Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been running for many years, there are about a million things that can make or break your next run. I had the chance to listen in on a Zoom event with celebrity running coach Elizabeth Corkum (aka Coach Corky) in which she discussed the best way to “control your conditions” so you can truly enjoy the running experience. In her “Feel the rush, avoid the burn” presentation, she literally started from the toes and worked her way up to the head in regards to some products that can make ALL the difference.
The first thing worth mentioning is that there’s no magic formula that works for everyone. I wish there was a “secret sauce” for running fast and feeling good, but there’s just not. Corky was very clear when making her recommendations in saying that what works for her may not work for everyone. It’s always best to experiment and use your training runs to test what works and find your way before any big running events you are planning. With that being said, here were some of the products Corky mentioned during the Zoom session.
- For your skin: Body Glide (see our review here). Have you heard of this stuff? If you are an endurance runner, you likely have. There are many different lubrication options to help with all your chafing needs, but Body Glide, which in it’s original formation looks like a white stick of deodorant, has been around for a long time. Not only is there the original tried and true formula, but there’s a “Her” version just for women, a “Feet” version that’s made for, you guessed it, your feet and toes, and even a “Skin” version that goes on more like a cream/lotion than a stick. Whatever your preference, it goes on clear so it doesn’t stain your clothes and it’s odorless so you really don’t even notice it. What you will notice is if you forget to wear it.. It’s Chafe City if you sweat a lot or get caught in the rain. It comes in different size options which is convenient for travel, and it lasts a long time. It should be the first thing you put on, (so before your clothes and gear) and Corky also recommended putting it on after a run and before a shower if you feel like you need it. The barrier really helps when that water hits your skin!
- For your feet (see our shoe reviews here): Corky didn’t have specific shoe recommendations because, again there’s no secret sauce. But she did remind us that shoes generally have about 200-400 miles in them which sounds like a lot but really isn’t if you’re a regular runner. If you also walk around in your running shoes, those steps add extra miles too. Generally, the cushier shoes last a bit longer than the minimalist shoes due to more material, but chances are that if you’re wondering if you’re in need of a new pair, you’re probably due. Take your old shoes to a running store so that the shoe experts can see where you wear them down and this makes a recommendation much easier for everyone.
- For storage, part I: Leggings with pockets!! Corky specifically recommended Sweaty Betty leggings for running, but honestly a lot of activewear companies have stepped up their game in this department. It’s taken many years for them to realize we want pockets and there’s no going back now. There are two important elements that are vital in this equation. #1 is having pockets that can carry things like our phones, our gels, our keys, or any of the other small things. The Sweaty Betty leggings Corky recommended had side pockets as well as a zippered pocket on the back. The #2 piece of the equation is that the leggings DON’T MOVE. We don’t want them dragging or falling down. We want our pants to stay where we leave them. I myself am a rep for Zyia Activewear, and their Light N Tight leggings meet both of these criteria, but there are also great options from Athleta, Oiselle, Lululemon, and many other companies as well as Sweaty Betty. Sorry boys, I can’t speak to the men on this because I haven’t tried any for you.
- For storage, part II: SPIbelt Running Belt (see our review here). Corky mentioned several times that shoe likes to run “as naked as possible,” which means she doesn’t like to load herself down with gear. Though there are many belts and vests out there, she mentioned that SpiBelt was her favorite. This is a true minimalist belt.. adjustable to pretty much all body types and small and stretchy. She recommends this one for safety, so if you feel you need to keep some Band-Aids or safety gear on hand, you can throw it in here. This particular brand of belt doesn’t jiggle or move on your body. I can attest to this myself, as I’ve run with a SPIbelt many times. This is also where she keeps her nutrition, which is coming up in #6 ahead!!
- For your face: Tifosi Optics (see our review here). There’s nothing worse than sunshine in your eyes or debris during pollen season. Not only do you not want your eyes to water while you’re trying to run, but you kinda want to be stylin’ too. Corky recommends Tifosi Sports Sunglasses because they are great for running or for fashion. She showed us her two favorite styles .. The Swank and the Racer. They are cute, affordable, and can be worn for all occasions.
- For your gut: PowerBar PowerGel Hydro. For long runs, you need more than just water to power thru the miles. This is one of those areas that is very specific to every runner, but since Corky doesn’t like carrying a ton on her runs, her current fave is PowerGel Hydro. This product doesn’t need to be mixed with water, though it certainly can be, and it’s got all your electrolytes in there. Corky recommends taking your nutrition early and often, probably at least every 30 to 40 minutes. Whatever you decide on, know that endurance athletes need to train their gut for the long run, so practice makes perfect here.
Whatever you choose, remember that training for more miles is about more than just that extra time on your feet. You have to practice for all the other things you’ll encounter while running as well. Control the things you can. You have enough to worry about out there on the road or trail without making things extra hard on yourself.