The Best Running Gear – 15 Things I’m Glad Were Invented

You guys…I’m back to running! Last week I did a spin class, which I was nervous about because it was spinning that originally seemed to pull a muscle in my leg at the beginning of July. Since everything seemed 100% after the class, no pain at all, I decided to go for it and try running again. I went out this weekend for an easy 30 minutes. It felt SO GOOD to be back and amazingly my easy pace was the same as it was before I got laid up for 4 weeks. All that swimming and walking obviously kept my cardio up.

So, perfect timing for a post of all the best running gear I’m glad has been invented! This is mainly stuff I use myself, as well as a few things I would definitely try out in the future. What’s on your list of running accessories you love?

The Best Running Gear: 15 Things I’m Glad Were Invented

The Best Running Gear - 15 things you don’t think you can live without as a runner. All the inventions that make life easier when you go for your run, from high tech GPS watches to low tech thumb holes in your sleeves. Next time you run or workout, you’ll remember all the little things that make life easier! | fitness |

Thumb Holes in Tops

These are key for winter, so you can layer your gloves over your shirt without having part of your wrist uncovered. Also handy for layering, so your sleeves never bunch up when you’re putting an extra layer over top.

Sweat Wicking Fabrics

Just the best, right? No matter how much you sweat, you never feel cold and wet, because the fabric just evaporates it away from your body. It also has the added advantage of drying really quickly when you wash your gear. (At any time you can find half a dozen pieces of running clothing draped over my shower rail, or towel rack).

Body Glide

If you’ve ever experienced chafing, this stuff is a must. In a pinch, you can also use Vaseline to slather over any area that tends to get irritated when you run, but Body Glide has that thick consistency that makes it really last for long distances.

Key Pockets in Pants

So simple and practical! When I get a pair of tights or shorts without one, I’m annoyed I didn’t think to check if it was there. This is particularly great for short runs, when your keys are all you really need. It’s also handy if you don’t want your keys in the same pocket as a phone, or iPod or credit card, for fear of them being scratched up.

Accessory Belts

Once you get into long run territory, the amount of stuff you do need to have with you increases. Fuel, lip balm, phone, keys, water – they have to fit somewhere! When I was last training, I used the flip belt, which I love because it has multiple pockets and doesn’t budge. However, it can get pretty sweaty and I have to say, postpartum it’s been a little annoying, because it just doesn’t fit quite right.

SPIBelt sent me one of their super lightweight belts to try and I am surprised by how much I liked it. I’ve never used a belt that went over top of your clothes because it felt a little fanny-pack-esque to me, but so many people have raved about this belt, I wanted to try it. It’s really comfortable, so light you don’t notice it and I cannot believe it held my phone – it’s so small but it has this crazy origami unfolding thing going on and it just slipped in easily. You can tighten the waistband as much as you need, so it won’t bounce. I recommend it! The only caveat is there is just one pocket, so if you are unfortunate enough to not have tights or shorts with the key pocket (see above), then that might be an issue. Here it is:

The Best Running Gear - 15 things you don’t think you can live without as a runner. All the inventions that make life easier when you go for your run, from high tech GPS watches to low tech thumb holes in your sleeves. Next time you run or workout, you’ll remember all the little things that make life easier! | fitness |

 

Update: SPIBelt got in touch to let me (and you!) know there is also a double pocket belt available, which takes care of your keys and essentials separate from anything you don’t want to risk scratching!

Compression for Recovery

I’m not a fan of running in compression socks or calf sleeves (although many runners swear by it), but they are amazing for recovery. I love them for post long run and they were also awesome during pregnancy as well. Like a big tight bear hug for sore muscles. You can check out a review I did of Pro Compression here. While I don’t like running in the socks, I do have a couple of pairs of compression capris and tights that I love to run in. It may be a weird placebo effect, but they just make me feel faster.

Built-in Timing Chips

When I started racing, you used big plastic timing chips which you’d wind through your shoelaces (and if you were a serious racer, you could buy your own rather than use the ones supplied at races). Then came the D-tag, which was like a loop you’d stick through your shoelace and have snipped after the finish line. Remember having to line up for the volunteers collecting chips or snipping tags? Then was the B-tag, which was a sticker on the back of your bib that you didn’t even have to think about. That may be what’s still in use, but the only thing I care about is that I don’t need to worry about having a timing device/losing a timing device, or having it collected after a race. FREEE-DOOOM!

Detergent for Sweaty Gym Clothes

Another freebie sent my way recently was a new detergent from Febreze, designed to de-stink gym clothes. You throw it in on the rinse cycle and it’s supposed to freshen up all that sweat wicking fabric that unfortunately can start to smell of BO after a while. And we all know that we superstitious runners can get attached to a ‘lucky’ item of clothing, so this could definitely extend the life of your running gear. We’ve used it for about a month now and it seems to be working great! Definitely something I’d purchase myself. If you can afford it, as well, there are some companies that make running gear with silver woven into their fabric (it’s supposed to neutralize the bacteria that causes clothes to stink after sweating in them). There are mixed reviews on whether that technology actually works though, so maybe stick with the detergent.

Temporary Tattoo for Pace

I’ve used a pace band before, with the paces written out on it, but this is a pretty cool alternative – it’s a temporary tattoo you can put on your forearm, making it much easier to read at a glance as you’re running. This may be a moot point if my decision to try out running by effort works out, but if I wanted to be aware of split goals, I’d try this for sure!

