Saturday, December 12, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Some like running because they believe it is a minimalist sport. All you really need to get out and run is a pair of running shoes. I say, nonsense! You need stuff, and here's some of my favorite running stuff.

Favorite training device: Of course, my Garmin Forerunner 310 XT is at the top of my list. I made the switch from the 405 a few months back and am still very happy that I did. I geeked out enough already about the pros of this model in this post, so I won't go into the details again. I will add that I found out this morning that this little beauty can go through a complete wash cycle and come out both squeaky clean and fully functional!

Favorite devices that keep me running injury-free:  The TriggerPoint Massage Kit is a life saver for a high-mileage runner like me.  I've used the kit several times per week for over 2 years to work out the kinks and keep me running injury-free.  I use the entire kit starting with my calves, working my quads and then tearing up my IT band.  Ouch, ouch, ouch it hurts!  But, it's a good kind of hurt.  The one thing I'm not sure of is whether or not, like a foam roller, these things break down over time.  Mine seem to be showing a bit of wear.  Even if they do break down after 3 years of use, I'd happily pay $140 for another kit.  Compared to the cost of going to see a PT or The Miracle Worker a couple of times, this is a steal.  

This company has added a new line of roller devices that they call the Grid.  I bought one a couple of months ago and really like it for my hamstrings and shins.  I have to be extra gentle when I use it on my shins, but it works very well.  While it costs more than a regular foam roller it has a hard, but hollow core that helps to keep it from getting that figure-eight shape that a regular roller gets after just a few uses.  The cut out in The Grid holds the Quadballer quite nicely as well for more compact travel. 

Favorite running tights:  I was actually surprised to discover how much I loved these capri tights by Lucy.  I normally wear Nike head to toe, but these tights rock in ways I didn't expect.  They fit nice and snug around your quads and hamstrings, which makes them feel a bit like compression clothing but in a good way.  They fit loose around the knee to allow your leg to bend without binding.  They are super low-waisted, which I think is flattering on non-muffin-top kinds of days.  They also have a nice zippered pocket in the back that securely holds gu, keys or the loose change you find lying around on the streets during your daily runs.  When I'm not thinking about bundling up during cold winter runs, I like to look cute in a sassy little running skirt from   Guys look hot in them too!  Come on guys.  If Bart Yasso can get away with it...

Favorite running shoes:  I have a few pairs for this category and they're all Nike.  My top pick here is the Lunar Racer.  I race every distance from the 5k to the marathon in these babies without any negative effects even though they are almost half the weight of my regular trainers.  I have run 6 marathons and dozens of other races in these shoes and would not wear anything else.  Unless, of course, Nike comes out with a better version of this one.  I vacillate between the Nike Pegasus and the Max Moto for my regular trainers.  Both are solid shoes for neutral runners like me and help me grind out the daily miles just fine.  The nice thing about wearing a shoe like the Pegasus is that you can easily score the older models for less than $50/pair on line.  When you go through  a pair of shoes every 3-4 weeks, it starts to add up!  

Favorite running socks:  I am a big fan of Balega socks and run in them all the time.  However, on a whim, I bought a pair of Thorlo Experia multi-sport socks a couple of months ago and was shocked by how much I enjoyed them.  The first time I wore them for a run, I remember wondering if I was wearing new shoes because if felt like there was a cushion party going on and my feet were the guests of honor!  I love getting new socks.  Such a small investment can make such a difference in your run.  And, if you don't like them, sew on a couple of buttons for eyes and you have yourself a great hand puppet/Christmas gift for little Mitzy.   

Favorite running top:   This favorite was another surprise: the Nike cold weather long-sleeve women's running hoodie.  I can't remember exactly why I ended up buying it, but I do recall thinking that the hood was definitely all for show.  I couldn't really picture myself wearing it during an actual run.  Until last week, that is.  It got frigid (by cali standards) here in the Central Valley dropping to below freezing for a number of days.  This is highly unusual weather for us.  I went out for a run early in the morning and wore this garment. I thought the hood would serve as a nice neck warmer.  When I got out into the biting wind, I put the hood up and was amazed by how comfortable it was and how warm my little ears were!  I must have looked super cool too.  Like a speed skater.  Think Eric Heiden or Bonnie Blair.

Favorite compression clothing:  I have become a big believer in the use of compression clothing both during and post workout.  I have blogged about this before too.  While I do wear the RecoFIT compression sleeves regularly, I recently tried out a new model and liked them.  My quest for a new pair began after losing one of my RecoFIT sleeves to the dryer Gods.  I looked everywhere for the bloody thing to no avail.  So, I went down to Fleet Feet Sports in search of another pair to wear on my evening run.  I had always stayed away from the compression racing full socks because I like to wear my own socks.  I always wondered, however, whether it made a difference having compression from toe to knee versus just ankle to knee.  Always the guinea pig, I bought a pair of the CEP compression socks (in black) and have to say I quite like them.  They are much, much tighter than the sleeves I've been wearing, but my legs did feel great after my run.  My big question is how many times can you wear these before you have to wash them?

Favorite visibility device:  Now that the days are short, I find myself only running in the dark regardless of whether I run before or after work.  This means I need to be seen by cars and cyclists.  I have tried a number of devices that blink and flash, but my favorite is the Brooks Nightlife L.E.D. Light Band.  It blinks very brightly and the metal armband simply snaps in place without rubbing your arm or clothing raw.  If you don't leave the damn thing flashing for days, it seems to have a long battery life.  The CR2016 battery is also a breeze to swap out.

There you have it folks.  That's my list of faves.  Merry Christmas!


    1. good news for you!!! i am a tester for nike and i was just on campus about a month ago or so testing out the new model of the lunar racer. i got to try them for a little under a mile at easy pace, tempo, and 5k. i ran my last marathon in them and loved them and somehow they outdid themselves. they have a better fit, seem smoother, more dynamic (especially around tight corners). so be on the lookout for them.

    2. That's great news, Rocky Wing. Thanks for the heads up!

    3. Hey Jaymee, I saw you at the start line of the relays on Sunday and wanted to say hi, but you looked like you were in your "zone." :) I'm sure you kicked butt! - glorybelle

    4. I knew I could count on you for thoughts/recs on compression gear. Thanks!