Friday, August 12, 2011

My Favorite Running Accessories

At its most basic, running doesn’t require a lot of “stuff.” With some comfortable clothes and some decent shoes, you can walk out your door and do a lot. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get in shape. But nowadays, there are all kinds of gadgets and fancy shoes and water bottles and what-not, so I thought I would write a post about my favorite running accessories.

1. Garmin Forerunner 305


Hello, my name is Kira, and I’m a Garmin addict. I love, love, love my Garmin. I also happen to be a little Type A and obsessive about my numbers. But I like the freedom it gives me to wander, to add on to my run without worrying about which street I’m on so I can remember to map it later, to run on trails and still know how far I’ve gone. It’s just as handy for making sure I’m going fast enough on tempo runs as it is for making sure my easy runs are slow enough. This model retails for $200, but you can frequently find it for much cheaper, even as low as $100. It has a heart rate monitor, but if you don’t care about that, the Forerunner 205 might be a good option.

2. Bondi Bands


I have chin-length hair, so even when I can put my hair in a ponytail or pigtails, there are still pieces falling in my face. Enter my Bondi Band. Its primary function is to wick away sweat so it doesn’t get in your eyes, and they have both solid colors and ones with fun sayings and patterns. I’ve never had a problem with it slipping forward or backward either. The one I wear most says, “Run now, wine later.” I wear it almost every time I’m going to be breaking a sweat. It’s seriously a great product.

3. Nathan Speedbelt 2


I resisted getting a fuel belt because they struck me as being uncomfortable and bulky, but when summer came, I knew I would need something to help me stay hydrated so I didn’t have to plan runs around water fountains. After polling people via Twitter, I decided on the Nathan Speedbelt 2. The two flasks carry up to 20 oz of fluids, so for longer runs, I usually fill one with Gatorade or coconut water and the other with straight water. When it’s going to be really warm, I freeze the bottles with the liquid the night before. The pockets are big enough to carry everything I need, and it’s easy to grab the bottles for a quick sip while I’m running. As a bigger-hipped individual, I’ve found it’s best to fasten it closer to my natural waist. It took about one eight-mile run to get used to, but now I love it for my longer training runs.

4. Brooks Running Shoes


Everyone’s feet are different, but eventually, it seems that most people figure out a brand that works best for them. Brooks running shoes are that for me. I first fell in love with the Glycerin 8’s and then moved onto the Ghost 3’s. Now, both the Glycerins and Ghosts are in a new generation, and the Ghost 4’s were named an Editor’s Choice by Runner’s World. So apparently, it’s not just me. Plus, I love their “Run happy” slogan.

5. Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves


I don’t know if these actually improve recovery or help you run faster or anything like that. What I love about them is that they make your calves feel really good after a long or hard run. Like Brie said, it’s like they’re giving your calves a hug. At $40 a pop, you might be tempted to get a cheaper model of compression sleeves, but these are the best and Zensah has fabulous customer service. They should be tight, like any fat on your lower leg will be squeezing out the top tight. Another bonus, I can instantly fluster my husband by threatening to go out in public with regular clothes plus my compression sleeves on.

My favorite place to purchase running attire and accessories is Running Warehouse. Shipping is free, even to make returns, and they have the best prices I’ve found. You can usually Google or “Like” them on Facebook to find a 10% off coupon. I also encourage you to visit your local running store (NOT a chain sporting goods store like Dick’s or Academy) for advice and a shoe-fitting if you’re new to running.

Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated by any of the companies mentioned (Garmin, Bondi Band, Nathan, Brooks, Zensah, or Running Warehouse). Like my friend Abby said, I’m not one of those big fancy blogs. These are just products I believe in and that work for me.

What are your must-have running accessories?

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