The running accessories that kept my stride on high.
I mentioned in this post that I have been training for a half-marathon, which I just completed yesterday! It was amazing! After spending 11 weeks training, I was really ready for this run. We started at 7AM in Santa Monica, and the cool and overcast weather could not have been more perfect. My goal was to run the 13.1 miles in under 2 hours and 30 minutes, but my stretch goal was to run it in 2 hours. I came in at 2:07:40 with 9:43 minute splits! Considering this was the first race I have ever ran (literally, not even a 5K) and I trained and ran 100% solo, I feel great about my accomplishment.
And, I have raised $2,600 for my run! In case you missed it (read here), I ran for Parkinson’s Disease research. You can still support my mission by donating here, because the real race is for a cure!
In the Finding My Stride blog I noted how helpful it is to have the proper equipment when taking on a physical challenge, like a marathon. Although I (probably) could have ran that 13.1 miles without any special stuff, I am glad I didn’t have to.
Here are the five pieces of equipment that helped me successfully complete my first half-marathon:
- Shoes – My first purchase was a pair of Asics, a necessary purchase for any runner, but especially this runner combating a life-time of shin splints. Amazingly, my shin splints haven’t flared up once since training! I purchased mine at Nordstrom Rack for about $50 and will never run in Nike’s again. It has made a world of difference.
- Headphones – I also bought the Jaybird X3 wireless earbuds. When you are doing nothing but running for hours at a time, everything can become an irritant, including headphone cords. These stay in ear and connect to your devices over Bluetooth. No more lacing cords through t-shirts for me!
- Safety Gear – I already owned a reflective windbreaker, but incase you don’t, make sure to pick one up. Light weight and breathable, it is a simple way to keep you safe during early morning or late night runs. Reflective tape can possibly be used in its place, but this is a more sustainable option long term.
- Running Belt – For when you don’t have a pocket, a running belt is a savior. I have the Nike Lean, and it perfectly fits my phone, keys, and cards/ID. I just clip it around my waist and pull my shirt over, barely making any kind of bump. I do have to say that there isn’t much room for refueling snacks, so a larger fanny pack might be a better option for runs over seven miles (which is when I find that I need a calorie boost).
- Foam Roller – One of the most important things about training is to remember that you are running for tomorrow. AKA, don’t wear yourself out so much that you cannot make your miles tomorrow! A foam roller is a great way to help your muscles recover. Although you can find cheaper options on the market, I have loved my GoFit foam roller for almost two years.
One thing that I did not have for the bulk of my training was a watch. For 10 of my 12 training weeks, I relied on apps on my phone (my favorite being Charity Miles to support Parkinson’s Disease research) to count my miles and time. The major downside to this is that you have to pull your phone out of pockets or running belts to access any information – often slowing me down and disrupting my stride. For me, this often meant I didn’t know much information about my pace or distance. A watch would have made training easier from the start.
As an early birthday present though, my parents bought me the Apple Watch Nike+ and I love it. It is the best running partner (and secretary) on the market. Now, I can track even my heart rate as I rack up the miles.
As I said, you don’t need any of this stuff (well, maybe the shoes). But if you are dedicated to running and want to do it in a safe and comfortable way, these accessories can really do the trick.
What accessories help you hit and maintain a runner’s high? Let us know below.