Most of the sports I enjoy for exercise (Pilates, running, resistance training) do not require a lot of special equipment or gear. The most important piece of equipment is my own body. On the other hand, certain articles of clothing or gear do make exercise more enjoyable.
From head to toe, here are my top 12 fitness gear favorites:
Running Hat: My trusty 2002 Country Music Marathon hat. It fits just right, not too big and not too tight. It helps keep rain and sun off my head. It doesn’t blow off when the wind picks up. If I had a “lucky” piece of gear, this would be it.
Head Lamp: If it’s dark outside, it helps to have your own light source. The Amphipod Swift-Clip Cap Light clips on the bill of my favorite running hat and helps light the way. You’d be surprised how dark those golf cart paths and roads can be in the early morning (plus, it’s cute).
Reflective Gear: In addition to the head lamp, if I’m running in the dark and along the roads, I want to be seen. I have two options here: the Road Runner Sports Glow ‘N Go Reflective Belt or my Amphipod Reflective Xinglet Vest.
Running Tank: Comfort is key when picking workout attire. The Athleta semi-fitted tank is lightweight, airy and one of my favorite colors, green. Perfect for indoors or outdoors, running, boot camp or Pilates.
When the temperature drops, I want to be in long sleeves. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you are cold-natured like me, you can’t go wrong with Athleta’s hoodie. It’s soft breathable fabric and feels like you just put on your worn-in sweats. Yep, it’s that cozy.
Fleece Top: Come January or February, when temperatures drop below 20 degrees, out comes my fleece full zip jacket. My Columbia fleece is periwinkle – another favorite color of mine. It’s big enough I can layer underneath as much as needed. It’s soft enough I can wrap it around my waist if I get too warm. I’ve had this fleece for over five years. Like my hat, it was definitely worth the investment.
GPS Watch: It’s helpful to know how far and fast I’m running. Currently, I use the no-frills Garmin Forerunner 10, but am about to upgrade to the new Forerunner 25 when it comes out later this fall.
Water Belt: Even if you run on the golf cart paths, you can’t always count on the water fountains to work. If I’m going to run for more than 45 minutes, I carry water using my Nathan Sports Peak Running Hydration Waist Pack, which carries a 20oz. bottle and a pocket to carry keys or snacks. It fits nice and even has reflective striping.
Running Shorts: In a world where booty shorts reign supreme, it can be hard to find the right pair of running shorts. These shorts are not too short or too long, not too tight and not too baggy. Nike Race shorts are lined, have an elastic waistband and wick away sweat – all important features for great running.
Running Tights: When the temperature drops into the 40’s, my running tights get pulled out of the closet. Due to comfort and the need for pockets, I love Athleta’s Fire Be Free Tight. In addition to compression panels, mesh ventilation, and reflective trim, they have the normal key pocket on the inside lining and the rear zip pocket. What makes these tights special are the stretch-to-fit leg pockets. I tend to slide my phone there instead of using an armband or pouch. But you could use it for gels, bars, keys, maps, whatever – the list goes on and on.
Compression sleeves and socks: Compression technology has been used by the medical industry for a long time. Compression garments improve circulation in order to move more oxygen to the working muscles. This also improves the body’s ability to remove lactic acid and other metabolic waste that increase muscle fatigue and soreness. I use my EC3D compression calf sleeves and socks during runs over the 10k distance. After my run I put on my recovery compression sleeves for a couple of hours. This compression system definitely reduces recovery time.
Running shoes: Running shoes are literally the foundation of your workout. No one wants blisters or sore feet. I have two favorites at the moment. My Newton Fate shoes are for any run over the 10k distance. My Saucony Virrata shoes are for 10k distance and under. Both are great shoes with a slant toward the minimalist trend.
When shopping for running shoes, go to a store with knowledge and the ability to fit your feet properly. Newsole Running in McDonough carries a variety of shoes for the minimalist runner. Their staff is highly qualified to give you an awesome fit. Local retailer Smith and Davis carries my Virratas, and I can normally stock up at their semi-annual tent sale.
So now you know some of my favorite things. If you want to see some of my husband Joe’s favorite things, you can check that out on our new blog called Married Runners!
Also, please note that I wasn’t paid by any of the manufacturers or retailers of the above gear. I purchased each item after some degree of trial and error as I decided on what works best for me. My advice to you is to do the same – get suggestions (like those in this article), but see what works best for you! See you out on the roads and paths this fall.