Here I post my favorite gear and products.
Lululemon Speed Short 4-way stretch, $58 – These shorts are so light and breathable. They fit snug around the hips and don’t ride up. The back of the short is longer than the front so they cover your backside but don’t restrict your thighs/quads. I love the pocket in the back, it easily fits a few gels or a set of keys snug against your lower back, not bouncing around in a butt pocket. Perfect for a shorter race or training run around home without needing to bring a belt.
Oiselle Toolbelt Roga Shorts, $56 – Love Love Love the design of these shorts, they are angled from the outer thigh to the inner thigh so that they cover the chafe prone inner thigh but don’t look like basketball shorts. For those of us with meaty inner thighs, its a perfect design They are still light and breathable with a moisture wicking material. The toolbelt portion lives up to its name. There is a butt pocket good for ID or flat small things and three snug pockets against the lower back to hold gels, keys, etc. The liner is a better material than most running shorts I have worn too.
2XU Performance Run Calf Sleeve, $40 – I think these are easier to get on than compression socks and good for shorter races and training runs. They really help to improve circulation and put pressure on the right spots. My calves feel great after runs and I keep them on for a while to aid in recovery. Great color selection too!
2XU 3/4 Compression Tights, $79.95 – Prices get a little steep when you get into 3/4 and full length tights but these are on the more reasonable end compared to brands like CW-X. I love these tights for cool runs between temps above freezing and about 45. They served me well in several runs and races 10 miles and over. Especially while I was having some hip pain. Also great for recovery as well!
Thorlo Experia XCCU Socks, ~$15 – These socks are ahhhh-mazing. They are “powered by Thorlo pads” which gives great cushioning and comfort for your foot. I hear they can be used for hiking and cycling too, but they are sold as running socks. They last forever and just feel good on your feet. Especially great for runs in cold weather, but not too hot for summer/fall. So many colors!
2XU Compression Run Socks, $49.95 – These are the best for long runs, I wore them in my last marathon and they were amazing, especially on my ankles and shins. 2XU also has recovery focused socks but for performance, these rock. Many color options too 🙂
Sweaty bands, $15 – I was not always a hat person and still prefer heads bands and sunglasses if it isn’t raining. I always had problems with headbands slipping or giving me a headache if they were tight enough. I thought I just had a big head until I found sweaty bands. They literally do not slip, and they don’t give me a headache. They have so many designs and are a ton of fun!
Nike Racer Women’s Sunglasses, Prices vary – I don’t think Nike makes these new any more but you can still find them on Amazon. They are the best sunglasses I have ever had and the only ones I have managed to maintain for more than a year. They DO NOT SLIP. No matter how sweaty I am they have never slipped off my face and they don’t hurt. They don’t fog unless you breathe on them. They even have some stylishness to the shape of the lens instead of the typical elongated shape. Look cute and protect your eyes!
Garmin ForeRunner 230, $250 – This watch has everything you want and need at a price that won’t break the bank. It is a definite improvement over the older ForeRunners and features more technological advancements. It has bluetooth capability and will sync with the Garmin app on your phone, can pull text messages and app notifications if you want (I switched this off), and can even pull weather updates. It is still simple to use though and offers the basic pace, distance, time, and calories if that’s what you want. You can set lap distance and personalize the color on the watch face. It can track daily steps and sleep patterns if you wear it 24/7. It also can track biking, swimming, and indoor running. Lastly, if you want the additional feature there is a heart rate monitor you can purchase for extra $.
Iron Man Fuel Belt R20 Bottle Belt, $43.95 – This belt sits comfortably and works well for 10-18 mile runs depending on humidity with its two 7 oz bottles. You can go up to the model with three water bottles as well. My favorite part is the easily accessible pouch that slides on and off the belt and can fit gels, beans, etc. I once hit it on my PT belt while training in Afghanistan because it is the same color yellow! The only drawback is that it doesn’t have additional loops on the sides and the typical smart phone is now too big for the belt, the iphone 5 used to fit but nothing bigger.
Spi-Belt with waterproof accessory, $29.99 – I love Spi-belts. They are like Mary Poppins carpet bag with the super stretchy material. Perfect for races when you need to carry keys, phone, gels, etc. but don’t need water bottles bc there are water points on the route. I used this very one in the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon and it lived up to its water proof name as it rained that day and I spilled Gatorade all over it. It has six loops for gels too so you can save the pocket for everything else!
Nuun Active Hydration $4-7 per bottle- The link is just for information but you can get these cheaper at specialty running stores or on Amazon when you buy in bulk. Nuun tastes GREAT and it WORKS. I use it for an extra boost before a run or race, for refueling during training runs, and (in all seriousness) often when I am hung over, like adult Pedialyte to replenish electrolytes. I just basically always have some tablets with me. I tried Gu and Nuun kicks its butt in the flavor category, every since Gu stopped making Gu Brew. My favorite Nuun flavors are watermelon, strawberry lemonade, and grape.
Jelly Belly Sport Beans, price varies – Buy these on amazon in bulk, you can often get 24 for $24. I love the Extreme version which have caffeine. I take them 30-60 mins before longer runs and races. They taste good and digest easily. They are good for people who don’t like the texture of chews and gels. Its just quick carb fuel. You can take them during a run too, I just prefer gels so I’m not messing around with a little bag of beans.
Gu Energy Gels – These are the best gels I have used. I’ve tried Clif and Power gels and I have been stuck on Gu for years. I have used them for the last five marathons and countless training runs. They have come out with amazing flavors like salted caramel, maple bacon, and espresso love. I love the savory flavors versus the typical fruity flavors. They go down easy and coming from a person with a lame stomach, they do NOT upset my stomach. Just make sure you DRINK WATER with them. Gu also has the Roctane version with increased amounts of caffeine, sodium, and amino acids for high endurance events like marathon, ultras, and triathlons. I suggest testing them in training ones to see which your stomach and body agree with better.
Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller, $39.99 – I am not making a medical recommendation, but I’ve never had a chiropractor or PT who told me not to foam roll. I love this one because it has the grid system versus a flat surface, but they aren’t giant spikes like some rollers are introducing. Those can cause bruising and aren’t good for areas like calves, shins, and quads. Spiky rollers are good for piriformis and harder to reach places but the ball below will also hit those spots! This one is also hollow so its great for travel because you can pack things inside of it!
Trigger Point MB5 Massage Ball, $25 – This is like a prettier lacrosse ball. Its so good for the piriformis, glutes, psoas, and all those hard to access core muscles. But, it won’t give you bruises like a spiky foam roller. Using it is painful but in a beautiful relieving way. I use it on my lower back too. My PT showed me some great exercises and the website has tips and instructions too.
*** I won’t post about shoes because they are very specific to you as an individual, your foot shape, footfall, arches, stride, etc. For shoes, I am a believer in getting a gait analysis done at a specialty running store so you know more about your feet and your body’s needs, and can make an informed decision from there! Depending on your location the following companies do GREAT gait analysis.
NoVA and DC – Potomac River Running
Various locations across the country – Road Runner Sports