Lindsay Phenix is a professional running coach, model, and ultrarunner. She ran the Brazos Bend 100 in Needville, Texas, on Dec. 3 — a 100-mile race. All products were independently selected by Lindsay herself, and the prices were accurate and items in stock at the time of publication. BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them.
Running an ultramarathon is no joke. Aside from a watch to keep my pace and track all of the necessary data, there are a ton of other products I rely on to get me through 100 miles. Given a couple recent injuries and the intense weather conditions in Texas, I have been even more thoughtful about everything I need to feel ready and perform my best.
Before the race: prep
I’ve always do a lot of foam rolling leading up to the race. The IT bands get really tight, so I just want to make sure I’m going into it pretty loose. Foam rolling is a big thing.
I like to have everything ready the night before so that my morning isn’t as hectic. I may have to wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning since the starting line may be an hour away, for example, at a state park where there isn’t any lodging nearby. I’ll make sure that my gear is all good, my watches are charged before I go to sleep. (Check out my review of the Apple Watch Ultra vs. the Coros 2 Vertix.)
In the morning, I’ll try and eat some oatmeal, maybe a couple pieces of toast and a banana. I brush my teeth one final time because by the end of [the race] my mouth just tastes like sugar. I’ve got a ton of hair, so I have to put my hair up, probably just in a braid.
I always put on makeup for a race, just because it lets me know I’m about to do something I really care about, like it’s something important to me. I want to show up feeling good. I always use sunscreen everywhere, probably even a zinc-based sunscreen if it seems like I’ll be exposed. I use SuperGoop sunscreen for my face, and then I do the whole thing — foundation, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick.
You kind of have to figure out your outfit ahead of time. Starting from the top, if it’s not going to be cold, I don’t worry about any headbands or anything like that. I’ll wear a Brooks sports bra, and then the Brooks Method 5-inch short tights. They have three pockets in them where I can put my phone and other things.
I use KT Tape under my sports bra so that I don’t chafe, and on my back as well. And then I also use A+D diaper cream to avoid chafing between my thighs and on my right arm since it gets a little chafed there from the sports bra.
I often wear what’s called a fuel belt, and then I won’t wear a shirt until nighttime. If I do wear a shirt, it’ll just be another light Brooks top. I wear Feetures socks, and then for shoes I’m going with Asics Trail shoes. I have two Asics I often wear: the Asics Trail and the Asics Road GT 2000.
There might be a hat in there. To be safe, I also often bring my Tifosi sunglasses.
If I am going to put on a shirt anytime throughout the day, it’s better to not have my bib on my sports bra or I’ll be wasting time trying to figure out how to get it off. So I’ll put my bib on my shorts and make sure everything is positioned right so nothing's rubbing against me.
Once I get up to the starting line, I don’t really stretch a whole lot. I kind of just go. You’ve got plenty of time to warm up in a hundred miles.
During the race: survival
A food plan is harder to nail down just because there are so many options. If I use a gel, it’ll be a Maurten gel. A lot of my food will be sodas and applesauce, maybe a soup broth or whatever I can stomach at the time.
Often there are aid stations that are stocked with generic foods, but I don’t count on that. My dad sometimes comes to crew me, and he’ll have food on him, so I can grab it and stay as light as possible.
I always carry a bottle for water. I use a 20-ounce Nathan bottle that has a little hand-holder. I can definitely put a couple things in there, like a salt packet if I need it, but for me it’s just kind of easier to grab it once a loop. With that bottle, I refill at every aid station, especially if it’s a warm day.
I will also use Maurten powder, which is a super-high-concentrated carb. It’s got 340 calories and 80 grams of carbs per packet. It’s insane. The science behind it is that it’s supposed to be the maximum your body can handle without hurting your stomach as far as carbs go, so you’re not having to eat a bunch of calories. I’ll use that in my bottle once every four hours.
Another important thing I’m using is LMNT. It’s a salt endurance packet for electrolytes. I’ll use one of those every hour or two. It’s basically just a huge influx of salt for your body.
I always have Moleskin patches. If I get blisters, those seem to do the best at keeping my feet padded. I’ll also often switch out my socks at mile 40 and then mile 70 or so. It’s good to try to keep your feet dry so you don't chafe and get blisters. I’ll have the Lotrimin foot spray as well, which is a foot powder spray. It's technically for athlete’s foot, but it just helps keep your feet dry.
If I do need to pop a blister, I’ll use a sewing kit. You literally pop the blister and put a thread through it so that it doesn’t refill with liquid. I also keep tape on hand for any broken toes.
Some other things I may have available in case I need them:
- My Nathan ice hat or ice bandana and arm-cooling ice sleeves for extra UV protection and to keep my body temperature down
- A Patagonia running rain jacket in case it rains unexpectedly
- BodyArmor sports drink and Tailwind Nutrition fuel for some variety
- A running light since the trail may get dark when the sun goes down
After the race: recovery
I’m always in a ton of pain no matter how well a race goes. My body doesn’t want to move, so the first goal is to get in a warm bath as soon as possible.
I use Epsom salts right away unless I’ve got any crazy open sores. In that case, I probably hold off a day to avoid getting too much salt in them. Otherwise, lots of Epsom salts and lots of good carbs.
Right after [the race], you’re not really that hungry. I’ll have some chocolate milk, which is a good quick calorie. My stomach takes so long to come around and figure itself out. My stomach just kills for a day or so.
You’re so tired after, but everything just hurts. The sheet hurts on top of you, so not much sleep is happening. I definitely just get my clothes off and get warm. It doesn’t matter how warm it is outside, I get so cold after my body stops moving.
Then I just get into bed and don’t move! I put on big clothes because in the race, everything is about compression since I don’t want to chafe. But after that, I don’t want anything to touch my skin. Your skin almost hurts, so I just need something really loose and baggy.
The A+D diaper cream that I use for anti-chafing is also a good skin healer [for blisters or chafed spots]. It’s basically like Aquaphor with a little bit of added vitamins for your skin. And then of course if I have any sunburn, I’ll immediately start working on healing that too.
Those are the main things in terms of recovery, and generally caring for your feet as well. Keep any blisters you have clean and covered and just start to slowly figure out what’s wrong with your body.
I use Tiger Balm during the race (if needed) for any pain and also afterwards since it tends to work the best for me. And then I have a Theragun that I will definitely use.
There have been times where I finished a hundred miles and I’ve been able to run two or three days later, but generally I’ll take an entire week off and let my body heal. I’ll probably take a full week off and then start to slowly ease back into it.
As told to Loren Cecil.
Correction: The name of the marathon race in Texas was misstated in an earlier version of this post.