Stuff We Love: Great Gear for Runners

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/16/2011 2:30 PM   :  59 comments   :  20,849 Views

Some women can't wait for the latest fashions to hit their local department store, but for me I get that same thrill when I walk into my local running specialty store. I must confess in the five years since I took up running I have bought more pairs of running shoes, socks, shorts, tech shirts and sports bras than I have any other 'real' articles of clothing. Because I have the liberty to work from home, many times I am sitting in my running/workout gear waiting to pound the pavement or hit the gym so purchasing other clothing really isn't a need.

Below are just a few of my favorite running things and even if you are not a runner, walkers can benefit from them as well.





Brooks Running Jacket ($70)

One of the most fundamental pieces of running outerwear attire is a running jacket. I am partial to the Brooks running jacket because of its tailored fit, large pockets, both inside and out, as well as a small inside pocket to store my iPod. This jacket offers both wind and water resistance as well as a vented back which allows for breath-ability. I currently own five Brooks running jackets (I know I have been told I have an obsession for running jackets), four of which I purchased at the Rock N Roll Runs I have participated in. I must say they look just as good after 40 plus washes as they did when I purchased them a year ago. And the great thing is I can wear them when I am running errands when the weather dictates the need of a lightweight jacket.





Brooks Running Vest ($55)

When temperatures are too warm for a running jacket I will resort to wearing my running vest. What I love about a running vest is the versatility it offers. With the same fit as the running jacket it also offers a number of pockets which this allows me to carry my keys, money and cell phone with me on my runs. It makes a great transition item from season to season and can be worn over a long-sleeved tech shirt. It also offers wind and water resistance and because it is so light-weight you do not feel the added bulk when running. And because it has reflectors on the back and front of the vest this helps make me more visible to drivers when running in the dark.





Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves ($39.99)

I was first introduced to compression leg sleeves last summer when I traveled to Seattle to run the Rock N Roll Half-Marathon. The idea behind compression leg sleeves is they help increase oxygen blood flow to the lower legs which in turn helps speed up your recovery time. While they can be worn during your runs, I prefer to wear them for post-run recovery only.





Moving Comfort Fiona Sports Bra ($44)

When I first started running I wore the Champion Shape 2000 sports bra, but as the years passed they became next to impossible to find. I spent the next year in search of the perfect sports bra. I was convinced I would never find another one I liked more than my Champion, but all my fears were allayed when I discovered Moving Comfort's Fiona Sports Bra. I bought one a few months ago just to give it a try and I must say it has now dethroned my faithful Champion. The support the Fiona provides is exceptional. I have never had issues in the four months I have been wearing it with the straps slipping or experiencing the annoying chaffing that can be a problem when making a switch. While they are a tad on the expensive side, they are worth every penny I paid.





Newton Motion Control Running Shoes ($139-$175)

I know what many of you may be thinking--$175 for a pair of running shoes, YIKES. I said the same thing when my running coach recommended I give these shoes a try after experiencing an Achilles tendon issue back in 2008. But when you compare running to other sports like tennis and cycling, it is a fairly inexpensive sport because all you need is a good pair of shoes and you are good to go. The Newtons are a minimalist shoe, meaning they lack some of the cushioning that many of the mainstream running shoes have, with lugs on the forefoot that encourages one to strike with the mid-foot versus heel striking. I have worn these shoes for almost three years now. I did try to go back to a mainstream running shoe two years ago and within two runs after making the transition I ended up with a piriformis issue that had me forking out $80 a week for Active Release Therapy (ART) for almost four months. For me, spending $600 a year on shoes far outweighs the money spent for ART and more importantly the frustration of fending off an nagging injury. But remember this is not a shoe for everyone.





Water Resistant SpiBelt ($21.95)

While many will call the SpiBelt a small version of a fanny pack, for runners and walkers we like to call these belts activity belts. What I like about the Water Resistant SpiBelt is if you are a heavy sweater like me or if you must do some of your runs in the rain or snow, your money, ID, keys and small cell phone fit right in the pocket which will keep them dry for the duration of your run. I generally don't like to run with anything constraining around my waist, which is why I carry a hand held hydration bottle, however wearing the SpiBelt does not cause the issue like the hydration belts do.





Oakley Sports Sunglasses ($120 and up)

Sports sunglasses are a necessity for runners. Facial tension can lead to tight shoulders and upper body tension which may ultimately affect your running form. Sports sunglasses offer glare-resistance and anti-slip ear pieces and because they lightweight they are ideal not only for running, but walking and cycling as well. While they are a little pricey, you do get what you pay for and that is a quality product that can last for years. I have owned one pair of Oakelys for 5 years now and it has been one of the best investments I have made.





