I Need Your Running Advice

Okay all you runners out there…I need help! I’ve only started seriously running this year, and until now, I have never done running as a sport. All my running history has come from conditioning for other sports. (You can read about my running past and present here!) As I am become more and more of a runner (yes, I feel like I can call myself that now!), I do feel like I need to educate myself on a few things.

Number one: Compression socks!

I’ve seen a lot of talk about compression socks on twitter and on other blogs, but I really do not know what they do. Are they necessary for all runners? Are they especially necessary for marathoners? Do you wear them while running, or just after running? How do they help? Will they help with my current knee/quad/hamstring/gooloo pains? Do I need to get some?


Number two: Foam rollers!

Again, I have heard other runnings tweet about how they spend hours foam rolling. What does foam rolling do? Does it do more for the muscles than stretching alone can do? How does it work? How often are you supposed to do it? Do I need to get one?!

Is this the right kind? (see below)
Or is this the right kind? (see below)


Number three: The Garmin!

It seems like every runner has one of these! I know that they measure heart rate, distance, and pace…but they are so expensive! Does anyone know where to find one a little less expensive or another brand of watch that has the same features? Do I need to get one?!

This pink one is pretty cute!

Number four: The Ice Bath!

When should this be done? After longs runs? How long of runs? How long do you stay in the bath? How does it help? How can you bare the cold?! I don’t like my bathtub…can taking a cold, cold shower work as well?


I do plan on researching these things myself, but I would love to get any advice from YOU! Being a newby runner, I could really use any advice, even if it’s not about these four things, so please throw it all my way! Thank you so much!

…and if anyone out there (ahem, that’s you husband) needs some advice when it comes to getting me any birthday presents come August…(oh wait, he doesn’t read this!)

Thanks so much!!!



19 thoughts on “I Need Your Running Advice

  1. i consider myself a real runner and have never used any of those. except i did a quasi ice bath (a dip in a cool pool) after a run and it felt nice. but it was cool, not ice cold. while those tools might be helpful, they are definitely not necessary.

  2. Eeee, this is my topic. Because I’m an absolute running gear/product nerd. Like the person above, I consider myself a real runner but it does not come naturally to me so I need all of the help I can get. So forgive me for writing you a novel here!

    Compression socks: I don’t think they’ll help your knee/quad/hamstrings but if you ever feel shin splints or calf pain they’re a dream. They’re also made of material that will hold really tight and not give you blisters. There are also compression sleeves (I’m partial to Zensah brand) that just hold your shins/calves in place. I’m obsessed with them.

    Foam rollers: I think both are the right kind but I use the one you have pictured first. Basically you roll yourself over the foam roller and let your body weight work the knots out. It hurts like a mofo but really helps break up knots in your hamstrings/it band. The stick does the same thing but you’re rolling out knots with your arm strength. (there are a lot of youtube videos to show you how to roll specific muscles)

    Garmin: I am in love with my Garmin. I have the 305, which is an older model but it works great. I found mine for $99 around black Friday but it’s like $125 on Amazon right now, which isn’t too bad. I have no sense of natural pacing so it’s the most useful thing I have. If you have an iPhone or a Droid there’s an app called RunKeeper that does a lot of the same data recording as a Garmin (and it’s much cheaper) and will announce your pace to you at certain intervals.

    I haven’t ever taken a full on ice bath but I do ice my shins/knees a lot after long runs.

    So… I hope that was helpful and not annoying! I love running products and if you have any questions about things always ask!

    • Carly! Thanks for all of the advice!!! I think I could definitely benefit from a foam roller…I have RunKeeper on my phone, but sometimes I just wonder how accurate it is…ya know?!
      Thank you so so much!

      • RunKeeper was pretty accurate. Their website is good because you can always go back in and map out your route yourself and see if the numbers matched. I’m a total geek and have run with both my Garmin and RunKeeper going at the same time (right after I got the Garmin) and RunKeeper was usually off by about .12 each time. So it’s pretty close. πŸ™‚ The only thing is that when I used it it didn’t have an autostop option so if you stopped running to cross the street you’d have to get your phone and pause it. My Garmin knows when I’m not moving.

