Whether you are a new runner or a seasoned one, running gear can be daunting. There is so much stuff out there created to help make running a little more convenient and comfortable. For every type of gear, there are all different kinds of brands that make the same thing.
What I’ve learned in particular is that what you need or don’t need on your run all depends on you and you alone. Some runners have their watch, headphones, water bottle and more for every run and for others, all they need is their running shoes. And clothes, of course! Let’s just assume we are all wearing clothes on our runs!
I have been running for about 3 years now and I know what I like and why. And most important of all I know where I can get everything I need under one roof. I am very fortunate to live in the great City of Valparaiso where I can travel just a few minutes down the road and end up at my favorite store, The Extra Mile Fitness Company. I’ve been to all those big fitness store chains and none of them cater to a runner like Extra Mile does.
Being a frequent flyer at Extra Mile I’d like to share with you just a few of my favorite things that I couldn’t run without.
The Garmin Forerunner 10:
My watch is the most important piece of running equipment besides my shoes. It helps me keep track of my distance, pace and my personal records. I switched to the watch after using those phone apps became kind of annoying. I hate those arm sleeve phone holders. I found myself awkwardly bending my neck over my shoulder to look at my pace on my arm several times during my run.
I currently have Garmin Forerunner 10, which I would describe as the most low tech and most affordable Garmin watch. It’s my first running watch so I wanted to keep it simple. There are not a lot of fancy settings. I just hit a button to find my location, press start and run. I’ve used it in pouring rain, freezing cold and sweat drenching heat, all with no problems. When I upgrade my watch, I hope to get one with a heart rate monitor on it like the Forerunner 235. This watch and others, can be found at Extra Mile.
The Flip Belt:
I used to be one of those runners with a fanny pack type belt. I’d shove a bunch of snacks, my lip balm, keys, some petty cash, an ID (for emergency purposes), and maybe some tissues for those cold runs. Soon I’d be running with a full pack and it would be bouncing up and down in front of me with every step. It was starting to get really annoying.
Then I found the Flip Belt. This is probably the greatest running invention of all time, though I may be a little biased. I love this belt. You can squeeze a lot of things in it. Even my beefy phone. Which is great because they aren’t exactly making phones smaller these days. The Flip Belt is basically a micropoly/lycra stretchy belt that comes in multiple sizes. There are no annoying adjusting straps, buckles or velcro. It just a belt you pull on and go.
There are slits that open all around the belt to put everything you need in for your run. It even has a little clip inside to attach your keys to. After you get everything inside you “flip” the belt over so the openings are against your body, so nothing falls out. The belt is designed to prevent movement and bounce without the chafing. It sits right on your hips and doesn’t ride up. The belt is easy to clean too. Just empty it out and toss it in the laundry. It comes in a variety of colors too, all of which are at the Extra Mile.
The Amphipod Handheld Water Bottle:
Running water bottles and belts are pretty useful when it comes to long training runs or races with minimal water stops. I personally like to constantly sip on water during a long run so I got myself a nice handheld water bottle about a month ago. I’m not too interested in the water belts or backpacks because of the bounce they create. I’d rather just plan detours to places I can fill my water bottle along the way if I can. The farthest I’ve run is a half marathon. If I ever trained for a full marathon, I’d probably reconsider using the backpacks and belts.
At the moment, I have an Amphipod bottle, the Hydraform Ergo-Lite Ultra 16 oz. It’s comes in a sleeve with a little zipper pouch, perfect for extra storage. I like to put my gels and snacks in there for easy access. It’s also comes with a sleeve and a strap to keep your in your hand without having to grip the bottle. The sleeve also keeps your water from getting to hot, being that it’s in your hand the entire time. Todd Henderlong himself helped me pick this bottle out! So, if you aren’t sure what you may want or need, stop into Extra Mile and ask for help.
The Addaday Self Massage Stick:
The Addaday is probably my favorite recovery tool. Extra Mile has several versions of the massage tool, but I think the most useful one is the Pro Massage Roller. I can use it on all of my sore spots after and before runs. I use it on the inside of my calves to help my Posterior Tibial Tendinitis, the back of my calves, the arches of my feet, and on my IT-Band. I even use it to massage my back, neck and shoulders. Even if I never ran another day in my life, I would still get use out of this thing.
Honey Stinger Running Fuel:
Lastly, my favorite fuel is the Honey Stinger brand. I chose this brand because I like that it’s honey based. I am not a big fan of consuming fuels that have a lot of strange ingredients, especially gels. Let’s me honest, gels are weird and I’m sure you’ve caught yourself wondering what exactly they’re made of. I only use the Honey Stinger Gold flavor gel, which is basically just honey. I can’t stomach all those different fruity flavors on a long run.
They also have these yummy waffle snacks. If you’re one of those runners who gets really hungry on a long run and the only thing that will satisfy you is an actual chewable snack, give this a try. I used to eat granola bars on log runs, but found that the waffle is easier to chew up and digest. The maple waffle is my favorite!
Different fuels work for different people and Extra Mile has so many different fuel brands and types of fuel to choose from so you can test out as many as your heart desires.
Though having the proper running shoes is a very important aspect of running, I left it off the list. My favorite running shoes are the Brooks Adrenalines, but that means nothing to other runners. Everyone’s feet and running forms are different. If you aren’t sure what shoe is right for you, Extra Mile offers personal gait analysis at their store. If you’re looking to update your shoes but aren’t sure if it’s time, bring your shoes into the store and someone there will be happy take a look at the wear on your shoes and give you advice.
I am no expert, but if you are in need of expert advice, stop into Extra Mile. There’s always someone there who’s willing to answer all your questions. You can find all of these products and more at the Extra Mile Fitness Company at 1330 E. Lincolnway in Valparaiso.