The amount of gear, gadgets and technology available to us now as runners is amazing! There is pretty much something for everyone that will do whatever you need it to do! So how do you sort through all of them and find what not only works best for you, but also meets all your needs?! It’s tough! Here are my necessary items that I just have to have while I’m on the run!
A GPS Watch
Pick the brand that works for you, but just pick a GPS watch! I ran for several years with a white, Target $9.99 sports watch because I was not going to become “one of those” runners who had a GPS. I was totally doing myself a disservice. Although running on feel is a great thing, my pacing was awful until I got a GPS watch and I really never knew what pace I was actually ever running. I also had to map runs before or after running them, only to find out they were too short or way too long. The only advantage of not having a GPS watch was I “tricked” a lot of my friends into extra miles, not truly knowing where the actual mile turn arounds were on any route. We still laugh about that! Once we all got GPS watches, that fun went out the window! This is my big blue watch! I prefer the old school Garmin. It’s super reliable and I just replaced the battery for $45! Good as new!
I rarely run with music. For me, most of my runs are social or a time to decompress and hearing music buzzing in my ear doesn’t help. However, there are times when I’m doing either a solo speed workout where I need the push from music to help drown out the “voice” in my head that’s telling me to stop. I also carry my music with me in races to help me get through tough spots. Some people like to run with their phones, which has their music on it. I use an ipod shuffle! It’s tiny enough to clip on to my sports bra and if I end up wearing it, but not using it, I’m not lugging something heavy along with me.
Heart Rate Monitor
I have started wearing my heart rate monitor lately. I noticed I was running my easy runs too fast, my steady states were becoming tempo runs and my tempo runs were out of control. While it’s great to bust out some fast paces, it was wearing me out and I was never fully recovering in between runs. Now with my HR monitor, I can easily see where I’m at and how much I’m working! It also helped me get my long runs back on track too. The one disadvantage of wearing it for me is that it bruises my sternum. After my 20 miler last weekend, I had a bruise and it was so tender to the touch. Not sure if I had it too tight, but it didn’t feel so great for a few days!
Nothing worse than stepping into a hot shower post run to scream at the top of your lungs because you have a chafing spot?! Why does that hurt so bad?! I am one friction fighting diva! I never, ever run without it now and although some days apparently miss “spots”, it is a necessity in my running bag! I have tried many brands, but actually prefer the Gold Bond brand. It’s a little more creamier than other types of these products and I find it goes on a lot smoother. You can also get it at most drug stores and Wal-Mart which is nice and convenient.
Compression sleeves and socks
I am a skeptic! I didn’t think that putting on anything compression after or during a run really made a difference. With a $50 price tag for most quality compression gear, I just wasn’t willing to throw in that kind of money. A few weeks ago, Groupon had some compression calf sleeves for $15 and I thought “why not?!” So I grabbed a pair and I’m still not sold on them, but I wear them after a long run. I do like the way they hug my legs and that feels great, but I can’t really speak to whether or not they help with recovery. I don’t think I’d ever want to run in them since I prefer to stay a bit cold, but would consider wearing them with a skirt in the winter. Just not sure about them yet…
Post run, every time, hits the spot. I could go into the benefits of drinking chocolate milk after a run, but I won’t. I am at the point now of craving it about half way through a long run. I can’t wait until I can have a sip. If chocolate milk isn’t your thing, you may want to try Organic Valley’s new protein recovery shake, Organic Fuel. I received a free sample for being an Earth Fare Athlete and holy smokes! This stuff is good! Gone is the chalky feeling left in your mouth from protein powdered shakes! There are two flavor options: vanilla or chocolate. I also love that because these are ultra pasteurized, they do not have to stay refrigerated. So leaving one in my car for after my long run is perfect! (P.S. there are coupons to try it on their site)Check out other posts by other runners on their favorite gear and gadgets! Link up with Powered By BLING, Pretty Lil Mudder, Half Marathon Mama, Girl on the Move and The Runner Within for Let’s Talk Training Thursday! on the 2nd & 4th Thursdays of each month.
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