The Stick (Price varies $21.50 and up)

I was introduced to The Stick many years ago by a physical therapist to help release myofascial adhesions and knots within the muscles. While I do own a foam roller, I have found The Stick can actually get a little deeper which helps release some of the tension in the muscle. I use it every day, even on days I do not run.

Do you own any of the items I mentioned? What would you add to the list?


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Comments

  • 59
    A minimalist yet motion control shoe. Hmmm. Sounds paradoxical, LOL. - 8/14/2012   5:01:11 PM
  • 58
    I have the fiona sport bra and I absolutely love it! - 4/20/2012   9:42:56 PM
  • 57
    I have the fiona sport bra and I absolutely love it! - 4/20/2012   9:42:56 PM
  • 56
    Another "women's only" article on SP. I realize there are mostly women here, but how hard would it be to add some men's items?

    Jeff - 12/13/2011   9:15:34 AM
  • 55
    While I enjoyed your article, I recommend not giving particular types for bras and shoes. These two items are fitted for each individual depending on body type and feet shape. I love the Brooks running jacket. Also, the foam roller goes well with the Stick. They're fabulous! - 4/17/2011   10:29:23 AM
  • REEKU731
    54
    I'm surprised you guys didn't include the Road IDs in this list - they are one of the most important things I've got in my runs :-D - 4/13/2011   8:08:30 AM
  • 53
    The Stick is good after a long day on your feet too! Very much recommended! - 3/12/2011   8:36:22 AM
  • 52
    Well, all I can say is I am new at running and I have alot to learn. I will check out the stick and a few more items. Thanks very helpful blog! - 2/20/2011   10:42:33 AM
  • 51
    I never thought about wearing my compression socks post run. I have had issues with shin splints and some stress fractures in the past so I think I will give that a try. I love the jacket! And for $70, it's a steal. I think I may have to try the sports bra, too. Thanks for all the info!
    Rhonda - 2/20/2011   9:52:45 AM
  • MICHELE0402
    50
    Thank you so much for this list! I'm a new runner and just ran my first 10K race! The Fiona bra is so comfortable and supportive! Wish they made regular, everyday bras that comfortable and supportive! The Stick is great for the sore muscles and kinks since my race! I'm going to check out the Brooks jacket. A local store is having a sale on Brooks! - 2/20/2011   9:40:40 AM
  • 49
    looks cool - 2/19/2011   8:54:12 PM
  • 48
    Love the Stick! Haven't tried the other's. Thanks! - 2/19/2011   8:26:15 PM
  • 47
    How ironic but my husband gave me a Brooks running jacket for Christmas, I'm pretty certain it's the same one shown in the photo. Yes, it is a FANTASTIC jacket. I don't run with an ipod, however, that pocket could be used to hold other small items. The Brooks jacket that I have is VERY warm. I actually can't wear it if the temps hit 30 or higher. And the bright yellow green is perfect, visibility is key. It really is a great jacket. - 2/18/2011   10:52:26 AM
  • 46
    I have compression leg sleeves, but I don't use them for running. I used them for support when I tore my calf muscle. While my leg has healed, I'll occasionally wear them when I feel they need stability.

    - 2/18/2011   8:58:23 AM
  • 45
    Keep in mind all the 'Stick" fits into a suitcase! Great for destination running.

    I have been trying some "Teds" that I got at the hospital for a trial to see if the compression sleeves are for me. Just an idea to offer!
    Obviously try on a training run - not a race the first couple of times. - 2/18/2011   8:54:34 AM
  • 44
    I guess we are pretty different.

    I have a stick, but I am partial to my foam roller and tennis balls (in a sock). I learned about the tennis balls from my physical therapist. For muscular pain in the shoulders, neck and lower back, put two tennis balls in a sock, lie on the floor, and put the sock under the affected muscles. Adjust the intensity by lying still, moving around or adjusting the amount of weight you put on them. If regular tennis balls are too intense, you can get (softer) softball pitching machine balls at a sports store, or punch holes in your tennis balls. This method may be useful for other muscles as well, but I haven't tried it. It's very easy on the budget, and it feels like a deep tissue massage.

