Since I’ve come in to the world of running, I have also come in to the world of gear. Though it is true that all you need to run is a pair of running shoes, I have found some other things to be necessary and appreciated as I head out to log some miles in Miami.

I wrote Miami on purpose. In case you don’t know, Miami has two seasons: hot and hell so you need to be prepared for both! I totally understand you might be reading this in the middle of winter in Chicago, but these tips are universal for when summer finally arrives to you and you complain about the heat.

running itemsI have had ridiculous tan lines like the one shown here because I forget to apply sunblock to my legs. But seriously, when you are out training in the sun for as long as I do, sunblock is your friend. Together with a nice ventilated hat and some shades.

Hydration Belt:
I’m sure there is some unspoken rule about not wearing a hydration belt if you are running less than a certain number of miles. I don’t know the rule and honestly couldn’t care less. I use mine for anything over 3 miles. Many of the routes I choose have water fountains, but many don’t so I plan accordingly. I also use the pouch to store my keys and my nutrition.

This is a topic on its own. As I was trying to lose weight, I would skimp on nutrition during my runs so that my calories in/calorie out ratio was more attractive. What I slowly came to realize is that my workouts were not as productive if I didn’t fuel right and I made peace with taking in Gels such as GU Vanilla Bean Gel during my long runs.

If my hydration belt goes, so does my phone. I don’t use if for music but just in case I am running late (irresistible pun) or there is an emergency while I am away (always on mommy duty), I like to know I can be reached.

Road ID:
I tend to run alone. Most of my training group is either faster than I am or on a different schedule. I live in a city so I run in daylight only, and along very well populated routes. I never carry any identification, however I do carry my Road ID bracelet that identifies me and has two phone numbers to call in case of an emergency.

road ID

Compression Socks:
I am new to the compression craze but I bought into it hook and sail. I have one pair of calf sleeves that I use while I run, and another one made for recovery. I love them both dearly and since I discovered them, I won’t run without them. It could be totally psychological but when I use them, my legs feel better. Go figure.

GPS and HRMHeart Rate Monitor:
I use it on every run to determine the training zone I am in. You can read about this here. I try to follow instructions on my training plan and stay within a target heart rate so the monitor becomes, well, essential.

Although I tend to get lost often, I use a Garmin 310xt GPS watch mostly to check my pace. It goes hand in hand with the Heart Rate Monitor. I can see how efficiently I am running if I notice that I am going at a certain pace, but my heart rate is not out of control. Then I know I could probably push a little harder and go for a stretch with more enthusiasm.