This is essential gear for training. What you’ll see here is everything I use in all aspects of training, even some maintenance, recovery and fueling items. It will be updated items are added to my arsenal.
My favorite book of all time, and something that I’ll turn to if I ever start to feel the motivation drop off. I remember a couple of harsh winters where the weather was stifling me, work was frustrating me, and the desire to run just seemed to be escaping me. Reading the book seemed to ease all of that (except for the work-related crap), and I was able to start training again with a renewed vigor.
My favorite running shoe of all time is the Wave Ronin 3 (also the best looking), and I was lucky enough to get the 4’s from Mizuno for free as part of their Mezamashii Project. I’ve used these to race everything from a 5k all the way up to the marathon, with no complaints. I’m currently not running due to injury, but can’t wait to try these out. I saw these listed at $105, and that’s not bad. Shoes in general are getting pretty damn expensive but if you know where to shop, you can save yourself some cash. Seek out places that give out discounts to club runners (like Marathon Sports).
Provides fairly accurate pace and distance readings, among many other features that I don’t dabble with too often. It’s one of the best things to come along for me (in terms of running), and also one of the worst. I do think I’ve become too dependent on it in both training and racing, but it’s hard to imagine life without it at this point. If I actually tried to, I’m sure I could curb my reliance on it. Anyway, the touch face is so much better than the bezel that was on the “old” Forerunner 405. The first 610 I purchased wouldn’t hold a charge in the battery, but I was able to exchange it for a functioning unit that hasn’t given me much trouble, aside from a few glitches. The Garmin Connect site is pretty cool too, but since I keep my training log elsewhere I haven’t really used it all that much. This model is still going for about $350, which is pretty expensive. I’ve been waiting to see if the prices of these things will start to come down, but so far no. Although there have been more basic models from different companies entering the market, and those prices are more budget friendly. I got mine at the New England Running Company.
Feel douchey even typing that. Holy shit these things were overpriced. I only bought them because I received a pretty good discount on them. I picked them up back in 2006 before my first marathon, and will probably run in them until I’m done running. I say that because I’m too cheap and lazy to waste time and money on a new pair of sunglasses. As long as I don’t lose them (or they don’t break), I’ll be running in them. They may have already gone out of style, but either I haven’t noticed or I’m in denial. Judging by the looks of the products on display when I went searching for the Oakley link, I think they went out of style years ago. Oh well. I have no complaints about them, they’ve served me well over the years.
This is a somewhat vital piece of equipment for do-it-yourself at home maintenance. The one I use is the Marathon Stick, although they (surprisingly) have many different models. It’s pretty effective in rolling the junk out of the legs. It’s important to address any sore spots before they morph into something bigger and uglier (like time off due to injury!). The best thing about The Stick is it’s portability. It’s so small that it travels real well and can be used just about anywhere. Although you would look odd Sticking yourself in church, or at the movies. Hey, this could be the next big meme, tweeting pics of you sticking yourself in unique locations. Yeah, I realized how that sounded, but I’m still rolling with it. The Stick is a little expensive for what it is ($32), but again, seek it out at a running specialty store that gives discounts. I got mine (at a discount) from Marathon Sports.
This has replaced The Stick as my go-to tool for getting rid of sore spots, and it’s cheaper too! Things I don’t like about it: it’s much larger so it doesn’t travel well (no chance of using it at church) and it looks and feels awkward to use. For example, if you try to roll out your quads, you sort of look like Jason Biggs in American Pie, when he attempts to “romance” a certain baked good. Other than that, I love it. I use it whenever I feel very sore, and I think it’s saved me from a trip or two to the massage therapist’s office. If you live in a tiny studio apartment (as I once did), you may find some difficulty in trying to use this. As far as price goes, you can find one anwhere in the $10-25 range, depending on where you get it and what type you buy. I got mine (at a discount) from Marathon Sports.
Pretty basic things, but handy to have. Stretching is important, so you should make sure you’re comfortable when doing so. I picked up the mat at some sporting goods store (Sports Authority, maybe), and it was fairly cheap. I’ve gotten plenty of use out of it over the years. The yoga strap was a cheap Ebay purchase, and it has proven to be worth much more than the $5 it cost me. I had been using a towel or an elastic band to help with my stretching and both of those options were just a pain in the ass.
