We all have a few favorite things when it comes to running.
While my Arsenal of Running Essentials has evolved over the years, it has many items that are invaluable to me. In the past year, though, a few key items have been added that I can't imagine life without.
Care to hear about them?
In no particular order:
My sunglasses. These babies are required attire, as far as I'm concerned. I have extremely dry skin, which means I'm also prone to wrinkles. There's no need for unnecessary squinting, so if there's a sun in the sky (no matter how low), I'll usually have some funky shades happening. Most of my sunglasses are from Knockaround, because they're so colorful, functional, and inexpensive.
My Koala Clip. I wrote a review on this last year (HERE). I have struggled with finding a fuel belt that stays in place on me (none of them do...and I do mean NONE). The Koala Clip, though, easily clips onto the underside of my running bra, and does not bounce, spin around, or jiggle itself loose. Problem solved! I also use this for short bike rides (when I don't need full-on cycling gear, with all the extra pockets). And, it's a handy case just for carrying your phone (along with an ID or bank card) in your hand to protect it from sweaty hands (if you don't wish to take the extra 3-5 seconds to secure it to your bra strap).
My Theragun Mini. I was gifted the Theragun Mini as part of the #SeeYouOutThere campaign (with Dicks Sporting Goods, in May). Oh my, does this work like magic on tired muscles. I use it before a workout (to warm-up and/or loosen the muscles), after a workout (as part of the cool-down), before bed (because it's a great end-of-day relaxation routine) and for general maintenance and therapy.
SiS gels. I did a review of these as well last year HERE. These have been a game-changer for me, as far as fuel is concerned. The SiS gels are awesome because they're isotonic, meaning they do not require any additional water for them to be absorbed into your system.
Ultima Replinisher. Another thing I have struggled with is finding an electrolyte replenishment product that I actually liked. I recently reviewed this product HERE. Most of the electrolyte recovery drinks I'd tried were effervescent tablets, which meant they had a "fizziness" quality about them. While most people like that feature, I don't care for it myself. This product comes in the form of a powder...and you empty the packetstick into your water, give it a shake or stir, and almost instantly it's ready to drink. Total convenience and easy to swallow.
My stairway. Although I have gotten pretty disciplined about warming up before a run, the stairway has really become a non-negotiable warm-up vice. With the exception of the races I've done, and a few (very few) random short runs, I have taken some my warm-up to the stairs. I climb 10 flights of stairs prior to almost every run. This has been going on for the past several months. The stairs work almost every muscle in the legs, my core gets a bit of a warm-up as I pump my arms, and my heart and lungs definitely get woken up as well.
My bikes. I would be extremely remiss if I didn't give some accolades to my bikes. The past three summers, I have been biking a lot more. Much to my surprise, I discovered biking is a fantastic recovery workout for tired legs. It's also a great cross-training option. When I was sidelined from all things on-foot, a year ago, Gustavas (my mountain bike) was a vital part of my rally-back. I was able to maintain my endurance and leg strength, all while being able to get outside and enjoy some cardio endorphins. This summer, Fritz (a hybrid bike) joined the family, and that's given me even more options for cycling on my non-running days.
So, that's a quick peek into my running arsenal. The featured finds, above, have really served me well this year!
What are some of your favorite running necessities? Do they change with the seasons, and weather? Have some stood the test of time, or does your collection evolve as your needs change?