How much money could I spend in sport check if allowed, thousands. That sentence would surprise 25 year old me so much there just aren’t words. How much do I spend? Actually about $500 a year. Some of the stuff I’ll be listing here surprises 25 year old me to no end. A lot of it initially entered into my life as gifts but have since been repurchased.
25 year old me ran in used up shoes, men’s cotton boxers and any cotton tee I had lying around. By that time I ran with tunes on my iPod but not with water or any fancy undergarments. I also took my keys with me but not my phone. No wonder I hated running and felt it got my anger out! So what is worth it? What does it bring to your running and why?
Running under garments ($40): All credit for these discoveries goes to my mom. Somewhat unfairly I tend to thing she and her money can be parted easily. One year she bought me these New Balance hipster undies and another running socks. Each time I was pretty sure that wasn’t a thing but wow is it? Here are the undies she got me and something like the socks and every race I’m wearing exactly those undies and the second pair of socks. Running undies don’t bunch, get heavy and sweaty, lead to funny business in your downstairs, cover just what they need to and are overall awesome. Any pair that don’t have a cotton base and fit well can be running undies like these ones. I have even more pairs that work but weren’t purpose built for that at all, some are even cute! I think they need to be bikini style but I could see how thongs could be someone else’s thing too.
So socks again any non-cotton, thin and wicking socks will do. But both pairs of socks listed take it up a notch. They are so wicking your feet get cold without shoes, the perfect amount of slippery and again awesome. The first pair she bought me were just really light and breathable like these Nike Lightweight Socks. The second pair even has an elastic section putting pressure in the arch which I swear makes me faster similar to Nike Dri-FIT cushion socks. This three pack even seems like a bit of a deal. And of course ladies a good sports bra but that one is probably non-negotiable.
Why you need it: It doesn’t matter how expensive your running clothes are or how well they wick sweat if your undies suck so will your run. The layers closest to your body are the most important for comfort. Investing in great exercise undies makes everything else work better and your run less sucky.
Hydration strategy ($15-40+)
Most people will opt for a hydration belt for good reasons, in my opinion anyway, but there are other options. I got this Nike 4 bottle waist pack for christmas and the best part is it’s also reflective. A specifically designed Handheld Hydration Pack or camel-bak style hydration backpack are also options. Personally I opt for the belt system because holding anything drives me nuttier than it should and even though I use a CamelBak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack while I’m biking it seems so cumbersome while I’m running. Plus lots of my summer running gear doesn’t even have pockets. That being said I could see someone hating a belt and opting for a hand-held system instead and if marathon’s or ultras are your thing it’s hard to get around the capacity of camelbak style system.
For a long time running with water seemed like a chore given that the step up from nano to iPhone 3G irritated me to no end. But I can admit when I’ve been wrong. Having water while your on the go really does make hot weather running especially all the more tolerable. In fact its a very fine line between convenience and safety here and it can be hard to tell exactly where that line is. Past a certain temperature, distance and exertion level not having water puts you at risk for dehydration and adverse health effects. Lots of factors go into determining if your running these risks like how much you sweat, hydration status pre-run and your overall fitness level its a good idea to take water with you just in case even if you’re not planning to use it. A small pocket bottle is a viable option too. The bottles from this belt fit in a pocket perfectally.
Why you need it: Safety and health in order to stay hydrated while you’re out there. You might save money in the long term if your run often includes you stopping somewhere to buy a drink.
Identification (Free – $30)
Full confession my optimistic outlook might leave me uncovered here but I’m changing that today! According to Road ID 450 000 people are taken to hospital each year unconscious and some of those have to be runners and cyclists. They make a variety of bracelets, necklaces, shoe and watch plates that relay your medical and contact information should the unthinkable occur. Reading through the dozens of testimonials makes me put this at the top of my to do list. Right now I have my medical and contact information in the appropriate screens of my iPhone and Apple Watch. It’s also possible that electronics will get damaged or wet and not be able to speak for you. This drives honey crazy because he points out that should someone hit me or find me unconscious the first thing someone will do is steal my electronics and I guess there is an implied leave me for dead there too. Sad face 😦 It might be that I have no medical stuff that would be important for paramedics and doctors to know that keeps me from being as responsible as I should be. If you have a pertinent medical issue you need to get on this yesterday! I need to too because selfishly if I ended up in hospital injured during a run or bike ride I would really want someone I love there with me even if I wasn’t injured seriously, plus I would probably need a drive home.
So what can you do. This could be running with your wallet a note card in your pocket or at the very least info filled into the emergency screens in your devices. I originally thought I would get a plate for my watch but in case honey is right I think I will order a few shoe tags instead. The idea here is to get this done automatically and making it so you can’t leave home without it. Bracelets and tags are the easiest way to get this done but there are some free options too. You could tuck a note card written in pencil or sharpie under your insole in your shoe but a first responder might not think to look there. If you always run with your hydration belt with a pocket a card in there will do. I would like to have 4 tags, one for my bike shoes, two for my pairs of everyday running shoes and an extra for my supplemental shoes I sometimes have on the go, like now. But I think two will have to do for now. I think I might also slip a laminated card into my jacket, vest and each of my running belts in the meantime. I’ll put one card in each of the packs of my bikes too. (Note from future me: I did make those cards last week and found one that fell out of my belt this week on my route, fail.)
