Happy Friday! I’m back with the last post about distance running gear and accessories, with today focusing mostly on fueling and injury prevention. If you missed them, you can check out parts 1 and 2 here and here.
We talked a little about running with water, but for longer training runs you may need more than a handheld. When I started training for my first marathon I invested in a Camelbak hydration pack. Not only does this allow me to carry much more water (mine holds 50 ounces) but you can also store more things in the pack. When I first started wearing it in the summer I got a little chafing on my shoulders so watch out for that and wear your body glide! I couldn’t find the exact one I have anymore but this one is really similar:
Camelbak Dart Hydration Backpack
As your mileage increases, you may also want to take in calories while you are out running. There are countless ways to do this, but you just need to find what works for you. I have been able to use gels without a problem. One type that I like are Hammergels:
Found on amazon here
I also just bought some Powerbar Energy blends to try!
Another way to enhance your hydration besides drinking water alone is drinking something with electrolytes. I like Nuun because there are no added sugars.
Ok so now onto injury prevention. I’m sure you have heard of a foam roller by now? I don’t know how I lived for 27 years without one. I started with a really basic one and then progressed to the Trigger Point Grid, which is harder and gets deeper into your muscles to help them relax and release.
This is a more basic foam roller
The Grid Trigger Point foam roller
While I find that a foam roller works best on my quads and outer hips, I like using “The Stick” for my calves and hamstrings.
For the back of my hips (piriformis and glutes) I like using a tennis ball or lacrosse ball. I also have a trigger point ball which is a little firmer than a tennis ball but has a little give to it so I find it works while not causing me to cry like the lax ball does.
One nice thing about alot of these products is they come with explanations about how to use them. You can also google how to do self myofascial release and you should find plenty of decent explanations.
Another product that can be helpful as you increase mileage is compression socks. These helps to increase blood flow to the legs and many say that they feel less sore when they wear them during or after a run.
I just saw on their website that Pro Compression now makes dress socks too? So I guess you can wear compression socks all the time!
Something else you can try if you start to feel any aches or pains is kinesiology tape (or better known as KT Tape or Rock tape). In can help reduce pain from an injury or provide support to an area that may be bothering you. You can read more about KT Tape Here.
I usually go with KT Tape but many people go with Rock Tape and I don’t know if there is much of a difference.
A few other things that can help to prevent injuries are a therapeutic band to do core exercises and a stability ball. You can certainly maintain your core strength without these products but I’m just mentioning them in case you want to take your core work up a notch. The bands are usually inexpensive (but beware- the cheaper ones usually break easily!) but they are nice and small and easy to store. Last week Hailey mentioned these bands from Target.
Last summer I invested in a stability ball. I use it pretty often for core work but back then I said I would sit on it instead of the couch and I never do. But it is an extra seat in case we have people over because we only have a few chairs. I did sit on it a few weeks ago when my friends were visiting and we were playing drinking games at the end of the night!
Well that is all I can think of right now! Thank you for all of your comments and suggestions on the other posts! Keep ‘em coming and make sure to go read other people’s comments because there were great ideas about products and stores!
What products do you use for fueling?
What do you use for injury prevention?
What important gear/accessories did I miss in all 3 posts?!
Michele @paleorunningmomma.com says
I don’t think you missed anything! Funny I briefly talked about a hydration vest on my post today and also mentioned the shoulde chafing. I like it overall so hope the chafing doesn’t become a big issue on long runs.
It’s really time I got a foam roller. I’ve been putting it off but I really need one before I get further into training.
I can’t even believe that you don’t have a foam roller! It will seriously change your life.
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
I’m not a big gel person. In fact, at the RNR race, they were giving out gels and I took two and just squeezed them back and forth in my hands for the remainder of the race!. I love my trigger point roller–definitely a crucial investment, as well my lacrosse ball. I also really like rock tape, and my PT said that many PTs prefer it over KT tape because it has a bit more structure and stability. But really, whatever works for you it what you should use!
Gels are definitely not for everyone. I remember being really surprised that I liked them, but it also made it easier to find options for fueling. I can’t chew stuff while I run and I find that gels require alot less effort.
The chiros who have taped me have all used rock tape- so maybe it really is better than kt tape? Or maybe they just send professionals discounted products or something:)
Sarah @pickyrunner says
We seriously use like 80% of the same running gear haha I love that foam roller and I have 3 different sticks. And KT tape… and compression socks… basically I could start my own physical therapy studio in my apartment hah
I feel the same way! I have a whole section of PT items in the corner of my living room. All those items are great investments, if they help prevent injuries!
Chrissy @ Pink Polish and Running Shoes says
I’ve loved this series. Thanks for sharing!
