Running and Workout Gear: Five Favorites

Running and Workout Gear-¬†Five FavoritesThe longer I run, the more running stuff I accumulate. Add in cross-training (yoga, spinning, weights), and my collection of clothing and gear can get a little out of control. As a result, I’m getting pickier and pickier about what I acquire.

Here are a few of my must-haves:

Old Navy Workout Tank Tops

I like tank tops for any workout that’s not running (for running, for some reason, I require sleeves). Old Navy makes fun, colorful, lightweight tanks in a variety of styles and they are cheap as hell. Wait for a good sale or Google for a promotion code and pick up a couple in a rainbow of colors. The best part is, I don’t feel bad sweating all over something that only cost me $8.

SmartWool Socks

They gotta be the real thing, Smartwool brand. I’ve ventured out into other specialty sock brands and have always come back to Smartwool. They don’t cause blisters, they come in a variety of thicknesses for different times of year, and they dry quickly for those times you step in a puddle or, you know, train for a marathon in the middle of a nasty winter. Each pair is $15-20, but they last forever and it is so worth it not to have beat-up feet. You can also find deals by looking at REI Outlet and my new favorite sock source, GoBros.

Petroleum Jelly in a Tube

Yep, Vaseline. Anyone who runs distance has experienced chafing. The issue is even worse (at least for me) in warm weather. BodyGlide helped, but wasn’t eliminating the painful cuts that made post-run showers agony. Someone suggested I use petroleum jelly and I’ve never looked back. It works. Yes, it does stain my running shirts, so I tend to wear either my grubbier shirts or dark-colored ones on long runs where I’m Vaseline’d up.

Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves 

These are like giving your calves a hug. They are super comfy and help reduce calf soreness following a long or strenuous run. I pop these on after my long runs under my pants and just chill on the couch with them. They’re also great to wear on long flights. I’ve tried other brands and like Zensah the best–the compression feels very even, doesn’t tug, and doesn’t get too tight. Some people like to run with the compression sleeves on but I’ve never tried.

Salted Caramel Gu

I’m relatively new to mid-run fueling, but I’ve experimented with several different types. My favorite is Salted Caramel Gu. Most Gu flavors are weird, but Salted Caramel tastes like a packet of candy. I would seriously eat this stuff just for enjoyment if I didn’t think people would judge me. I tend to slow to a walk while I eat or drink, being in agreement with the Oatmeal that a running drink is akin to waterboarding. Even so, I appreciate something that doesn’t require chewing and is not likely to choke me to death (ahem, Jelly Belly Sports Beans).

So those are some of the things I keep around for working out. What are some of your favorite types of gear or tools for keeping fit?