My Running Essentials

As my first half-marathon approaches, I thought it would be nice to share the items that get me through my best, worst, and everyday runs. Some of these things I honestly couldn’t live without. I encourage you to share your running essentials in the comments – I’m always looking for fun new things to try. Right now, if anyone has recommendations on good running headphones [mine slide out], please share!

The Outerwear:

  • Sugoi Women’s Versa Jacket: This super-light, water-resistant windbreaker was recommended to me by a staff member at Philadelphia Runner for windy, cold, or rainy runs. In cold weather, it’s better to keep the wind off of your body than bundle up too heavily, and this jacket did the trick. I’ve also been using it on warmer, yet windier days – the sleeves are magnetic and rip off mid-run if necessary to convert the jacket into a vest. I love it. The bright colors and reflectors don’t hurt, either.

i have blue.


  • Nike Therma-Fit Half-Zip Shirt: This spandex-y running pullover has thumb holes to keep your hands warm and is made of moisture-wicking fabric to help keep you dry. It’s soft and comfy, and doesn’t bunch up. It’s perfect for runs anywhere from 40-60 degrees [I often wear it under my windbreaker].

i have turquoise.


  • Champion Double-Dry Training Shirts and Compression Shorts: Champion brand athletic gear is available at Target and is pretty reasonably priced, although I do notice I run through this stuff much much faster than my Nike and North Face gear. The shirts [both t-shirt length and sleeveless] and compression shorts [spandex-length and knee length] are great for running, and all the material is moisture-wicking. The problem with moisture wicking? That sweat goes somewhere… into the shirt. And they can smell. I enjoy the bright colors, though, for outdoor running.



  • North Face Runner’s Gloves and Headband: The gloves come in both a winter [with removable mitts] and spring version, both include zip-up spots for keys and other small items [money, iPod Nano]. The headband has slots for sunglasses or headbands. If you get too hot, just use the built-in clip on the gloves to clip them to your shorts so you can take them off mid-run. God, I love The North Face.


  • Nike Pegasus Running Shoes: I’ve been running in Pegasus for at least 3-4 years now. They’re the perfect shoe for someone like me with a neutral gait. They come in different styles, of which I have four: Trail, Breathe, and 2 pairs of Fitsole 2. You really can notice the difference in the trail shoes when running on different terrains, and I love how light the Breathe line is. I can’t live without these shoes, although I’m antsy to try new styles [Adidas makes a pretty snazzy-looking shoe for a neutral gait, too].


The Underwear:

  • Patagonia Women’s Active Hipster: THIS IS THE BEST ATHLETIC UNDERWEAR IN THE WORLD. Anyone who has ever had to pick a wedgie at the gym or on a run needs to try this underwear. It’s a bit pricy per pair, but the moisture-wicking, thick elastic, and stay-put fabric makes this THE BEST ATHLETIC UNDERWEAR IN THE WORLD. It stayed put for my 10.5-miler yesterday. No picking, no discomfort. Plus, it’s soft and moderately cute. If I could only take one thing to a desert island boot camp, it would be a pair of these.

  • McDavid Runner’s Knee Strap: Basically, it keeps my left knee in place and reduces pain. It was actually Shaun’s, but then I turned into an old woman and runs feel better with it than without it. I won’t bore you with a picture.
  • Champion Double-Dry Cami Sports Bras: One of the perks of being small-chested is that I don’t need the expensive Nike compression sports bras, although I do have a few and they’re quite comfortable. These Champion cross-strapped sports bras are my favorite. They’re moisture-wicking and seamless, so no weird bumps, lines or itching. Plus, they come in one million colors at Target. Warning: they shrink in the dryer, but the compression effect that results is nice for higher-impact work like vertical plyo.

  • Nike Dri-Fit Cushion No-Show Socks: Simply stated, they’re moisture wicking [sensing a trend?] and super soft. Although I have noticed they become easily worn over time. I’ve purchased a pair of Thorlo running socks that Shaun swears by for blister-avoidance and cushion, so I’ll let you know how those go, too.

The Technology:

  • Garmin Forerunner 405CX, Heart Rate Monitor, and Foot Pod: I mentioned in my last post how grateful I am for this holiday gift from my parents. It’s one of the fanciest pieces of technology I own! It wirelessly syncs with my computer and uploads maps and run data, it’s got a touch screen thingy, you can race against a computer, and its large screen is easy to read when you’re flying [I rarely fly]. The heart rate monitor is nice, too, although once it told me my heart rate was around 211 [this was a lie] and it also is a little to large for me [it’s secured around your chest, right below your bra, with an elastic strap] so it falls down during runs. The foot pod is great because it allows you to track runs on a treadmill – the best improvement over Nike+, in my mind. My Nike+ app would constantly yell at me telling me I missed a run that day because I did it on a treadmill and there’s no way to record that in the program. LOVE this watch.

  • Gymboss Max Interval Timer: This is my most recent fitness purchase. I got it mostly for [anyone else doing the programs? OH GOD.], but you can program 25 different types of intervals to repeat up to 99 times and beep or buzz at the start and end of each – perfect for speed work on the road.
  • Yoga Mat: For post-run stretching. ‘Nuff said. I need to acquire a foam roller in the near future to further my quest for the ultimate home work-out equipment.
  • Aleve: Because sometimes crap just hurts. I like the long-lasting power of naproxen better than ibuprofen, and it also has the NSAID qualities [namely, the anti-inflammatory]. I’ll never touch aspirin or acetaminophen.

So there you have it! I also keep resistance bands, resistance tubes, a jump rope, weights in 3, 5, 8 and 10 pounds, a medicine ball, a swiss ball, push-up bars and a makeshift agility ladder in the spare bedroom which we’ve effectively transformed into a workout room – but those are for another post! What are your running essentials? If they include headphones, help a girl out…


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Categories: Fitness


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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