So I was thinking about my last race, and I realized that I have a lot of “gear” that I use to run. Running used to be so easy….you just got your shoes on and started running. I never ran with music or a watch. I….just…..ran. Now that I have gotten older…and more
pansy-fied, obsessive responsible, I feel like I need a lot more in order to run. So I thought I would delve into the gear that currently are my must-haves.
- Saucony Guide shoes– these are my go to long distance shoes. I recently started looking at my shoes, and I have about 4 pairs of various Saucony Guide shoes :) I have a really hard time finding shoes. I used to under pronate (running on the outside edge or pinky toe side of my foot) when I ran and all my shoes would be worn out on the outer edge. Ever since I started running in the Sauconys, this has changed and my running pattern on my shoes once they are worn out are right down the middle. I also have much less shin and knee injuries since I started using the Sauconys. I most recently have started running in the Guide 7 shoes, and I love them!
- Nike Zoom Structure 17 shoes– I recently bought these shoes and I love them. I use these primarily for my short runs. I find alternating between 2 different shoes at a time is beneficial. First of all, who wants to run in sweaty shoes from the day before? Also, if you get caught in the rain on one run, no one wants to run in damp shoes the next day! I find that my shoes seem to last longer when I am not running in them everyday. The shoe store guy told me that this is due to the shoes being able to rest in between runs and the soles spring back into shape if you let them rest for 24 hours after a run. He totally was probably blowing smoke up my you know what, but…maybe!? So, I have always just bought shoes at the beginning and the end of the season, and then alternated the newer shoes every other day. For example, earlier this year, I was running in Saucony Guide 5 shoes for my short runs, and Saucony Guide 6 shoes for my long runs. My knees started hurting recently so I knew it was time to get new ones. So, of course I got the Saucony Guide 7 shoes ( am a creature of habit), but when I put the Nike Zooms on, they were heaven. They are still a shoe that provides stability, like my Sauconys, but they also feel very soft and provides cushion for my feet. I find that when I alternate between these two shoes, they are similar but provide a slightly different feel, and my feet feel better for it.
- Flip belt– I LOVE my flip belt. I usually run on the road by my house or on the trail. So, I need to run with my phone for safety. I absolutely hate having a large fanny pack or belt that will bounce but I also need to store my keys, phone and occasionally my inhaler in it. That’s a lot of cargo :) I honestly use this on every run. It is a double layer belt that lays flat on my waist, and has little slits cut into one side so you can slip your stuff into it. If you are worried about losing small items, you can flip it so the slits are against your waist, so nothing falls out. Honestly, I don’t usually flip it and I have never had anything fall out of it. I have this on every run, so I have 2. When they get sweaty I just pop it into the washer with my running close, air dry and it is ready the next day. So easy.
- Sandisk MP3 player- I used to use my phone with Pandora app when I ran. It was a pain to deal with as I never had control over which songs would come up. It would never fail that when I needed an upbeat song (like when I was running up the biggest hill ever), I would get a super slow song on Pandora and would have to stop, fiddle with the music, and lose my mojo. So, I went looking for an MP3 player that was small, inexpensive, easy to use and stayed put on my belt. So, I was overjoyed when I came across the Sandisk MP3 player. I bought the 4 Gig player and had an old memory card to use with it. (Side note, check your old smart phone that you’re not using anymore, there was a memory card in my old one that I had forgotten about, so I didn’t have to buy one for my MP3 player!!). I clip this player right on my collar of my tank top so it is easy access. When I want to change a song, it’s just one push of a button that I can do without looking at it. The player holds a ton of information (all together there is 20 Gig of data). It only cost about 35 dollars, so if I get caught in the rain and it dies, it’s not the end of the world. Unlike my cell phone, which I can keep tucked into my flipbelt wrapped in a little plastic baggy. Also I recently got stuck in a downpour and I got soaked to the bone. It didn’t even phase my little Sandisk! Of course, use your favorite earphones with it.
- Amphipod runlite airstretch hydration belt– I only use this on my long run days of 6 miles or more. It has 4 water bottles on it that each hold 8 ounces. I usually run with 3 bottles, and only use the fourth if I am doing over 10 miles. I find that even with all 4 bottles all filled with ice water, it never bounces or sloshes. The bottles clip in which can be sort of tricky at first since 2 bottles are behind your back, but you get the hang of it on the first run and it is smooth sailing after that. It also has a bonus pocket that I put my Gu, phone and tissues. Everything you need for a long run. :)
- Amphipod handheld 12 ounce water bottle- I use this on most of my runs that last 3-4 miles. I don’t run where I can refill it, or else I would use this all time. This bottle is lightweight even when it is full, and it has a little strap that you put around your had so you don’t even have to hold onto it. Sarah M showed me this and I had to get me one!
- Gu: chocolate or peanut butter- I use this when I am running for longer than an hour. I find that at about 55 minutes into running, I start feeling DRAINED! I just totally give up running :) At first I wasn’t sure what was causing it. I would be really excited for a long run, and then about an hour later, I would just start thinking how I was too tired and could not go on. Someone told me about refueling and it has made such a big difference. I tried Gu shots first, and had raging GI distress, so that was out. These packets are great. They are single serving, so once I use them, I can throw away the package. They are small and fit into my hydration belt or even in my flip belt if needed. I can take them to my half marathons and they don’t take up any space. And they are easy on my sensitive tummy. I especially like the chocolate and peanut butter, but it comes in lots of flavors. Some flavors have caffeine in them, so I usually use the non-caffeinated one about 45 minutes into my run, and then a caffeinated once about 1 hour 30 minutes into my run. That sustains me until the end of the run. During my last half marathon which took me 3 hours!!!! I only had taken 2 packets and I totally should have had a third! Lesson learned. Take more than you need. Also, take with water!
- Samsung Apps– RunKeeper, free HIIT timer- I used to use RunKeeper for my mileage tracker. Now I use my Garmin, but I still use it time to time if I don’t have my Garmin charged. Also, I use the HIIT timer (high intensity interval timer) three times a week, easy. It gives you the capability to put in a warmup, 2 intervals (rest and active period), how many intervals you want, and a cooldown….all for free. LOVE IT!
- Garmin Forerunner 220 watch- I recently bought my Garmin this year about 1 month prior to my half marathon. What a difference it makes. This is not a must have by any means, and was totally a splurge buy. But, I can keep track of pace, mileage, distance, and total run time all on my wrist that I can glance at whenever I want. Be careful though, because it is addictive, I swear. You will become a slave to data!
So, that is pretty much it. These are my favorite running things that I use on a daily business. Is there anything that you feel you cannot run without?