While the gear may seem like a no-brainer (just shoes, right?) compared to the other disciplines, this is the one I tend to geek out over…so expect a few more bells and whistles.
Again, I’ve broken it down into ‘essentials’ and ‘extras’ according to what’s been working well for me; I like to think of training days as dress rehearsals for races, so I can work out
most of the kinks beforehand.
– Shoes: I haven’t found a shoe yet that can top the trusty Asics Gel Kayano. Although I throw other brands into the mix on occasion, I keep coming back to this brand and style. Lesson learned: If you’ve got a good thing going, stick with it!
– Shirt: I sweat. A lot. Like wring-your-clothes-out-after-a-run kinda stuff. So I like shirts like this Nike Dri-FIT Knit Short Sleeve that are light and moisture-wicking. Because there’s nothing worse than the chafage that happens from clingy, wet run clothing.
– Shorts: Another longtime favorite is the Lululemon Groovy Run Short. No, I don’t have the controversial ‘thigh gap’ that this particular brand celebrates…but for some reason the length and fit just work for my body type, so I use ’em anyway.
– Sports Bra: Ladies, if you’re like me and have a bad habit of carrying too much crap in your hands when running (gels, phone, keys, etc.), the Coeur Sports Checkmate Sports Bra might be up your alley. It’s cute, yeah, but it’s also got a handy between-the-boobs pocket where you stash small items.
– Compression: Whether or not they’re performance-enhancing is debatable, but I love the feel of CEP Progressive+ Calf Sleeves. Like a hug for lower legs, they dampen some of the effects of high-mileage pounding.
– Race Belt: I used the safety-pin method for years before buying a Fuel Belt Race Number Belt. Sure, it’s for easy-on-easy-off of the race number, but I also use it to remind myself to put my chip on my shoe (long story short, I forgot once – never again!). And in longer races, I use a larger Nike waistpack like this one for carrying a few essentials, such as cell, gel, keys and cash.
– Nutrition: Over the years, I’ve tried all sorts of things on the run because I am usually managing some kind of GI issue, but right now I use a combination of Salted Caramel Gu Energy Gel for a quick burst of energy, PocketFuel for sustained energy and Gin Gins Candies from The Ginger People to settle my stomach. When it comes to drinking, I pre-load with Osmo Nutrition and use it mid-run with some Nuun and Ignite Naturals thrown in for good measure. Because I tend to have a tender tummy, I like to rotate products to keep from developing an aversion to any one taste.
– Hydration: My major find most recently? The Ultimate Direction Jenny Women’s Ultra Vesta hydration pack. It’s a lifesaver on long training runs, and a must-have for the trails as I prep for my first ultramarathon in May. Made specifically for women — from the comfy cut to the light weight — you can cram so much in this thing, yet still run comfortably for hours.
– Accessories: Sometimes it takes tunes to get into the zone, so I use my Jaybird Bluebuds bluetooth headphones to run without having to worry about getting tangled in a cord, and many times I’ll run without sunglasses but still want to keep the sun out of my eyes, so I’ll throw on the light-as-air Nike Feather Light Visor for some shade.
– Recovery: Once viewed as a necessary evil, I now look forward to some quality time with The GRID foam roller from Trigger Point Performance Therapy and my M80 roller to roll out the kinks. And another great find? Vim & Vigr Compression Socks for travel to and from races — not only do they come in adorable patterns and designs, but they also help keep legs fresh beforehand and bounce back more quickly after.
– Watch: Notice anything missing here? I used to have Nike+ Sport Watch GPS, which I used religiously…until it died (RIP, old friend). So now I’m searching — and saving up! — for a more swim/bike/run-friendly model. Any suggestions?
Next up…Hubby and I are hitting Napa for the HITS Olympic-distance triathlon tomorrow. Stay tuned to social media for updates, and I’ll be doing a quick recap and full race report next week. Wish us luck!