My running gear

My closet. I'm not like other girls.

My closet. I'm not like other girls.

Everyone says running is a minimal sport – you only need sneakers, socks, a top and shorts to get started. True on the whole. But once you become more a more serious runner, you will want to invest in better gear to help you keep cool, stay warm, avoid blisters, maintain hydration levels, or just look cute and feel fierce on the path. (Fun fact: I have 3 drawers filled with running clothes. So much for my love of minimalism.)

I've tried lots of gear over the years. Here's what I actually use. As you can see, I am not loyal to one brand; I use what works for me. This said, what works for me may not work for you.

Running shorts

Wearing my beloved UnderArmour boy shorts in the Justice for All 5K (Pictured getting my #1 age group award. I was 8th female overall.)

Wearing my beloved UnderArmour boy shorts in the Justice for All 5K (Pictured getting my #1 age group award. I was 8th female overall.)

For everyday running, I have a penchant for short, fitted boy shorts. For marathons or halfs, I prefer a looser short with a zippered pockets plus pockets for gels. My favorites:

  • UnderArmour Heat Gear shorts – lightweight, slight compression, do not ride up ever, so I often wear these in races
  • Nike Pro shorts – Lightweight, comfy, great in the heat
  • Athleta Track This Run Short – so comfy. Wear well and don't ride up.
  • Athleta Ready Set Short - Loose and comfy. Lots of pockets for keys, gels, etc.

Running sneakers in current rotation

I rotate my shoes. A study demonstrated that runners who rotate their sneakers have a 39% lower risk for injury. So I do as I'm told and remain relatively injury free.

I am a light, neutral runner, averaging 50+ miles per week. I wear a size 8.5 and have wide feet with bunions due to heredity and years of ballet dancing in pointe shoes.

 

  • Nike Zoom Fly – training/racing shoes. These lightweight (only 6.5 ounce) shoes are so well-cushioned that they feel more like 9-ouncers, and they fit me like slippers. At $150, they are the poor man's version of the Nike Zoom Vaporfly, the shoe specifically designed to help marathoner's break the 2-hour barrier. I have fussy feet and have been having issues with my metatarsal pads, so my teammate Breandan, whoworks at Philadelphia Runner, my team's sponsor, recommended these. (I 100% trust Breandan's shoe advice.) I tried them, and it was love at first run. The carbon-infused nylon plate under the midfoot propels you forward and makes you feel like you're flying, hence the name. These shoes are light enough to race in, yet stable enough to train in. I've even worn them on long runs. They have a nice wide toe box and a sensible 10mm drop. And as a special added bonus, they are easy on the eyes.
  • Brooks Cascadia – trail shoes. These keep my ankles stable for both gravel and technical trails, but they are flexible enough to allow me to speed up when the urge hits. I have a size 8, which I can live with. But I definitely need an 8.5 next time.
  • Mizuno Wave Runner – Mostly for shorter jaunts. Mizuno sent me a free pair to try about a year ago and I was hooked. They are not the sexiest shoe, but they are light (7.8 oz) and dependable. Nice price, too. 12mm heel-to-toe drop.
  • Nike Air Zoom Elite 8 - Light (7.1 ounces, women; 9.9 ounces, men), versatile shoe. I reach for it for speed work and runs of 4-10 miles. Roomy toe box for wide feet or bunions. 8mm heel-toe drop. Full review here.

Running insoles 

I've been getting custom InSouls from RoadRunnerSports for the past 4 or so years. Pricey? Yes, but I feel a definite difference when I wear them – and I have fussy feet. They actually heat up the insoles and mold them to your feet. Customer service at RoadRunnerSports is exceptional. The last pair I got was not molded properly so I took them back, and they made me a fresh pair, no questions asked.

Running tops 

Digging deep at the end of the Broad Street Run, feeling fierce in my lucky red Athleta singlet.

Digging deep at the end of the Broad Street Run, feeling fierce in my lucky red Athleta singlet.

Summer: I have running singlets in every color, by many different brands. Brands continually change their lines, so it does not make sense to list items you can't find. But I most like singlets made by RoadRunner Sports and Athleta; they tend to be lightweight, effective at wicking moisture and reasonably priced. I also love Ink N Burn tops – edgy designs and great wicking ability. But only issue with them is sizing. I take an XS (XXS at Athleta. Yay, Athleta. Petite represent!). Ink N Burn's XS tank tops drown me although their camisoles fit me loosely but nicely.

Wearing my Under Armour Long-Sleeve top in the Leprechaun 5-Miler in March 2016. (1st place age group, 7th woman overall.) Also wearing Road Runner Sports capris.

Wearing my Under Armour Long-Sleeve top in the Leprechaun 5-Miler in March 2016. (1st place age group, 7th woman overall.) Also wearing Road Runner Sports capris.

Winter: When it comes to long-sleeved winter running tops, I'm a Nike girl all the way. Their tops are true to size, fairly reasonably priced (if you buy them on sale) and fashionable. Plus, I love the thumb hole features. Under Armour long-sleeved tops come in a close second.

Running bras for flat-chested girls 

I took this photo of my abs on my 50th birthday – wearing my Adidas running bra, one of my favorites.

I took this photo of my abs on my 50th birthday – wearing my Adidas running bra, one of my favorites.

I have super small boobs. There, I said it. And I'm fine with it. Funny story: Once, I forgot to pack a running bra on an overnight trip and found that when adjusted, my heart rate monitor strap acted as a good improvised bra, though I would not recommend it long term.

My favorite running bras include Adidas and Old Navy. Yes, Old Navy (Same parent company as for Lululemon and Athleta, so don't judge.) They fit. They wear well. They are inexpensive and fashionable.

Running socks

I am loyal to 2 brands of running socks: Balega and Feetures. They keep my feet dry and blister free. I have several different styles of each. Like shoes, socks are personal. I prefer thinner socks with no-show tabs.

I also wear a pair of Pro Compression Socks when my calves or tired or I just want to up the cute factor. Sometimes I put them on after a race or a really tough workout. This video shows you an easier way to put on compression socks.  (Wish I'd found it before breaking all of my fingernails.)

Running tights and capris

I hate wearing anything but running shorts. When the temperature dips below 40, I usually switch to capris and when it dips to the 30s, I grudgingly pull on my tights.

My favorite capris are by Road Runner Sports – fit will and inexpensive. The ONLY tights I wear are Brooks tights. They fit well, have zippered pockets and wear well – I've had a few pairs for years now.

Running data – Training Peaks

Most runners keep a running journal. For years, I've used Training Peaks to log my runs and metrics. I get the premium account. The charts are relatively easy to follow once you learn to read them, and I like the fact that it keeps track of all of my important metrics: heart rate, pace, cadence, training stress score, fatigue, etc. It also allows me to schedule my workouts, map out goals, and keep in close contact with my coach. Plus, it's fun and easy to go back and look over records from years past.


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