GPS Watches

Yes, of course they are great for monitoring pace and splits and all that stuff, but a big reason I am so happy they’ve been invented is that GPS watches have transformed speed work. You don’t need to have easy access to a track. You don’t need to plan out routes ahead of time with exact distances mapped out. If your repeat is for a certain distance, you can either program your GPS watch, or just check it as you go and all the guesswork is removed.

The Best Running Gear - 15 things you don’t think you can live without as a runner. All the inventions that make life easier when you go for your run, from high tech GPS watches to low tech thumb holes in your sleeves. Next time you run or workout, you’ll remember all the little things that make life easier! | fitness |

Ponytail Headbands

You might remember me reviewing the TrailHeads ponytail headband last winter – it really is such an awesome invention. I have long hair and there’s a lot of it, so the only other option for me would be to pile it on top of my head in a bun if  my winter headband didn’t have a ponytail opening. I’ve tried running with a bun and it just doesn’t work for me. I am so shocked it hadn’t been invented before TrailHeads came up with it!

UV Protective Running Gear

Let’s face it, every runner out there is going to end up with some funky tan lines. It doesn’t matter how much sunscreen I apply or reapply, I tan pretty easily, so I’ve come to terms with having a perpetual white racerback shape going on in the summer. But I love that there are shirts and shorts now with built-in UV protection, so at least you never have to worry about getting burned or sun damaged on the parts of you covered with clothing.

Foam Rollers and Other Torture Devices

I don’t know how I would make it uninjured without self myofascial release. When you’re repetitively using your muscles in running, sometimes it’s not the muscle breaking down so much as the fascia encasing your muscles (like a drum skin) getting tight and knotty, which causes discomfort. Rolling and breaking up the fascia with massage can make all the difference when it comes to recovery. I love my regular foam roller, but I’ve also been trying out the Moji foot rollers and hand-held rollers lately, which I am loving. (And look out for a review and giveaway coming soon!)

The Best Running Gear - 15 things you don’t think you can live without as a runner. All the inventions that make life easier when you go for your run, from high tech GPS watches to low tech thumb holes in your sleeves. Next time you run or workout, you’ll remember all the little things that make life easier! | fitness |

Running Sunglasses

I never used to wear sunglasses for running. Then a couple of years back, Oakley gave me a pair (with my prescription!) and my running eyes were opened (or at least focused). They’re amazing at reducing glare, you never have to worry about dust or dirt or bits and pieces flying up from your footfalls on a trail. They are a given for me now while running or racing – it took me way to long to discover how helpful they can be.

Road ID

There are so many different forms of this simple idea – a wristband or something like it that has all your important info on it, in case of accident or emergency. I mean, when was the last time you ran with a driver’s license tucked away? Not so long ago, there was a terribly sad story of a runner who collapsed in Prospect Park and was unidentified in ICU in a Brooklyn hospital for days before his family could be contacted, because he had nothing on him. And like all good ideas, there’s an app for that, too.

There are so many obvious contenders for the best running gear invented that I didn’t include, like specialized running shoes, treadmills (much as I bitch about them, they’re a lifesaver when the weather is extreme), sports bras (I love the Moving Comfort Juno and the extra benefit I’ve found is that it has velcro straps which actually make it perfect for nursing! So awesome for immediately after a run or workout) and gels and fuels (gummi bears for me, though, please!).

What about you guys?

What running gear do you think is indispensable?


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Comments

  1. OMG ALL of these things!!! I too used to race with the timing chip that the volunteers would abruptly stop you for immediately after running 13.1 or 26.2 and risk puking all over them. That was the worst! Truly. Also, the day I discovered body glide after a very serious and delicate chafing incident is one I won’t soon forget! And, my third fav is probably foam rollers. I especially love mine as I get older 🙁
    Allie recently posted…Water Is My Weapon – Orange Mud HydraQuiver Vest ReviewMy Profile

    • Carly Pizzani says:

      The chip thing makes me feel old! Because I train people now in their 20s who run and when I talk about the chips, they’re like, whaaaat?

  2. YES to these things!! especially the detergent. My hubby does the laundry (bless his heart) and we finally found something that works, but I’ll be looking in the one you mentioned here too! Love this list!
    Nellie recently posted…#BlogHer15 NYC Recap – Experts Among Us: Part 2My Profile

  3. Totally agree with most of these… didn’t even know about the built-in timing chips! I’ll have to check em out… wonder if they’d be accepted at obstacle course races. But for any non-daylight runners I’d add a reflective mesh running vest: http://www.amazon.com/Reflective-Running-Reflector-Adjustable-Visibility/dp/B0183MDHOC/ref=sr_1_141?s=sports-and-fitness&ie=UTF8&qid=1451493190&sr=1-141&keywords=reflective+mesh+running+vest A MUST for safety’s sake!

Trackbacks

  1. […] “All you need are your sneakers and you’re good to go!” said no runner ever. I love putting together these gift guides every year because it’s so fun to take a look at all the many, many products and goodies out there for runners and dream a little bit. (Sometimes, I even get a bit impatient and put together barely-disguised gift guides, like this list of 15 Things Runners Were Glad Were Invented.) […]