Six essentials for running

Features, Tech

Six essentials for running

I’ve been trying to get back on the workout wagon for a while – I’m really bad about being a yo-yo exerciser – but I’ve been relatively successful lately. At least, successful enough to not feel like a total hypocrite posting about workout gear. Running has been my workout of choice for years now, so I’m doing the Couch to 5K program to build my mileage base and hopefully be ready to run a half-marathon next April or May. See? Now I’ve made it public so I have to do it.

You wouldn’t think so now if you saw me huffing and puffing my way down the street, but over the years I’ve logged a few gazillion miles training for various races, so I’ve found a few pieces of running equipment that I don’t think I could survive without. They were sadly neglected there for a while, but now I’m actually looking forward to going for a run just so I can use them. If you’re looking for equipment that are instrumental for your active lifestyle, you can check out the ones here.

Apple iPod Shuffle – I feel like this is so old-school, even though I only bought it a couple years ago. Now that we have smartphones, who uses iPods anymore? I ran with my iPhone for a long time, but never really could get past the feeling like I had a laptop strapped to my arm. This itsy bitsy thing just clips anywhere on my clothes (it usually goes on my waistband) and weighs hardly anything. Current playlist: lots of 90’s rock (Tool, Bush, Rage Against the Machine, etc).

Klipsch S4i Headphones – To go along with the Shuffle, of course. The old Apple earbuds were constantly falling out of my ears (and the new ones don’t fit me well at all) so I upgraded to these on the recommendation of a friend. Once I got them I was finally able to run without adjusting my headphones every 30 seconds. The sound is much much better than what I was used to, especially the bass. Just be sure to look both ways at intersections, because these really do cut off outside noise. Sadly this exact model has been discontinued, but it was replaced by the presumably better R6i. Also worth noting – Klipsch customer service is excellent. My first pair of S4i’s started cutting out on one side not long after the warranty was up. I decided to email them anyway, and they went ahead and replaced them for free and without any hassle.

Moving Comfort Juno sports bra – If you have a problem with jiggle then just go buy this. Seriously. A good, well-fitted bra is absolutely necessary all the time (seriously, figuring out my actual bra size changed my life) and working out isn’t really an exception. This bra keeps everything firmly in place, doesn’t chafe at all because the band and straps don’t slide around, and the two I own still look brand new after two years. Best of all, these come in a pretty wide range of sizes, which is nice if you don’t fall into the 34A-38D spectrum that a lot of stores are limited to. The band fits true to size, but the cup runs a tiny bit smaller than normal compared to my regular bras – I probably could have gone up a cup size. Pro tip – if a good sports bra for every day of the week is a little out of your budget, rinse them out in the shower and hang up to dry. I was able to get through an entire marathon training plan with just two bras using that method.

Skirt Sports running skirt – Another discontinued style (sigh), but their Marathon Chick skirt is very similar, just without the snaps for a race bib. I was really surprised at how comfortable this was – it’s more breezy than the biking shorts I was used to wearing, and doesn’t ride up at the inner thigh the way typical running shorts do. The fact that it barely covers my ass took a bit of getting used to, but the built-in shorts made me not worry about it too much (besides, if anyone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to look at me). The material is super soft – you barely notice you’re wearing it – and the waist band doesn’t have elastic, so it doesn’t cut into the love handle area. This also runs pretty true to size – I normally wear a 6, and the medium fits perfectly.

Sweaty Band headbands – I mentioned these a while back in a favorites video, and I still don’t run without one. They only have elastic on the bottom, so they don’t put pressure on my head, and the velvet backing keeps them from slipping off. Plus if I wear them near my hairline they soak up a little bit of the sweat that would normally run into my eyes (ewww, I know). The elastic is starting to stretch out on some of the first ones I bought – but that was about 5 years ago, so I consider that well worth the price.

Garmin Forerunner 610 – This is probably my favorite piece of wearable tech, even if it does look a little bit like an ankle monitor on my arm. I picked it up when I stopped using my iPhone, and I’ve found the GPS to be way more accurate. I decided on this particular one over the less expensive models for two reasons: you can put in customized training plans so you’ll know how far to run on each day, and it has a vibrate motor for alerts. It has all sorts of neat features, so I highly recommend checking out the DC Rainmaker review – it goes over them better than I ever could.

What’s your must-have workout gear? Let me know if there’s anything I’m missing out on!


  1. Chelle

    August 11, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I love this post! Yay for building up your mileage again!

    I had a friend buy me the Sweaty Band headband and I can’t believe how well it stays in place. Awesome piece of headgear that thing is!

    I’m also a huge fan of my Garmin. I don’t know how I ran anywhere before I owned this.

    Good luck on your training plan!

    1. Nikki

      August 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Thanks! Good luck with your running too! I have to admit when I was pulling the link for the Garmin, I got sidetracked for about an hour looking at the new FR620/FR220 (so much prettier!). Must resist though, because mine is still perfectly funcitonal.

      1. Chelle

        August 12, 2014 at 10:49 am

        I’ve got the 220, but that’s only because it was my very first Garmin purchase and I like the accelerometer for indoor running when I do it occasionally throughout the winter. My very first half marathon is in a MONTH. I can’t believe. Getting slightly nervous about it!

        Are you aiming for any marathon in particular? I was thinking about doing the DC one (if only because they hand out shiny Tiffany boxes…).

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