And Some Wants on My Wish List
“Our running shoes have magic in them – the power to transform a bad day into a good day; frustration into speed; self-doubt into confidence; chocolate cake into muscle.”
– Mina Samuels
When I first started running, I had no idea of the amount of running gear available. I figured I could go buy a pair of nice shoes, wear what I had in my closet and run off into the sunset.
Oh, how wrong I was. Of course, I also didn’t know my obsession with running would become so great. From starting with the Couch to 5K (C25k) plan two and half years ago to running up to 47 miles per week in my current plan, my running gear needs have certainly changed.
It’s taken trial and error, but I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t. It’s been part of a growth which I have enjoyed — because it’s allowed me to learn more about running, and myself. That process has transformed me in ways I could never have imagined.
I’m thankful I get to run because I know not everyone is as blessed as I am. And even though my pocketbook is sometimes not thankful, I’m glad there is a lot of gear out there to help in achieving the goals I’ve set for myself. So I want to share some of my favorite running gear I use in the hopes it will help you achieve your running goals, too.
I’d never been into shoes until I started running. Now, it seems I can’t have enough. This is a tough category too because I know everyone has their favorites. I do too. But given the number of miles I’m running (both on the road and trails), I need several pairs at a time. I have 6 pairs (4 road, 2 trail) which I rotate.
Asics GT-2000 — I’m on my 4th pair of these and have never had an issue with their longevity or quality. I’ve always been an Asics fan, and these shoes have not diminished my admiration.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS — This is my go-to shoe in road races, but is also a good daily runner which is comfortable for short or long distances. I had read a lot of good reviews about them and they felt great when I tried them on. Plus they were on clearance!
Saucony Guide — This was another shoe I bought on clearance and I’m glad I took the chance. They took a little time to break in, but once my body adjusted, it has become a workhorse for me.
Mizuno Wave Inspire 13 — Another clearance purchase, these shoes are the most comfortable pair I have while running. They are still “new”, so I can’t give a verdict yet, but so far they have been worth the purchase.
Brooks Cascadia 12 — A great trail running or hiking shoe, the Cascadia has a rock plate which helps reduce the impact of rough terrain often involved in trail running. It is a stiffer and hardier shoe, so if you are used to a lightweight, flexible shoe, it may not work for you.
Hoka One One Speedgoat 2— Designed by ultrarunner Karl “Speedgoat” Meltzer, the shoes are incredibly cushioned and lightweight while offering stable footing and impact absorbing comfort. There is so much cushioning, I seem to be several inches taller when I put them on.
Since shoes can be expensive, I highly recommend finding out when the new shoe models are being released so you can pick up the old models on clearance either online at your local running store. I’ve bought many pairs this way and have saved hundreds of dollars. Shoes are the one piece of running gear I urge you not to skimp on, however.
I’m not too big on fashion when it comes to running gear or any other time. So give me a generic pair of shorts and a moisture-wicking shirt and I’m happy. But there are other accessories which are a must for me.
Garmin Forerunner 235— I don’t like to throw around the word “love”, but I really, really like this watch. I have never once had an issue with it keep track of my data or acquiring GPS. I’m not sure how accurate the wrist-based heart rate monitor is, but that is not a huge issue for me as I don’t rely on it too much. I also recommend purchasing it refurbished (as I did) to save money.
TriWonder Hydration Pack/Running Vest — I like to save money when I can, so I don’t see the need to spend hundreds of dollars on a running vest if I don’t have to. This pack fits my current needs and is inexpensive compared to many vests. There are plenty of pockets for personal items, nutrition, and water. I purchased a separate water bladder from Camelbak instead of the one which was included at an extra cost.
FlipBelt— my latest purchase, the FlipBelt can be used to carry your phone, keys, nutrition, or whatever else you need to take on your run. I find I don’t feel it when I’m running and it is like another piece of clothing. Since I run most of the time with music, I prefer carrying my phone in the belt rather than on an armband due to it being more comfortable. Probably my favorite piece of running gear. Highly recommend.
Balega socks— I don’t run in any other socks. They are the most comfortable running socks I’ve worn and they seem to last forever. I’ve run hundreds of miles without them showing the least bit of wear. Plus, they are known for giving back and supporting numerous organizations and charities throughout the world. What could be better?
Temple Tape— Being follicly-challenged in some areas of my noggin, this keeps the sweat from running into my eyes and glasses and allows me to not have to wipe my face all the time. It is basically a slim, lightweight, moisture-absorbing headband. And it looks cool. Just not on me.
Since I’m training for an ultramarathon, some of my runs are long. Given the number of calories I burn during these long runs, I need to put some of those calories back into my body while I’m running. This is one area where it may be difficult to find what works and what doesn’t as it will vary from person to person. But I’ve found a few items which do not upset my delicate stomach and still provide much-needed calories and energy.
Nuun Tablets— These are tablets which dissolve in water and are packed with electrolytes, clean ingredients, and many flavors for everyone’s varying tastes. They also come in a powder form and some flavors have caffeine for an extra burst of energy.
Honey Stinger Energy Chews — If I didn’t need these for my runs, I would eat them as soon as I buy them — that’s how good they taste. They are organic and as the name implies, are made from honey which is a natural form of energy and antioxidants. Their Waffles are heaven, too.
Gu Energy Gels — An easy way to get calories in a form which is easily digestible, these gels also come in a variety of different flavors and with or without caffeine. They are compact, and you can fit several of them in your shorts or running vest with room to spare.
Wish List Items
These are the items I would like to have but don’t really need. I guess you could argue I don’t need any of the previous stuff, and you would be correct. But this is a list of the running gear I would purchase if Publishers Clearing House showed up on my doorstep with a large cardboard check.
Roll Recovery— This is like the Cadillac of foam rollers — and to use it, you don’t have to roll around on the floor. Although some of you may like doing that. But given this would be the same price for two professional massages, it could pay for itself if you get massages regularly. At least that’s what I tell myself when I’m thinking of buying it. *Update – I did buy it and I love it. It hurts, but it definitely seems like it helps, too!
Apple AirPods — While I don’t mind corded headphones, I would love to have a truly wireless pair — with no wires. The majority of my runs are with music so they would get a lot of use like my current wired headphones
All the running books on my Amazon wish list — Okay, this may actually be a need since I’m a book nerd, but I have to get through all of my other books first.
If you are new to running, you don’t need all the running gear I have. I know a lot of these items are luxuries, but since running is such an important part of my life and I spend little money on other items besides books, bills, and my kids, it’s a luxury I cherish.
Disclosure: Links to products on Amazon are an affiliate link, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you click through and make a purchase.