Anyway, on this here blogiversary, let’s do a running gear roundup! One great thing about running is that it’s pretty close to free. I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to gear, and try not to buy too many things in general, but there are a few must-haves. (*Note: this post contains affiliate links. See my Disclaimer page for details.) Let’s get started!
Beyond the basics (running shoes, shirt, pants), here are a few things I ALWAYS take on a run:
My Fitbit. This isn’t a necessity, but for the metrics-obsessed it’s great. I have the Flex 2 model, which is pictured here. (I even have the lavender color! So trendy!) There are a million fitness trackers on the market, all of which have different features, but I only have experience with Fitbit. Beyond tracking steps (and thereby extrapolating miles and calories), it also tracks sleep, which has been enlightening for me. This model is around $60, but if that’s a little high just download a step-tracker app on your phone. Or don’t. Whatever.
A running belt. These things are wonderful for holding your keys, ID, and pepper spray. You don’t want to run with crap in your pockets (if you’re lucky enough to have pockets) and these belts are lifesavers. They’re comfortable enough that I forget I’m wearing one!
A water bottle. I love these Gatorade bottles because they hold 32 ounces, fit comfortably in your hand, and are virtually indestructible. As someone who has broken 4 plastic water bottles in….3 years? Trust me.
A lightweight jacket. I’m picky about running jackets, because they’re usually a bit short and ride up when I run. This jacket is long enough to stay put, fleece-lined, and thin enough that if you overheat you can wrap it around your waist.
Gear for before/after running
Rest and recovery are very important to running without injury. Here are a few tools I have to maximize my non-running days:
A yoga mat. I like doing a yoga routine when not running to keep my muscles and joints limber. Even regular stretching after a run is better on a mat than the bare floor. I prefer a medium thickness mat, as the thin ones don’t stay flat on carpet and the thick ones are just…too thick.
A foam roller. As far as I’m concerned, this right here is a necessity. I have this exact model and it’s WONDERFUL for working out tight muscles. I’m really prone to calf and foot cramps, but diligently rolling out after a run has nearly eliminated them. You can get a flat-surfaced roller, but for the same price you might as well try one with textured surfaces. Play around — I like the bumpy side on hamstrings and quads, but the smooth side on IT band. This is also just nice to have around, and rolling out your back is like a mini-massage. Cannot recommend this highly enough.
So there you have it!
These are my nice-to-haves. Of course, you can get really fancy gear, or high tech…anything, but for someone just starting out these are the basics. Again, the great thing about running is you really only *need* shoes and enough clothing to not get arrested. What’s your favorite gear for running? Tell me in the comments!