When I first made the decision to run a half marathon, I was already a frequent walker and hiker. I had some decent workout clothing and a pedometer. But when I started running, I had to look into getting better shoes, better clothing, and a way to track my distance and speed. The following items helped me get started, and I hope they can help you, too!
(None of these are paid endorsements. These are simply products I have found work well for me.)
- One of the first things I did after deciding to run a marathon was ask my friends for advice! My friend Jamie told me to visit Runners World and sign up for the "Beginners" email newsletter. She also recommended the Run a Half Marathon in 8 Weeks guide from Fitness Magazine. Both websites offer great articles, tips, and advice!
- Next, I looked into trading in my trusty pedometer for an iPhone app with GPS capabilities. I read a few reviews and decided on Runkeeper. Runkeeper is a great free app that uses GPS to track your runs. It gives you the distance, your current speed, and your average speed. You can also set it to alert you when you've gone one mile, half a mile, a quarter of a mile, etc. I also like that I can post my runs on Facebook and Twitter. I'm sure there many things this app can do that I'm not even aware of. I should note that I had trouble running this app when I used my iPhone 3G (it was slow, it would crash, etc), but now that I upgraded to the iPhone 4S a couple weeks ago, the app runs flawlessly for me. It's also available on for Android, Windows, and Nokia. For a free app, I'm not sure it gets any better than Runkeeper.
- Shoes. I was having trouble with blisters with my walking shoes and my friend suggested I look into Brooks. I got a pair similar to the ones below, and let me tell you, they are soooo comfy. Like running on air. I also got some Nike Dri-Fit socks which I really love. They really absorb the sweat (gross) and my feet feel great after a run, or even just a walk.
- Since I have a rapid heartbeat, I wanted a heart rate monitor to make sure things don't get out of control when I'm running long distances. My brother got me the Timex Personal Trainer Heart Rate Monitor for Christmas and I like it so far. I admit I have only used it once but it seems to do the trick. I was a little concerned when I opened the box and saw the chest strap, but once it was in place and I got going, I forgot I was even wearing it. WARNING - the chest strap beeps along with your heart beat (very quietly). I spent 20 minutes walking all over my apartment trying to figure out where that damn beeping was coming from before I realized it was coming from MY BODY. It's so faint though, that once I stepped outside I never noticed it.
- I despise Daylight Savings Time. Since I don't have a treadmill or access to a gym, I can only go for runs outside, and now that it's winter and it's already dark out when I'm off work, I have no choice but to run in the dark. So I went out and got me some reflective wrist bands. I feel a bit dorky when wearing them, but it beats being hit by a car.
So there you have it. A short list of my favorite running things. What would you add to the list?