How to Run, Part 3

This should be the last installment in my How to Run series. We’ve already talked about the motivation and spent way too much time on shoes. This time I want to wax eloquent about gear, recording your progress and a few other things I’ve learned along the way.

The Right Clothes

You can run in just about anything but some things will make your run more enjoyable. Sweats and a ratty old t-shirt make up the classic running outfit but they’re not very comfortable. When you run you should be sweating and that classic outfit soaks it all up but won’t let any of it go. All of that moisture hangs around and begins to weigh you down.

Instead of running on the inside of a sponge you want to get clothes that will pull the moisture away from your body and allow it to evaporate. This keeps your clothes from getting too heavy and keeps you cool at the same time.

Do yourself a favor, get a few nice running shirts and some shorts. You don’t want to cut corners when buying shoes but you don’t need to spend a million bucks to get good running clothes. Head over to the nearest Ross or TJ Max and you’ll find good items for cheap.

The Right Time

A watch is something you don’t really need when you’re just getting into the habit of running but you’ll probably find yourself wanting one sooner or later. Like the running clothes, you don’t need to break the bank to get a watch that has all the features you’ll actually need. If you can find one that has a stop watch you’ve taken care of the basics; everything else is icing on the cake.

For my last birthday Kellie bought me a Nike watch and I really like it. Before that I had a trusty IronMan which I used for years until I lost it. Both watches do a superb job and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either one.

The Right Tunes

In the first post I spoke highly of a running buddy but sometimes you’ll find yourself running on your own. I’ve found that on these solo runs an mp3 player makes the run a whole lot more fun. Kellie’s parents got me an iPod Nano this last Christmas and I love it.

On my longer runs I like to start with a Bible study or a podcast from NPR. Those are usually good for about 40 to 45 minutes and by that time I’m nearing the end of my run and feeling tired. Then I switch over to my running playlist. I fill this playlist with songs that give me a good kick in the rear, songs that pump me up and give me a little burst at the end of the run. I probably look a little weird, sweating like a dog and mouthing the words to some rock-n-roll song but at least I haven’t broken out my air guitar.

I will add one comment on song selection. I find myself running to the beat of the song so, if you’re like me, you’ll want to pay attention to the tempo of the songs in your playlists. Fill them with songs that are too fast and you can burn yourself out before the end of your run; fill them with lazy beats and you’ll barely work up a sweat.

The Right Information

Recently I started logging my runs. This isn’t anything new to running but with the advances found on the internet it’s gotten a whole lot easier. Now days you don’t have to drive your car through your route just to find the distance. Nike and Apple teamed up to offer Nike+ which helps track your times and distances. For about $30 you can plug a small data recorder into your iPod and get plenty of info about your run.

I’ve had my eye on Nike+ for a while but I’m currently using a website called This site is built on top of Google Maps, giving you all sorts of options. I use the site to map out runs of various lengths which I save to use later. MapMyRun also lets me log my runs. It even uses my times, the length of my run and my weight to estimate how many calories I’ve burned. On top of all that it will even track the mileage on your gear. If you want to know when it’s time to replace your shoes let MapMyRun keep track of that for you. It’s pretty handy.

For years I didn’t do anything with my times but now it’s kind of fun to look over the data, to see if I’m getting faster or slower and to compare one run with the next. I’m using this as a bit of a motivator, trying to run on a consistent basis while working to improve my speed.

How About You

What works for you? Is there something I’m missing, something else that needs to be thrown in the mix. Leave a comment and let me know.

Late Story Addition: Headphone Hack

If you have ever run with earbud headphones, like the kind that come with an iPod, you’ve probably noticed how hard it is to keep the little buggers in place. The swinging motion of the chord creates enough movement to wiggle the headphones loose so you spend most of your run fixing your headphones.

This problem was driving me crazy so I tried puttting a safety-pin through the piece of plastic where the chord splits from one to two wires. This allowed me to pin it to my shirt and stopped the swinging of the chord from jostling my headphones loose. As a bonus it’s a light weight fix that’s also pretty small. If you try this little hack be careful not to stab the actual headphone wires; headphones that don’t work are actually more annoying than headphones that don’t stay on!

iPod headphone hack