Most runners are superstitious, and I am no exception. Runners typically will develop their own routines that help them mentally and physically prepare for races, long runs, and every other run in between. They say consistency is key for most things in life, but runners can definitely take the saying to a new level.
I am picky when it comes to my running! Especially when it comes to shoes, I have picked the best and tried the rest. It took me a super long time to narrow it down, but I have picked 5 running products that I don’t think I could run without.
1. Garmin Forerunner 220
When I first started running, I used an app to track my runs (still do, see #5), but when I got semi serious I decided I wanted a GPS watch to track my stats. I started with a Forerunner 10 and after a couple years graduated from that one to my Garmin Forerunner 220. I have loved running with a Garmin because it’s a running watch made for runners BY runners, and I think that’s the most important part. The watch itself is very easy to use, from initial set up to the first time you run with it. The Forerunner 220 in particular doesn’t track steps or heart rate, so I don’t treat it as an everyday watch. I use it to track my runs, that’s pretty much it. I sync the watch to my Garmin Connect App so I can see the statistics from my runs overtime and even compare them! Below are a few screenshots from a half marathon I did on Thanksgiving! On the app I can see all of the details from the race, which is something that I personally like doing, although I know that not everyone cares about those.
I will say, if you’re not already a Garmin fan and are debating between a Garmin and the Apple Watch, go with the Garmin. Of course, it depends on your priorities for the watch, but I recently purchased an Apple Watch Series III with the hopes of replacing my Garmin, and was disappointed. I loved the concept of the Apple Watch, don’t get me wrong. Closing rings, having my heart rate, and being able to track my cross training sessions was super cool. The deal breaker with the Apple Watch was the way it tracked my outdoor runs. The activity app was very difficult to pause and restart at stop lights, and I accidentally stopped my watch mid training run too many times to count, which was very frustrating. Like I said earlier, a Garmin is made by runners, for runners, and an Apple Watch isn’t primarily a running watch, and I think that’s where I drew the line. I loved the watch for everything else, so for an everyday watch it’s great! Accidentally stopping the GPS makes the end of a 13 miler run slightly less satisfying. A 7 mile activity and a 6 mile activity just doesn’t have the same appeal.
2. Feetures High Performance Running Socks
I still remember my first pair of Feetures running socks, and I still have them. I used to run in thin little socks that I wore in Converse and Sperrys, but I didn’t realize how much that was slowing me down. I definitely believe that the socks you wear have an impact on your stride, because the friction in your shoe can cause blisters if you don’t have the right pair! The other day all of my running socks were dirty, so I had to wear a different pair and I got a blister. Coincidence? I think not! I know that paying $12.99 seems pricy for a pair of socks, but I am telling you I wear these everyday and they last years. As I said earlier, I still have my first pair. They come in different thicknesses, so depending on your preference for cushion you can pick what you like best. I like the High Performance Cushion, but that’s just me. I find the socks super comfortable and I usually buy the Grey & Black ones just so they don’t get noticeably dirty overtime.
3. Brooks Ghost 11 Running Shoes
This should have been #1 on my list, but proper shoes are so important when it comes to running. I first started running in Nike Free shoes, which have zero support and it’s a miracle that I didn’t get an injury! Love Nike so much, but when it comes to running shoes I usually go with the more supportive shoe. My cross training shoes are currently Nike!
I go back and forth with what brand I like. Usually it’s between Brooks & Asics, but for the past year it’s been Brooks Ghost 10 & now the Ghost 11s. When it’s time to get new running shoes, which is typically every 400-600 miles depending on what terrain I’m running on and how they are wearing, I will go to The Big Peach Company. The Big Peach Company is a specialty running store and they, like many other running stores, will help you find the right shoes for you! There are shoes for neutral runners, pronating runners, and supinating runners, but the people who work in these stores will gage your stride and assist you in finding the shoe that gives you the most support.
I’m a neutral runner and tend to be super light on my feet, but I prefer a super cushioned shoe. My dad describes the shoes I like as “running on a cloud.” With extra cushion, usually comes extra cost. Running is something that I love, so I feel that it’s worth the investment. I also try to extend the life of my shoes by only wearing them for running miles and leave the rest to a complement pair of cross-training shoes.
4. Under Armour Cold Gear
I live in Georgia, so in the Summer my running attire is usually a sports bra and spandex, pretty standard hot & humid uniform. When it comes to the cold winters, it often takes all of my willpower to hit the roads instead of driving to the gym to hit the treadmill. There are so many leggings out there, and while Lululemon is trendy and cute, I have found that Under Armour’s Cold Gear line is the best. Nike is great with Dry Fit, but Under Amour excels with their Cold Gear. These leggings are incredible, just their basic Authentic Cold Gear ones. If you’re wondering about sizing, I wear a Small and I am usually a small. They aren’t see through, and last for years! I have had many pairs of these, and they have yet to let me down. The Cold Gear crew tops are also great to pair with these. I prefer to wear shorts for running, even if it’s freezing. However, in the 10s, 20s, and 30s, these leggings and crew tops are a power move. Like I said, I live in Georgia, so it never gets super cold, so if you’re from some place with a real Winter, you might want another layer over these.
Last but not least, Runkeeper. When I first started running on my own outside of an organized sport, I had no idea of knowing how fast I was running or even how far. I found Runkeepeer on the app store, and I have been using it ever since (almost 6 years)! I like Runkeeper because it has all of my runs on it, even treadmill runs. I manually enter the time and the distance from the treadmill and the app will tell me my average pace & I can enter in a few details. If you’re not going to purchase a GPS watch, or maybe you want to get in a few miles under your belt before you make the investment, get this app. You can use it for free or pay monthly for more features, however I just use the free version.
Whether you’re new to running or a pro, Runkeeper even has training plans available and different challenges that you can participate in. If you have friends who run, they can even sign up for the app too and you guys can encourage eachother on a social media type newsfeed!