It feels so good to be training again! Arghhhh! Why did I wait so long? After completing the 4-Week Wellness JumpStart, I created a 17-week training plan for the Monumental 1/2 Marathon which we’ll be participating in in Indianapolis on November 4th. While I’m not new to training or running in general, I haven’t done a race longer than a 5K since… sheesh, I don’t even remember when. Since Sully was born 3 years ago I’ve participated in 6 runs and they were all 5Ks. Not so bad I guess with all that I’ve got going on in my life but it’s time to amp it up!
I wanted to share with you some of my favorite running gear. After years of training on and off, I’ve found what has worked for me and what hasn’t.
(*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of my links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.)
1. Good Pair of Shoes:
I’ve seen a lot of bloggers recommend a specific shoe, but my take on it is, there is a reason there are so many different models of running shoes and that’s because there are so many different types of runners, who have different gaits, feet, body weights… All of these things play a part it the perfect running shoe for you. Myself, I have to have a stability shoe with a wide toe box. The only reason I know this is because I went to a specialty running store and they did a free gait analysis. Most running stores will do this for you. They can tell you if you pronate (ankle rolls inward when striking the ground) or supinate (ankle rolls outward when striking the ground). This will tell them what kind of shoe you need.
Don’t get caught up in the, “Which brand is better?” debate. My very first “official” running shoes purchased from a running store were Nike. I loved them! Then after I had worn them out and was ready for my next pair, the new model of that shoe no longer fit me the same. I’ve since had Brooks, Asics, and New Balance. So ignore the brand, (and the color) and instead concentrate on the feel. Your feet can thank me later.
2. Running Buddy
The Running Buddy is the latest gadget I’ve added to my running repertoire. I absolutely love this thing! I jumped on the bandwagon a few years ago when everyone was buying the running belts and I did not like them at all. The strap kept creeping up as I ran. Running is uncomfortable enough sometimes, don’t add to my problems! So when I saw the Running Buddy I decided to take a chance. I got the XL size and it fits my iPhone 6, iPod, house key, cash/ID, lip balm, energy gels and inhaler with no problem. It clings to your pants using magnets. I attach mine to the back of my running pants and most of the time I don’t even know it’s there. I love it so much, I started buying them as gifts.
3. Road ID
Anyone who knows me knows I’m big on safety. But what if something happens while you’re out running or riding your bike and you can’t speak for yourself? The answer is Road ID. It’s wearable ID, contact information, and medical alerts for when you’re out and about. They have IDs you can wear on your wrist, shoe, ankle, or as a necklace.
They now have them for children and pets too. I read a testimonial on their website about how someone was at a hotel and their child ran ahead and got into a waiting elevator without them. After looking frantically, they got a phone call that he was on the 40th floor. When they went to get him all the people who were gathered around said they were going to buy Road ID for their kids too! (Yes, Sully has one now.) I just feel safer wearing mine. I’ve also bought a number of these as gifts.
Don’t you hate it when you’re running and you keep hitting the cord to your earbuds and knocking them out of your ears? Infuriating, huh? I love my Jaybirds. They stay in my ears even when I’m super sweaty. (They also have a lifetime sweat proof warranty.) The charge stays for 8 hours. I keep both my phone and my iPod in my Running Buddy and my Jaybirds connect to both. If I have a podcast I want to listen to that I haven’t loaded onto the iPod yet, it’s super easy to switch to the other device. There are 3 small buttons that control the power on/off, next track, and volume. You don’t even have to stop running to switch tracks or adjust the volume.
Let me tell you a little story. The date was July 9, 2011. It was 91ºF and I was attempting my first (and only, so far) Half Ironman. I grossly underestimated how many energy gels I would need. I brought six. SIX. For a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, and 13.1-mile run. Not very smart on my part. They were gone before I even finished the bike. At mile 1 of the run, I stopped for a port-a-john break and contemplated quitting. Across the road was an aid station and the volunteers had lawn chairs sitting all welcoming-like in the shade. All I wanted to do was crawl over there, sit in one, and take a nap. It was one of the most difficult mental struggles of my life! I pulled myself out of that funk, filled my hat with ice, ate a Gu energy gel they had available at the aid station, chugged some water, and kept going to the next station. They had aid stations at every mile of the run. At each one I did the same thing; ice in hat, gel in belly, water down gullet. This was the only way I survived. (Thanks, Gu!) They have a lot of different flavors but Chocolate Outrage is my hands-down favorite. You can buy them at pretty much any sporting goods store, running store, or bike shop, but I like to order a big box on Amazon to save some cash.
