I’ve been asked recently about my running essentials – those items that are with me every run, that if I didn’t have them, the run would feel off in some way. Besides a shirt, shorts, socks, sneakers and occasionally a hat, here are the 10 items strapped, taped or clipped to my person through the miles:
10 Running Essentials
- Compression shorts – I never used to wear these. I always thought they were an affectation of the fabulous runner. I would hit myself under there with some lubricant and run for miles and miles. Then came the Staten Island Half Marathon circa 2010 when, by the time I got to the finish line, the inside of my thighs were so chafed, I was bleeding. I went out and bought compression shorts the next day. I was recently approached by SKINS and have been wearing their NEW DNAmic compression shorts and am loving them. The brand collaborated with a Sydney based street artist – James Jirat Patradoon to design the line. I’m not going to tell you that they make you faster, but I will tell you that I was 90 seconds off a 10K PR the first time I wore them.
- Sunglasses – Bright sunlight or overcast and pouring rain, if I’m running during daylight hours I’m wearing Oakley FlakJackets. These are the most comfortable I’ve ever owned (and I’ve owned a lot of them) and don’t bounce around my face – they actually get stickier when you sweat. The lenses are easily interchanged and because of the coating on the lenses, sweat or grime is removed with a simple finger swipe without leaving a smudge.
- Anti-Chafing Insurance
- Nipple Coverage: Sorry, I’m not sure how else to categorize this. Nothing makes me cringe as much as seeing a bloodied shirt on a runner. I can’t imagine the pain people go through in the shower the next three days. Luckily I’ve never had that issue. I wear NipGuards. Yeah, I get asked about the hexagon sticking out of my shirt where my nips should be, but I’m not chafed at the end of the run!
- Body Lube: Even with compression shorts, I need to have a little lube down there. I’ve tried a bunch but for the past four or five years have been using a local NY brand called Silke Anti-Chafing Stick. It’s all natural, lasts through my long runs and washes off my body and clothing without smelling bad (like some of the larger brands).
- GPS Watch – If I can’t record the numbers, then it don’t count, right? I love my Garmin Forerunner 630. The touchscreen makes on-course screen changes SUPER easy and the integration with the phone (I can get my texts on the watch) means that if there’s an issue I need to attend to immediately, I will know about it.
- Phone – I only started carrying a phone on runs when my wife was close to giving birth to our son. Now its an essential because I’m a responsible parent.
- Race Belt – Since I’m carrying a phone, I need a place to put it. The SPIBelt Endurance Series is just what the doctor ordered. It’s got a waterproof pocket so I don’t have to worry about ruining my phone with sweat and a place to attach my race bibs so I no longer have to fuss with safety pins.
- Music – I can’t run long without peeps or music. Since I only get The Congregation on weekends, I keep an iPod Shuffle charged and filled with mixes or Podcasts.
- Nutrition – 10 miles or longer means I need to replenish calories while I’m out there. PowerBar just released Simple Fruit Energy Food and at 100 calories are a nice alternative to the gels I usually use.
- Hydration – Nuun, the last name in electrolyte replenishment (maybe I should copyright that?). If I go out longer than a 10K, I’ll hide a water bottle containing my favorite flavor along the route. The brand recently reworked all tablet recipes with all natural and vegan ingredients (in case, you know, that’s your thing).
Bonus: Post Run Essentials
- Upload your stats – All I can say is that if it ain’t on Strava, it don’t count. Don’t know about Strava? Are you living under a rock? It’s the social network for endurance sports, upload your runs, rides, swims, skiing, hiking, basically anything you can record with a GPS watch.
So those are my essentials, what are yours?