I started running back in 2010 because I wanted to lose weight, but I did not want to pay for a gym membership because I was a poor college kid. Running was awesome because it only required two things: A left shoe and a right shoe (ok, and a sports bra).
However, over the past seven years of running adventures, I've discovered a few pieces of running gear that make running more enjoyable and practical. Here are my top five pieces of running gear that I can't live without:
1. Moving Comfort Sports Bra: I am a "busty" girl, which means I need a sports bra that can handle high impact running so my boobs don't hurt and fly all over the place. My absolute favorite sports bra brand is Moving Comfort, which is now owned by Brooks Running. I personally own the Rebound Racer, the Uplift Crossback and the Vixen. The Rebound Racer is the most secure, but the Uplift Crossback and Vixen are my two favorites because they have molded cups and are a bit more "modest" (i.e. they don't show your headlights).
2. Flipbelt: My mother-in-law gifted me a Flipbelt last year and it's SO awesome. It's not as bulky as a running belt and allows you to carry your phone (no matter what size), keys, gels and more because it's stretchy. I wear this on almost every run unless I accidentally leave it at home.
3. PRO Compression Socks: I recently started using PRO Compression socks during my runs and I'll never go back. Not only do they make running easier on my shins and feet, they look really cool (well, I think they do anyway) and come in fun designs so that people know you're both fun and a hardcore runner. I like the over-the-calf marathon socks the most.
4. Bluetooth Headphones: Right now I'm using the Philips Bluetooth Sport headphones, but regardless of the brand, Bluetooth headphones are a game-changer if you want to listen to music or podcasts on your run because you don't get tangled up in wires. (PSA: If you're running with headphones outdoors, keep your volume low and one earbud out because having two earbuds in while running is NOT SAFE AT ALL. Thank you :D )
5. Handheld Waterbottle: On hot runs that aren't long enough to require a full hydration belt (which I own and you can find here), I love bringing a handheld water bottle. I've used different brands - primarily Nathan Quickshots and Camelbak Arc Quickgrips - and they're all pretty comparable. The pockets on the small bottles are pretty small, so I usually still wear my Flipbelt to carry my phone!
6. Shower Wipes: Whoever first invented shower wipes and helped save us all from sticky baby wipes is amazing. When I don't have time to shower (or let's get real, don't want to shower) after a run, shower wipes are a God-send. My favorites right now are HyperGo After Sport Shower wipes because they're HUGE and leave zero residues, but I also like the Nathan Power Shower wipes.
7. Foam Roller & Roller Stick: Runners get tight muscles and the foam roller and roller stick are the solutions. Tight muscles lead to injuries and foam rolling is a key to staying injury-free. I purchased a small foam roller a few years ago and this roller stick (per a recent suggestion from a friend to help with tight calves) from Amazon. Note: You should also stretch AFTER foam or stick rolling - I wasn't told this by my doc until recently but it helps.
8. Golf and Lacrosse Balls: That's right friends, golf and lacrosse balls are great pieces of running gear. Whether you purchase them or casually find one laying on a lacrosse field or golf course, these babies will help you alleviate muscle tightness in a similar-but-more-intense way that foam rollers and roller sticks do. I use golf balls to roll out my feet to prevent plantar fasciitis, and lacrosse balls to roll out my calves and glutes.
9. Non-toxic Sunscreen: I'm as pale and freckly as they come, so I have to slather on sunscreen. I prefer to use the most non-toxic options as possible since a lot of sunscreens are super bad for your skin (especially if you use them as much as I do). My favorite right now is ThinkSport, which has an EWG rating of 1 (low toxicity).
10. Shoe Inserts: I've had issues with foot pain and plantar fasciitis in the past, so I'm a fan of shoe inserts. I used to use Superfeet inserts but recently purchased currexSole inserts and like them SO MUCH more.
Do you have favorite running gear? Comment with your favorite pieces of gear below!