So you’ve got the basics: the perfect running shoes, a great selection of running apparel to get you out the door. But when you really start to realize how much you love running, that’s when you start looking beyond the basics.
This is a list of my 5 favorite non-essential running gear items with a brief description of why and/or how I use them to augment my running program. Enjoy! And feel free to share a few of YOUR favorite things with the group!
1. SMART WATCH. There are so many options here, from devices made specifically for runners to watches that integrate with your smart phone, etc.
For a long time I was using a Pebble Time watch with my iPhone. The selling points being its low price point and it’s seamless integration with Run Keeper (more on that later).
I’ve recently upgraded to the Apple Watch, which although pricey, works with a larger number of running apps (Map My Run, Nike +, Strava and so many more) and also works with my MyZone heart rate monitor (more on that later as well).
During a run, I use my watch for controlling my music and monitoring my heart rate. I’m also a lot less likely to slow down to check text messages or missed calls when I’m getting notifications right on my wrist (especially since 99% of my calls and texts can wait until I’ve finished my run).
2. FLIP BELT. My Flip Belt keeps everything I need on me during my run (keys, phone, identification, cash, etc.) without filling my pockets.
In addition to letting me run with my essentials, it’s also lightweight and almost disappears when you start running. It’s form-fitting design holds your belongings tightly against your body so there’s no bouncing, rubbing or extra heft to run with. It’s available in a variety of sizes and colors, although I opted for the basic black.
3. RUNNING APP. Again, like the smart watches, the options here are virtually limitless. There are hundreds of running apps out there for different platforms, running goals and metrics. I prefer Run Keeper.
The reason I’m a Run Keeper fan is because of its simplicity. It tracks my runs, distance, tempo and splits. It asks how I feel when I’m done and almost every run I complete gets me discounts and goodies from running partners.
I also love that every five minutes (you can choose how often you want this to happen in the settings of the app) a voice tells me how much time has passed, how much distance I’ve covered and what my pace is, without interrupting my playlist.
4. WIRELESS EARBUDS. I use this amazing pair by Platronics.
The first benefit is the obvious – no more wires twisting around my arm or getting caught in my fist and sending my phone crashing to the ground mid-stride. This also allows me to tuck my phone safely away in my Flip Belt for the duration of my run because between my Apple Watch and the apps I’m running (MyZone Moves and Run Keeper) I have all the information I need right on my wrist! Plus the sound quality is great and I don’t have to monkey around trying to keep those slippery Apple earbuds in place!
5. HEART RATE MONITOR. My preferred device is the MyZone Activity Monitor. It’s my device of choice for three important reasons: 1. Price Point (available at Gold’s right now for a special rate of $79), 2. Accuracy (this is one of the most reliable and accurate devices you can buy – products of similar accuracy cost upwards of $200 and more) and 3. THE DATA.
I know that #3 makes me sound like a huge geek, but I love being able to see how many calories I burned. Let’s be honest, knowing that a great run earned you some extra calories to spend on desert is a HUGE incentive. There are also great gamification principles at play here that help keep me accountable and progressing toward both my running goals and my overall fitness goals.
By Jason Jaquays-Tarbox