There are so many decisions out there when it comes to the technicalities of running. Primarily what I mean is gear, fueling, etc. It seems each runner has their own specific method of doing things, and I suppose that's how it should be. I know each person is an individual, so each thing may work differently for each person. As I begin working towards longer distances, I know these things are going to become more and more important. It's not like a 10k trail run where basically all I need to do is wake up and have a cup of coffee in the morning and that's enough fuel to carry me through the race.
So, fuel first; right now I've been primarily using Gu gels, and they seem to work decent. However, I know that even on a two hour run, that second Gu I pop I definitely have to force down, because I don't really dig the taste at that point (currently on the Gu expresso flavor). For awhile I got caught up in the chia seed and fruit juice gel mixture, and while it seemed to work ok for shorter runs, there just wasn't enough energy for anything over 10 miles. I know that the Gu will continue to work when I need it to, but at around $1.20 or so a shot, it can get expensive.
So I've been looking for an alternative, something that I can mix myself, and maybe even flavor myself to work with. I've been listening to some podcasts (Ultrarunnerpodcast, Trail Runner nation, Endurance Planet), and doing some research into home made mixes. Seems to be several of the homemade mixers, especially on the triathlete side of the house are using maltodextrin and gatorade powder. What I can't seem to find is the ratio. I know malto is cheap, especially when you consider you can buy it in bulk from brewery supply places (I'm sure there's one around here somewhere, just haven't looked yet), and gatorade powder isn't that expensive either, and comes in a variety of flavors. I guess I've got some more research to do, and then some experimentation to conduct.
As for gear, one thing I know for sure so far; I love my Nathan handheld water bottle. I'm going to have to get another one of those, so that I can have one mixed with whatever drink mix I come up with, and the other with straight water. It's got a great little pouch for gels or car keys or whatever you want I suppose, and it's very comfortable to wear while running.
Shirts, I love my North Face technical shirts, because they are super light, wick really great, and I hardly notice wearing them. But, I have to admit, weather dependent, I'd always much rather run shirtless.
For shorts, I love my North Face 2-in-1 Flight series shorts. They are longer ones, with a full length boxer-brief liner. They definitely help prevent alot of chaffing in the nether regions (if you know what I mean).
Shoes, well, I know what I like, and I know what I want to like, and I know what works. Fortunately, what I like and what works both seem to be my Merrell Road and Trail gloves. I also really like my Brooks Pure Grits, depending on the terrain. And I'll admit, after running a fairly technical 11 miler on Sunday, my Achilles and calves are screaming at me from wearing the Trail gloves. I know a little more adjustment will help, but I may start using my Pure Grits for more technical stuff.
What I want to like, is just about everything from the NB minimus line, and the MT110s. Unfortunately for me, I just can't seem to get them to work for me. Oh well...after all, I do love my Merrells, there is no doubt about that. The Road Gloves are the best running shoe I've ever run in.
We'll see what I can find out through experimentation with fueling and gear as time progresses, and I'll be sure to post it up here!