Talking at the Y tonight

I’m still on Ireland time apparently.  I woke up at 3 this morning ready for the day.  I’m speaking at the YMCA tonight about “Running Shoes, Apparel and Accessories,” so the extra hours are handy.  I have lots to say about all those things, but my thoughts are kind of a jumble and I don’t want the audience to feel like I’m vomiting information on them.  I’ve really had a good time thinking about all of it and drawing cute stick figures in running gear.  Three hours passed in the blink of an eye.  Speech writing Flow.
The audience will be people training for the San Antonio Half Marathon in November.  And I think this will be the first half marathon for most of them.  It’s been fun to figure out how to cull all the information and balance “hey-you-don’t-need-any-special-gear-to-run”  with “well-actually-this-is-pretty-nice-to-have.”  It’s also been fun to remember some of the questions I had when I started running.  Do you wear underwear under running tights?  (Whispered beet red to a friend who worked at a running store in Virginia Beach.)  For that matter, should you wear underwear under running shorts? Maybe you all were much more savvy than I was — or less concerned about underwear.  I hope I’m gauging the audience well, and that they’re not disappointed by a lack of jargon and specs.  I always frame my teaching with the disclaimer that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, so I’ll be passing the information along in a way that I would understand if I were in the audience — or in a way that makes it memorable so they can share it with others.  That’s always gone a long towards gaining an audience’s goodwill.

I’m excited to do my part to help folks feel less intimidated when they walk into a running specialty store.  I still get intimidated by spec spouting young guys — and I get to have my initials attached to a shoe color next year.  (How do you feel about turquoise and shiny silver?)  I want to say something like, “If you don’t understand what they’re saying, it says more about them than it does about you.”  I know someone will ask about barefoot running and I still need to get my thoughts in order about that, so I’ll leave off blogging for now.

Is there anything you all think I should pass on to new runners about choosing shoes, clothing or accessories?  Anything you wish someone had told you or something that was a revelation for you?  My basic message is: it’s important to get good shoes and socks and most everything else is icing on the cake.

PS.  What should I tell the men about the length of their shorts?  😉

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20 Responses to Talking at the Y tonight

  1. footfeathers says:

    “I’m firmly in the minimalist camp. Men: Speedos, calf sleeves, belly shirt, no shoes. Women: tube top, skirt, sans liner, no shoes. Body Glide on your knees for all the times you’ll bend down to pray for the finish line.”

    I wore undies under my cycling shorts when I started cycling after high school. My father casually pointed out the proper use of the shorts and the benefits.

  2. lizahoward says:

    Awesome. You want to fly down to demonstrate that get up?
    Good reminder about Body Glide. I’d forgotten to put that on the list.

  3. Gene Taylor says:

    I’m thinking the point is to “have fun” and don’t get too caught up in the clothing and accessories. There is plenty of time to get obsessive when they have more experience. As for the length of running shorts; below the crotch (I mean the legs) and above the knees. That should cover the range of tastes.
    Have fun,

  4. Kerry says:

    Oh, yeah, I wish I had known….
    1) There is more than one philosophy about what shoes you need–it is actually controversial. If you are having issues with your feet, legs, knees, getting injured… it *could* be a shoe issue. Just because an “expert” at the most reputable store in town spent 20 minutes watching you run and told you that this is the only shoe for you, don’t take that as the last word. If you want to try another shoe… try! Go to a different store. (Nice you’re talking in the Y, here!)
    2) OTOH, if a new runner is having discomfort/injury issues, it could be a mobility issue. Lots of people are either naturally balanced and flexible, or else did some amount of sports in Jr High and know when/where they are tight, and therefore cannot relate to those of us who are unaware of this whole dimension of the sport. I have really poor mobility/flexibility, and do not have those experiences to deal with it myself. When I started running, I had no idea the extent to which this was an issue for me, and the “coach” of the Half program I was in didn’t have the diagnostic skills to help. There are people out there who do have these skills. If you are having trouble keeping up with the training plan as the distances get longer, seek out someone who can coach form and work mobility early.
    3) Body Glide doesn’t work for me, but other brands do. The different brands are different. Try more than one. Even skinny people start like me may have rub issues for the first time in their lives, if they are running their first 11 mile training run ever.
    4) Men who worry that their 11″ shorts *might* be too short are Girlie Men. Wear something that doesn’t rub and isn’t too hot, and then spend the extra brain cycles on your form.

