When I began running, I think I did what a lot of people do. I pulled on some clothes I found around the house, laced up the most decent sneakers I had in the closet, and went out for week 1, day 1 of couch to 5K training. That was May 1, 2014. I ran my first 5K on July 4, 2014, and then I decided to begin the bridge to 10K training for a 10K I registered for on September 6,2014. And then I registered for a 15K on September 28, and then a half-marathon on November 2. And I knew I better buy some decent gear.
My sister took some video of me on my first 5K run, and the first thing I realized was that I desperately needed a better sports bra. I did some research and realized that the bras I had been wearing (sized only small/medium/large) were woefully inadequate for the gymnastic boob movements of running. I bought some Moving Comfort sports bras that worked very well. And then one day, I needed to run after work, but had forgotten my sports bra at home, so I stopped by the nearby outlet store for a bra to not ruin my training schedule. That’s where I found the best sports bra ever. The Champion All-Out Support Wireless Sports Bra is amazing. I read the reviews online and there are a lot of complaints about it having smaller sizing. I didn’t notice that; the bra sizing has been consistent with my regular everyday bra sizing. You can always try on multiple sizes to control for that issue. The real amazing thing about this sports bra is that it has two panels sewn together (I guess to mimic the support of wearing 2 sports bras at once – a strategy some women employ), but these panels make an amazing pocket. I can drop pepper spray and my phone in this pocket for easy access. No more special cases for my iPhone to wear on my arm or around my waist. It just stays snug in my bra. (And we’re talking an iPhone 6+ here.)
My next favorite piece of gear is my CW-X running tights. Now I know that there are a lot of “compression” tights out there. I even have some from Old Navy that are great for pilates or even spin class. However, the high impact workout my knees and pelvis get while running necessitates my magic pants – CW-X Women’s 3/4 Length Stabilyx Tights. I have two pairs that I recycle every other run. I bought my first pair of these tights after getting a few weeks into my B210K training, and I was starting to have some knee tenderness after a run. That knee pain is completely gone now. These tights are really magical. They provide support like no other running tight. In the mild climate where I live, the 3/4-length, non-insulated version has managed to get me through the coldest weather so far (in the lower 30’s). Sometimes I pair some compression calf sleeves with the tights for added warmth or training support, but usually, I don’t.
My final recommendation is a relatively new acquisition, my Basis Peak. I am a data junkie; I’ve been running with a heart rate monitor since my first few weeks of training. I import my data into MapMyRun (my family all joins in on that fun), Strava because I love the heat map and following the pros, and Smashrun because they have a data-analyzing powerhouse for runners. It’s amazing to see my heart rate training bands over the past months. Before the Basis Peak, I was using a chest monitor. And although it wasn’t too bad, I did have to deal with chafing, putting it on, and trying to keep it from not stinking. My Basis Peak changes all of that. Using MapMyRun, I record my heartrate for all my workouts – spin class, yoga, barre-lates. It works with Strava also to record my runs. And its all from my watch. I run at crazy hours and I always have my iPhone, so I don’t mind that the watch doesn’t have GPS. It’s data is just so robust and convenient! I charge it every day while I’m showering (although it is water resistant). And that’s it. Heart rate, sleep monitoring, awesomeness!
My husband and I are training for our second half marathon this spring, and I know this gear will be with me the whole time making my running life more convenient.