Many runners like to travel light, especially on long training runs. The key is to use the bare minimum when it comes to gear and apparel, but make sure your choices are comfortable and safe. Here are four ways to carry less while still getting the most out of your run.
Use the 15-Degree Rule
Seasoned runners often have an apparel routine, but it’s important to be mindful of varying weather conditions. On cold days, it is easy to make the mistake of dressing for the temperature at face value. Overdressing in the cold can be dangerous - excessive sweat could lead to hypothermia in extreme cases.
As a rule of thumb, runners should dress for a temperature that is approximately 15 degrees warmer than the actual temperature. For example, if it is 55 degrees outside, dress for your run as if you would dress to go for a casual stroll in 70-degree weather. Other factors such as wind could come into play, but this is a good guideline to start with. Remember, on cool days, you should feel chilly when you first step outside and warm up about a mile into the run.
Hydration is vital, but carrying it can be inconvenient. The good news is, sports drinks aren’t generally necessary for runs of 60 minutes or less - water is sufficient. If your route is in a public park or trail, check to see if water fountains will be available along the way.
However, if your route doesn’t have water fountains and/or you are planning to run for longer than an hour, it will be necessary to carry hydration on your person. There are various options for hydration packs, but much like your running shoes, what works for one runner may not work for another. The key is to find a hydration pack that holds just enough fluid to cover your training run and feels comfortable.
For example, some runners are comfortable with the feel of a handheld, while others prefer to carry the extra weight on a belt. Both handhelds and belts should be adjustable and made out of moisture wicking, breathable materials such as mesh. Look for a pack that includes a zip-closure pocket to double as a carrier for valuables.
Get into the habit of only purchasing running apparel with pockets whenever possible. That way, any time you go out for a run, you’ll have somewhere to stash your cash, ID and keys. Without strategically placed pockets, you may have to carry jingling keys in your hand or compromise your safety by running without money and an ID.
The safest way to run is with a phone on you, but it's not always comfortable to carry one. For those minimalist runners who like to carry as little as possible, consider an armband made specifically for your phone. Try a few on to make sure yours doesn’t move around while you run. Armbands should be lightweight and adjustable, and many even offer additional features such as a clear touch screen, key pocket and reflective properties.
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