I was talking to a fairly new runner and she asked what gear I liked. I wish I had asked that question when I was first starting out, as I have lots of gear that I don’t really use. I brought her my running bag and showed off my tried and true gear. While everyone is different, I think running is running and some things will be the same for everyone. So here is what I never leave home without in the summer. The winter is slightly different.
1. Garmin Forerunner 610: I have the deluxe model which comes with a heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor is useful, but I rarely use it and am not sure it is worth the extra money. The trick to making your Garmin last, is to leave it in the charger for as little time as possible. If you keep it in the charger, the sensors will wear out and after a while it won’t hold a charge.
2. Spibelt: This belt is perfect because the belt itself is stretchy and easy to adjust. The pouch is not too big but can expand. I put my phone in it and it can easily hold a gel, i-pod and a key. I particularly like this belt because the contents don’t bounce when you run.
3. Head Light: Most of my runs during the week are done at 0-dark-30 and safety always comes first. I wear a Black Diamond head light around by waist, so if needed, I can see the ground. The belt is stretchy and it doesn’t weigh much. I found mine at REI which has a pretty big selection. If you go with a cheaper brand, I have found that it just won’t last very long.
4. Chocolate Cherry Turbo Shot Gel by Cliff: Everyone has their own particular thoughts on energy gels etc. I love this one made by Cliff for long runs. I found that I don’t really need a variety of flavors as I like this one and it does what I need. I eat it half way through my run or sometimes at the end and it gives me the energy boost I need to keep going the rest of the day. I think the caffeine in it helps!
5. Pepper Spray: I carry this when I am by my self. Just remember to pack it in your suitcase and not in your carry on if you are traveling. It will fit in the zipper pocket of most running shorts and is easy to carry in your hand.
6. Phone: Again safety first, I never run without it. Who knows when you might be too tired to make it home and need someone to come get you? Also the GPS is handy for someone that gets lost as easily as I do.
7. Shuffle or Nano i-pod: I have an older shuffle that is perfect for running with music. It clips on my belt and you can just click the up or down buttons and you don’t have to be able to see it to change the song. The nano can hold a million songs if that is your cup of tea, but if you don’t like the order you have them in, it is hard to change songs without stopping. However, I love to listen to books on tape when I run a long run and the nano is perfect for this.
8. Snot rag: This is an old t-shirt I cut into strips. On those cold morning runs, it works great and on those hot afternoon runs, it becomes my sweat rag. Not high-tech, but it does the job. Just hang it from your belt.
9. Hat: I need a hat for 2 reasons: I sweat, and I have bangs and wispy things that drive me crazy when I run. I use ones that have mesh and dri-weave so they don’t make my head hot. In the winter I exchange this for ear warmers which double as a head band.
10. Bose ear buds: I am a little finicky when it comes to ear buds, but I love these. I only wear one so I can hear traffic noise. These will not come loose regardless of how much you sweat and the sound is great.