    I also own a Fuel Belt (with water bottles, worn around the waist) because I don't like carrying water, and I prefer a visor to sunglasses. For the rest, I am very much a minimalist, except in shoes. I just wear whatever athletic shorts, capris, or long pants I have. For my feet, I need a lot of motion control, so I wear Brooks Ariels with custom orthotics. - 2/17/2011   11:36:08 PM
  • 43
    Thanks for the info on the bra. The only thing I really need in that long list of goodies. Pat in Maine. - 2/17/2011   8:55:28 PM
  • 42
    I just got a Moving Comforts Fiona bra as well and as I'm a 34DD it's quite difficult to find my size anywhere--which wasn't a problem on Amazon for these bras. I hesitated at first because of cost, but it was well worth it after I tried it. I hardly move at all while running and it's really comfy. I also like that it has hooks and doesn't just go over the head like many other "sports" bras. I would highly recommend it. I also got a MC Juno bra and it's pretty good too, but it does go over the head as well as hook. - 2/17/2011   8:01:56 PM
  • 41
    I want that running jacket!
    The Stick sounds cool! - 2/17/2011   6:20:44 PM
  • 40
    My Sports bra of choice is Enelle. It is totally motion control! (And as a triple D runner, that's important.) - 2/17/2011   4:21:45 PM
  • 39
    I own the moving comfort bra. I am a 36 DD and it works. Which is fantastic. - 2/17/2011   2:14:42 PM
  • 38
    Thanks for the info on the sports bra. I am looking for a good one in a size that is sooooooo hard to find. I immediately hit the link and found it in my size! Yay, I know what I am going to be spending some money on. - 2/17/2011   2:03:06 PM
  • 37
    I do have the stick, but I don't run anymore, due to joint problems. I also have a sport bra, but not the one mentioned. - 2/17/2011   11:13:27 AM
  • 36
    Thank you! I have never heard of The Stick, but after your blog and the other comments, I think it's definitely something I need to try. - 2/17/2011   11:13:23 AM
  • 35
    I have 2 Brooks Jackets and one Saucony one. The Saucony is my new favorite. I also love my Saucony running pants, and since I live in the NW, my Saucony running glove/mitts. I have most of the other things too. I run with my Zensah's and love them. I also switch off with a pair of Skin compression sleeves and sometimes compression socks. Makes a big difference in how my legs feel. - 2/17/2011   11:12:10 AM
  • CBATTE
    34
    I have the SpiBelt and the sports sunglasses. I'm interested in the Newtons and the compression leg sleeves.

    In addition to the two things that I do have, I also have a Garmin running watch which helps me track how far I'm running and my pace. This is great for estimating calories burned. For marathon training I have a hydration belt so I don't have to plan routes around where I can get water and food. - 2/17/2011   11:00:26 AM
  • DPCANON
    33
    I love the jacket and The Stick looks interesting. I'm getting a CamelBak for my bike rides. My friend has one and really loves it. - 2/17/2011   9:37:19 AM
  • 32
    I also love my Newtons, they are well worth the money! - 2/17/2011   9:08:36 AM
  • HSUKING2011
    31
    One last item, that is very inexpensive- a tennis ball! This is a must have for me. I sit at night and roll my foot over it. It releases any tension in my feet and feels so good! - 2/17/2011   9:06:13 AM
  • MEGHANRMS
    30
    I LOVE my Newtons! I quit having shin splints after getting my Newtons last summer. Also love my Brooks running jackets & vest, & my Moving Comfort bra (not the Fiona but Moving Comfort is the BEST!). - 2/17/2011   8:50:15 AM
  • ALEXANDRA64
    29
    I would totally add The Grid:

    http://store.tptherapy.com/The_Grid
    _Revolutionary_Foam_Roller_p/tpt-gr
    d.htm


    It has done wonders for my IT Band that regular rollers can't even touch. Also, it has really helped my shins too which really burn because I use "barefoot technology" type shoes outdoors. - 2/17/2011   7:36:47 AM
  • SORDINA
    28
    Great list! I was pretty skeptical about The Stick--25 bucks for a rod with some beads?!--until I tried it! Worth every penny! Haven't tried that sports bra. Would you say it's good for bigger bosoms? I've always held on to my Champion bra before too. - 2/17/2011   3:48:41 AM
  • 27
    I am going to buy the bra, for both me and daughter who plans on running soon. - 2/17/2011   1:15:25 AM
  • 26
    I love my RaceReady shorts. They are running shorts (RaceReady also does other things) with net pockets and other pockets around the waist band. I can store my phone, my IDs, GU gels, pretty much anything I need for running long distances in them without any kind of fanny pack. I don't race in anything else during the summer anymore.

    Also, for long distances, I love my CamelBak that goes over my shoulders. I still have to stash water bottles sometimes for training runs to fill up the CamelBak, but I can't imagine carrying a water bottle with me or not having water for longer than 10 mile runs.

