Running: What Do You Really Need?

It has been said that running is the easiest form of exercise to partake in because it’s so low maintenance. All you need is a pair of shoes and you’re good to go! For those who are avid runners, you know this just isn’t true. There are many more things we “need”! And for those of you who run just every once in a while, you know it’s not the easiest thing to just start doing. It takes a lot of mental patience as you get better and stronger!

Today we’re talking about the Running Oldies But Goodies…you know, those pieces we have in our closet that we just can’t live without. We all have them! They bring us luck, make us faster, and tend to give us a feeling of ease as we head out the door, no?

Shoes

If you plan on running often, any old pair of shoes simply won’t cut it. Different shoes work for different people! I’ve worn Asics, Brooks, Mizunos, and New Balance, and it seems like it just depends on the season of life I’m in with my running as to what works best. The last two shoes I have purchased have both been Asics Gel-Kayano®. First I had the 20s, then I switched colors and bought the 21s. I wanted to go back to my beloved Brooks Ghost…

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How cute are these?! But they don’t offer as much stability as the shoe I am in now since they are a neutral shoe. I also noticed (after wearing the Gel Kayano’s for one training cycle) that the gel makes a huge difference in the feeling of the shoe! I can’t let the Asics go just yet. I am due for a new pair of shoes, and I don’t know if I can handle change yet. 😉

Clothes

My biggest tip about running clothes is this: invest in dri-fit or sweat-wicking fabric. It feels so much more comfortable when you are running if your clothes aren’t sticking to you! And honestly, these clothes will transfer to your other workouts, too. As you can see, I wore some of my favorite running clothes to teach a Spinning class…

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…and the reason cotton t-shirts just don’t cut it can be seen above! Ain’t nobody got time for a soaking wet shirt during their workout. 😉 As far as brands go, I am not loyal to any particular one. I love the lululemon tops and bottoms that I own, but I have found just as many pieces that I love from Target and Gap. To each their own with clothing brands! As long as it soaks up my sweat, I’m good.

Fuel & Hydration

Fuel Belt

For longer runs or days when it is really hot, a fuel belt can be a lifesaver. I have a SPIbelt which stretches to fit my keys, my ID and any other cards I bring with me, and my huge iPhone 6 Plus. I also have a New Balance belt that has a small zippered pocket and two small water bottles on each side. I have to carry my phone in my hand when I wear this belt, but I do that most of the time anyway so it doesn’t really bother me. And I love having water or Powerade Zero on my hip! I usually wear it off to the side (not on the front as shown in the picture) because it doesn’t move as much that way for me.

Fuel

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Gu of the chocolate variety is my fuel of choice. Vanilla Bean actually made my list of accepted flavors, though! I have tried Shot Blocks, but their gummy texture just isn’t for me while running. I like water, water with a nuun tablet, or Powerade Zero for hydration.

Recovery

Foam Roller

My foam roller was a cheap find at Marshall’s and it does just as well as its more expensive counterparts from Dick’s Sporting Goods! I am forever rolling my calves, glutes, and the outsides of my hips. It’s definitely a “hurts so good” kind of feeling, but it is so helpful post-run!

The Stick

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My brother purchased The Stick for me as a gift last Christmas and I LOVE it! It feels much harder and more intense than the foam roller, and that’s exactly why I love it. I mentioned earlier that I always roll out my glutes, and I have found that the pressure from The Stick isn’t as helpful in that case, but a golf ball will do the trick! You can improvise. 🙂

Compression Socks

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Or should I say sleeves? It took me a long time to invest in PROCompression socks, mostly because I was being cheap. This summer, there was a sale on their calf sleeves. You could order a grab bag of three for only $55! One pair of compression sleeves is $45, so I feel like the grab bag price is a steal. The catch: you can’t choose what colors are sent to you. 😉 I don’t much care if I match (as you can tell from the above photo), but I ended up with baby blue, purple, and a red and white striped pair. I LOVE wearing these sleeves after a long run or when I feel like my shins are acting up post-run.

Headphones

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Everyone seems to have a very specific opinion about which headphones are best. I, personally, am a fan of the regular ol’ iPhone earbuds! I buy extras when mine get lost and steal my brothers’ when they get new phones. They fit my ears perfectly, they never fall out, the sound is great…I just have no complaints! And no need for wireless ones, though those are really popular too. Note to self: don’t wear a necklace and headphones while working out. It will end badly.

One last note about winter running gear since I’m in the middle of Winter Storm Jonas over here in D.C. 😉

I am not one to advocate for buying a whole new running wardrobe just because it is winter. I am all about the layers. I wear some of the same long sleeved tops and bottoms that I wear on chilly spring or fall days, but instead of wearing one long sleeved shirt, I wear two. That kind of thing. My favorite cold weather headband is from Target (because hello cheap gear) and my favorite gloves are any pair that cover my hands. I do have a neon green pair from Nike, but they are just as warm as the $3 pair from Target. 🙂

Have a few pieces with fleece on the inside. My bright pink pullover and blue and grey Nike pullover are both fleece-lined, and with a long sleeve shirt underneath I can usually get away with them during cold weather months! On especially cold days, I add a random jacket over top or I run on the treadmill. Ha! I was lucky enough to receive a lululemon running vest for Christmas as well as one of their scarves, and while they truly ARE warm, they mostly just help me feel more fashionable. Pieces that have changed the game = my grey North Face jacket. That thing is warm for everyday life AND running life. It’s a win, win. Except that it is always in the washing machine so it doesn’t smell like sweat when I wear it in real life. #runnerproblems

So tell me…what pieces can’t you live without?!

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20 thoughts on “Running: What Do You Really Need?

  1. Oh my gosh yes to all these things. Good shoes- it only takes one or 2 runs before you realize your body hates those shoes and doesn’t want you to run in them anymore. Good headphones- those are my favorite kind too! I can’t stand the kinds that go behind your ear (they always fall off of me!) I love all these tips and don’t think you’ve left anything out!

    • Haha yes those ones and the ones that go all the way in your ear with the little rubber pieces…they do NOT stay in my ears! Running with those (when they’re a last resort) is so frustrating!

      • I’m always experimenting. For gels I like Huma (chocolate, of course) & Clif better than GU. I actually do love the taste of GUs, but I tend to not want something super sweet after I’ve been running a while — that’s like the only time!

        I also make oatmeal date bars; I break them up into little pieces and that’s worked well for me my last few races. Sweet, but not cloyingly so.

        Although even with them, sometimes I do lose my appetite on a long run/race and have to force myself to eat them!

      • The oatmeal bars are a good idea! I forgot to buy fuel once before a long run and I took a Larabar along. It worked pretty well 🙂 I’ve never heard of Huma but maybe I need to find that and Clif and do some taste testing!

      • Huma I order online, so I don’t know how that would work for you (although you can buy it on Amazon, like most things).

        Gels are really just a personal preference.

        Larabars are mostly dried fruits, so that ought to be perfect!

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