For a ‘free’ sport – you don’t need any special equipment not already in your house – running can get expensive really fast! From expensive shoes to GPS devices, to smartphone apps, to special clothes, and gels and hydration and so on – it really adds up. Worse yet you need to replace it all frequently!
I can pretty much count on getting at least one running gift card for Christmas each year, and also plenty of running supplies. Based on that I thought it would be helpful to put together a quick list of items every runner will appreciate!
1. GPS Watch
The essential tech item for runners is the GPS watch, because it answers the two key questions: how far and how fast? Sure you can add laps, cadence, heart rate monitoring, fitness tracking and more – but most basic GPS watches will get you what you need.
My recommendation? The Garmin FR-15, with fitness tracking, heart-rate monitoring, 8-hour battery, and a great price. Alternately, if you live by your smartphone you can get the Magellan Echo.
Also consider getting your runner a fitness band, such as something from the Fitbit line, the Garmin vivoFit or vivoSmart, Polar Loop or Runtastic Orbit. More great choices than ever!
2. Compression Socks
Whether or not compression really works medical wonders, for most runners who try compression … it doesn’t matter! The feel of your legs after wearing compression socks for even a few hours is just awesome! I have several different brands, but got an email today from Pro Compression (whose stuff I love) with a deal for 42% off everything! Start shopping here, then use coupon ‘2014’ at checkout.
Of course regular socks are awesome too – and I love the ‘Merino Hidden Comfort’ from Balega. At $10+ per pair, they are a reminder that runners will gladly pay much more for running gear than for ‘real’ clothes!
Whether you run on roads or trails, a good headlamp is absolutely essential. It helps you see AND be seen! One I was recommended to try that I love is the Black Diamond Spot, which has a reasonable price and offers multiple modes from dim red lights all the way through full-on bright white LEDs! There are many other choices, but definitely make sure your runner is visible at night!
For a while I used a really cheap belt I had bought at Walmart, which did the job after I cut away a few things that chafed. Then when I got the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 I knew I would need something larger – so I bought the highly recommended SPIBelt. And I love it. During a recent 5K I wore it and carried my iPhone 6, car key, cash and a Kind bar. All with plenty of room and no bouncing or chafing! You can get started here, and for anything larger than an iPhone 5 I would recommend the ‘large pocket’.
5. Hydration Packs
Don’t let winter fool you because you don’t get as sweaty – you need hydration every bit as much! Personally I love compact and easy to carry bottles like the QuickShot Plus Insulated from Nathan, and also a larger Camelback insulated bottle for longer runs, and of course a full hydration backpack for even longer runs!
Don’t leave home without RoadID … seriously! A simple band provides basic ID in case something happens and someone need to figure out who you are. It sounds awful, but it is one of those things you hope you never need – but if you do it is priceless.
There are just a few ideas – without getting into shoes, clothes or my constant wish … gloves that will keep my hands warm through the Polar Vortex! What suggestions do you have?