One of the best things about the sport of running is that it doesn’t require a lot of specialized (read: expensive) equipment. You can pretty much lace up your shoes, hit the road and go. That said, I’ve tried a lot of different running gear, gadgets and devices over the years and there are a few things I’ve come to love. (Some of the links below are affiliate links).
When I’m running for more than 90 minutes, I need something to restore my glycogen levels. There are a lot of different gels and chews on the market, but my personal favorite are the Jelly Belly Sport Beans. The flavors are great – it’s like eating candy mid-run – and the resealable packaging makes them easy to carry or stuff into my shorts pocket.
If I could rewind the clock 20 years, I would tell my younger self, “Sunscreen! Sunscreen! Sunscreen!” Melanoma runs in my family and I wish I had taken sun protection more seriously in my youth. I take it seriously now and I don’t run outdoors without protecting my skin. My go-to sunscreen is Neutrogena’s Ultimate Sport because it offers great protection and doesn’t drip into my eyes when I break a sweat. I like the Sport Face for, you guessed it, my face and the spray is great for hard to reach areas like my back.
3. Sun Visor
Again with the sun protection. A good sun visor serves the dual purpose of keeping the sun off my face and out of my eyes. I’ve tried running with sunglasses and they slip off my nose the minute I break a sweat, which is super annoying. The visor also has the added benefit of keeping the rain off my face if I get caught in a storm.
I literally will not run without these headbands. I have bangs which are high maintenance enough, much less when they’re flopping in your face on a run, so they have to be pulled back when I workout. A lot of heads bands claim to be non-slip but these truly stay in place even on the longest, sweatiest runs and they come in some really cute patterns and colors.
I’ve tried several of the running apps available and my favorite is Runkeeper. It’s super simple and intuitive to use – which is important to this tech-challeneged runner – and it tracks my pace, distance, splits and calories burned. You can also share your running stats on social media if you’re into that sort of thing.
6. Soleus Watch
Nine times out of ten I use Runkeeper on my iPhone to track my running stats, but when I’m doing a long run and I don’t want to carry my phone I wear my Soleus watch. Honestly, it’s a little tricky to set up (maybe not so much if you’re tech-savvy) but once it’s ready, it reliably tracks my pace and distance. A lot of watches crap out amongst the tall buildings in the city or deep in the forest preserve, but I’ve never had a problem with my Soleus.
7. Body Glide
Body Glide is one of those things you don’t realize you need until it’s too late. There is nothing worse than the biting sting of chafed skin on a long, hot, sweaty run. This easy-to-apply lubricant is an absolute necessity on long runs. Thankfully I don’t sweat heavily (tmi? sorry!) so I don’t chafe as badly as some of my friends, but my shoulders occasionally become raw underneath my sports bra straps and I don’t always realize it until I’m the shower wincing as the salty water runs down my back. Ouch!