Ice and heat can be your friends. The ice pack gets more use than the heat pack, so it’s a good idea to have multiples on hand. CVS sells these Peas Cold Therapy packs which are pretty good. They even come with an extension strap so it’s easier to ice your back or shoulder, or you can even wrap it around your leg. The heat pad I use is made by Sunbeam, I believe, and is one of those microwavable pads. If you’re signed up for the CVS Extra Care card, then you probably already know that they seem to send 25-30% off coupons like every other week. Besides the big sales savings, these items are also eligible for medical flex spending reimbursement (or at least they were at the time when I got them). If it’s near the end of the year and you have some cash left over in that use-it-or-lose-it flex spending medical account, that’s the perfect time to get yourself some ice and/or heat packs!
I started running to and from work back in 2010, but had some difficulty finding a suitable backpack. I finally came across the Black Diamond Bullet backpack at Eastern Mountain Sports. It was perfect for carrying the bare minimum for a full work day (not including shoes). It has clasp across the chest (securing the shoulder straps) and another one that goes across the waist, keeping the whole thing locked in place as you run. It’s pretty much perfect, and barely noticeable as you run (for a backpack at least). It’s not exactly waterproof, but I picked up a spray that helped out in that area. If it looks like rain I’ll typical have my stuff in a plastic bag within anyway, since I can’t really risk not having dry clothes for work. It also has some features built in that make it look like it was designed to hold some sort of hydration device…
…speaking of which, I have a CamelBak. I picked up this item at Marathon Sports and use it for hiking and biking. The one I got was the HydroBak, which is very minimal. I like how the reservoir can be removed, so I can take it out and put it into my Bullet backpack if I’ll be going somewhere and need to carry extra items with me. This model of the CamelBak can’t really hold much besides the water. I’ve never run with this, and probably never will. I don’t mind biking or hiking with it, but just couldn’t imagine running with it. I did run with a backpack, but that was out of necessity (only for a couple of miles). I would drop it off at home and finish the run.
Like my wheels? This bike’s about twenty years old. I don’t ride enough to justify buying something else at this point, so for now I’ll be doing all my biking around Boston on this “classic” Trek mountain bike. It weighs about six metric tons but rides as if it only weighed four. I think a road bike might make more sense for me now (instead of the mountain bike I’ve had since junior high school), but with all the potholes around here and the rough condition of the Charles path (in spots), I might be better off with this tank on two wheels.
Gotta protect my dome! I tend to go for functionality and bargains, so when I saw that select stores around Boston were selling helmets for $7.99 (in conjunction with the Hubway program), I was sold on it. It might not be the most stylish, but it gets the job done. I have an intense fear of comas, so hopefully this will keep me safe should I encounter any gravity-related problems. I’m still getting used to riding in traffic (city traffic, no less), and I could use all the protection I can get my hands on. I don’t think you’ll see me in elbow and knee pads though.
Offers 1,610 sq inches of relaxation space, this is where most of my exercise takes place these days. Try this one (it’s my new version of double sessions): sit down on it in the morning, rest all day, then stand up from it in the late afternoon/early evening. To enhance your workout, you can move around by alternating between a sitting position and laying flat. Also try alternating hands with the remote control when watching TV. That way, both sides get worked evenly and you won’t have any imbalance issues. Unfortunately, it’s not the most comfortable couch. We had a nice one lined up from Jordan’s Furniture, but those assholes botched the delivery (didn’t even really try to get it up to our apartment), so we had to go with another one from some place I don’t recall.
This is where the magic happens. I’m talking about sleep, you pervert! It doesn’t really matter how good your training is if you’re not giving your body the sleep it needs. I view the inside of my eyelids on a Nature’s Dream Memory Foam queen-size mattress. We got it with a Groupon, and the deal was so damn good that it might be the reason why Groupon stock has tanked. I would highly recommend any type of memory foam mattress, if you can get a good deal on one. Not sure if they’re worth the ridiculously high prices that retailers usually ask for them.
Coffee: “it’s the lifeblood that drives the dreams of champions!” Didn’t you know? I don’t eff around when it comes to my coffee. I want it quickly, and I want it to be good. The Keurig accomplishes both of those objectives. I use the reusable K-cup because it’s environmentally friendly and also because the disposable K-cups are so damn expensive! I buy my beans at Trader Joe’s, which makes this even more cost-efficient. The Keurig link shows an expensive unit, the one I have, but I didn’t buy it. I had a much cheaper version that crapped out on me and Keurig upgraded me for free. They have great customer service, and that is always important. Besides my morning cup, I typically enjoy an afternoon dose (especially if doing doubles). All this coffee talk is making me crave some…