Why you need it: Safety. Last year a cyclist was hit by a flatbed truck and seriously injured on his commute to work near where I live. He was unconscious, the driver stopped but sped off when someone else arrived on the scene. The case remains unsolved.
Some technical gear ($20 – 120+++)
Remember the running in cotton boxers and a tee, not cool. It’s worth investing in some gear made of wicking fabric often just called technical fabric. If your lucky to live in one of those constant temperature climates you can get away with just shorts and a tee, but you might need more items for year round use. You can get away with just washing it on rest days if your cool with that. There is not reason to wash it every time. The job of running gear is to get smelly and dirty. So what does it matter if it’s one day dirty or 5 days dirty. It probably won’t smell as bad as you think it will at the end of the week since it’s made of fast drying fabric. Last year’s drought and marathon training meant that if I could stand the smell while pulling a shirt on over my head, it wasn’t dirty enough to be washed yet, ick! Depending on if your cool with it you can at least pick up a few old race shirts used. Chances are they were only used once if that. You might score shorts of pants there too. If you live in an all over the place climate like me you will want a tank, tee, long sleeve shirt, shorts, thin tights and pants. I got these Nike Shield Tight windproof pants for Christmas and wow were they amazing. During a bitterly cold race my water bottle leaked and coated my side with a plate of ice, I didn’t even notice until I wanted a drink! They are also featured in the above image. Also they seem to be half off now since it’s no longer winter. Tops get icky faster than bottoms next to your skin. You might want a couple of long sleeves one thick (or a vest) and one thinner. As for sweaters and jackets since they are not next to your skin wicking is less important so you can use a fleece or hoodie you already have. Layer it under a windproof jacket and you’re good to go in any weather.
Why you need it: comfort to the point of necessity. You’ll actually stay running if your just starting and go further faster if your seasoned.
Gps app and earphones ($10 -50)
Apps are free look into strata, mapmyrun, one that’s pre-installed on your phone and I use Nike Run Club and I believe they are all free. You can check out my update on the app here. These let you know exactly how fast and far you are going and can be a great source of information to get out there and run. They are practically free motivations you collect virtual trophies, go up run levels and see your stats het faster and farther. Some let you have friends you can compare to others which you can check out on a leaderboard and give you verbal congratulations when you’re done. Plus it’s free so you might as well. Some even keep track of the miles on your shoes and have a runner’s Instagram built in,
So the headphones are for music right? Maybe, it is for me. But you can also listen to podcasts, the radio, audio books and if you’re really type A perhaps conduct phone calls. One of my friends listens to his textbooks. Options abound but standard iPhone earplugs are pretty useless. I like the in ear style others the cradle style and bluetooth is becoming a popular choice since there are no wires, but I have no experience with those yet. For those of you who do use bluetooth and say an Apple Watch, how is the battery life of your phone on long runs? Pay at least $8 since the really cheap ones have a tendency to electrocute the insides of your ears which is not fun. Sad face 😦
Why you need it: Fights boredom, provides motivation and makes it more fun, maybe makes you more productive.
Recovery aids, roller and Epsom salts( $7 -50)
If your still subscribing to no pain no gain, good for you you’re still in your 20’s. Apply wrinkle cream and sunscreen now, future you says thank you! If you’ve aged up a class or two things are starting to hurt. If you’re finding recovery runs after long runs or speed works to be particularly rough it’s time to start taking care of your muscles. You might actually want to try foam rolling. Eye roll, I know I was skeptical too. But this past summer marathon training was catching up with me and I had a bright idea to make my own. Now when you’re doing it it hurts, and not in a hurts so good kinda way. But your next run sucks so much less. The five minuets of pain really does save you for the 45 plus on your next run. I would go for a firmer one and a larger size which takes less co-ordination something like this Reehut 2-in-1 Foam Roller. Or check out the one I made myself for about $10 out of stuff I found at the hardware store. It’s tip 10.
After races which means straight into a hot bubble bath with Epsom salts so too might a long run or speed work. The thing is though you have to add like 3 or 4 cups. They sell them in single use pouches at the dollar store here in unscented, lavender and camomile which I really like but there are a variety of options. It’s supposed to help with soreness and it very well might, but it certainly feels like a treat. I run the tub as hot as I can stand and plan on parking in there for as long as possible. If you love it consider buying in bulk like 20 lbs of Epsom salts. If your training for a big race you’ll go through it! Today after my long run I watched 45 min of youtube videos and ate a bag of doritos while I was there. Embarrassing yes, but the waitress at the local pizza spot we go to said I was her spirit animal.
Why you need it: Makes you more comfortable and suffer so much less. Nuff said.