Professional runner Mary Cain’s favorite running gear
Photo: Emily Maye for Tracksmith
welcome to On the run, a Strategist column in which we ask experienced runners to tell us everything they wore and brought during their last race, shoes and socks at listeners and energy gels. Racing gear preferences are very personal and change depending on the season, so instead of declaring a pair of shorts or one sports bra Best of all, we hope this series captures what works best for a particular runner on a particular race – and that maybe you can find something that works for you, too.
For this edition, I spoke with pro runner Mary Cain. After breaking records as a high school student – and becoming the youngest American athlete to make a world championship team – Cain made the headlines in 2019 for quitting the prestigious (now defunct) Nike Oregon Project due to the coaches’ alleged emotional and physical abuse. Since then, Cain has become a strong advocate for female athletes, founding Atalanta New York, a non-profit organization that supports a team of professional runners and provides mentoring and training to girls in inner city neighborhoods. Here, she shares everything she’s worn on a long run on a cold day in Central Park, including compression socks that prevent shin splints and the device that helps her to practice self -compassion.
Before discovering the Koala Clip pouch, Cain says she just stuffed her keys and phone in her sports bra, which she admits “doesn’t look very professional for a professional runner.” . She started using it during the summer when she only ran with shorts and a sports bra and didn’t have a lot of storage options, but she still uses it during the months. colder ones, finding that she prefers it to storing stuff in pockets in her tights. “It’s nice not having uneven legs,” she said, “with my phone on one side and nothing on the other.” She wears hers with a Tracksmith Sports Bra. (Cain is the NYC Community Manager for Tracksmith, and the brand sponsors Atalanta.)
âI started using GPS so my trainer could make sure I wasn’t running too fast on my easy runs,â Cain explains. Transfer your training data from your watch to Strava allows him and his trainer to keep an eye on his training. She explains that she chose the Garmin 945 multisport because “if I want to go swimming, cycling, or doing some other type of activity other than running, I can always get the information I need” .
Along with his watch, Cain uses the Oura ring, which measures respiratory rate, heart rate, temperature, and sleep, to track his progress. Specifically, it helps her monitor when she needs more rest between activities. âIt’s easy to forget how stressful walking with the dog during a phone call and shopping is always even if it doesn’t come back on my Garmin like a long run,â she says. âIt helps me be nicer to myself because I believe in data. “
Compression socks serve a dual purpose for Cain. As a runner with a history of shin splints, she enjoys the extra support on her lower legs; in addition, the long length keeps it warm during the winter. âWith Bombas, I love the ethics of the brand and the way they look like a pair of socks when you buy one,â she says. While some compression socks are extra-tight, Cain says they give light to medium pressure. “If I just wanted a little extra support while sitting on the couch, I could put them on and that wouldn’t be weird.”
Cain maintains a number of rotating running shoes, including pairs from Adidas, but these are his current benchmarks for long, easy runs. They provide a bit of cushioning but aren’t so structured that her feet don’t have to work. âThey’re a pretty neutral ride,â she said. âDue to the nature of track racing and the type of shoes you train in and run in a lot, I wouldn’t want to have a shoe that was too built up and risk injury to myself while passing through. [track] spikes. This jump is quite aggressive. (As the coach of the New York Road Runners’ virtual program, Cain received a pair of these shoes to commemorate this year’s New York City Marathon. The limited-edition marathon colourway is largely sold out, but you can find other colors here.)
Cain says it’s easy for her to over-dress in the winter as she tends to get cold, but this Tracksmith half-zip helps her find a good balance of warmth and breathability. She especially likes the extra soft merino wool which is comfortable enough to wear for runs after the run. âI always recommend that people take off their running clothes as soon as you’re done,â she says. âYou don’t want to sit in a sweat, but we all have those days where you just go straight to a call. Â»She associates it with Tracksmith tights She says she’s stretchy and flexible enough to move with her if she wants to pick up the pace for a few strides at the end of a long run.
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