Friday Five – Running Essentials

Happy Friday, y’all!  Since the premise of this blog is to let anyone know they can be a runner, I figured it was time to put together a post on running essentials. Some of these items are essential to everyone and some may not be, but here are my top five running essentials.  I’m also not sponsored by any brands I mention below, so you are getting a truly real opinion here as I’ve spent hard earned money on all the brands I recommend.

A good pair (or two) of running shoes

When I started running, I was wearing running shoes from a popular athletic shoe brand, but I realized these shoes might not have been the best for me.  A properly fitted pair of shoes is the most important thing to have when running.  Good shoes can prevent injury and keep your joints, tendons and muscles happy.  I decided to take the plunge and visit my local running store to have them analyze my run and recommend shoes.  I got on a treadmill (briefly, as I can’t seem to do treadmills) and ran across the store floor (during a race bib pickup, I had to be brave!) so the person at the store could determine my running style.  I ended up in a pair of Brooks Pure Cadence 4’s and these shoes changed my life back in October 2015.  Prior to this, I was dealing with what I self diagnosed as Morton’s neuroma, which is an inflamed nerve in the ball of the foot.  Once I started running in the Brooks, the pain in my foot almost went away completely.  I also invested in a second pair of shoes a few months later so I have two pairs to rotate between.  You never know when you may end up being stuck running in the rain and now I won’t have to wait for wet shoes to dry out.

Please remember that if you do go to a running store with the intent to get fitted to purchase shoes with that running store.  It’s rude to waste their time knowing you are not planning to buy shoes with them.  I know we all want to find some ways to save money, but you are also getting personalized service with this well worth the difference you may save online or at another store.  In Atlanta, I get amazing service from West Stride and I feel a little guilty if I go to another running store.

Almost a year and a half later, I’m still a Brooks girl and so much so I dropped the popular athletic brand for my cross training, too.  I currently rotate runs between the Pure Flow 5 and Glycerin 14.  Launch 5 is my cross training shoe.  One of the Brooks runner beliefs is run happy and I embrace this.  I also love the messages inside their shoes.

A good sports bra

Sorry, fellas, but this one just applies for us ladies.  Prior to running, my main source of workouts were mostly lower impact that didn’t involve a lot of my body being jostled around and I was fine with whatever I could find at Target that felt comfortable.  I was always told a good sports bra is worth the money and I tried the Moving Comfort brand which now is being sold exclusively by Brooks.  I feel so much better on my runs now.  I’m a huge fan of the Uprise Crossback and the Fineform.  My favorite thing about the Fineform bras are being able to adjust the straps for a racerback tank or a regular tank or shirt.  I have tried the Rebound Racers, but I’m not a fan.  It’s not because of the support, it’s because the straps have a velcro tab that ends up being a pain in the rear to get back through the spot in the bra for it when it comes all the way out.

Wireless headphones, even better bone conducing wireless headphones

I know there are some folks who can run without music, podcasts or audio books, but I’m definitely someone who gets more pumped up when I’m listening to music.  The last race I ran with wired headphones was the Peachtree Road Race last year and I already ran races with only one earbud so I could hear my surroundings.  Unfortunately, I fried my iPhone earbuds as I dumped a lot of water over my head and I had to push through last couple of miles without music.  The good news is the earbuds were fine once they dried out.  However, I was essentially over tangled headphones and earbuds that easily fell out of my ears.  I was also concerned with my safety when I run on my own when I had earbuds in my ears so not only was I looking to get rid of wires, I wanted to get something that would be safe.  I found various reviews on the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones which sit outside the ear and conducts sound through the bone.  Nothing blocks the ear, so you can hear surroundings really well and get the benefit of music or whatever you listen to on runs.  They also sit so well and stay in place that I often forget I have them on post-race.  This was a pricy purchase, but one I never regretted.

Armband to hold stuff

Obviously since I love music, I need to carry my phone on runs.  This is also a safety issue as I thought no everyone needs a way to reach out in case of emergency.  I’m a klutz, dropping things a lot, so my iPhone 6 has an otterbox case.  That makes for a bulky phone, which is where my Armpocket Mega i-40 comes in.  It’s got a pocket big enough for my phone and has spaces for credits cards and cash and even a zipper pocket on the inside where I can put my key.  It’s machine washable, so it never gets stinky for too long.

Body glide
When I started running, it was in cold weather and for shorter distances.  During one of my first summer races, I discovered what everyone meant by chafing.  Ouchie.  Nowadays, I don’t go on long runs or any run in warm weather without gliding trouble areas.  Of course, as I go longer distances, I’ll keep finding new areas to add to my list.  I would not be able to last without my Body Glide

What are your running essentials?


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