The best part about running is that you don't need anything special besides some clothes and a pair of shoes to get started. You don't need expensive gear, watches, equipment, classes or a gym membership, just enough motivation to struggle through your first initial weeks. Google “Running Must Haves” and you will find thousands of articles listing all the latest and greatest running gear ranging from $5 to hundreds of dollars. Overwhelming? Yes. Do you need it all? Maybe?....No, of course you don’t!
Your running must haves should make running easier (CAN I GET AN AMEN). Last September I listed my 9 running must haves and since 8 months have passed, it’s time to update my Running Must Haves List:
1. My Spibelt.
I’ve run over 1,000 miles since purchasing this miracle last year and not only does it still feel brand new but I’ve never had one issue with it. It’s kept my iPhone handy and dry (through rain, sweat and snow) on very, very long runs and is handy for selfies, email and phone checking and snap chatting. I’m obsessed with it. It's the best thing I've ever bought.
RunKeeper is the best because it’s simple. I love it because it tracks and maps my runs, allows me to manually enter exercises, I can set up custom runs so I can do intervals, I can take a selfie immediately after I run to look back on a year or so down the road, and write down my immediate thoughts after a workout. I have Elite so I can compare workouts using charts like pace, elevation, heart rate and most importantly SPLITS. There’s no doubt about it, I would never have been able to fall in love with running or run a half/full marathon without RunKeeper.
3. Moving Comfort Sports Bra.
If you’re a guy, skip down because we’re gonna talk boobs (unless you want to stay and learn about sports bras. I'm not going to tell you how to live your life). I wish, wish, wish I had small boobs and could wear the super strappy and adorable sports bras. But alas, I do not. I have a larger chest and I used to have to wear two sports bras. That is until I found my BAE, my moving comfort sports bras. For anyone with big boobs these bras will save your life. No bounce, little chafing and industrial support. Everyone wins, especially your boobs.
4. Body Glide.
Need I say more? This stuff should be kept in every corner of your house if you're a runner. I love you Body Glide. I love you so much.
5. My Physical Therapist Mike Riccardi at Finish Line Physical Therapy.
Mike Ricardi is part Physical Therapist, part actual therapist and part magician. How he helps me stay injury free, I’ll never know. (Well actually, it’s quite simple. He helps me strengthen my weak problem areas and forces me to use a foam roller.) Either way he’s helped me resolve my runner's knee, calf flare ups and prevent injuries in general so I can spend most of my runs worry free. If you’re running marathons and you're not in physical therapy, you're cruising for a bruising and to you I say Tsk Tsk!
6. Trigger Point Foam Roller, Ball and The Stick.
These three torture devices are necessary. If you don’t like injuries, then you should buy them (or steal them from your sister like I did).
7. SuperFeet Insoles.
I can’t tell you why I wear insoles, but Mike says it’s necessary so I do it. So hey, ask your professional and do what they say.
8. A Hat & Sunscreen.
I worked in a surgical dermatology office after I graduated from college and saw more skin cancer than anyone should ever be subjected to. That being said, I can confidently proclaim that if you aren’t wearing a hat and sunscreen when you run, you are an idiot. I now take a daily bath in sunscreen made with Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.
9. Rock My Run.
If you listen to music while you run, go download Rock My Run. I used to spend millions of dollars on music so my really long runs can be entertaining and Rock My Run has saved me all sorts of money. I love it, I love it, I love it. I upgraded to the $5 "Rockstar" version which offers longer playlists but there is a vast variety of genres with billions of songs. I can listen to 30 minute mixes to 4 hour long mixes and I have music ADD so it's RIGHT up my ally! (Did I mention it downloads into your app so you don't have to stream while you run? Save that data!)
10. My Handheld Water Bottle.
Summer is here which means hydrating is more important than ever! I’ve tried a water bottle belt and I hated the way it landed when I ran. I begrudgingly bought a handheld when I was in San Diego for Christmas and needed a water source for my impromptu Half Marathon (put on by me, for me. Some could call it just a long run...) Either way, it houses my keys, metro and credit cards and energy gels so I can use my SpiBelt strictly for whipping my phone out. That way I don't have to worry about losing my credit cards and identity. Handhelds are a wonderful thing. Oh and it holds water which is great as well. (They do take a little getting used to.)
The Almost Must Haves
Now these are in no way shape or form a “Must Have” but more of a “I really like it and you will too."
Vega Sport's Energizer Powder is one of my favorite things ever. It gives me a boost of energy and clarity that not only makes running and spinning easier but more enjoyable. I love their Hydrator electrolyte powder for my long runs because I stopped drinking sports drinks. I can fill my handheld up with water in the park and empty a packet in to get my electrolytes. Their recovery powders not only taste delicious but give you that necessary protein kick post long run and are chalk full of vitamins and minerals. Vega puts out some wonderful products.
I have a problem and the only solution is more FlyWheel. Cross training is an integral part of any runner's training plan and for me, I love spinning at FlyWheel because it's the best workout I've ever had in my life. It's high intensity interval work and I easily burn over 1000 calories riding 22-25 miles during a 45 minute class. I think one of the reasons last year's NYC Marathon was a cake walk for me (OK not a cake walk but definitely smoother sailing) was because I went to FlyWheel to cross train. It's an incredible workout and the best spin class in the field.
When it comes to running must haves, I have one piece of advice for you - play with different toys, gear and options before committing to buy anything expensive. Looking for a particular GPS watch? Try one before buying it. I’m the Blockbuster of GPS watches. I’m always handing out my different GPS watches to friends so they can try them out on their long runs. Seeing how something fits on your arm and actually trying the different functions you think you need can help you realize, “You know what, I am never going to use the 10 different interval settings and this interface is way to big for my dainty wrist (and/or this interface is way to small for my masculine wrist). I’m going to stick with the basic model and save $100.” Jealous of all your friends rocking compression socks? Ask around first. Buy a cheap pair and see what you think before dishing out big bucks on something you may never use. Word of mouth is great but if you can, try something out first.
What are your running must haves? Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.