Having been a competitive runner for the past 16 years now, working my way through the ranks of high school, to college, to post-collegiate elite, I’ve learned a thing or two about living life on the (literal) run. The following are 5 running hacks and pro-tips I’ve picked up along the way, and not the typical kind you’ll find on the newsstands...
When you're running and really need to pee, but you’re in the middle of a suburban neighborhood:
If you’re like me, you usually have 3.5 seconds from the time you feel the urge until the time you’re peeing your pants. If there are no Starbucks to pee in (a runner's best friend...), there are a few tricks here to save your dignity and avoid getting a ticket for indecent exposure. First, look to see if there is a dumpster nearby, as these are typically surrounded by an (open) gate. If so, sneak in, do your business, and sneak out. If not, resort to plan B: look for any slightly shielded area, like the space between two parked cars or behind a shrub, and crouch down while pretending to stretch. Hopefully you’re wearing running shorts, because then you can easily pull the crotch portion of the shorts aside, limiting the amount of skin you’re exposing to the world.
When you have to run, but have a terrible hangover:
Hey, don't judge...surely you've woken up hungover before a run or race. Hydration is the key to drinking sans hangover, so the first thing you should when you wake up with the hazy feeling and awful headache is replenish your electrolytes. One of the best ways to do this is with the fizzy electrolyte replacement tablets like Nuun or Hammer Nutrition or whatever (non-Gatorade - ew!) hydration drink you like. Depending on how bad the headache is, dissolve 1-2 tablets in water and drink up. For best results, follow with a strong cup of coffee.
Know what running gear items are worth paying extra for:
Some items in a runner’s wardrobe are absolutely worth paying what may initially seem like an arm and a leg. These items include running shoes, your favorite brand/type of socks, great shorts, dri-fit underwear, a properly fitting sports bra, warm base layer, shorts/tights with a good pocket, and a water/wind-resistant jacket. Not only do these items make running more comfortable, but when calculating how many “wears” (CPW - Cost Per Wear) you get out of each item for the price, you will find that spending a little extra is actually cheaper in the long run (pun intended). This is why we recommend getting an amazing pair of high quality running shorts, like our Gravity - Womens Running Short or Velocity - Men's Running Short, designed for actually running.
When you have a big race coming up and you get your period:
Two words: menstrual cup. If you’re running a 5k, whatever, a tampon is probably fine. If you’re going in for the long haul of a half or full marathon, though, a menstrual cup is life changing. (The Diva Cup is pretty popular and worn by some runners I know). The cup is leak free and there is no need to worry about dying of toxic shock syndrome in case you accidentally forget about it in your post-race haze.
When you have a long run on the schedule but can’t get motivated to get out the door:
Believe it or not, this problem happens to everyone, beginners and elites alike. When this happens to you, think of a worthy indulgence, such as a trenta raspberry cheesecake latte from Starbucks (our favorite place to pee, remember?!). Now, instead of simply saying, “If I finish this run, I’ll buy myself a treat,” assign a money total to each mile. For instance, if your indulgence is $10 and you’re going on a 20 mile run, then each mile is worth $0.50. Approaching your run in this way breaks what seems like a monumental task into manageable chunks. Plus, once you get going and have “earned” a few dollars, it will be more difficult to bail on the run.
There you have it, some running hacks to make your life easier! Do you have any life hacks you use for running? If so, we'd love to hear them - share with us in the comments below, or tweet to us @OnlyAtoms.
Our guest run blogger is Anna Weber who's a 2:38 marathoner (!!!) who's qualified for the Olympic Trials, runs with our friends over at Oiselle (only love for them here!), a Nuun and Zensah ambassador, a chemist and a believer in karma (like us!).