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There are two different types of runs that I experience.
The Stress Reducer
This is the run that is used as a remedy for an overwhelming life. A run that is executed simply as an escape to my four walls. I lace up my running shoes and head out the door. No watch, no heart rate monitor, no tracking. Just running. I have no route in mind, I just let my curiosity and desire for freedom guide me.
The Solo Competition
This is the type of run I experience 80% of the time. The aspect of running that keeps me motivated is the competition with myself. Each day that I step on the asphalt and plug in my headphones, I have a goal in mind: to be better than I was the day before. Simultaneously, I realize that it is necessary for some days to be lighter than others, but I think you get the point. These are the days that I do wear my watch, my heart rate monitor, I have my GPS tracking my route, pace, the whole nine. This run is used for exercise. To work up a sweat and begin my day with accomplishment.
My running gear has certainly evolved since the beginning of my running journey. I used to simply run with my iPod (lol, an iPod. what’s that?), listening to songs I had previously downloaded in my iTunes, and would run routes that I knew the distance of as a result of driving my car to measure them. Then, I got an iPhone my sophomore year of college. Now, I had cell phone data to use and was able to track my distance and pace with the MapMyRun app. iTunes was still my go-to for music, however.
I quickly realized that cell phone data limits was very easy to surpass, so that relationship was cut short.
During my journey into the world of fitness, I realized that everyone around me (and by around me, I mean on Tumblr and Instagram) used some sort of watch and heart rate monitor to track their workouts. That was when I invested in a Polar FT4.
After a while, the heart rate monitor had become very worn out, and eventually stopped working. I received a Fitbit Flex for my birthday, which did not have [reliable] heart rate monitor capabilities (no strap). So, I ended up returning it because it didn’t do what I really wanted it to. Oh, and it always fell off. ‘Sup wit dat?
Watch and HRM
That’s what lead me to my CURRENT watch *whew* the Garmin Forerunner 15. It’s probably the most inexpensive and rudimentary of the Garmin products, which is all I needed. It came with a heart rate monitor, which was great, too. You can sync it to your computer or the app on your phone, which allows you to get a bigger view of your progress. I think you can also connect with fellow Garmin owners, as well, although I have not used that feature.
I now use this watch/HRM for every workout: running, lifting, fitness classes, everything. You can set it to indoor mode when you’re inside for calorie and heart rate tracking, and GPS when you’re running to track your route and pace (in addition to calorie/heart rate tracking).
My very first running shoes were hand-me-downs from my mom. I don’t even remember which ones they were; probably the Asics Gel Cumulus or Nimbus, two go-tos for her. From then on, I consistently bought Asics shoes. Last winter was the first time I expanded my horizons and tried a different brand: Brooks. I had major knee/shin issues, so I went to The Running Center here in Tampa, and was advised to give the Brooks Adrenaline GTS a try. I ran a 5k with them on the day after I’d purchased them, and I felt great.
Now, as it is advised that you change your shoes about every six months, I am sporting the Asics Gel Nimbus-16’s. They are last years model, which is on purpose, because they are a perfectly good shoe for less money.
I am someone who seeks out a shoe made for stability and containing a lot of cushion (I’m an overpronator, big time). So far, these are proving to be great.
To me, this is one of the most important parts. I CANNOT run without music. I always say that music is a big deciding factor in the quality of a workout. I have run an extra mile because my music pumped me up and gave me motivation. I have also had a horrible run because the worst songs came on and I hadn’t been better prepared with a hand-picked playlist. Running, in my opinion, is such a mind over matter sport.
Up until this past Christmas, I ran with my Apple headphones. They would annoy the crap out of me. I hated having the cord smack me in the chest with every step. I would always have to hold part of it in my hand to avoid its’ excessive flailing. They almost always fell out of my ears. I’d had enough, so I upgraded to a pair of Yurbuds.
These were awesome because they were made by athletes, for athletes. They NEVER came out of my ears. I loved them. I even used to use them in my apartment when the people above me were loud… yeah. I would sleep with them in and connected to my phone with a sleep machine app playing a fan sound to block out their noise. They were that comfortable.
Until… the rubber layer of one of them disappeared somewhere in Italy. I’d taken them with me to Italy because it was a family vacation and I can’t sleep through my dads snoring, so I needed them to sleep at night. So, that rubber piece is laying around somewhere in Rome. They don’t fit and are uncomfortable without that piece. I think they are now sold with that piece unable to be taken off, however.
Yet another upgrade was had last Christmas when Christian bought me these wireless headphones that I love with all my heart.
I. Love. These. Maybe because they were my first pair of wireless headphones, and I now see the light of a whole new world without a cord flapping at my throat, but they’re awesome. You can raise and lower the volume on the left ear piece, in addition to pausing, playing or skipping songs. This was a revolution to me because I had previously been skipping songs on my phone mid-run. They come with a charging cord and an arm band for your phone! That made me happy; one less accessory to purchase.
While I am technically all set for my running gear, I always have my eyes open for new products that could enhance my experience!
What is your running gear setup?
How often do you switch running shoes? Do you feel a difference after the switch?
What is one piece of equipment that has completely changed your runs?