Have you ever seen an inspirational running quote that you disagreed with? Everyone has their own opinion and outlook on what makes a runner a “runner” and what the sport or activity provides them in their personal/professional lives, to be sure. I hear this statement from runners and non-runners—and each time someone mentions it, I stop and think about whether or not it’s true.
Anyone can be a runner because all you need is a pair of shoes.
Ok, I get it. At the bare minimum, you need a solid pair of shoes that are appropriate for your body frame. Grab some shorts, a shirt, (a bra if you’re a lady) and strap those shoes onto your feet. You’re all set. But if you’re an avid runner, you have likely discovered that the right gear can make all the difference. In reality, these are just little things we get for ourselves that make us more comfortable and happy.
I’m not an extravagant “I need all the newest, coolest gear out there” kind of runner. But I have invested a pretty penny on shorts, a Garmin, vitamins, singlets, etc. in the past year or so.
Here are my favorites:
Saucony Kinvaras. I’ve raved about these shoes several times in the past 10 months or so. I have 6 pairs of them (all in different colors) and really don’t anticipate removing them from my small rotation anytime soon. They’re ideal for my bodyframe and stride; I’ve been able to log well over 300 miles on each pair and won’t have a problem adding more to the pairs I currently own. I recently bought the Saucony Mirage for a little additional support when I need it, but haven’t really relied on them much. Keep in mind that it has a 4 mm heel-to-toe drop. If you’re transitioning into a shoe like the Kinvara, do so gradually so that you don’t add extra strain to your lower leg. [ALSO: Keep an eye out for a Kinvara 3 review from me in the next week or so!]
Nuun Hydration. I fell in love with Nuun after seeing several people tweet about it. Running consistently through a hot Chicago summer means hydrating properly and I’m glad I found Nuun. The small tubes are easy to throw in your gym bag, briefcase, or purse. And adding them to a glass of water and waiting for them to fizz is fun. After trying almost all of their flavors, I can honestly all delicious (although tropical fruit could be improved). My favorite is Citrus Fruit. I consistently drank Nuun before my first marathon and didn’t have any hydration issues despite high temps the last 10 miles or so. I will take Nuun over Gatorade any day. Nuun sells single tubes or 4-packs depending on the flavors you want.
Nike Phantom Training Shorts. I bought these 2 days before the 2011 Chicago Marathon and loved them on race day (yes I broke the classic rule of changing gear on race day!). They have a thin compression short layer underneath the outer lining, which makes them super comfy. They also wicked away plenty of sweat during the race, PLUS they come in fun contrasting colors. (Confession?: I may or may not have peed my pants in them that day…)
TruMoo Chocolate Milk. It’s chocolate milk. And it’s delicious. And it’s the appropriate protein-carb ratio for recovery after a tough run. ‘Nuff said.
Trigger Point Foam Roller. I have a love/hate relationship with Mr. Foam Roller. But at least he makes me feel good. He doesn’t always treat me right, but then again I probably don’t treat him right either. I told you it was complicated. But in all seriousness, this foam roller is the best. I’ve tried some other brands’ models and they don’t compare. The inner structure is so strong that I doubt I’ll have to buy a new foam roller at any point in the next 10 years. It hurts so good! (Tip: search YouTube for the proper use of a foam roller so that you know the appropriate positions to focus on certain muscle groups OR just get creative about how you use it!)
Hammer Endurolytes. In addition to drinking Nuun throughout the summer, I also relied on Endurolytes to get my through long runs on hot days. They come in either pill or powder form, but I’ve taken the pills with water (or Nuun) a few hours before a race in order to avoid dehydration. Taking salt tabs doesn’t interest me much for some reason, but popping two Endurolytes before a long run or race is easy.
Pretzel Dipping Sticks and Nutella. Ok, so these items are clearly not ‘gear’, but they make me and my stomach happy. Paired with some TruMoo Chocolate Milk, it’s a great recipe for recovery on the couch.
What gear can you NOT live without as a runner? What do you splurge on? Do you agree with the statement, “anyone can run because all they need is a good pair of shoes?”