While you run you have a ton of time to think random thoughts. It's amazing the amount/type of thoughts that come and go. For instance, the other day I was thinking about what running products that I couldn't live without. Okay, technically I could live without them, but these items definitely make running a bit easier. I'm not a label whore, so name brands weren't a must have. I've gone through many styles, brands, and trial and error to find what works for me....and these are what I ended with. I guess you could say I dig 'em.
My hat of choice is the Nike Thermal Running Skullcap. It fits my head perfectly and has the sloping design that helps fully cover my ears. It's not bulky, but keeps the wind out. In addition, it has a small opening in the back for your ear bud wires to enter. I've never used this feature, but it seems pretty smart to me.
In the summer months I take to the Bondi Band. It's basically a hip sweatband. They have all different patterns, fabrics, and styles. It definitely helps to keep my hair and sweat out of my eyes. A must have for sure.
My running tanks are so variable that it's hard to mark down what I absolutely love. However, I have definitely found a pullover for winter that rocks. It's the C9 by Champion® 1/4-Zip Fleece Pullover at Target. I'm telling you, Target has some awesome active wear. I have multiple items from there, and although they didn't make this list, they rank VERY high on my items I wear while running. I'd highly recommend checking out their selection. And then when you can catch them on sale, that's even better!
Alright guys, you better skip this one, but I'm sure the ladies will appreciate it. Having a right fitting bra is number 1 when it comes to my wardrobe. That's no different when it comes to running gear. I searched high and low for a bra that would work and the Nike Pro Women's Training Sport Top is it. Bras are always an issue for me. Although some may be surprised, I am a larger chested girl. Not only that, but I'm small around, which makes it that much more difficult to find bras that fit/work. In addition I have a condition where I absolutely need good support. The experts say I should wear an encapsulated sports bra, but one in my size doesn't exist and doesn't provide the support I need. This is where the Nike bra comes in. I went with the XS, which personally I think is crazy. Looking at it off of my body, it looks like it should be a kids bra. It's an interesting feat to get into and out of. I'm now used to it, but the first few times I put it on it literally took the wind out of me. Those suckers aren't moving. The bottom line, and I'm not joking, if it weren't for this bra I wouldn't be able run.
No big surprise here, but the Garmin Forerunner 205 ranks high on my list. David calls it my crutch. Unfortunately it does tend to be. At the same time though, it helps me keep my pace and know how I'm doing in my run. Of course I haven't been able to use it since I've been running on the 'mill, but I do look forward to the warmer weather and using it again.
If you run outside, especially by yourself, then you need the RoadID. It's kind of like insurance, it seems pointless until you need it. I pray that it never has to be used, but it's there and gives me peace of mind.
On short runs I don't use hydration, but when I go out for the long haul I make sure I take something along. When I started training for the half marathon I kept my options open. From the recommendation of Erika I decided on the Quickdraw Plus. It holds just the right amount of water I need and has a pouch that I personally use for my MP3 player.
For all of my other crap that I take out on long runs (cell phone, keys, etc.) I use the SPIBelt. Just like the Bondi Band is a hip sweatband, the SPIBelt is a hip fanny pack. It's so tiny, but being made out of spandex allows it to stretch to your needs, which doesn't feel bulky. In addition, it stays put instead of bouncing up and down like a typically fanny pack. It's crazy how much stuff you can put in it.
I absolutely love my Nike Dri-FIT Tempo Women's Running Shorts. I love them so much that I have 5 pair. After tries with different brands and styles this is what I have settled on. They have the typically running brief inside, but don't ride up your crack. And they come in a ton of colors. It's as though they are constantly introducing new colors.
The Adidas Astro Pants are my pant of choice. They're not as tight as tights, which I also have. Not being too tight allows me to use these to wear over my shorts when heading to the gym. Or I can put on another layer under them during cold weather. At the same time, they aren't super loose either. The legs taper but have the back zippers allowing for a slight flair when you're not running. Out of all my pants I find myself wearing these the most and grabbing for them first.
This is another area where the guys may want to skip. And some individuals may not understand the need for Body Glide. Body Glide is an anti-chafing product. You place it in any place where you chafe and you're good to go. Originally I did not like the first time I used it. It made me sticky, which was totally the opposite of what it was supposed to do. Needless to say it found itself in the junk drawer. However, I have found that it is a must-have when I'm running in the gym. I've tried to explain the use of this product to several women and they kind of look at me like I'm crazy. Having my target area for Body Glide be my inner thighs, they look at me and say, "I don't have that problem." I have some pretty big thighs, something I absolutely hate, and attribute to being a bigger kid and riding horses. At the same time I never thought I'd be in the minority for having this "problem." Heck, maybe I'm not but everyone I talk to about rubbing thighs doesn't seem to have the problem. That aside, this product rocks and not so wet as Vaseline. But it all honesty, when you're chafing you'll take anything that relieves it, including straight up Vaseline.
When I started running my legs/knees were the furthest thought from my mind. True, I have a bum leg from breaking my femur back in the day, but I didn't think it'd be an issue. Of course I didn't have plans to run half marathons back then either. Originally we purchased the Knee Pro-Tec Patellar Tendon Strap, by recommendation of Erika, for David's bad knees. Soon after I started having problems with my bad leg and found that the strap made a world of difference on my knee, keeping everything tight, and I haven't run without it since. However, somehow it got misplaced (aka lost) within the past 2 weeks and I've been running without it. I've survived but I'm looking to get another one.
On those same lines, a supplement I won't live without is Cosamin DS. We use the same product for dogs and cats at our practice. Of course it's labeled under a different name. It's glucosamine chondroitin supplement. In all honesty I was hesitant in what to expect from it, but when you're in pain you're willing to try anything in hopes of making it better. It takes about 2-4 weeks to notice a difference. And even then you notice the pain is gone but you really notice it about 3-4 days if you stop taking the supplement. Not only have I seen this personally but also in the dogs and cats we put on the product. All glucosamine chondroitin products are costly and this one is no different. You'll actually see that this one is a bit more expensive but seeing the results, and knowing the company and their quality control (which many companies with supplements don't have and can't provide their research/data) it's worth it. And lastly, if you can catch it at CVS or Meijer on sale, you got yourself a deal.
On to socks! My favorite running sock are PowerSox PowerLites Running Lo-Cut. I think they are so awesome. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but they are one of my favorites. I've tried other brands (Under Armour) and they just don't do it for me. They keep my feet too hot. Some are too thin. Some too thick. Dunno, but I dig the PowerSox. Bad news though, I haven't been able to find they locally anymore, which has led me to use other socks. I think I have found a new favorite pair by Asics, but we shall see.
I'll end with my shoes, Mizuno Wave Riders. I started out running in trail shoes. Looking back I have no idea how I did it. They were flat, hard, and heavy. I remember walking in and getting fit for my first official pair of running shoes. They looked at me like I was crazy for previously running trail shoes to run in. They were surprised to see that I hadn't killed myself yet in them. Heck, I didn't know any different. And as with everything else, shoes aren't the easiest for me to buy. My feet are long but narrow. Nothing seems to fit just right. But when I slid my first pair of Mizunos on I knew they were the shoe. They fit like a glove. Every time I place my feet in those shoes I find why I love them all over again. I'm on my second pair of Mizunos and don't see myself changing anytime soon.