Welcome to marathon training season. You did it. You signed up. You committed to 18+ weeks of training. 18 weeks. That’s a long time. There’s no doubt the highs will be high and the lows will be low, after all it comes with the sport. Just know that we’re there to support you the whole way. Whether you have questions on shoes, injuries, or sports nutrition we can get you the answers you need to succeed.
As a company that has been heavily involved with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon for over 20 years and trained thousdands of runners to cross the finish line, we’re here to help. We picked the brains of staff that have run over 50 marathons combined to help you get to the start line and across the finish line. Here’s a quick rundown of everything they recommend:
Fleet Feet Sports is known for something we refer to as the FIT Process. Our FIT experts will take you though a thorough fitting to ensure you are ready to run 5 miles or 26.2 miles, no matter your goals. Being FIT doesn’t mean only shoes it means a supportive insole (like Superfeet), moisture wicking socks, and a sports bra (for the ladies). Depending on your running history, our FIT experts may recommend other products for you like TriggerPoint rollers or massage balls.
Speaking of insoles, not everyone needs them, but they can benefit from them. Let’s quickly talk about your shoe for a moment. If you take out the sock liner it is essentially a thin piece of unsupportive foam that protects your foot from the seams on the bottom of the shoe. Take a look at the bottom of your foot. It is not flat, it may have a little or a lot of shape. Your arch is your body’s natural shock absorber and it works VERY hard when you run. Why not give this 3D surface 3D support?
During your FIT, our staff member may suggest a great pair of performance running socks. Why can’t you just run in plain cotton socks? While cotton is great at absorbing moisture, it is NOT great at dispersing it and drying quickly. Enter running socks. Whether a sock is made of Nylon or Merino Wool, it is guaranteed to be much, much more comfortable than cotton. Feetures and Balega both feature synthetic materials in varying weights. A synthetic material dries quickly and is naturally soft. Smartwool socks are made with Merino wool, a natural fiber. Merino wool is excellent at moisture transport and keeps your feet warm when wet (in winter) and cool when wet (in summer).
Compression has been a hot topic in running for the last 10 or so years. With foundations in those with extreme edema in the lower limbs, compression was designed to drive blood flow back to the heart, also known as venous return. When it arrives at the heart, it is then sent to the lungs to be oxygenated and back to the heart and through the arteries to the rest of the body with oxygenated blood. In athletes, compression has been found to have similar benefits both during and post-exercise. During exercise compression works to help stabilize muscles in the lower limb to reduce vibration resulting in a slower rate of fatigue (great for marathon training!), increase venous return resulting in better circulation, and helps to jump-start recovery. Speaking of recovery, the quicker you recover the better your next run will be.
While there is nothing better than getting a professional sports massage to aid in recovery or injury prevention, it is not easily accessible for everyone. (Though we do recommend checking out what Aligned Modern Health has to offer!) There are also many, many options out there, but our team has chosen the best of the best for daily post-run self care aka PreHab. Keep yourself injury free (or help heal yourself from current injury) by keeping an arsenal of massage tools on-hand at home for post-run fun. At the minimum, we recommend:
We all know athletic apparel is all the rage right now, but there is something to be said about run specific items. Companies like Nike, Brooks, and Saucony were born in running and continue to engineer their materials and fits for runners…yes these companies make apparel (and it is pretty great!) For marathon, training it is important to have a variety of shorts or capris, tank tops or short sleeve shirts, and a couple layering pieces for cool mornings (are those over yet?) or post-run errands. These should all be made of NON-COTTON moisture wicking fabrics like polyester, nylon, or Merino wool and possibly combined with some form of Lycra for stretch and comfort.
Last, let’s be real about sports bras. Ladies, come on in and get fit for a sports bra at any of our stores. Our assortment is top-notch from Brooks (formerly Moving Comfort) including the Juno and the Fiona, two top selling bras across the country for years and years. We recommend having more than one sports bra: one on body, in the wash, and one ready to go! Find your favorite and buy it in every color.
While these may not be for everyone, they can certainly be helpful in your journey to 26.2.
We’ve gone through what you need to make your 18 weeks of training successful, now we need to talk about the little things that make your runs great. Just tips and tricks from the best runners on staff. Click on the product to learn more.