With more Disney half marathons coming up in the near future it’s time to visit some tips on getting the most out of runs, and especially races. This is a part one to a two parter. The reason? There’s a lot of gear! But, I want to give some advice to get started.
This time it’s all about gear. This isn’t a definitive guide. And I’m also writing from a guy’s perspective. There are many places to check on whether some gear is right for you and your runs. But, here’s what I’ve found…
The Runner’s New Clothes
Of course the first stop is clothing. What kind of clothing should you get?
It’s actually more simple than you think: Wear what’s comfortable. That goes for costumes too. Think through what is going to make you comfortable as you run, even if you just walk. I once saw an amazing costume where a man was dressed as Kronk from Emperor’s New Groove complete with a tall tent backpack which had a printed Yzma on it. It was blasting out the music from a scene in the movie. I stopped to compliment the costume, but also ask how much it weighed. He said it was something like 15 pounds. 15 pounds! I quickly raced past him after that because he had slowed down to walk, sweat dripping within the first two miles of the race. As cool as that all was, I’d imagine the guy had a miserable rest of the time.
Ok, I rant a bit.
Usually comfortable knit shorts and a loose shirt do great. I say loose because if it’s tight it can actually impair your body from getting air and sweating properly. I like actual running shorts and shirts because it is very light weight and has materials that help ventilate. Sometimes running shirts will also “cling” to your shorts where they won’t bunch up anywhere as you run.
Overall, if you want my opinion, light weight running apparel does make a difference. It’s worth the slightly extra cost than picking up some polyester shorts from Target. Sometimes there are great Disney appropriate attire in running form that you can find at the Expos. Oh, speaking of, those shirts you pick up at the races are great to hold onto! That’s the most basic of running tees you can get your hands on.
Besides clothes, this is probably the most basic item to get your hands on. It’s always a question to go cheap or pro. Pro is more expensive.
Before you pick any shoes out, I suggest going to a running gear store. Many will have a free assessment on the type of shoe you should get. They will try to sell you a shoe and even insoles from the store, but you don’t have to get them. It is very helpful to know how you run.
After you’ve done the assessment, do some research on the shoes that fit you. You can look through ones at the store before you leave. But, in any case, figure out what models are similar before you go try some on. Then you know exactly what you’re looking for.
In all, the cheapest pair of running shoes isn’t typically good. If you are only doing one race in your whole life, it is probably fine. But, even for training it’ll help. If you get shoes that don’t fit well you will be in a world of pain every time you run.
That goes for New Balance runDisney shoes as well. They do look very cool. You’ll get attention and compliments. But, you may get a lot of pain too. If you buy them at the Expos, the New Balance employees are helpful to know what matches your usual shoe. For example, I typically use a New Balance model 1260. They don’t have those in runDisney versions. The closest is the model 860. Does that work? It does for the most part! There’s a bit of difference, but it’s been fine to run in. Unfortunately, the newer attraction based ones have nothing quite equivalent and I know I’ll be miserable if I run in them. So, I’ll have to avoid them.
One thing that running stores may try to sell you on are insoles. Are they worth it? They very well could be. I have ran with the ones that come with shoes and with custom ones. The custom makes a difference. Is it a huge difference? It is for me because I’m susceptible to plantar fascilitis – a common pain on the bottom of my feet. Having the right kind of insoles helps fight this pain.
Custom insoles fit feet perfectly. Generic ones don’t. Which is better? Again, it depends. I now use ones called Superfeet that are great for me. They’re not custom and are a bit cheaper. They are made to help with the plantar fascilitis. Would custom ones be better? A little bit more. Would no insole at all be fine? Not for me. If you want to try it, I do suggest getting a Superfeet model that fits how you think you run. They can be about 20 bucks so it’s not too expensive to just try out. See if it makes a difference in your run.
Well, that’s it for now. That should get you started. Next time I’ll cover the world of accessories! There’s much more gear that can help your runs, or not at all!