Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gear Herding

So my nephew is training for a half ironman. He’s already done like 17 full ironmans. But he wants to get back into half ironman shape. So his running’s going well.  But not so much the biking and swimming because,as he says, it seems like such a 'production' to get ready. I sure know what he means. Running is so easy. Put your shoes on and go!

I bet there are a lot of us out there who would stay truer to our fitness plan if gathering,  schleping and repacking our ‘stuff’ were easier. I feel like I have a pretty good system down now. And thought I'd share some ideas in case it might help.

Participating in multiple sports require a lot of gear and clothes. I hate the packing and unpacking of a gym bag and gathering all the gear each time. Also, the wet gear from swimming is messy and can get funky when left in the gym bag too long.

I use the same gym bag for all my sports. That way I can keep essentials in there at all times. For example, you need sweat proof sunblock whether you are running, riding or swimming outdoors. So in one pocket of my bag I always keep sunblock. I also keep a tube of anti-chaff lotion because I need that whether I'm running or riding. (I hate chub rub!)

Let's talk biking first.

Then when I come off from a ride, I hang my helmet on the handlebars and put my shoes in the helmet. That way they are always together; always in the same spot. I never have to hunt them down.

Clothes: most of us do laundry on the weekend and it consists of all the clothes from the week. So if I had 3 runs, 2 rides and 2 trips to the pool, all those 'outfits' should be in my laundry right?

So when I fold my clothes, instead of putting all my running shirts in a pile, running shorts in another, cycling jerseys in another, etc I stack them by outfit.

I put a cycling jersey, shorts, socks, headband, and gloves in one pile. Then I do the same for the next cycling outfit and my running outfits. So I have little 'packages'. I put the small items (socks, gloves and head band) in between the shorts and top so they don't fall out. That way you just grab an outfit all together and put it in your bag or just jump into them if you are riding/running from home.

I never waste time gathering everything for each ride. I did all the gathering when I did my laundry. Who cares if this causes you to wear the same outfits week after week? For me, it's about convenience not style. :) 

So the theory is you don't have to spend time gathering stuff before each outing.

Let's talk swimming. This is the hardest for me because of the wet items. For me, the challenge is to keep the dry stuff dry and not let the wet stuff get funky while not wasting too much time handling my stuff.

So, for swimming I have two mesh bags. A small one for my shower items. And a larger one for my towel and suit.

If I shower at the gym, I have a set of toiletries that are for just the gym alone. So I have one set of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, soap, moisturizer, etc etc that stays in my gym bag. That way I don't have to gather anything up. It's just always in my bag. In the small mesh bag I put the items I take to the shower with me that will end up wet: Shampoo, soap etc.

When I go to the shower I take the whole bag and hang it on the water handle for easy access (also you don't have to put the bottles on the gross floor if there are no shelves in there).

As I use the items I put them back in the bag. When I get done with the shower, I keep that wet bag out of my gym bag. More on that later.

The large bag by this time has my swimsuit in it. When I changed out of it for a shower, I put it in the large mesh bag and kept that out of my gym bag. When I was done with my towel I put it in the big mesh bag with the suit.

Here's how you keep everything dry. I have two D-rings on the outside of my gym bag. One clipped to each side of the shoulder strap where it joins with the bag. I clip the mesh bags to the d-rings. This way the wet stuff air dries without getting the inside of the bag (and its contents) wet.

If I don't go straight home, I just leave it this way so the items can air dry in the car or wherever.

When I get home, I have a little work to do. I hang the towel and suit up right away to air dry completely. I have another towel and suit standing by. I hang my wet stuff and grab the dry replacements and put them in my gym bag. That way, I am ready to go for my next swim. I don't have to gather anything. I do this as soon as I get home. I find if I think I’ll do it later, I don’t. So do it right away when you get home.

When I come back from my next swim I exchange the wet suit and towel for the now dry suit and towel from the previous swim. So I am always ready to go and I don't have to spend precious time gathering all my stuff.

It's pretty darn easy once you set the system up and are disciplined to hang you stuff and rotate items. It helped a lot to stay on track because I had a lot less hassle with gear.


Anonymous said...

Jill; this article is well written and comprehesive. It will be an assist to a lot of sportsters. Where do you find time for all of this. Are you buying these articles someplace? Bob

Jill said...

I am appalled and offended you would suggest I buy my posts!!! Just kidding you jokester!

I work very efficiently and watch very little TV. :)

Ron said...

Thanks for the good advice, Jill. I waste a lot of time hunting down gear for hikes and bikes. I'm going to try out your system.