6. Fitbit Surge
I got my first Fitbit back in 2013. It was the One model. I still have it and have had zero problems with it. I wear it on my bra every day to keep track of my steps. Then for my birthday in 2015 Rudy got me the Fitbit Surge to replace my outdated Garmin Forerunner. I use it when I run, bike, go to spin class, or workout in the gym. It has settings for pretty much any exercise you can think of and keeps track of your heart rate, pace, distance, etc. The app is very user-friendly and a very popular feature is the Challenges feature where you can go up against your friends and family to see who can get the most steps! You can also use it to track your water intake, weight, exercise goals, and sleep quality. (I had to buy one for Rudy for his birthday that year too.)
7. Water Bottle
This water bottle by Amphipod is my favorite water bottle to use while running. You don’t have to grasp it; you just slide it on your hand and it stays on. The insulation around the bottle keeps your drink cold and also keeps your hand from getting too cold. I also like that they don’t waste space and added a zippered pocket for extra storage.
8. Good Running Bra
A must-have! Ladies, you know what I’m talking about. Bras are kind of like shoes, you gotta do what fits your needs and your body. I’ve used this one from Enell that worked really well. Right now I use one by Victoria’s Secret but I don’t see it on their website so I’m not sure they make it anymore.
9. Chamois Butt’r
This one is actually a cycling product but it works so well I use it while running too. In cycling, this stuff is used as a nice barrier between you and your padded cycling pants. Less friction = less uncomfortableness = more riding! So put a little bit (a dab’l do ya!) of Chamois Butt’r where you experience ANY chafing, and you are good to go. And the bottle lasts FOREVER. They have a Her version but I think the only difference is they made it smell a little more feminine. I’ve used both and don’t really have a preference.
I cannot wear sunglasses when I run. They always fog up and make me crazy. I would much rather just wear this hat by Nike and use the visor. I like it because it’s very breathable and light-weight. I also love that when I come home all sweaty I can just throw it in the washer and then hang it to dry. (I also wear it after I ride my bike to hide my helmet hair.)
10. Ear-Protective Headband
I live in Florida now, but when I lived in the north and winter was coming (see what I did there, GOT fans?) I had to have my ears covered, but not TOO covered. I couldn’t use fleece because I would overheat. This headband from TrailHeads is the perfect in-between. And it’s also thin enough to wear under your helmet for cycling! Bonus: There’s a hole for your ponytail!
11. Headlamp for Nighttime Runs and Trail Runs
I haven’t had to use mine very often, but it is really nice to have a headlamp like this one. Not only are they nice for nighttime runs and trail runs, people also use them for camping and hiking. (And night cycling, which I wouldn’t recommend!)
Hands- (and feet) down, my favorite running socks are Feetures. They contour to your feet (they are right- and left-foot-specific), super comfortable, and in all the years of owning them, I have not had one get a hole. Ever. I use them to run, bike, and workout at the gym.
When you need new shoes, your body will tell you. Your knees or back might start aching during your runs for no apparent reason. This is how I know it’s time to go shoe shopping. But this last time it just seemed like it was way too soon. I went to the running store and the shoes I had were still the current model they were selling, so it hadn’t been that long. Instead, I bought these inserts and now they’re like brand new shoes again. If you don’t have a toe popping out of a hole in your shoes just yet, you may want to try the cost-effective option of inserts. Note: The ones I linked to were the only ones I found for wide, flat feet like mine. You may need ones with a bit of an arch depending on the shape of your foot.
14. Tech Fabric/Wicking Material Running Shirts
We’ve all done it, went for a run in a cotton shirt. On days when I’m smart (and my laundry is all caught-up) I will use a shirt like this one (I have the hot pink one) that has nice material to draw away moisture. (I have some nice ones that I’ve gotten as part of my registration for races too.)
I have very sensitive skin and find that I am allergic to a lot of skin care products. The only sunscreen that agrees with me is Neutrogena. My favorite for running, cycling, and the beach is the Ultra Sheer Dry Touch. The Body Mist Spray is good too but I usually only use that as a re-application. (I also like to use the Age Shield Face Lotion as a daily moisturizer and I use the Pure & Free Baby on Sully.)
Well, there you go. Some of my faves! I’m sure I’ll be returning to this list and adding items because I’m always on the lookout for anything that will make exercise easier. What about you? Did any of your favorites make my list too? What would you add that I might not know about? What’s YOUR favorite Gu flavor?