I started Couch to 5K in June 2012. As I started my training, and to learn more, I started following other runners on Twitter and reading their blogs. I quickly was introduced to an entire new world of running gear. It has been fun learning about all the different products and I'd like to share with you a few of my favorites!
Week 4 of Couch to 5K was really tough for me, as I look back (and over analyze) I realize so much more of it was mental! Once I was successfully halfway through C25K I went and got fitted for real running shoes. Turns out my shoes were too tight and I was wearing running shoes a full size too small! I have really enjoyed the Brooks Ghost 4s.
Since it's so hot during the summer in the southeast, I train a lot indoors on a treadmill (the gym also has cheap & wonderful childcare!) Many people refer to the treadmill as "the dreadmill" and to help keep me entertained I found myself using two sets of tune buds, one set to listen to music on my phone and the second set plugged into a show on the gym TVs. The tune buds never fit right and would always fall out. I read amazing reviews of Yurbuds and got a pair before my first Half Marathon, and I haven't looked back! These never fall out, even in the most sweaty conditions.
I ran the Women's Half Marathon in St. Pete, FL as a training race for the WDW Marathon. I used my iPhone 4S for GPS tracking (to gage my speed) and for all my music. This was a huge fail on my part! With both these Apps running simultaneously, my battery drained fast. I turned my music off after Mile 6 then my entire battery died right before I got to Mile 10. This would not work for double the distance. Matt bought me the Nike+ Sportwatch GPS for Christmas and I love it...and it looks pretty amazing too.
I did lots of research before deciding which way to go with additional battery for the WDW Marathon. I normally protect my iPhone with the Otterbox Defender and it has paid for itself over and over. I knew I had to select a protective case for my phone because I like to have access to social media when I'm running. This Mophie allows me to have 150% the battery life (which translates to around 12hrs of battery!) and if dropped, my phone is still protected.
Two other products I kept reading positive reviews for NUUN and Sweaty Bands, and when I stumbled upon them unexpected I took them home with me immediately. I have never been a fan of sports drinks so when I heard NUUN is a sugar-free alternative with all the electrolyte benefits I really was anxious to try. I'll drop a tab into my water bottle after a really good sweaty run and I use them to hydrate me the day before a hot race, like the WDW Marathon. Lots of runners complained about swollen fingers on January 13th, but not me, the NUUN had done it's job. I even cheated and purchased a competitor's product because it was a bit cheaper. The saying is true, you get what you pay for and that competitor's bad product only has me loving NUUN more.
Speaking of those really good sweaty runs, I struggle with keeping my hair out of my face when I run. I've wasted money on different headbands that never seem to stay in place and I would constantly fidget with headbands during my run. While the promise and praise of Sweaty Bands was the answer to all my complaints of previous headbands, I was very suspicious if one that cost more than double the price of others would actually work. To my extreme delight, these Sweaty Bands are everything they promise and are super cute to boot!
I'm sure as I continue running, I will learn even more and continue to add favorites to this list so check back occasionally and see if I've found something new!