Sarah’s Guide to Running Gear Essentials

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged exclusively about my running! It’s been a crazy ride this year. In the past 4+ months I’ve been training hard for my fist 26.2-mile race. On top of this, I’ll be running (so far) five half marathons this year. Yes, I’ve become a crazy running girl.

So far this year I’ve run…


Yep. Smile

Recently, my friend Rachel has gotten into running! I’m so excited to help train her through not one, but TWO, half marathons, her first distance races! One of the great things about friends that are getting into running is the immense enthusiasm and excitement there is with getting into the sport.

Rachel was one of the lucky girls this year to be randomly chosen in the lottery for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in SF come this October. WOOHOO! See my post from running it last year. So exciting! It really was quite the experience to run with thousands of other motivated and excited runners in the heart of SF. I absolutely loved it and am so excited for Rachel!

One of the things that Rachel asked my advice on is what I consider to be my favorite or essential running gear. I’m not a minimalist when it comes to running. I love my gadgets and I love sporting cool, functional gear.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorite running essentials!


  • Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Receiver With Heart Rate Monitor
    • I absolutely love the this Garmin and have been using it since early last year. I never leave home without it when it comes to running outdoors. It tracks so many neat things like time, exact mileage synced with GPS satellites, and minutes per mile. For someone like myself who’s very data-driven, I’m pretty much in love. I highly recommend getting yourself a Garmin, which is one of the most popular options out there.


  • Nathan Intensity Race Vest
    • I just recently got this over a month ago when REI had their members-only deal. I recommend getting it at Amazon since it’s the best deal. So far I’ve taken it out on several long runs (15-miles+) and I’m very pleased with how it’s performed. Holding a water bottle in a hand for that long of a run kills my arm, so wearing this hydration vest which can hold much more water and is engineered to fit a woman’s body is perfect. There are plenty of pockets to hold your keys, cellphone, some cash, and fuel. No longer will I go thirsty on a run!


  • Gu Energy Gel, Chocolate Outrage, 24-Count
    • So far out of the flavors I’ve tried of Gu, I love the Chocolate Outage flavor the most! It seriously tastes like chocolate frosting. Love. If you’re not into the texture of the Gu, try their Gu Chomps which are chewy fuel.


  • Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves
    • I bought a pair of Zensah compression sleeves a couple of years ago (of course it was pink at the time) but didn’t really get hooked on it till recently. I saw them at the Whidbey Island Half Marathon expo and decided to give it another try. Joe also bought a pair in green. The verdict is that we both love them! They hug your calves/shins tightly and feel great during the run. I’m not 100% certain that I’ve felt the full benefits of using these yet as I’ve never worn them post-run, but I do trust that they help to stimulate/regulate blood flow and overall performance of the legs. Perhaps they’re how I PR’ed by 4-minutes at the half the next day? Smile


  • Apple iPod Nano
    • I love the iPod Nano for how mini it is without comprising the storage of all of my favorite songs. It’s great for runners as it easily clips on to your running clothes. I like it have it on the waistband of my shorts or capris. I’ve always needed music during training runs and races, but the past three run days I’ve decided to try forgoing all music and it’s worked well.


  • A good pair of shoes! Nike Free Run+ 3
    • I’ve had a love affair with the Nike Free Run+ line since v1. I loved the Free Run+ 1, currently have been training in the Run+ 2 with great success, but I have to rave about the newest addition to the lineup – the Run+ 3. In addition to fabulous color choices (my shoes above really are that bright in person!), the product team at Nike definitely continued to improve the line. I ran in them yesterday and tonight and definitely kept telling myself and Joe along the run that they’re “the most amazing shoes ever!” Disclosure: these shoes are more in line with the “barefoot running” feel, though they’re definitely no Vibrams. Not that to that extreme. I have flat feet so they work really well for me. It doesn’t give very much support or stability, so if you need that perhaps just try these out in the store first.


  • Bodyglide Original Anti-Chafe Balm
    • Oh, how could I forget Glide!? Joe just reminded me of this oh-so-important running essential. It’s a must for any runner running a race or any long distance. Joe says “it’ll save your crotch.” Well, that and for us girls we need some protection for the bra strap area. You DEFINITELY don’t want to ever chafe in these areas. Trust me, it really hurts when you shower after being chaffed in a race.


  • SPIbelt – Black with Magenta Zipper
    • I love my SPIbelt for being super functional — it can hold my key, iPhone, and a pack of Gu. It’s fashionable, comfortable, and functional. What more can you ask for? If I don’t wear a running jacket or hydration vest, I’ll strap this on around my waist and I’m on my way. I highly recommend getting one of these. When I ordered them through OpenSky, I got three! One for myself in the black and pink and two more (one for Joe, and the last one as extra).


  • Health Warrior Premium Chia Seeds, 16-Ounce Pouch
    • So, chia seeds! Now, I can’t definitely say that the chia seeds have improved my running performance, but ever since using chia seeds in my daily breakfasts I seem to have more more energy throughout the day and during my runs. These itty bitty seeds are filled with SO much essential vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. It feels great mentally to consume them! I typically sprinkle chia on my stovetop oatmeal, english muffin or bagel with peanut butter, and yogurt. The chia seeds become very gelatinous when mixed with liquid, but they’re virtually tasteless and adds a slight crunch to the food. Hey, if the Tarahumara Tribes deemed these little seeds as being their super food, it can’t hurt to continue consuming them.
  • Essential websites: DailyMile and MyFitnessPal are two of my favorite websites/mobile apps. I’ve been using DailyMile since this year to track every run and cross-training that I’ve done so that I can look back on performance and keep a log of how my runs have felt. MyFitnessPal is my very favorite app for keeping track of both fitness and meals and I attribute this to the 25-pound weight loss that I’ve maintained since last year. Both keep me accountable and motivated to continue my success with fitness and eating healthily (though I do indulge in quite a bit of delicious foods and sweets).

Alright, folks, there you have it. Those are just a glimpse into some of my very favorite running and fitness essentials. Let me know if you have any questions!

Do you have any must-have running or fitness essentials?

3 thoughts on “Sarah’s Guide to Running Gear Essentials

  1. Sarah,

    Thank you so much for putting this information together. So helpful!

    Curious about the GU Energy Gels. When do you use these? For your long runs? Only on event days?

    You should keep doing running posts now and again. 🙂 I’d love to hear what your recommended reading/books are too – like your favorite blogs to read, Hal Higdon’s book, etc.

    I love hearing about all the resources/gadgets that helped you get where you are. Thank you so much for sharing!

    xo Rachel

  2. Pingback: Hot Sun Runs | Fierce Runner

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