One of the many things that I love about running is that in my almost 7 years of exclusively running, I have never stopped learning about, experimenting with, and perfecting my running routine.

Take GU for example. I had my first experience with GU during my first marathon. I had trained using Clif Shotbloks but had not brought enough with me for the race. Around mile 22 I started to feel like I needed something more and I grabbed a GU when they were handing them out later in the course. I think I might have had the entire thing, I’m not sure, but I do know that it did not sit well. I’ll never know whether it was the GU, the excitement of running my first race, or the fact that I was sick that caused the GU to come right back up shortly after I finished the race.

The above picture is post throw-up. Trust me, I was not smiling before.

After that experience, I didn’t want anything to do with gels. I trained for races using shotbloks or dried fruit and never thought twice about trying a GU again… until this fall when Zappos sent me a runner’s care package with an order of Brooks Adrenalines. In the package, they sent a sample of GU and for the first time, I was curious to see how I’d do. I waited for a day that I was running long on the treadmill and brought the GU with me. I took just a little at a time and found that it didn’t bother my stomach at all AND it really helped my running. Crazy!

A few weeks later, I am now a gel convert (although I prefer the Clif Shots with caffeine) and can’t believe I’ve gone so long without using them.

Well, today I tried my new injinji socks and I have to say, I’m super impressed with them! Injinji socks are performance toe socks that aim to strengthen muscles in your leg and foot, wick sweat away, prevent blisters and hot spots, and help with gripping and balance. Until Saturday, I’d never heard of injinji and then when I did, I thought that I’d be incredibly uncomfortable running in toe socks. To be honest, the only thing drawing me toward the socks was the idea of preventing blisters between toes <– I happen to get a lot of these.

This morning I wore my injini’s on a 7 mile recovery run and my feet felt great. I couldn’t even tell that I was wearing toe socks, my toes didn’t rub, and my feet stayed super warm. Injinji FTW!

I don’t know that I’m a complete convert yet (I will still wear my old boring, normal socks) but I do plan on buying another pair or two of injini’s to wear on treadmill runs or during races when I’m particularly blister prone.

Sometimes changing up old routines can lead to even better new ones!

So tell me, what’s one new thing you’ve tried or one way you’ve experimented with a running/work out routine?