Whenever I hang out with newer runners or non-runners who are pondering getting into the biz, we end up chatting about my stuff. You know, my workout stuff. Now, anyone who works up a sweat on a regular basis has their favorite gear, but for runners it’s almost an intimate thing. The right stuff can make you feel stronger, run longer, and get closer to your goals. The wrong stuff can give you indigestion, chafe the s%*t out of you, and generally just make you wish you’d never gotten involved in this god forsaken hobby.
- Brooks Ghost 8 : I tore through two pairs of these in a year; I freaking love these sneakers. I used to run in a different brand of sneaker, but the newer editions were cut too narrow for even my bony feet. My local running store recommended Brooks, and I’ve been a fan ever since. They’re supportive, but not clunky. They’re absolutely amazing for long runs, and give you a floaty, cushiony ride the whole way through. I also have a pair of Brooks PureFlows that I wear for shorter runs and elliptical workouts, and they’re also very comfy!!
- Foam Roller : I try to use this puppy every night before I go to bed. I’ve found that I’m less sore and recover more quickly when I roll out my quads and calfs regularly. You’re supposed to get sports massages several times a month if you’re training for a marathon, but I am a teacher with very little spare change. So I use a 24″ foam roller that I borrowed from a friend two years ago and never gave back.
- iPhone Armband: I used to run without music. Later, I ran with just an iPod. Then I went on a long run while on vacation with my parents at their lake house, and they were so freaked out about me running alone without my phone that they nearly called the cops. I invested in the cheapest armband I could find on Amazon, and I’ve gone through (read: lost) at least 4 of them. This one doesn’t bounce, has a handy-dandy key slot, and fits many phone models.
- Lululemon Crops: I’m actually much more of an Under Armor fan, but they discontinued drawcord waistbands and literally no leggings stay on my body unless they have a drawstring. I’ve got two pairs of lululemon crops similar to these ones, and they’re absolutely fabulous. The material gives some light compression, and it’s so smooth that your legs just glide along. The zip pockets in the waistband are great for holding gels, and the mesh inserts look pretty and keep me cool:)
- Under Armour Compression Shorts : So, these don’t have a drawstring waist, but they actually do stay up and they’re really wonderful for summertime running. They come in a variety of lengths, too, which I love. I’ve gone through a couple of pairs of these over the years, and every edition is just as good as the last.
- Reusable Cold Compress: There was a time during marathon training that I was icing both my achilles and my right knee twice a day. This one is super flexible and easy to wrap around sore knees and ankles.
- Coppertone Sport Spray Sunscreen : I go through a ton of sunscreen, and it’s so, so worth it. Nothing adds insult to injury than adding a sunburn to the post-run soreness. And knowing what we now know about the impact of sun damage in the long run, there is no excuse to skip the sunscreen. This stuff stays on through sweaty runs, but I also recommend a baseball cap if you’re out for a long time! I spray myself down before even getting dressed so that I know I haven’t missed a spot.
- Old Navy Running Tanks and Sports bras: I splurge a little on my running bottoms, so I save a little on my running tops. I love the lightweight fabrics they sue for their drapy tanks, and the moderate/high impact sports bras are my go-to’s!
- KT TAPE (Original Kinesiology Therapeutic Sports Tape): I rely on KT Tape for extra support. I’ve used it to alleviate pain and add stability to achy knees, achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and sprained ankles. The real stuff can get pricy, but I only use it for longer or faster runs, and the knock-offs just aren’t as good.
- Good Running Socks: People talk about finding the right running shoes ALL THE TIME. But for me, the right socks were half the struggle. I thought the whole “don’t wear cotton socks” thing was a myth, and I always just bought ankle socks from the children’s section at Walmart and was done with it.I got awful blisters during my longer runs and races, and figured that was just the way it was. Then I went stress-shopping one day and bought nice, synthetic running socks and HOLY MOLY what a difference.
Now let me know in the comments:
- What are your essentials for exercising?
- Do you have any tricks for getting started running on a budget?
- What’s your favorite running shoe brand?
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