Running is an incredibly simple thing. Put on some shoes (or hell, skip ’em and be trendy) and head out the door. Carry your body weight. Step forward with one foot and push your back foot off the ground before the front foot hits. Continue this pattern until you are tired.
That’s all you really have to do to run, right? That’s the beauty of it. But we complicate things. We add our preferences for clothes and gear in an attempt to enhance the experience and/or make it more enjoyable (and beginning runners might read that statement and ask, “Now when does it become enjoyable?”).
As my darling HH could tell you, I have mastered the concept of muddying the run waters with accessories. My moisture-wicking gear, laid out end to polyester end, could reach further than Hands Across America.
I have drawers, bins, and hidey holes filled with running accessories. You name it, I’ve tried it, with the exception of the CamelBak backpack, because I just can’t bring myself to do that. Some have been big successes, and others have been donated or pushed to the back of the closet.
So what works for me and what doesn’t, and can I save you some money? Here is a lowdown of what I take with me on my runs…which as I strapped on and geared up before my 10-miler on Sunday, is a ridiculous amount of stuff.
Let’s start with the essentials…clothes.
This is BY FAR my favorite running top. It’s tight but not compression. It doesn’t have a built-in bra, because I hate those things. It’s long, so it doesn’t ride up and stays under running belts or waist leashes. I love that feature because I am long-waisted, so most running tops (especially Nike) are way too short on me. It’s pricey ($42), but lasts FOREVAH. I have these in three colors, including the hot pink that I wore in my last half marathon (including the fun pic from my last post where I look like an angry giant Photoshopped in amongst tiny happy people thanks to the gal next to me.)
Well, we are in summer, when I fervently wish I had the bod to run in just a bra and some ridiculously cute runderwear, but alas, I am aware of my physical limitations and don’t want to scare people. I would love to wear the cute basic running shorts I see in all the stores (for their ass-covering ability), and I have a few pairs, but they always move around on my inner thighs and rub me wrong, so I always return to the staple–compression shorts. Yes, I would rather show off my assfold than chafe in the inner thigh. Let someone else suffer.
Lately I have worn the Athleta Presto Short with the 7″ inseam (they also offer 10″, 4″ and 2″, I believe, like penis sizes…pick what you prefer, but the 2″ might be a little short!) If I remember right, Run Far Girl mentioned these in a previous post because she wore them in her last marathon and wrote that she love the three-pocket feature. I left a comment saying that I needed a pair–then realized I already owned them. Yes, that is how much gear I have. It might be a sickness.
Runners are picky about their socks, and I am no different. I wear custom orthotics in my running shoes due to my ever-present plantar fasciitis, so I am extra particular, as the orthotics raise my feet up a little in my shoes. I want no-show socks, but many brands slip below the shoe and cause the back of my heel to blister.
That’s why I love Feetures No Show socks (in Ultra Light for summer.) They have a tab on the heel that prevents heel blisters and rises up just the right amount behind the shoe. Me likey. You would likey too.
Now for the accessories…the accoutrement!
After ten+ years of running, I finally broke and got my first Garmin this year. She’s a hot little number, even if she constantly pisses me off by telling me I’m running slower than I think I should be. She’s a heartbreaker, she is, but I love her anyway and bring her on every run.
When I bring Oscar the running coach (though in this heat he’s more Oscar the 60-pound anchor that I drag along behind me), I wear a waist leash, as I’ve discussed before. I don’t know the brand, but I love it because I can adjust the length and control him with my body weight (my arm is not strong enough when he sees a squirrel!)
In the winter, I love my Armpocket, which works great for twig arms like mine, but summer means tan lines, and so I’ve switched to my SPIbelt. This sucker doesn’t move, I swear. Just strap it on and it stays in place. It’s remarkably expansive too. They come in different sizes, colors, prints, etc., and just now as I browsed the site I saw a new offering…the SPIleash! Hot diggity dog…I need this! I am usually wearing the SPIbelt plus the waist leash when I bring Oscar, and it’s a bit of a mess…much like me!
I have a big head. No, really…it’s literally large (see above photo.) I have trouble finding headbands that will stay in place, and I’ve spent more of HH’s money than I care to admit looking for one that will hold my hair back and not move. Sweaty Bands are the answer for me, but only in the super thin 3/8″ version shown in the link. They don’t move, and they hand wash well. I have them in the pink and white stripe and in a couple of blingy colors, which really isn’t my style but does look sassy.
Lululemon’s Bangbuster headbands work well, too, but they make me look like I’m undergoing chemo. Why do they look adorable on other women but not on me?
I’ve blathered on endlessly about my search for the perfect earbuds, so I’ll keep it short (read my previous post for a detailed bitch session on earphones.) These are the best, even when you’re sweating copious amounts into your ear canal. Warning, though—the behind the ear piece itself detaches, and I’ve lost one despite my best efforts to keep all the pieces together between runs. Luckily, the bud still stays in place even without the earpiece. Lucky me!
Outdoor Tech Adapt (Bluetooth Audio Adapter)
I’ve talked about this too, but it’s worth a mention. I got it on sale for $20, and I love it. It does glitch out occasionally, but the combined price of the Yurbuds ($30) and this ($20) is still less than I would pay for behind the ear Yurbuds with mic control. Warning—if you attach the Tech Adapt to your SPIbelt and then lean over to tie your shoes, your muffin top will block the Bluetooth signal and you will lose your music momentarily! 😉
I have a Nathan Fuel Belt with 2 bottles, but I’ve always hated that thing. It bruised me after my marathon last year, it leaked all the time, leaving me with Gatorade-drenched legs, and I never thought it was easy to drink from. I recently bought the Ultimate Direction Handheld 20 oz. water bottle and haven’t looked back. It is so easy to drink from—just pull the valve open with your teeth and bite on it a little to drink or squeeze the bottle for a burst. The pocket holds keys, gel, whatever, and it’s comfortable to hold. Winner winner.
Love these things. They keep the wind from drying out my contacts and camouflage the look of pain oozing out my eyeballs. Plus, they make you look hardcore. Bonus.
All the electrolytes without the sugary carbs? No Gatorade belching? Sold!
Because gels make me sick. Even looking at a gel packet makes me sick. From both ends.
What have I spent money on that doesn’t get my MaybeMarathoner seal of approval? The Nathan belt, any Nike top (too short!) or any top with a built-in bra (not comfortable!), many Athleta capris (hate to bag on them since I love their stuff but most of their capris slide down in the waist looking for a path of least resistance!), Gatorade (causes inhuman amounts of burping and also induces nausea), most race t-shirts (they say they wick, but they don’t breathe and are often too short!), Bic Bands headbands, and the Yurbuds Inspire Series (slip out once you sweat).
I should note that these are solely my opinions, and since I am a tiny lowly blog, I am not sponsored by anyone (though to quote Michael Douglas in Romancing the Stone, “I ain’t cheap, but I can be had!”, sponsors!)
What works for you? I’ve listed the obvious, but do you wear/bring anything that you can’t live without?