Happy Tuesday guys! I’m going to start things off by saying please go out and vote today. This isn’t a political blog and I’m not going to sit here and make you read all about my political beliefs but please vote today. It WILL make a difference.

I’ve received a few running questions via e-mail/comment in the last week or so and I thought it might be helpful to address them in a post. If my answers don’t do it for you or you have other questions (running or non-running related) don’t hesitate to e-mail me at runningthewindycity[at]yahoo.com!

How often do you buy new shoes?
Unlike many runners I don’t have a set number of miles that I log on each pair of shoes, I just wait until one day when I go out for a run and my shoes feel broken down. It’s pretty crazy because it will seem like they broke down overnight. Depending on how much I’m running and if I’m training for anything, I’d say this happens about every 3 months– more if I’m running higher mileage weeks and less if I’m not. I also don’t rotate shoes like many other runners. I keep one pair as my main shoes and one pair as back-ups (this may change this winter though– more on that later if it does).

What do you do with your old shoes?
Generally I hang on to my old shoes until I hear of a shoe donation event (remember Give Your Sole?) and then I scrounge around my apartment for my 10 pairs and donate them. Unfortunately I haven’t found a running store in the Chicago area that regularly does shoe donation but I’m always looking for more options. If you know of one or better options please let me know by leaving a comment or shooting me an e-mail.

Have you ever thrown out a pair of running shoes?
Not to my knowledge. I still have a zillion pairs at my mom’s house and when I was living at home she would often take my old running shoes and use them as ”yard shoes” (mowing the lawn etc.).

How do you only take 1/4 of a gel at a time without getting sticky?
First I’m going to say that I’m far from an expert on fueling during runs. In fact, I only started using gels about 3 weeks ago (I ran my other marathons on a mix of shot bloks and dried fruit).I also have a sensitive stomach and have been too afraid to pound an entire gel at a time. So here’s what I do, after I open the gel and take 1/4 of it, I smooth out the top so that there is no more gel left in it. Then I fold the packet over and place the gel in a tight pocket in either my running jacket or my running tights. Last Sunday I wore my lululemon aphrodite pants that have a small key pocket right over the hip, it was the perfect size to hold my gel. Sometimes my hands get a little sticky but smoothing out the top of the gel seems to help prevent too much stickiness.

(source)

What do you wear when it’s cold and you go out for a run in the morning?
Honestly it depends on how cold it is. If the weather is in the 20′s or 30′s I layer up with a long sleeved shirt tech shirt and sometimes an under armour shirt as well. I will also wear a running jacket, tights, socks, gloves (sometimes two pairs), and something over my head/ears like a headband or a hat. If it’s a bit warmer I may wear a short sleeved shirt under my jacket and crops. It all depends! I will suggest that if you’re running in the dark that you wear reflective gear and if it’s not well lit you consider a blinking light and/or headlamp.

I actually wrote a post on winter running gear last year and you can read it here and there were some great discussions on this post about running in the dark.

Now it’s your turn: what do you do with old running shoes? What do you wear running in the morning?