We are beyond excited to hear from another one of our loyal and beautiful customers, Maritza McAulay about her go-to running essentials. Maritza is currently living in Honolulu, Hawaii and we have been drooling over her beautiful pictures ever since connecting with her on Instagram earlier this year. Her advice comes to us backed by 15 years of experience hitting the pavement, including running (and winning several races!) for Cal State LA while attending on a full-ride scholarship. Outside of the great friendships she has established and treasures as a result of her running, Maritza’s accomplishments have also resulted in sponsorship by Skechers PerformanceCEP Compression SocksSimple Hydration and BioAstin.

If someone was training for their first marathon, what would be your advice for the number one, must-have, item?

My number one must-have item is my UrbanHalo headband! I discovered them last year at the Honolulu Marathon Expo and fell in love. I use my headbands to help keep me cool here in Hawaii. I don’t typically wear hats while training because my head overheats, so UrbanHalo headbands are perfect for me. I purchased two at first and have been rocking them ever since. People have seen me and asked about them, so I spread the word and have even shared from my personal stash!

The sun is shining the temperature is rising, what do you make sure to take on your run?

I carry my favorite water bottle from Simple Hydration . Due to the heat and humidity in Hawaii  (80+ degrees by 7am most days, which always feels like more!), I always have to be mindful of staying hydrated while training. Needless to say, it’s important to have water at all times, as dehydration can lead to major problems.  Simple Hydration makes it easy for me to stay hydrated without sacrificing mobility.

Near and far, you are on the run. What is your favorite running shoe?

My favorite shoes are the Go Run 5 by Skechers Performance. I use them for long runs, tempos, track workouts, and even race days. They are light and comfortable, with the right amount of support for me. I definitely recommend them.

What is your go-to post run snack?

After running, I always make myself a protein shake. In fact, I even make one before runs because I need to have energy for my workouts. In the past year, I’ve become increasingly aware of the importance of protein – especially since I often train twice daily. My go-to protein source is Orgain Organic Protein.  My favorite flavor is sweet vanilla bean. I add 16 oz of almond mild, one banana, oatmeal, almonds, honey, peanut butter, and strawberries; perfect for recovery!

Many people use a GPS device to track their runs. What gadget do you live by?

I use the Garmin Forerunner 220. I’ve had it for awhile (going on two years!) and it makes a big difference in terms of not only keeping track of the usual stuff, distance, pace, past performances, but also in scouting and developing my training routes. The GPS also helps me feel safer when running in a new location that isn’t familiar. I also like that it reminds me of my goals; because who hasn’t been on a long run and needed an extra boost of motivation, right?!

There are always ups and downs during the long months of marathon training. What do you do to help combat the challenges you face?

I think it starts with believing in yourself. Full disclosure, while Hawaii is beautiful, it’s been really difficult training here due to the heat and humidity. Seriously, some days I just don’t want to do it. I’ve been here for about two years now, and for the first year I almost wanted to quit running – it was so bad. I wasn’t hitting what felt like fast times, PR’s weren’t happening… and I really had to re-evaluate my whole approach in order to adapt to this new environment. For example, I used to be a night runner in SoCal, but here I started waking up at 4:00 am in order to train when it’s cool and the sun isn’t out. I’ve largely had to be my own motivator, but it’s worth it because I love to run so much, and I don’t see myself not doing it. I always remind myself that I was the one who earned a full athletic scholarship by training hard and getting good grades – no one was going to just give that to me. I had to earn it. I am reminded that “If I did it once, I can do it again”.  Sometimes we have to be our own best cheerleader in order to achieve the things we want in life.
That said, you can’t do it all alone. My husband has been there to see and share in the ups and downs of my running life. He has been there waking me up when I don’t want to be up (he’ll literally pick me up and put my feet on the floor!) and has both encouraged and pushed me to get things done. I’m so grateful to have him in my life.

Music is a must for many of us when training. What is on your running playlist?

I enjoy listening to Ellie Goulding or Spanish/Latin music – especially reggaeton!

We cannot thank Maritza enough for taking the time to share her wealth of knowledge with us! Be sure to follow her on Instagram (@maritzarunz) to keep up with her and her running adventures!