Monday, August 22, 2011

All about the gear

The first thing that any runner has to learn is that it is all about the gear. From making sure you have the right sports bra (this is crucial trust me) to making sure that you have the right sock for 30+ miles, its easy to get overwhelmed and overspent on running gear. For some, gear isn't important....for those of us who have climbed in the shower after wearing the wrong pair of running shorts and yelped  as the water (which you swear is made of thumbtacks) hit those raw inner thighs....we know different. So I decided I would list a few of my favs since I get a lot of questions about what I wear/eat/carry on long races. These are just my thoughts and are in no way product endorsements so take it as you will:

1.Shoes- I have been and always will be a Saucony girl. Since the 8th grade I have donned some sort of form of the Jazz edition and loved them always.
Bonus: They are not that from $65-$75 dollars.
Bummer: They aren't always in stock. Pretty popular so when I do find them, I buy two.

2. Socks- OK so far I love the Injinjis for long runs. I did pick up a pair or two of Smartwool's as well and currently have some regular Asics and Saucony's for the rest of the runs.
Bonus: Pretty long lasting compared to the athletic socks I wear all the time at work
Bummer: Performance socks can be pricey...check out sales/clearances

3. Tights (Capri and full length)- I am tall so I have issues with length of tights but tried and true Nike comes through for me. Fabric is always just right and there is always a drawstring and pocket.
Bonus: There is a Nike outlet down 85 South in Gaffney that carries a decent selection
Bummer: Sells out of sizes quickly when the weather turns

4. Shorts- I have fallen in love with the Saucony Run Lux shorts. I have quads and thighs so inevitably they will rub when I run. These shorts stay put 99% of the time (nothing stays put in humidity) and are so soft.
Bonus: They are the perfect length and don't have that unflattering split on the side
Bummer: Don't have a zip pocket in the back

5. Sports Bras- Not needing to strap anything down per say, I prefer the Champion brand. They last a long time and are made of the more polyester material as opposed to cotton which gets too bulky for me when I sweat. They come in a ton of patterns and colors so its easy to match
Bonus: Its a pretty popular brand so its available at most Targets, Dicks and sporting goods stores
Bummer: You have to cover up the pretty colors in the winter

6. Shirts- Yes I know this covers a lot but here is my opinions:
Tank- Nike singlet. Lightweight and flattering cut without those giant armholes or tight compression (yuck)
Base Shirt- Again, I like the Nike fitted running t's. They are dri-fit and very light...flattering length too
Long Sleeve- My closet is full of these, but my favorite has to be the Skirtsports Long Sleeve Runner Tee. I'll spear the men all the cute details, but ladies do check it out. It is very cute and very functional.
Vest- Have two but love my Mountain Hardwear running vest. It was pricey but has saved my butt many times. Its very thin but offers a ton of protection in a packable form.

7. Accessories- Covers the rest of what you may need:
Hats/Visors- Haven't found a bad one yet but I tend to look for the Headsweats brand. The terry cloth inside the brim works wonders for heavy sweaters.
Thermal hats- Love my Saucony beanie. Has a hole for the pony tail and covers my ears without making me feel deaf when I run.
Arm warmers-  Nike Livestrong. Its a personal preference but I support the foundation so I proudly don them. If you haven't discovered them, they are detachable sleeves...fantastic for days where you don't want to have to peel off the long sleeve but isn't warm enough for short.
Glasses- These can get crazy expensive, but I took the advise of Runner's World and tried Ryders. They are inexpensive but have lasted my beating them up.
Gloves- Nike thermal running gloves-keeps my hands pretty warm and the best part is that is has a build in terry cloth section on the index finger for your runny winter nose. That alone is worth its weight in gold.
Headlamp- I love my Tikka 2 Plus. Simply put it's cheap, easy to find and has a good battery. I wore it on my 24hr run and had no issues as all with it. Very comfortable.
Watch- I'm a stickler for pace and distance so I am all about my Garmin. Love it or leave it, you can't beat it
Waterbottle- Ok this one I am passionate about. Do yourself a favor and go buy an Amphipod. They are the bright green/yellow bottles with frogs on them. Whoever designed them is a genius. They are so comfortable and keep your hand relaxed while you run. Come in various sizes and have thermal sleeves as an accessory. Best on the market hands down.
Hydration Pack- Nathan Intensity Race Vests- Ergonomically designed to ride in the high center of the back (to avoid slumping) Pockets galore on the front of the best for carrying all the goodies for the race.

Again, these are just my musings but these are my favorites. You don't have to shell out a lot of money for the gear from above but some things are worth it (the Garmin will run you the most)  I encourage you to spend time online looking for deals. Anyone who knows me will tell you that very rarely will I pay full price. Here are a few websites to check for deals:

Also do visit the outlets, they run some good off deals. Its worth the trip to Gaffney or the Tangier outlets just a short drive in Georgia (one in Dohlenega and one in Commerce).

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