How can a post that sounds like Samuel L. Jackson go wrong? Guess we shall find out. At the request of my younger sister, Cassidy, I am doing a post about what is in my closet. I was going to title it ‘What’s in my drawers’, which made me giggle, but I digress. I will not be sharing the details of the boxes of pictures, my peanut can with loose change, Christmas wrapping paper or any other personal items that are just none of your damn business that are in my closet.
I don’t have any really fancy running gear. Running is supposed to be a relatively cheap and easy activity…maybe that describes the people involved in the sport, not the sport itself. Hmmm. Lightbulb moment. I would tell anyone that wants to start running that all you need to get started is some exercise clothes of your choice and a pair of shoes. Don’t get hung up on the shoes. For a beginner runner or casual runner, grab your sneakers and go. Hell, go run in the park in your bare feet like you did when you were a kid. A comfortable pair of shorts (if only it were summer again!) or long pants, like leggings, yoga pants, sweat pants. Remember Rocky? He ran in sweat pants. Just go run.
Champion from Target seems to be my brand of choice, but I have shorts from Kohl’s, Old Navy and Ross. I don’t really care much about name brands in this department. Find a pair that fits and is comfortable and go for it. For winter running, pants are a little more challenging for me. I am still looking for my favorite winter running gear…actually what I’m hoping for is an early spring. I have a thin thermal base layer that I wear under my fitted running pants, both from Target. I like the pants that have some reflective bits on them. Nike has some super cool, mega reflective pants but I can’t drop $150 on one pair of running pants.
Tops – I like fitted better than loose. I have some sleeveless, short and long sleeve tech shirts, but I have some cotton shirts that I love to run in. Again, not too particular. I know cotton gets a bad name in the running world sometimes, but I like my cotton shirts and have never had any problem with them.
Bras – Champion brand from Target is the winner here. Less than $20 and comfortable. Disclaimer: I don’t require a lot in this department. If you have boobs that require support, spend the money, buy a good bra and keep the girls from bouncing around.
Socks – My favorites are Thorlos and Bombas year round, and Smart Wool in the winter. I will spend a little extra money on good socks and then guard them with my life. Bombas is a cool company because for every pair of socks purchased, they give a pair to a charity organization for homeless people. (Follow the link and get 20% off your first order!) I also own one pair of compression socks from Pro Compression. I didn’t like the sock part so I cut it off, so really they are now just calf sleeves. I wear them for recovery after long runs, but rarely wear them while running.
Miscellaneous – favorite items include my Polygamy Porter ball cap, Hippy HooRag and Louva arm sleeves. The ball cap keeps the sun off my face and head, and keeps me mostly oblivious to rain drops or snow flakes. It’s also nice when wearing a headlamp because it keeps my forehead from getting dinged up. I bought a white, light weight, tech ball cap from Target this year for the dog days of summer. It’s definitely cooler and doesn’t get as heavy with sweat as my regular cap. I have a couple of HooRags that are great for headbands, ear warmers, neck muff, etc. I’ve also used mine as a make shift armband for my phone and a snot rag. The Louva arm sleeves are comfy and inexpensive. I don’t use them a lot, but love them when I need them.
When it gets really cold, I wear a regular old beanie on my head, a fleece neck warmer and my favorite Canadian mittens. None of these are “running” specific. I use what is in the coat closet. Yes, even on long runs.
People get really hung up on shoes and some can get quite passionate (snobby and/or pretentious) about what they wear. I’ve run in Asics, Saucony, Vibram Five Fingers, and New Balance, and they were all the right shoe for me at the time. My current shoes are Altras. They have a nice wide toe box and a zero-drop platform. I haven’t had any new black toe nails since I started wearing these and I don’t know that I’ll wear anything else ever again. I hate having my toes squished and I may actually get a pedicure now that I won’t need to explain why my toenails are multicolored and falling off. I have the Intuition for road and the Lone Peak for trail. I wore the Lone Peaks for my first trail ultra and was very pleased with their performance – and mine for that matter.
I have a handheld that I can use with a regular bottle of water that I think is made by Nathan. I’m not sure because the dog chewed on it and ruined the bottle that it came with, but the handheld part has a zipper compartment that holds a key, food, ID, debit card, maybe a small phone. It is handy for shorter runs, especially in the summer.
One of my all-time favorite pieces of gear is my hydration pack from Orange Mud. I have the HydraQuiver Double Barrel.
I opted for the double so I could carry water and an electrolyte. It is comfortable, uses water bottles rather than a bladder, and is easy to clean. It has stretchy neoprene pockets at the strap for snacks, tissue or a telephone. The back has a larger pocket for extra snacks, chapstick, toilet paper, tampons, garbage bag, gloves, etc. plus a stretchy shock cord between the bottles to strap down a jacket or small critter. Kidding.
I’m low in the tech department and chances are that I will stay that way. I have used the RunKeeper phone app for tracking my runs for 2 years now. It has worked great for all my training and races except for the 50k. The phone blipped out and quit tracking at some point along the race, and then the battery died on my phone. Considering I’m starting to tackle longer distances for races, I will probably need to move on to GPS watch. I’m taking suggestions.
I use Spotify for my music, which again is tied to my phone. I may need to dig out the old iPod if I want to listen to music or podcasts on my longer runs in the future.
My sweet husband bought me a Road ID bracelet a couple years ago, with his phone number, my oldest son’s phone number, and my sister-who-inspired-this-post phone number on it, as well as my declaration of 50 by 50. I also use the Road ID app which allows him to track my location while I’m out running. It is an easy way to have your medical info, contacts and identification in one place. It sends a warning if I haven’t moved in 5 minutes. I think a high speed warning would be nice too. If I go from moving at 6 miles an hour to 60 miles a hour, I think a warning is in order. I’ll send that idea to the R&D department. Seriously, I highly recommend using this app if you are a runner of any distance.
For running in the dark, I have an Energizer headlamp with an LED in front and a flashing red in the back. It works great for around town, is light weight and uses 2 AA batteries. I would like to upgrade to one with a bazillion lumens and a mile shining distance and 12 hours of life. Also taking suggestions in this department.
If you’re just starting to run, you certainly don’t need to go out and buy all these things to get started. I have acquired most of my running gear a little at a time over the past 3 years. I like to keep it simple. Find what works for you and remember to keep running happy.