I love it when people say that running is a cheap sport and you don’t need anything but a pair of sneakers. While that is true in the abstract, most runners who race regularly that I know have a TON of running gadgets. I have quite a few myself. But I think there are only 3 running gadgets that you NEED to have and so if you are just starting out, start with these and go from there.
- GPS Watch. This is the big one – the one that you will probably rely on the most. I try not to be a slave to pace, but I do need to know if I’m getting my goal pace for workouts and I also do have a bit of an obsessive need to know how far I ran. As far as what GPS watch, I think that is less important. I personally like my Garmin Forerunner 220 because it gives me my splits, and I can set it up in lap mode for various workouts. It can do more, but I’m pretty basic in terms of what I need, so it works great. I am thinking of upgrading to a Fenix only because I like it enough to wear everyday. But whatever suits your fancy should be great.
- Foam roller. Do not ignore foam rolling. I repeat, do not ignore foam rolling. It can be so important in keeping your muscles loose and preventing injury. Is it my favorite thing? No. Do I wish that I could skip it? Yes. Is it worth 5 minutes a day to help myself stay injury free? Duh. I have a very basic foam roller that I bought for $15. You can also use PVC pipe which is even cheaper.
- Training Journal. I use the Believe Training Journal and love it. While this blog also serves as a training journal, it is nice to record thoughts and details in pen and paper as well. Having pen and paper to flip through at the end of a training cycle really is helpful to get my mental state right before a big race.
Are there other items that I sometimes run with? Yes. I sometimes run with a handheld water bottle, I use other tools to help recover, etc. But at the most basic level this list represents things that I really would not want to begin a training cycle without!
What do you NEED to run? What should I add to my list?