I have only been running since July 2014, but I quickly realized that there are two mandatory items I need when I run. Whether it is for a training run or a race, I always make sure that I am stocked on………….GUM! I have particularly become all but addicted to peppermint flavored Orbit. I have found that chewing gum during runs has not only kept me from getting a dry mouth, but also forces me to breathe (which is always a good thing). Some people can just run. Not think about too much…..just run. I am not one of those people. I think about so many different things. How is my pace, how are my feet falling as they land, how is my stride, how is my posture, and so much more. With that being said, one thing I can sometimes forget is to breathe. Believe it or not, it is actually easy for me to get too distracted and realize that I am not breathing properly. Chewing gum also tends to help me not clench my teeth, which I tend to do in stressful situations.
Secondly, and almost just as important, is music. Motivation comes from many places when we are having a rough day, during a training run or even a race. Sometimes there is not someone else who can push you along next to you. Or, if you are like me, you rather the “lone wolf” be the way as you run. I make a new playlist for every race I run. There are some standard favorites that are on every list, but I also find some upbeat new songs to listen to so I can really keep motivated. I stagger my good cadence songs throughout to make sure that my pace is either still on point, or if I have fallen off pace, get me moving back up to time.
Even the simple things like gum and music are what can keep me going, whether it be a good run, or a tough one. Whether it is a poorly staffed race or a phenomenal race that has been going years and years. Music and gum are my absolute go-to products that are my requirements. Now, on occasion, it is time to run with a buddy. We all need personal motivation, and sometimes running with someone and keeping a conversation can help you realize how off or on pace you are, especially in a training run. But it can also keep you safe. I can admit that I am not the best in remembering to run outside with just one earbud in, leaving an “open ear” for safe reasons (car horns, people coming up behind you, and so on). My issue is that I like my music to be LOUD! But, safety is an absolute necessity. So, fellow readers, remember that being safe is just as important as those things that motivate you along the way.