    Hope this helps. It is a recurring problem for me, having started sports for the first time in my life after 40, that sporty people just cannot fathom how much I don’t know about sports and my body. Help the beginners!

    • lizahoward says:

      Love it! Good reminder about the possible chafing — even if you never have before. And I totally agree about the shorts. Actually I keep trying to convince my guy friends to wear shorter shorts. I wanna see some leg!

  5. doise says:

    Which Y are you speaking at and what time? My sister just emailed me last night that she does want to do SA half in November so your talk would probably be helpful for her. We just had the underwear talk a few weeks ago : )

    As far as gear, some beginners don’t realise cotton is not our friend. Socks are very important, so is hydration and taking electrolytes. I was shocked by how many people I came across at Cap’t Karls this weekend who weren’t taking electrolyte pills. Sodium in bloks and drinks won’t cut it in this heat!

  6. Shannon says:

    I am putting in another plug for tips on dealing with “chub rub” (as I like to call it)…. wether that is a glide product, different length shorts, new sports bras, shirts etc. I was super embarrassed about this problem, and thought I HAD to run in short shorts. I also did not want to ask anyone in the store where it was located. Also depending on how many women are there, talk about the importance of a good bra 🙂 (I know you love to talk about those!!)

    • lizahoward says:

      I was reminded by a good friend to talk about the double sports bra option that the well-endowed set might need to employ. And I refuse to call my chaffing “chub rub.” Yeah, I really tried to let the people there know what’s common, so they wouldn’t feel intimidated in running stores. I hate that feeling.

  7. Moogy says:

    PLEASE guys, >5″ inseam.

  8. Miles says:

    While we’re on the topic of rubbing/BodyGlide/etc., remind your male listeners that while chub-rub can be uncomfortable, nip-abrasion is in a whole ‘nother category. Body Glide, band-aids, Nip Guards . . . all of these things can make for a much more pleasant post-run shower! The Y Half-Marathon training group couldn’t have a better mentor!

  9. Josh says:

    I’m firmly in the 5″ or less for guys shorts as well. I agree with Kerry that in SOME cases, mobility is the issue at hand, and not the footwear, although with the current minimalist fad that has swept the Runner’s World reader populous, the footwear is just as much at fault. As a current 10k-marathon coach, my experiences have confirmed for me that minimalistic footwear have no business on the feet of a 280-300lb guy who is a heavy heel striker. All that line of reasoning encourages is visits to chiropractors and orthopaeidic specialists. I would definitely recommend anti-cotton, solid nutritional guidance, advice about sleep schedules, planning your runs out of the heat of the day, and realizing that the marathon is a lifestyle change, not just a short term goal. Body Glide is a major plus for many new runners, as is the Stick (muscle massage tool). KT Tape might be another handy thing to look at for runners that will inevitably incur a muscular injury in the beginning of the training cycle. Any of the Soler’s Sports shops can help provide guidance as to which shoes are best suited for an individual’s foot type, but again remembering that it is merely guidance – not the ONLY option.

    • lizahoward says:

      Thanks Josh. I directed folks to Soler’s. The nutrition talk is next week. I’m not the main speaker. I’m interested to hear the race nutrition guidance.

  10. Anna Williams says:

    So . . .
    Um, my friend wants to know . . .
    Do you wear panties under lined running shorts? I mean, not you personally Liza, but in general.

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