiad

In the latter part of the 20th century people started looking at running scientifically and invented running-oriented shoes. Back then shoes were very much Spartan featuring only simple rubber soles with spikes for traction—many of the technical details we enjoy these days weren’t invented yet, but it didn’t stop humans from running, and continue getting better at it. Eventually things like stability, cushioning, mesh, and other technical features were devised and that’s when things got complicated.  Gone are the days when you pick a shoe because you liked its design!

The good old days

Many runners these days say running got complicated—actually, it didn’t.  We just started to know more about the mechanics of running and the more we know, the more we realize that we have much more we don’t know!   And now with all these fancy technologies and $160++ shoes they tell us that all these “improvements” actually made us more feeble and prone to injuries?  That with all these “comforts” we “enjoy” we practically lost our ability to run with the correct form as nature designed our feet?

Honda’s Walking Assist Device—could this be the future?

Is your mind messed up already?  Good.  Forget all that I mentioned for a while and imagine yourself here:

* with some digital color correction

One of my favorite spots in the country, Ilocos Norte, gave me the chance to get away from it all, particularly with the beaches of Pagudpud.  I could just spend the entire day there, relax, let the world turn, and be contented.  But since I did not have that luxury, I had to maximize my stay with the most natural way a runner can—run at the beach!

With practically just my board shorts on I just let loose and run like I’m the only person in a desolate island.  I even left my flip-flops on the sand and ran barefoot!  In fact the only “unnatural” item on me at the time (aside from my clothes) was my GF405—since I was already wearing it I just started it to save where in the world I was running (I lost my Philippine geography lessons quite some time ago) and just forget about it (to remember only when to stop).  I just love that it works unobtrusively letting me savor that “natural” moment.  At that moment the only thing more “natural” I can do is to run in the buff but of course I’m neither in a nudist camp nor in ancient Greece.

Crash course on Philippine geography: the location of the beaches of Pagudpud (click to view Garmin data)

At first I wanted to have a “beach running photo” for this site’s banner, but I don’t perform well in such “unnatural” conditions and after some “fake” shots I relinquished the idea.  I can always come up with some fancy digital artwork as banner I thought.

What do runners do at the beach?  Run! Little did I know (and glad that didn’t know) that some “paparazzi’s lenses” were still on me during my innocuous beach run.  It was a “real” moment in a “natural” setting, and it was digitally captured so I was very thankful that I wasn’t a lone person in a desolate island.  Running barefoot and feeling the sand under my feet—it was a feeling that every runner should experience!   I was just lucky that I found one of the best beaches in the Philippines as my setting.  Thank you Sir Rene for capturing that moment! (FYI: this site’s banner is also “natural,” taken candidly by Sir Rene “Jazzrunner”)

Enjoying myself at the beach, courtesy Rene Villarta

Running is naturally pleasurable, and it is more so on natural settings—free from feigns and complications of the world.  You need not find a secluded beach, an exotic location, run barefoot (or even in the nude) to find the natural joy of running—just bring yourself, have an open mind, a willing heart, and leave your baggages behind.  Grab along some close friends too for company!

“Natural” is always best! Also courtesy Rene Villarta

Related: my barefoot running stories in Boracay, Nasugbu, and Pagudpud.

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The MIRACLE isn’t that I finished.  The miracle is that I had the COURAGE to START
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