One of the things I love about running is the simplicity of it. Most people are born with everything they need to run. We don’t need fancy gear or equipment. I’ve actually “jogged” in my house… barefoot… before. Yes, as a workout, not just running to the pot that’s boiling over.
Of course, I do live during a time when runners have access to some pretty cool gear. When I laced up my running shoes as a teenager, I just ran. My distance was measured in “landmarks”.
“I’m going to run to the Jr. High and back.”
If I wanted to know the approximate distance, I might do the route in a car. Most of the time, I just ran till “I was done”.
Even though you really don’t need much to run, I thought I would do a post on the running gear I use the most. We’ll start with the most obvious… footwear.
Makes My Toes Smile!
I started wearing New Balance brand running shoes in high school. I don’t remember why we chose New Balance, I just know I liked them.
I few years ago I deviated from New Balance (because I didn’t like the colors that year). I tried Brooks… and ended up with plantar fasciitis (not fun). I think the salesman was just trying to unload that particular shoe and wasn’t looking for what was best for me.
From Brooks I went to Mizuno. I loved that pair of shoes, except for the sole of the heel. It had a huge gap that would get rocks lodged in it. And running in snow was horrible because it would build up in the gap. Every so often I would have to stop running to scrape out the rocks and/or snow. It was good for pavement running, but pitiful for trail running in the Rocky Mountains.
So, I went back to New Balance and I’ve had 4 pair since the Mizunos. It’s time to replace my current pair. I wear a stability shoe for the pronation control. This means a heavier shoe, but that’s life. I’m not in love with the current colors, still, I ordered the purple ones. They won’t match anything in my running wardrobe… hmm, might be an excuse to pick up some new tops.
Another important part of footwear are the socks you choose. I’m kind of picky about my socks. I wear a thick running sock. I like the added support and the wicking power. I tried out a few different brands and styles before I settled on one. I only wear these socks in my running shoes.
Distance, Pace, & Cadence… Oh My!
My first “running gear” purchase as an adult (other than shoes) was a Timex Ironman watch. It would do intervals and other cool timing-type things. Of course, it couldn’t track my distance.
In 2010, I upgraded to a Garmin Forerunner 305. Sure, it’s bulky compared to modern versions, but I can fit a lot on that display. I’ve considered upgrading again, but this device has been pretty reliable. The main reason would be total vanity. The newer watches are super cute and more feminine (for a gps watch).
I can track distance, cadence, pace, splits, heart rate… and a whole bunch of other things. I can upload custom workouts and then follow the prompts during the run. This was really helpful during marathon Training.
Thanks to another handy Garmin device, I can use my watch at the indoor track too. This is particularly handy when we have slippery conditions outdoors. I won’t run on packed snow because I have twisted my knee doing so in the past. Yes, living in Colorado, I should probably invest in some running cleats, but I haven’t. I don’t need any added help in injuring myself.
Instead, we purchased Garmin foot pods. The added benefit of the foot pod is that it also tracks “steps per minute” (cadence). I’m not going to get into the reasons for having this information, but we do like having it.
When calibrated, the foot pod can also track my distance/pace on the indoor track. It’s pretty accurate too. Not as accurate as running outdoors with GPS, but it’s close enough and keeps me from resorting to a treadmill (fractured my foot years ago falling off a treadmill… um, yeah.)
There are other things I use like a hydration belt for long runs (which I won’t be doing for a bit), and proper clothing. Those are dependent on weather/distance so I’m not going to go into all of that until I need to. I have running sunglasses but I don’t wear them unless it’s really windy. It’s not fun to have dirt or bugs fly into your eyes at 25 mph.
So, that’s my short list of running gear. I’ll be posting the nitty gritty details of our first week returning to the trails on Sunday. Until then, may the trail rise up to meet you!