    And for every workout (but especially running because of the sweat), I like my Sweaty Band hair bands. They are $18 each (which seems like a lot) but I NEVER get sweat in my eyes anymore, they stay put in my hair, are washable and come in super cute colors and patterns. - 2/17/2011   12:11:01 AM
  • 25
    Love my Fiona Sports Bra!!! I even bought it a size up while preggo and nursing to fit my new body. Looking forward to going back down to my old size...my baby is 6 months old now so not too much longer! - 2/16/2011   11:25:57 PM
  • 24
    My chiropractor recommended The Stick to me on Monday. Seems I'm having an issue with an IT band as I'm training to walk my first half-marathon. I cannot afford to stop training at this point so I'm willing to give it a go. I have not sourced The Stick locally yet but it's on my list of things to do in the next few days.

    - 2/16/2011   11:25:53 PM
  • 23
    I would add running capris to the list -since I bought my first pair, I've loved them. Have the foam roller, but have never tried the stick. Thanks for the info Nancy! - 2/16/2011   11:06:40 PM
  • 22
    I just bought the stick 2 nights ago and I love it. I have 2 AXIS foam rollers (large & small) that I use to roll out IT bands, but the rollers never seemed to get my calves loosened up. The stick works grat for that. - 2/16/2011   11:06:32 PM
  • 21
    I love, love, love my newtons! Don't let the bright color scare you off. I was nervous at first. But I have gotten more compliments about them than strange looks! - 2/16/2011   10:21:19 PM
  • 20
    Thanks for the great blog. I've been thinking about a jacket, and I'll have to give the Brooks a try. I love my Fiona bra, too. It is the first one I bought when I started running, and I have had zero problems with bouncing or chafing. - 2/16/2011   10:10:52 PM
  • 19
    Tried on the Newtons at the store, I ran about 10 steps in them and almost IMMEDIATELY had burning foot pain that lasted several hours. I will not be trying them again.

    My son likes to take my Stick off my chair where I keep it and whack me in the shins with it.

    I have the Zensah compression socks and I like them very much although with just 4 months wear they are looking pretty ratty already. - 2/16/2011   10:03:50 PM
  • 18
    I would add a neck warmer, aka neckgaiter aka buff. My favorite one is made by Original Buff out of merino wool. I can wear it as a neckerchief, a sahariane, a scarf and a balaclava. Price is around $30. - 2/16/2011   9:00:19 PM
  • 17
    The STICK sounds interesting. - 2/16/2011   8:39:16 PM
  • RFARRELL17
    16
    This blog entry is so helpful. I've never heard of the Stick. I checked out a video demo clip from "The Doctors." Sounds like something that I could certainly benefit from owning. Thanks! - 2/16/2011   8:27:28 PM
  • 15
    I've just bought the Zensah calf sleeves at the suggestion of my chiropractor. He suggests I run in them to keep my calfs warm and supported. Good information for the SpiBelt! I'm planning to run my marathon sans a fuel belt, but wondered what I could carry all my gels in; problem solved. I also buy Oakley sunglasses; keeps my peepers happy and protected. I don't have a "Stick," but I've got a MuscleTrac; same difference only it has "gears" to work into the muscle.

    I'm thinking that bluetooth headphones might be a good addition to the list. I'm considering buying some now that the headphone jack on my phone is going out. - 2/16/2011   7:19:25 PM
  • 14
    Love this blog Nancy! I own some sort of all of these items except for the "Stick" which I probably need to purchase soon. I love my Moving Comfort Fiona, one of the best sports bras I've ever come in contact with. I also bought the Spibelt at the Dallas White Rock Marathon Expo and bought the one with the extra loops for your Gu and straps for your bib. Love it!

    What I'd add to a runners list, is Body Glide and a reflector light of some kind to either clip on your cap/visor or on your shirt. - 2/16/2011   7:07:50 PM
  • 13
    I was wondering, is the Fiona bra great for big boobs ??? I run and do aerobics and it's hard to find a bra that will leave my "girls" in place and also not get a uniboob !!!
    I am now wearing the Shock Absorber bra and it's not bad at all.
    Thanks in advance,
    Loloute / Nicole - 2/16/2011   6:51:28 PM
  • SP_COACH_NANCY
    12
    Hey everyone, with the exception of the sports bra, all the items can be used by both sexes...they make a male version of the jacket and vest. They also carry the Zenhah for men, too!

    RUN SPARK STRONG! - 2/16/2011   6:18:40 PM
  • 11
    great article nancy, i am right with ya right down to the brooks products. i gave up the newtons after 6 weeks, just was not right for me. - 2/16/2011   6:12:09 PM
  • 10
    Nancy...that's my new running jacket! Love it! - 2/16/2011   6:10:43 PM

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