  3. foam roller – i have one and love it – it helps roll out tightness in your legs (or anywhere else you can roll!) it hurts but you feel so much better after! the stick is a similar take but i like the foam roller – you can get a much better release when gravitiy is pulling your body weight down.

    garmin – i bought the forerunner 205 and LOVE it. it’s the basic version of what you have above. it’s got quite a few options and settings so you can track your splits, current pace, overall pace, calories, time, etc. the 205 also has settings for biking and hiking. since i’ve been out of running commission lately, i’ve used my watch when i bike ride to see how far i’ve gone, how fast i went, etc. doing a quick google search, they’re like $100 on amazon.

    another gps that i’ve used is the nike sportband. i don’t really recommend this one. you have to first do a run to ‘set’ your pace (calibrating -which i could never figure out) and if you don’t, your distance and time is way off. i had too much trouble with this one to appreciate it. it is a bit cheaper, though. and if you have an iphone/ipod touch, you can sync it so that if you fall below your pace, it plays a ‘pump up’ song. that part is cool!

    ice bath – did one after my first half – not sure how much it helped! i was still waddling around with sore legs the next day πŸ™‚ hopefully someone else has more experience with this part for ya!

    sorry for my novel! hope that helps!

  4. Ha, I’m loving this – especially since I have no clue on compression socks, but after reading this, I now think I need them! I have a garmin but have gotten away from using mine – I was getting really hung up on the numbers and stuff. Though, it did help me figure out my pacing at first, now I just figure out my various running routes (distance-wise) and go by that. I don’t need my garmin as much anymore. but at first, I used it a ton. I also need to get a foam roller, big time.

  5. foam roller is a MUST. the other things are optional but will help.
    I am obsessed with my garmin, and I wear compression socks after races and during chilly races since I race in running skirts. πŸ™‚

  6. I’m so excited you posed all these questions.. at THIS I’m a pro. πŸ™‚

    I need need compression socks. I’m dealing with some awful shin splints, and I’ve been putting them off ’cause they’re so hideous. πŸ˜‰ So, I’d say no, they won’t help with your pains… only if you develop some in your shins or calves.

    As for foam rolling, grab one from Target! Mine was a cheapie and I use it when my legs and butt are reeeaaally sore.

    YES, YES, YES to the Garmin if you want to improve your speed and track your mileage/pace. It’s my best running investment to date, and I feel lost when I forget it. Check out Amazon.com. That’s where my ex bought be mine for a discount!

    And I’ve honestly had plenty of aches and pains, but I defer to icing my area of pain instead of taking an ice bath. I don’t do well with cold. πŸ˜‰

    I hope this helps!

    • Thank you so much! It looks as though I must get a foam roller…and you say they have them at Target? Score!
      I’m thinking I’m going to have to ask for a Garmin for my anniversary/birthday gift from my hubby this summer.
      Thank again!

  7. For the type of pain you’re experiencing, compression socks are not going to help (they’re for muscular pain/recovery and shin splints), but the foam roller or tiger tail will! I prefer the tiger tail because it’s easier to use and I feel like I can use it on more areas. The foam roller will have the same effect but it’s really all about preference. And you should definitely, definitely get a garmin. One of the best investments a runner can make and it will help you IMMENSELY!!!!!!! Seriously, your entire world will revolve around it. As for ice baths, that’s a judgement call. See how you’re feeling after your long runs and then give it a try. Good luck! πŸ™‚

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  9. I’m not an expert runner by any means but I wouldn’t be able to run at all if it weren’t for my Garmin!!!! I would definitely recommend investing in one. They really aren’t that expensive. I’d recommend the 305 which is only $125 on Amazon right now. You’ll be amazed at how motivating it is! I also use a foam roller occasionally but I’m not much help with anything else, sorry! Ice baths scare me πŸ™‚

  10. I’ve always been curious about the compression socks too. I love my roller. I have my hubby roll it on my back and arms too. An all over massage for cheap;)

  11. I feel so intimidated getting into the running world with how expensive things are and how there are SO many gadgets. I personally don’t take baths full of ice. At most I get frozen vegetables and put them on where I felt I worked out the most. It really helps me not feel sore the next day. It’s more important to really feel what your body is saying because if you don’t pay attention then you might have not iced the right area. I usually ice my hamstrings since I’ve noticed that getting into running I’ve been using that muscle more than I ever have but there are days when I’ve iced my quads. So just feel where it might be tight and go from there! Hope that helps.

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