I wrote an entry here that touched on some of the cold-weather gear I was using in an upcoming race, but my friend Lisa asked about running gear so I thought I’d do another one, maybe more aimed at hot weather.
It’s summer, staying hydrated is much more essential this time of year. Every new runner HATES all of the water options at first. The most common ones are hand-held, waist belt, and hydration pack (backpack). Trust me when I tell you – they will ALL take getting used to.
I like the hand-held water bottle the best. I wore a waist belt for awhile but it just irritated me. I’m so used to the hand-held bottle now that when I run without it I feel completely off-balance. I choose this one because it A) Holds my iPhone and B) Can fit all of the generic/free water bottles we often get at races. That’s the thing I hate about most hand-held systems, they ONLY use that ONE water bottle so you have to be diligent about washing it every time you use it. I like that we can use any of the small/standard generic bottles in our house.
However, that bottle only lasts me about 3 miles in the heat of the summer. So, I often use a hydration pack. My pack has survived 3 trail-running seasons when you need to carry more water on you because setting up aid is more difficult on the trails. I definitely recommend buying one with pockets on the front straps. These packs are all well-designed in that they’re adjustable in 100 different ways so you can set yours up to fit your perfectly. I love filling mine with ice in the summer before putting water in it so I get the added perk of a cool surface on my back in hot sun.
In the winter I swear by the full buff to keep my face warm but during the summer I swear by the headband buff. Not only does it keep my frizzies hidden but it helps catch the sweat from my hair so it’s not pouring down my face while I run. I would not go on a run without one. UNLESS…
It’s raining at which time I wear a visor. That’s really the only time you’ll see me in a visor, is in the rain. You really need a hat/visor to help keep the rain out of your face because that’s really the only bad thing about running in the rain. Especially in the summer when running in the rain feels AWESOME, you don’t want to be constantly cursing it and unable to enjoy it. If there’s even a threat of rain, I’ll throw on a visor. (If you can, choose a visor like HEADSWEATS that has the added plus of the sweat absorbing fabric.) I don’t wear a hat because A) I have too much hair and have yet to try one that fits and B) They smoosh the hair to my head making my head REALLY hot.
Obviously cotton is a HUGE No-No when you run, but especially in the summer. Cotton will hold your sweat against your body and you will get hotter as you sweat instead of cooler. My favorite clothing winter AND summer is the running skirt I bought last fall on sale at Fleet Feet. It’s the Brooks Mesh Skort. It’s super flattering AND it has long enough shorts to cover my chaffing spots on my thighs. Also, the shorts have that anti-move sticky stuff on the inside so they won’t ride up as you run. And finally – the best part? A hidden pocket on the shorts, under the skirt. It’s perfect for a pack of gummies or some chapstick or anything else, really. I don’t know why all skorts don’t have a pocket there because it’s GENIUS. I only have one of these skirts but it gets washed at least twice a week because it’s my favorite so I wear it the most often. I’ve probably gotten 100 wears out of it and it’s not even a year old (trying to justify spending $50 on it). I even wear it in the winter as long as it’s 40 or above. Below 40 and I’ll wear my running tights, but at 40 or above I’ll wear the skirt and some compression socks.
Speaking of compression…
I wear Zensa sleeves when I run in the winter just to help prevent shin splints. HOWEVER, everyone should have some compression socks to put on AT LEAST for recovery after a run. There’s debate about whether or not they’re helpful DURING a run, but almost everyone supports wearing them AFTER. I’ve worn compression socks all day following a long run. My favorite are these from Swiftwick and while the price makes you want to puke a little – I’ve been using the same pair for 2 years now and they still feel amazing. And I don’t even take special care of any of my gear. If I tell you something has lasted X amount of time, know that I’m throwing that shit in the dryer every time I wash it. I don’t bother with hanging stuff to dry. I’m too lazy and it irritates me to have to sort through stuff before throwing it in the dryer.
SO! That’s about it for my gear! Any other questions about stuff I use while I run?