Halfway Swag

I’m officially into my 10th week of half marathon training!

At the halfway point, things are going beautifully. My pace is getting faster naturally, which is quite the nice surprise. I’m learning more about my body, breathing, nutritional needs, mental and physical capabilities. It’s clear that stretching and strength training are essential. Dailey Method continues to be my cross training of choice. The attention to alignment, the stretching sequences, and obviously the fantastic strength training are exactly what I need right now.

To celebrate yesterday’s 8 mile run (I loooooooooove saying that!), I headed to REI for some overdue running swag.

n00b runner Christmas!

I’m beginning to feel the last 9 weeks of running accumulating in my body. Nothing major, just tensions and tightness here and there. My left ITB always seems to need extra stretching. I’ve also observed some lower back discomfort and tightness in my left hamstring. I stretch before and after runs and on off days but I figure it was time to bite the bullet and try this whole foam rolling thing!

He helps me.

I watched some of Runner’s World’s videos on YouTube before mounting my new foam friend. Dude was on hand to photograph.

Hey! This kind of hurts quite a bit!

It was definitely a little uncomfortable on my quads and left ITB. Afterwards, I couldn’t believe how mushy and loose my legs felt! Where has this BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!

I also replaced my ratty, ripped to shreds iPod case with one that’s actually designed for an iPhone. My old case has fallen apart to the point where I have to hold it in my hand so my iPhone doesn’t fall out the bottom. I’ve become accustomed to holding it to check my pace (no Garmin in the shopping bag, sadly). I may hold my new case unless I’m on a long run and want to use my handheld water bottle.


What’s on your athletic wishlist? Any tips on foam rolling? What runner swag can’t you live without?


9 thoughts on “Halfway Swag

  1. Julie says:

    I’m actually quite anti-stuff when it comes to exercise. The more stuff required, the more overwhelmed I get and the less I want to do it. My husband is the opposite. He wants every do-dad and gizmo and find motivation in shiny new things. That said, that very iphone case has been invaluable! I like it because I can keep my phone in its usual anti-breakage case while I use it. So I don’t have to fumble about trying to take my phone out of its behemoth case every morning.

    Also, I can’t live without my heart rate monitor. I’m bad about making sure I have those stupid watch batteries on hand, so when I have to go a week or two without it because the battery died I am total sadface.

    The foam roller has been pretty necessary for the hubs, and I like to roll sometimes, like you say, when the weeks of strain seem to compound and regular stretching isn’t quite enough. He’s also been eyeing those foot roller things? For the bottom of your foot? But we figured out that a tennis ball is inifinitely cheaper and seems to work quite well! Yay self-foot massage! It helps that we have a box of tennis balls from Costco too. Dog, ya know. So if anyone wants one…

    One swag item that was kind of a bust? The water bottle belt. Husband insisted on buying it, then tried running with it exactly one time and hated how it jostled around. Obviously running involves your torso going up and down quite a bit. The running belt could not quite hang. If I’m running 10+ miles I’ll just carry water. Though I carry the bottle that came with the belt, since it’s pretty small and slim – easy to carry.

    • Anna says:

      I have one of those belts too, you should try wearing it a lot lower on your hips as opposed to around your waist and tighten it quite tight. It`s not perfect and sometimes it almost feels like it encourages IT band problems but if I discover new areas and want to stuff all of my things this is sometimes the way to go for me. Just worth another try, maybe.

      • Julie says:

        Thanks Anna! It’s actually something my husband bought, and is waaaay too big for my waist. He’s kind of finicky about stuff like that, but I’ll try suggesting it. Though maybe not, since he has an IT Band issue. 😦 Good to know!

  2. holly says:

    I really want a foam roller as well – I’m glad to see your review! I’ve just been doing a super deep squat to stretch my ITB’s. It works pretty well but I definitely want a foam roller and an iphone case!

    Congratulations on 8 miles!

    • Shauna says:

      I *highly* recommend the foam roller. I feel great today after using it last night. 🙂

      For my ITB, I usually rotate from a hamstring stretch.

  3. I use the foam roller a lot now for my hamstrings, I originally got it for my IT band, but its awesome for al over!

  4. Anna says:

    I really, really want to get a foam roller, right now I`m using a 2 litre water bottle at times, haha. What I`m most excited about is getting a Garmin for my Birthday but I still have to wait some more weeks or rather months for that. Well.
    One more question: how is that armband cut? I tend to have problems with the armbands just falling down on me because I do have relatively skinny arms..? Do you think you would recommend it?

  5. Anna says:

    Oh, one more thing: I tend to not “stretch” before running but instead increase my heart rate slowly and do some active warm up stuff like swinging a leg from one side to the other, running on my toes or heels, etc. I found it was better like that for me and there are also tests that say you shouldn`t do static stretching pre-run because you should only stretch the muscles when they are warmed up (after running). Just an idea because maybe it will help with the tightness you are feeling.

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