Don't follow trends, start trends. Frank Capra
- One of the best little "extras" that I use when running is my Spibelt (http://spibelt.com/). Aside from being a local business (they were created right here in Austin), Spibelts are fantastically slim, no-bounce waist pouches for storing keys, a cell phone, cash and anything else you may need because the fabric flexes. They are easily washed with the rest of your work out clothes. Spibelt's accommodate a larger person without binding or cutting into you (trust me on this one - I'm far from being a size 4 and mine is very comfortable). Can't be without mine when I hit the trails!
- A hand-held, ergonomic water bottle isn't a necessity but boy is it less cumbersome than holding on to a standard water bottle while running! I use to drop conventional water bottles when I would run with them because they would slip out of my hand. Problem solved with the Amphipod (http://www.amphipod.com) Thermolite water bottle. Not only is it a life-saver in the Texas heat but the bottle's ergonomic shape fits nicely in your hand. This particular one has a handy-dandy zipper pouch on the hand-strap (a good place to put your lip balm!).
- Chafing is an issue that a lot of bigger runners have to contend with and I am no exception. For me, compression (or tech shorts) shorts are a necessity. They keep chafing at bay when running long distances and they eliminate the dreaded ride up of traditional running shorts. They reduce friction from the repetitive thigh on thigh motion that's involved with running. I have some Nike shorts that are wonderful because they have a little pocket in the back below my waist where I stick my cell phone. Compression shorts are available in many brands and lengths. I know they are snug-fitting and show every little imperfection but they are so worth it. Seriously - give them a try and see how much more comfortable you feel when you run.
- I will admit that I am a bit of a sock snob. I have tried sooooo many pairs, brands, styles, fabrics and weights and I think that I have FINALLY found the right ones for me (http://www.thorlo.com/performance-socks.php). Socks are kinda like shoes - it doesn't matter how expensive or highly recommended they are if they make your feet angry, you are going to be miserable. Wearing the wrong socks can cause painful blisters or friction leading to open sores on your feet (and who wants that?!?). Heck, I have even had some big blisters that turned into open gashes that bled all over my socks and shoes. Have the scars on my heels to prove it. During one of my first long runs, I wore a pair of regular cotton socks. Cotton is notorious for retaining moisture and when that moisture is trapped inside of a pair of hot running shoes along with equally hot, sweaty feet, blisters are created. Massive blisters that should have their own zip codes. I had to hobble the rest of the way home and wore slip-on shoes for the next few WEEK until they healed. I didn't stop running but I had to literally duct tape gauze to my feet so that there would be no friction on the open wounds. Sounds pretty, doesn't it? I know what I'm telling you - buy good socks. SmartWool, Injinji and Thorlo make some great socks and they are worth the cost.
- Sports bras are super-duper important for lady runners. When the girls get to bouncing, it can be downright painful. Moving Comfort (http://www.movingcomfort.com/) sports bras work well and are reasonably priced. They are not the prettiest things but they keep stuff from moving and minimize bounce significantly. The straps are adjustable with heavy duty velcro tabs and can be criss-crossed to be worn with a tank top. It does give a little bit of the "uni-boob" appearance but if given the choice between that and having too much bounce, I will gladly take the uni-boob look.
- Another great item (also created in Austin) is Rocket Shower (http://www.10nine8.net/index.html). I love, love, love this stuff!! After a work out, I like to spray this on before getting in my car to drive home. It keeps me from funkifying my car seat and it cools the skin leaving behind a nice scent. Just spray it on, leave it on for about 30 seconds and wipe dry with a towel or do what I do - spray it and leave it. Either way works just fine and kills post work out B.O. Rocket Shower is made with witch hazel and essential oils so it's not harmful to your skin. It's perfect for people that work out during their lunch hours and aren't able to take a proper shower. They even sell a handy-dandy travel pack that has a small bottle of Rocket Shower along with a microfiber towel. Pretty convenient!
So those are just a few of the items that I use to get me through a run. They aren't fancy but they do the trick! Give 'em a try and see if they work for you as well. Keep on moving!