Friday, April 8, 2016

Running Essentials

In theory, all you really need for running is a pair of running shoes and workout attire. But over the years I've found myself needing a lot more. The list has grown to more than 10 items, depending on the day. Getting ready for runs can be process. It starts with waking up early enough, making sure I eat something well in advance, and hydrating. If I'm on top of things that day, I make sure I have everything I need ready to go in a pile. Most days, though, I'm frantically running about the house getting what I need. Check out my list of running essentials and let me know what you would absolutely need for runs, and what you would add or subtract.

These are just some of my running essentials.



Hair ties: This is absolutely a necessity. The days when I forget to bring a hair tie to the yoga or Orangetheory studio are the worst. You can sometimes get lucky and find a rubberband at the front desk, but who wants to do that? I somehow broke or wore down all my hair ties recently, so I replaced them with plastic ones from Scunci. I actually didn't realize they were plastic-type material when I bought them online, and I was skeptical when I received them. But I find them to be durable and they came in various fun colors. (My previous set were plain black standard hair ties.)

Headphones: I know runners who don't need music, and I'm in awe of them. I need the music to pump me up and distract me. I recently broke the headphones I've had for a couple of years, so I replaced them with Sony headphones that come with a microphone for when Graham calls me midrun to check on me. The ear pieces are a bit smaller and I'm still getting used to them, but I like that they came in pink/purple. I would invest in a fancy pair of earbuds but I'm afraid I'd break them or lose them.

Armband: I carry my phone with me for three reasons: Safety, photos and music. Thus, most days I need an armband. If I run in a jacket I can put my phone in a pocket, but in the summer I rely on my armband to carry my phone and sometimes my debit card, just in case.

Energy gels: As I started to run longer distances, I needed to figure out how to nourish myself. That's when I began trying energy gels and packets. On longer distances, I try different types of energy gels to see which work best for me and which taste better. Lately I've tried Honey Stinger, Gu and Clif Shots. 

Water bottle: This isn't always necessary, and in fact I hate carrying water. I have tried running belts in the past, but I found them to be too bouncy and annoying. I don't really want to run with my Camelbak either, because I don't think I need that much water. I instead hydrate before and after on runs of an hour or less. If it's more than an hour I might bring a water bottle during the winter/spring. During the summer, I can drink from the fountains along the Chicago Lakefront path. 

Garmin wristband: I wear this every day, all day to track my steps. The Garmin vivosmart also syncs to my phone and can play my music and change the songs while I'm running. It also reads your text messages, which is helpful so that I can ignore any that don't require an urgent response while I'm running. 

Heart-rate monitor: I only really wear it while training at Orangetheory. I used to use the Garmin one that came with my wristband but now I exclusively use the one I got at Orangetheory.

Burt's Bees chapstick or Vaseline Lip Therapy (Rosy Lips): Especially during the winter and spring, I need my lips to be hydrated during the run. Chicago is windy (surprise!) and it dries out my lips when I run. I either apply this before the run or carry some with me. 

Doc Spartan Combat Ready ointment: I only recently started using this after I received it in my Stride Box. You can use it on skin that requires healing.

Hat and/or sunglasses: If it's raining, I wear a hat to keep the water out of my eyes. This happens too often in Chicago. In Phoenix, I would sometimes wear a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes if not wearing sunglasses.

Headlamp or flashing taillight or flashing slapband: I use a headlamp if I'm running in the dark. (Some races even require them if you're running at dusk.) I recently got a flashing slapband in my Stride Box that I've used twice as well. Even better: Wearing a reflective vest. I don't often do this, but I have one from running Ragnar four times. In Phoenix I would often run at night, and I would use both a headlamp and a taillight so I could be as visible as possible to drivers.


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