Runner’s all have different pieces of gear that they have to have to run. Whether the choice of equipment be driven by superstitious or by the tried and true method of testing them out and it working the best, there are several different items that you just can’t leave behind. After consistently running for the last 4 years I have compiled a list of gear I have to have to run a successful training run or race.
Shoes: New Balance Minimus Hi-Rez
When I first started running, I went to a Road Runner Sports to get fitted for the appropriate shoes. I was told I underpronate and have high arches. The salesperson recommended I wear stability shoes with inserts. I went ahead and spent the $100+ dollars on a pair of Nikes with custom insoles. I did run in those shoes for quite a while and found that they felt like clouds on my feet. However, I still got some shin and knee pain after long distance runs. I wasn’t quite sure whether it was my shoes or my gait. It wasn’t until one day I was back at Road Runner looking at some shoes they had on display. I was drawn to a pair of shoes from New Balance. I can’t for the life of me remember the model but they toted that they were ultra light, minimalist shoes. Curious, I decided to buy them.
Now, this was the first time I was trying out minimalist shoes. I’d heard about the 5-Finger Vibram craze a few months back but couldn’t get over how weird the shoes looked. Plus, I had heard about how bad minimalist running could be on your feet. This deterred me from trying minimalist shoes before. However, during this visit I just wanted to try something new. I knew that minimalist shoes worked different muscles so I figured why not give it a shot. After all, the recommended shoes were just not working for me. After some training runs, 3 half marathons, and a marathon in them, I realized how much I loved these lightweight shoes. In fact, I didn’t have the shin and knee pain I once experienced anymore. As far as I was concerned, minimalist shoes was the way to go for me. I ended up trying several different types of New Balance Minimus shoes. I finally settled on the Hi-Rez because they were as close to barefoot as I could get. They’re practically like wearing socks on my feet. Granted, they’re not water-proof on the bottom thanks to the honey-comb soles so running in the rain/snow sucks in them. Still, I have yet to have the same joint/muscle pains I used to have in the past. These shoes are keepers in my book. I’ve owned 3 pairs now and probably won’t look elsewhere for shoes as long as they’re still manufactured/sold.
Garmin Forerunner 210
When I started running I used the app Map My Run to keep track of my distance. I figured that since I already ran with my phone all the time (I used to listen to music as I ran), it would just be convenient to record my runs with an app. It really wasn’t too bad except for the fact that sometimes the app would be way off with its distance readings. My husband realized how much running was becoming a part of my life so he surprised me on our anniversary with a GPS watch. It was love instantly with the watch. I loved that I didn’t have to fumble with my phone to stop the timer if I needed to. Eventually, I stopped running with music for safety reasons and ditched my phone on runs. I was so glad to have my watch because I didn’t have to worry about lugging around my phone to keep recording my distances. I don’t use all the fancy stuff for the watch (heart rate monitor, Garmin Connect charts, etc) since I’m good with the simple fact of knowing how far I ran in whatever amount of time. The watch may be a bit much for what I use it for, really. Still, I can’t leave for a run without it. I think my only gripe is that I’ve had to hard restart or master reset it a few times. Other than that I love my watch. One day I hope to get a new Garmin but as of right now I’m happy with what I have.
Stock image of what it should look like when it fits properly.
During my first pregnancy I didn’t use any supportive devices when I ran. Eventually, I had to quit running because the pain I got in my pelvis was so bad I couldn’t walk well hours after my run. I decided this time around that I would try some steps to mitigate the pain. I really missed running when I stopped so I wanted to be able to run as long as I could this time around. I found the Bao Bei Belly Sports Bra on Instagram one day. Intrigued, I decided to order one and see how it worked out. Since I’m carrying small, I couldn’t use the band early on when I was starting to have some aches. I tried to fold it over like they recommended but the band was just too big for me. I later found out that the black color ran larger than the other two colors. I waited a few weeks then tried it again when I was set to increase my long run distance. Now it works like a charm. It gives me the support I need to keep my growing stomach from bouncing around and straining my abdominal and back muscles. It also places pressure on my pelvis just right that I don’t suffer pain in my symphysis pubis (the joint on the front of the pelvic bone). I feel so much more comfortable running this time around. I’m not feeling the aches I had when I was this far along with my first pregnancy. It’s definitely become a staple of my running outfit that will hopefully keep me running until the baby here.
Now, any sunglasses would be great. I specifically love polarized ones because of the reduced glare from the sun. I use Oakley Half Jacket sunglasses for my run. I love that they’re lightweight and the frames aren’t too bulky. Wearing sunglasses helps to keep me from squinting and protects my eyes in the long run. An added plus is that when it’s windy or muggy out, wearing them keeps debris and bugs like gnats out of my eyes.
I used to use headbands to keep my hair out of my face when I ran. I didn’t use my first hat until after I ran the Shamrock Marathon in 2013. I got one as a finisher’s gift so I decided to start using it. After a few runs in it I decided to use hats more often rather than headbands. Not only did a hat keep my hair out of my face, but it also added some protection from the sun and elements (rain, snow, etc). My hat collection has grown since then, and I haven’t used a headband since.
My running gear isn’t extensive but it’s what makes me comfortable during my runs. As I mentioned earlier, different runners have different must-haves. What are some of yours?