I’m quite a simple runner; I don’t need music or an audiobook to keep me moving (my fiancé insists he can’t run without music). However, there are a number of things that I can’t imagine ever running without; some are essential, whilst others are optional extras that help my motivation. Here are my top 5 things I can’t run without:
1. Garmin Forerunner 235
I started out with the Forerunner 35, but soon realised how much of a data geek I was and decided to upgrade (my fiancé wanted my FR35 anyway). I love this watch! It can do everything I need and gives me all the data I need. I did look at the Forerunner 630 but I don’t feel comfortable wearing a chest strap heart rate monitor, nor did I fancy using the touchscreen. I use a Garmin footpod to track my treadmill runs with greater accuracy and much prefer the ease of this to manually logging all of my indoor runs. Of course, a running watch is not essential, but definitely worth the money if you are serious about your running. I can see that my resting heart rate has improved over the 6 months that I have taken up running, and it also measures my VO2 Max (the maximum or optimum rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can effectively use oxygen during exercise, used as a way of measuring a person’s individual aerobic capacity. [Wikipedia]). It also allows me to sync my data to other running websites such as Strava (popular running and cycling data community) or RunningHeroes (earn rewards for walking or running) and compare my runs along the same route. I couldn’t imagine running without my watch, even though sometimes it does make me get a bit competitive with myself even when it’s only a training run.
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2. Lonsdale Sports Bra
For the female runners amongst us, a sports bra is an absolute must; I’m not top heavy, but even I find that running without a sports bra is uncomfortable. I purchased a Lonsdale sports bra from Sports Direct whilst it was on offer for £6; sports bra’s generally aren’t cheap, and can be hard to find in certain sizes. I love this one, especially for the price; the support is great, it’s comfortable and doesn’t chafe or cause irritation.
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3. Hair Tie
Another one for the ladies, but I can’t run without having my hair tied up in a ponytail. I have quite long hair, so leaving it down whilst I run means that I struggle to see where I’m going as the wind blows my hair everywhere, and my neck ends up even more sweaty than usual.
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4. Nike Air Zoom Elite 8
I love these trainers so much, I bought an extra pair when they were discontinued for the new model. They use flyknit technology which feels like the shoe is a part of your foot. They are light but still provide cushioning. I started running in a pair of Nike Revolution 3’s, but since purchasing the Elite 8’s, I struggle to run in my Revolutions; I now use them for cross training (they used to be my go-to treadmill shoe, but now they become uncomfortable after a kilometre or two and don’t feel as comfortable on the heel as my Elite 8’s). I got my first pair of Elite 8’s directly from Nike when they were on sale (also had an extra 30% off code), and the second pair were used (great condition, just slight tread wear) from eBay.
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5. Tech T-shirts
Before I started running, I never really understood why runners or cyclists had specific clothing, but since purchasing my first wicking t-shirt, I now completely understand! Technical t-shirts, or wicking t-shirts, are lightweight tops which wick away the sweat from your body, keeping you feeling cooler. In contrast, traditional cotton t-shirts will stick to you and become uncomfortable as you sweat. Cotton shirts are also more prone to causing chafing, especially under the armpits.
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Honourable mention – Compression Tights / Socks
There was a time when I first started out that I couldn’t run without compression tights / socks / calf sleeves due to suffering from shin pain. Now that my legs have strengthened I find that I don’t NEED compression garments, but I will use them during races or long training runs, just to be on the safe side. I do feel like I feel less stiff in my calves the next day if I have worn compression garments during my run. Compression garments are tighter fitting offering better muscular support and improved circulation.
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So, that’s my top 5 things I can’t run without (plus an honourable mention); do you agree with my list? Let me know what you can’t run without in the comments below!