I’m currently nine weeks into training for my first half marathon and it has turned out to be a lot more complicated as my training runs get longer. There’s a lot more to think about than just lacing up your shoes and heading out the door when your runs are longer than three miles. In the past (almost) year of running and the summer of training for this race, I’ve discovered some of my favorite gear and want to share my finds with all of you. (Note: I was not paid or sponsored to do any of these reviews. My thoughts are my own and I just sincerely desire to help new runners discover great gear.)
First and most important are my running shoes. When I first started running, I went into the New Balance store and they had me fitted for these since I have flat feet and severely over-pronate. Since then, I’ve gotten custom insoles from my chiropractor to deal with my knee and shin splint problems. My shoes are heavy, but I run pain-free. Getting good running shoes may be expensive, but it’s a worthwhile investment and can help you avoid injury. I’d recommend going into a specialty running store and have your gait analyzed so you can make sure that the shoes you buy are right for your feet.
My Garmin GPS watch (aka my best running friend.) I had wanted a Garmin watch for a while since I didn’t like having to carry my phone with me and tracking my run on my phone would completely drain its battery. However, I also didn’t want to spend $130 on a running watch. After watching eBay for a while, I was able to get mine for $50 and it was in practically new condition. Mine tracks distance, time, splits, calories, pace, and more. And I don’t have to charge it after every run. Now I can’t imagine running without it.
When I started running more than six miles, it was time to start taking water and fuel with me. A hydration belt seemed superfluous to my needs since my half marathon with have water stations at each mile so I got this smaller hand-held version. I love how comfortable and easy to hold it is and I usually find a water fountain along my route so I can refill mid-way through my run. I use the pocket to hold my fuel (Clif Shot Bloks.)
My Nana (who is also my amazing running coach) sent me some of these to try when I started training. I loved them so much, I haven’t felt the need to experiment with other running fuel options such as GU, Energy Gel, or Sport Beans. The Tropical and Black Cherry flavors are my favorite since they have caffeine in them and it works well for me to take about three bloks at the end of miles three, six, and nine. They give me just a bit more energy to keep going for longer runs.
(Note: I am not happy with the ingredient list. For this race, I decided to just use what works, but, in the future, I’m going to experiment with making my own homemade version with more natural ingredients.)
I use Young Living Essential Oils every day as part of my life and running is no exception. They promote health and wellness and, as a result, they fit right into my running and recovery routine.
A few drops of Lemon in my water before I head out to wakes me up and energizes me. It’s also great for detoxing after a workout.
Peppermint helps me with respiratory function and an unsettled stomach. It can also be used to energize and invigorate. All I have to do is smell it to feel more alert.
Stress Away is a blend of lime, vanilla, copaiba, ocotea, cedarwood, and lavender. All of these oils work together to help induce relaxation and it is so helpful to use before a race or long run that I’m feeling nervous about.
Grapefruit is a natural energizer that can also help with weight loss, healthy digestion, circulation, and inflammation. I love to put a few drops in my water.
PanAway is my favorite post-run pain relief. I don’t take ibuprofen because I have this amazing little bottle of oil. It’s a blend of wintergreen, clove, peppermint, and helichrysum and, when rubbed topically onto aching muscles, it can help promote recovery and decrease discomfort.
En-R-Gee is also a blend of several oils that may improve energy and mental alertness – both of which are vital to success in running. It contains rosemary, juniper, lemongrass, nutmeg, balsam fir, clove, and black pepper.
The Orthosport Massage Oil contains wintergreen, peppermint, and eucalyptus, and thyme. Not only does it small amazing, but it also helps with relaxation, aches, muscle pain, and joint pain.
If you have any questions about how to get started with oils yourself, please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll be more than happy to talk with you.
I didn’t like bringing my phone with me so I got this tiny clip-on iPod shuffle for about $30 on eBay. It’s lightweight and perfect for bringing my music with me while I run.
When my runs started getting longer, I started hating my music. It made me anxious and bored and my running playlist was getting really, really old. That’s when I decided to give audiobooks a try and they have been a lifesaver. I’ve found that miles fly by when I’m listening to a good book and I enjoy them so much more than listening to music while I run. Audiobooks can be expensive, though, so I just borrow mine from the library. Load them onto my iPod, listen while I run, then, when I return the CDs to the library, I delete the files from my computer. Easy. Amy Poehler reading her book Yes, Please has been my favorite so far.
I tried the FlipBelt and I used it a lot when I was training for my 5k. I loved it for a while and will probably use it again in the future. It doesn’t bounce and it’s comfortable, but mine kept moving around and riding up. Maybe it was a sizing problem or just because of the slippery material of my leggings, but, either way, I stopped using it once I didn’t need to carry my phone anymore after I got my Garmin and iPod shuffle. However, once my long runs started getting, well, long, I knew I had to take my phone with me for safety purposes. Enter my Banjee wrist wallet.
My mom got this for me before I started running and I never used it until I randomly found it again right when I was looking for a way to carry my phone with me on my long runs. I have the 2 Pocket Phone Banjee in Black and it is awesome. My phone fits in one pocket and I still have the other for a key, some cash, or extra fuel. It doesn’t bounce or bother me and it doubles as a way to wipe the sweat off my face. Win-win.
Speaking of sweat, I absolutely love Sweaty Bands. I got these headbands when I first started running and now I never go for a run without one in my hair. They keep the sweat from running down my face and they don’t slip. Seriously. I love that I don’t have to adjust them while I’m running and they come in countless fun designs and patterns and colors too.
Safety is important and that’s why I always wear this when I go running. My Nana bought it for me and I love the peace-of-mind of knowing that if something were to happen, the necessary information is on my wrist. Blurred out for privacy reasons, mine includes the city I live in and also the names and phone numbers of my husband and other emergency contacts.
So, there you go. Some of my favorite tools that help me have a good run. Hopefully they will prove themselves as I attempt to cross the finish line of my first-ever half marathon on September 20th. I’m excited and just hope that I’m able to stay consistent with my training as race day approaches.
Do you run? What’s some of your favorite running gear?by