Friday, 7 August 2015

Training and Racing Gears For Your 1st Marathon

Training and running a marathon is not just about pulling on a shirt and slipping on a pair of shoes and going for a run. The right and proper gears you use, could make or break your race, and many experienced and seasoned runners are very particular about the gears and running essentials they use, whether in training or during race day proper.

Running a marathon for a first timer may take anything between 4 to 7 hours of time on the road and countless hours in training leading up to race day. Therefore it is imperative to have the right shoes, gear and outfit so that you can focus on the race itself, and not be troubled by niggling discomforts from improper gear choice.

Team 2ndskin athletes have completed countless marathons and long distance races of up to 160km and multi-day running events and are well-placed to share their insights into the proper equipment and running essentials for training as well as race day. Here, the Team 2ndskin stalwarts offer their views and how to make the proper choices:

Number one on the list is definitely the all important running shoe. A variety of running shoes are available in the market, so picking the correct shoes with the right fitting is really important. Get advice from a specialty running store or seek assistance from experienced runners for recommendations. A good pair of running shoes is the one that wears snugly and comfortable to your feet. For that reason, the right pair could be subjective to personal preference and running gait. A few important factors to consider before selecting your ultimate racing shoes are footstrike, pronation, arch pattern and level of cushioning and structure. Most runners go for a structured/cushioned shoe for training sessions and stiffer running shoes with lesser cushioning for race day. 
Cushion is comfortable, but too much cushion dampens the runner’s energy which slows down transition between landing to toe off.  Most of Team 2ndskin athletes race with the feather-light Skechers GoMeb 2, Skechers Performance Division’s racing flat. GoMeb 2 has a Dupont Hytrel plate in the midfoot for some stability and springs back for energy return. The upper material is highly breathable; keeping feet cool and dry in endurance races. Pairing the right shoe with proper technical running socks that wick sweat quickly and are lightweight tremendously aids the runner on race day.Jun Shen; 4X Ironman Finisher 

If you are looking to improve and move towards more serious running, a GPS watch plus heart rate monitor (HRM) is essential. A GPS enabled watch allows you to plan your training and races much better. Depending on the features of the watch, the data provided includes time, distance, elevation, heart rate, pace and calories utilized on top of other additional data. The watch is a great tool to record your performance during training and races. Incorporating HRM with GPS, the HRM provides feedback on your running effort and identify the level of intensity that are you running. This data can be used to plan your training more effectively. You can also set alerts and program into the watch to provide real time feedback of the intensity range you are training in. Other than using HRM, pace can also be used as feedback to plan your training. You can even challenge yourself by running against your previous saved sessions.

The latest Garmin GPS-enabled watches has integration with social media that allows your training to be tracked real-time. This allows individual to know your last updated location, in case of emergency. You can also activate track back feature to lead you back to where you start if you are lost in a new area. Team 2ndskin train and race with Garmin Forerunner series, 920XT and Fenix. – Roy Yeow; 160km Ultramarathon Finisher

Whether you're running in hot or cold weather, wearing clothes made of a technical fabric will help you stay dry and comfortable. A synthetic wicking material, such as Vaporlite, will wick the sweat away from your body. Do avoid wearing cotton as once cotton fabrics get wet, they tend to cling to your body and causes irritation. In hot weather runs, wearing clothes that wick away your sweat will help prevent chafing. High-risk chafing points should be well lubricated to reduce friction caused by wet apparel against bare skin. Team 2ndskin athletes train and race in lightweight and performance-oriented technical running tops by 2ndskin Clothing.
Some female runners may ask for guidance on selecting suitable sport bras for running. Choose high-impact sport bras to feel supported as they provide effective support and to reduce bounce while running.

The sports bra should fit you properly and not be too stretched out. Most sports bras need to be replaced after a set recommendation in terms of cycle of washes, when the elasticity is lost, or if your weight changes significantly.
Choice of shorts and pants is also a matter of personal preference.  Some runners prefer to wear lycra/spandex tights because they reduce friction between the thighs. Others prefer baggier shorts or split shorts for airiness. You can also wear long running tights, which may come down to your knees or calves.  These can also help to keep you warm in cold weather. – Annie Yee; Malaysia Women Marathon Champion

Many observers think that wearing sunglasses during your runs is all about making you look cool, but they actually provide benefits which are often overlooked. First of all, a good pair of sunglasses protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Secondly, sunglasses are a great way of reducing body tension as squinting your eyes increases the tension in the muscles of the face and neck, which can be transferred down the body and impact the efficiency of the running motion which eventually affects your running performance. Other benefits of wearing sunglasses on the run are to keep bugs, dust, dirt and debris from getting in your eyes, and to improve visibility depending on the tint of the lenses used. While picking a good pair of sunglasses, check out its UV-protection level, whereby the quality ones will block 100% of UV-A, UV-B and harmful blue light. Go for polarized lenses which reduces reflective glare, and impact-resistant lenses that are tough and durable for your active lifestyle. You must also invest on the comfort and lightweightness features and ensure they sit solidly on your nose with a traction grip so  that you may wear them comfortably in long runs.Azrulhisyam; Multiple 100km Ultramarathon Finisher

What used to be reserved only for top tiered athletes has been made widely available for the general masses today. Compression shorts, pants and calf sleeves help especially for longer distance running or endurance sports where the users will reap the maximum benefits. Popular as sportswear alternative to shorts or track bottom, the compression wear has gained a big following. A properly sized (to fit) compression wear may help to improve deoxygenated blood return to the heart and help to improve performance. By decreasing the instances of the muscles vibration due to impact, it helps the user to potentially reduce fatigue and increase endurance due to more efficient use of energy for forward motion. Used as a post-race or post-training wear, it helps to speed up recovery and you can reduce the delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) syndrome. Team 2ndskin train, race and recover with Kraftfit Compression Wear and their Powerband Technology that greatly aids muscle support and provides ergogenic benefits.

Compression tights can double up as a suitable innerwear for long-haul air travel too providing relief against Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).  – Ee-Van; 4X Ironman Finisher

The last thing to worry about while you go out for a run is to have your loved ones at home worrying about your safety. We have all heard the horror stories of road accidents and medical conditions afflicting runners during runs and races and we should be prepared for worst case scenarios. Having information such as your emergency contact numbers, medical condition and history, or drug allergy visibly attached to you will help speed up the process of medical attention in the event that you are involved in an incident and becomes unconscious or unable to speak. Lifeline ID, a local producer of identification gear, allows you to customize the information to appear on your ID while giving you the options on the type of ID you prefer to wear.Azrulhisyam; Multiple 100km Ultramarathon Finisher

Running in its most basic form is a simple sport. However, if you have intentions to be a serious runner and to participate in marathons and improve your performance, running gears become absolutely necessary. There are other running gears that many runners use, like running belts to keep small personal items, technical running caps and reflective bands/blinkers for low-light running sessions. Ultimately, running gears are a personal choice and not one-size fits all, especially in today’s vast availability of different choices and selections.

No comments:

Post a Comment