A Word About Fitness

What’s up, my beautiful people!!!

I just got back from the MOST BEAUTIFUL trail run on Forbidden Trail in the Wissahickon (which is part of the famous Fairmount Park) and I just had to tell you about this incredible, magical place!!  I can’t believe a place like this exists in the city of Philadelphia!!!  Truly.  Gorgeous.  Forbidden Drive itself is a wide, packed dirt path that runs along an active creek.  The main “road” (i.e. dirt path) is an out-and back of about 11 miles, I think?  I didn’t bring my Garmin or anything to measure time or distance today… just went out there “naked”, haha, and enjoyed the scenery.  Along the route you will see an assortment of runners, bikers, mothers with strollers, dogs, horses, children, and just about any type of somewhat active person or thing you could imagine.  It’s surrounded by nature and covered by a canopy of trees overhead, which is nice for shade.  And it’s pretty flat.  There are tons of technical hiking trails that go out and WAY UP from the main road, but I didn’t explore them today.  It’s just a really great place to go to get your aerobic physical exercise in and be healthy while enjoying the glory of nature, right here in Philly.

Since I just went for a run, my brain’s in that mode of activity, so I thought now would be a good time to share some items I think are essential when getting into the sport of running!  Yes, I basically live on my bike, but running is a great way to cross-train.  And it’s pretty addictive, if I must say!

The great thing about running is that it doesn’t require much in the way of “equipment” – you can literally throw on some sneakers and head out.  HOWEVER, if you invest in quality stuff, and some of the extras, you will be way more comfortable and less prone to injury.

So, without further ado, here is my official girl.bike.dog.-approved list of ESSENTIAL RUNNING GEAR:

  • Running Shoes.  Yes, I know, you’re saying “duh.”  But let me elaborate.  Since they’re gonna be the thing that absorbs several times your body weight with each step, it’s pretty important that you go for good ones.  I’d suggest visiting a local running specialty store (there are a few good ones here in Center City Philadelphia, as well as a popular store in University City right by University of Pennsylvania) to get properly measured and have them do a gait analysis.  They’ll be able to suggest the right type of shoe (note: not only are there different shoes for road running, trail running, and track running, but there are different kinds based on how your foot naturally hits the ground and moves through your gait.  So get analyzed.  Try on a bunch of shoes.  Go for comfort.  Try not to get hung up on price.
  • Socks.  Also important.  Get the moisture-wicking ones.  Trust me, do not wear cotton socks.  They will give you blisters faster than you can say, well, blister.  You heard it here first.
  • Clothing.  The three most important things about your clothing are that they wick moisture away from your body (again, stay away from cotton!), that they are weather-appropriate (layer, layer, layer because conditions can change along the course of a run), and that they don’t chafe (be careful of where seams lie).  Otherwise, go crazy!  Get things that will make you feel good.
  • Water Bottle Contraption.  There are several options, from handhelds to waist belts.  The key here is that you are hydrating.
  • Nutrition.  If you’re going out for more than an hour, you’re going to need nutrition/electrolytes as well as water.  Several options here, from gels to blocks to bars to even jelly beans.  Experiment!
  • Somewhere to Store your Keys/ID/Etc.  Some people are able to tuck these things in a pocket or a sock.  I prefer to wear a running belt, which is slim and meant to stay close to the body and not bounce around.  In mine I store my ID, keys, phone, chapstick, and some money.  I don’t even feel it, but it’s sure nice to have these things close and secure.
  • Sweet, Sweet Tunes.  (And a good pair of headphones.)  Music motivates me so much.  Makes yourself a running playlist and get yourself an iPod or whatever and some good headphones.  Rock out.  You’re welcome.

Alrighty, that about covers it!!  Go forth and BE ACTIVE!!  Haha.