The Best Gear for Runners

unnamedIf your New Years resolutions included exercising more, we have something for you.  Want to hit the road running or walking with some new gear?  These things will come in handy!  Not all runners or walkers use fancy equipment some just go out and walk or run.  I don’t use super fancy equipment but what I have I love so I thought I’d share some thoughts on various equipment I use or would like to have.

Pedometer – my trusty pedometer, I’ve used a pedometer to track my steps per day for ummm a long time, LOL.  No, actually I noticed after getting married that the weight piled on as it does for some people.  I’d heard about walking 10,000 steps per day to help lose weight so I went out and bought a pedometer, a Walmart special – that was in 2001.  I’ve used them off and on through the years since then.  I totally love the one I have now.  It’s not fancy, it cost $18 when I bought it at Target, the same one is about $15 at Walmart but I had a Target gift card I’d been given as a Christmas present from a student.  I use the Sportline Digital Distance pedometer.  It doesn’t reset at midnight like some do and I have to personally write down the steps each day but I like keeping a log, so it works for me.

Pedometer apps – I thought I’d lost my pedometer not long ago and was in a panic bc I rely on it so much.  However I found an app that is pretty reliable.  Accupedo Pedometer, great thing is this app has both Apple and Android versions, it also has a widget you can keep on your homescreen to track your steps, calories, distance, and time, or you can pick a simpler widget.  You can edit your steps if it counts over or under, and you can adjust sensitivity which is awesome bc when I wear jeans I need it more sensitive bc the phone sits tight in my pocket, when I wear sweats I set it less sensitive.  There are other great apps but do your research and try them out for yourself.

Walking/running apps – There are a ton, I’ve heard great things about Map My Run, Map My Walk, and Runtastic but I use Nike+ and Runkeeper.  I started using Runkeeper because it seems to get along better with my phone’s GPS than Nike does, but I love using the numbers on Nike for goal setting and motivation so I use both. I use Runkeeper to track my walk/run and then just add it on Nike.  It works for me.  Find the apps you like and look for ones you can add friends, it’s definitely motivating!

Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) – I have a HRM only because my younger brother stopped using his and passed it on to me, but now I don’t think I could work out without it.  It’s an older model Polar with chest strap and watch.  There are days it doesn’t cooperate well but that’s usually because I didn’t rinse off the strap well or tighten the strap up enough.  I love that I can watch my heart rate, or my heart rate percentage which is great if you’re trying to stay in the aerobic range or maybe do intervals of aerobic and anaerobic.  I’ve been able to watch my progress and see how much faster my heart rate returns to resting/non-working out than it did months ago.  I can also see how much higher my heart rate percentage can go now before I get winded and have to slow down.  I also use the calorie count on mine as I do track my food and fitness trying to lose weight or right now maintain my current weight.  Not a necessary tool if you just want to enjoy running but I love the info I get from mine.  I’ve looked into the newer HRM/activity trackers and like the looks of the Samsung Gear and Fitbit Charge HR or Fitbit Surge, however all are well out of my price range right now, so I’ll stick with what I have.

Activity trackers – I don’t use one, though I’ve looked into them.  Last year when I decided it was time to get off my rear and lose weight and get healthy and in better shape I went looking.  As I already had the HRM I didn’t need that function.  I’m someone who does better when I see the progress so when I can see the actual step count so the Fitbit Flex was not calling my name.  I looked at the One and the Zip but my pedometer counts most of the same things and doesn’t cost nearly as much.  So far I’m staying without a tracker but if you find you want everything in one place, and I will admit the watch style trackers tempt me, then do your research and buy one.

Shoes – So I know you’re supposed to have good shoes, I haven’t bought new ones in a while.  I will be looking shortly bc it’s time, things are peeling off the bottom of mine LOL. You want shoes that are a the best fit – whatever your foot needs!

Insoles – So many options here too, I currently use orthotics designed for Plantar Fasciitis bc I was dealing with it for almost a year.  Running/walking and getting really good stretching in afterwards did more to heal it for me than any of the other recommended strategies, don’t know why but it is so nice to walk pain free again.  I’ve had gel insoles and they are awesome. I have shoes with memory foam insoles again wonderful.  This is again something that really comes down to what works best for you.

Walking weights – When you read about walking and running you see it is not advised to wear ankle weights or carry weights.  I have a set of 2 lb walking weights that I use occasionally when I am just going for a walk.  What I’d really like to have is a weighted vest for my walks, preferably an adjustable vest.  

Braces – Don’t use these without talking to a doctor and making sure that the reason you feel you need them isn’t something serious. You may need to work on form, think about where you are running (I recently discovered I have less pain when I run on grass than on sidewalks, which was kind of a DUH moment, but hey it happens LOL), or you may need to do some strength training for those areas.  I’ve now gotten off track haven’t I lol.  Ok back on track I have two knee braces, well more than two but I stopped using the sleeve brace a long time ago.  I wear what look like bands just under my knee, each one has an air filled tube.  I don’t wear them every time I run/walk or every day but there are days when I need just a little support, if I start to feel I need more than a little it’s time to back off and rest, walk only.  Usually a day or two of walking or rest and I’m better and back to running.

Racing laces – I’ve recently discovered these, they are a special type of shoelace that adjust to your foot automatically in your shoe.  They also make your shoe fit better, and more comfortable.  Or they’re supposed to be, I’ve only been using them for a couple of weeks.  They make shoes easier and quicker to get on, and make it impossible for your laces to come undone while running!

I know there is probably a whole lot more equipment out there that I know nothing about yet but that’s ok I think I have what I need for now and a wish list as well.  Is there any running/walking equipment you have that you love?


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