Glad you liked it:)
Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes says
You hit the nail on the head with this one! All of my favs! I would add my Roll Recovery roller is so much better than my stick or foam roller..it eliminates the need for both. Pricey but SO worth it!
Oohh I want one of those so bad! I think I will need to save up and get one at some point. It looks so much easier to use than everything else!
Great post… I’m getting ready to get a foam roller. Can’t wait to try it out!
I hope you like using the foam roller! I found that it makes a huge difference in how my muscles feel.
You’ve covered all the bases for me! I’m starting to look at hydration vests vs. belts. Not sure which way to go. I have been using Gu. I went to REI a few weeks ago and just bought a whole bunch of different fuels to try, including Nuun. That stuff is the best after a run. I have a foam roller and love it dearly, but I do need a stick. I just posted today about how I used a rolling pin on my calves last night. I’m going to look for those bands at Target. I would love to pack those in my suitcase when I travel for work.
I used a hydration belt a while ago and I felt like the bottles were always shaking and sometimes they leaked. Im sure there are better ones but I definitely prefer the backpack!
I have always wanted to get one of those camelbacks. I don’t drink that much water though in training runs. Maybe if I ever do a 50k this would be perfect. I also love Nuun and have been using my foam roller a lot after long runs.
Im really glad to have my backpack on days where I do a long run in the heat – I could definitely see it being beneficial if you run a 50k!
I told myself last summer I was getting a camelback backpack this year haha. Never actually invested, but I lucked out with a lighter summer heat wise than last, so my handheld works ok. I park in the middle of my routes too and store extra water there and we have water fountains along some of the trails that occasionally work if we’re in a pinch 😉 I just discovered cliff Gus which work the best for me thus far, and I’m very glad they do. I was running out of options since the others sit in my stomach like all get out, and I know I need something for my full!
I haven’t had to use my backpack this summer either (between it not being too hot and not yet doing really long runs). I used it for my last marathon and it was nice to not have to stop for water! I like the Clif gels too, but Im hoping I like the powerbar energy blends since they are all natural!
Love the Trigger Point and Stick! I need to get another stick because I had it sticking out of my backpack at a race a few weeks ago and someone ended up taking it when I wasn’t looking :/. I love all the colors Trigger Point has now. I just can’t do gels. I’ve only tried them once though so maybe it was the flavor, but it was pretty bad haha. I love energy chews though. Are you a big fan of Pro Compression? I’ve only ever had CEP, but Pro Compression has such great deals all the time, that I have no problem spending the money if they’re just as good 🙂
That is awful that someone stole your stick at a race! I actually can’t do energy chews because I find it too hard to chew them while I am running- haha I guess I’m not that good at multitasking! I have one pair of CEP socks and I like wearing those after a run. I think that Pro compression is more comfortable during a run (plus they usually have sales and fun colors!) but as far as effectiveness I think they are pretty equal!
Sam @ The Running Graduate says
I love so many of these things! I just bought some hammer gels but haven’t tried them yet. I am in love with honey stinger gels! I have been thinking of buying some KT tape as I’m trying to adjust to running without my knee support sleeve. Have you ever used it on knees? I’m a little skeptical about it.
And Nuun. Girl, that stuff is addicting. I may have three tubes in my bag right now…
I did use it on my knee once when I had a random pain. I just looked up the website how to do it and I think it helped alot. However, I don’t think it was a “knee” injury as much as I had really tight muscles around my knee and I think the tape just helped to support my knee and keep it where it was supposed to be.
Michael Anderson says
Thanks again for sharing – I also have a similar hydration backpack, and it is awesome for longer runs! And compression socks … totally worth it!
Gels are just SO sweet I can’t stand them but they are a necessary evil – so I started training with them last summer. Still disgusting, but lowers the race day nastiness 🙂
I don’t have any sort of foam rollers, balls, sticks, etc … nor have I ever used KT tape. Oh well … 🙂
I guess the thing with gels (or any kind of fuel) is finding something that you can tolerate enough to have it do its job. Now that I am used to them I barely notice a taste, its just part of the running process.
I am always amazed by runners who don’t have a foam roller! I don’t know how you do it!
How is the weight of the camelback, especially at the beginning of the run when it’s full? I’ve been trying to figure out a good way to carry water on my runs. Thinking about trying the waist band with one water bottle.
I don’t think that the camelbak feels heavy at all even when its completely full. I find it much more comfortable than the waist band bottles because I felt like they sat on a weird place on my back and shook quite a bit. I like how the backpack is spread out across the top of my back and as long as you pull the straps tight it barely moves. But it is probably a personal preference- for me, the comfort plus holding more water made it an easy choice! It took a little getting used to, but once I did I found that it doesn’t bother me at all.