Top 5 Running Essentials

We all have our necessities to get us through each day, workout, run, etc. While clothes and shoes are obvious, there are many other items that play a key role in my runs. Here are my top 5 running essentials that I wouldn't want to go a week without.

1. Garmin Forerunner 220: The Garmin Forerunner 220 GPS watch is my most reliable training partner. It is essential for my workouts to assure I am running at the correct pace and covering the right distance. I have the main screen set up to show my distance, time, and pace. I can also set the watch to beep every mile and display my average pace per mile, or I can turn the auto mile lap function off and get splits for any distance or time I choose. On my easy days, I can just view the time or distance function in an effort to ignore my pace and run by feel. Another great feature is the watch wirelessly connects to my phone, so upon returning from a run it automatically uploads my data for me to view. Occasionally on super foggy or snowy days, the watch takes a little longer to connect to a GPS signal, but it always finds one eventually.

2. Road ID: On my other wrist, I always have my Road ID. I recommend all endurance athletes get a Road ID or have some sort of identification on them with emergency contacts. If you are ever in a dangerous situation and require assistance, medical attention, or simply just need help, having this information on you could save your life. There are multiple styles and colors, and you can personalize the engraving however you choose. I prefer this slim band, which still allows plenty of room for text on the metal part.

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3. Addaday Massage Roller: While I love my foam roller, I don't always have an area or space to get down on the ground. It can also be challenging to adjust the pressure and access hard to reach spots with the foam roller. Thus, I use my handheld massager. There are multiple versions of these including "The Stick" (I also have this one), but the Addaday Type C Massage Roller is my favorite. It has different size balls to allow you to get great coverage and pressure in a variety of body parts. I also love how easy this is for packing and traveling, and I can use it in the car! My favorite spots to get are my quads and calves. 

4. Balega Socks: These are my absolute favorite running socks. I have tried so many different brands, and these always come out on top. Depending on the weather, there are three types that I cycle through: the hidden dry (for 60+ degrees), the ultralight no show (for 40 to 50 degrees), and the enduro v-tech quarter (for 30 degrees and under). I have multiple colors of each. 

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5. Skratch Energy Chews: These are my go-to for fuel during my runs. Many gels and chews are too sweet making it hard to get them down, but these are just right. Skratch fruit drop energy chews are made with simple ingredients that you can recognize and are easy to chew. They are still largely sugar, but that is what endurance athletes need in the middle of a long, hard workout! 

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Just for fun, here is one more bonus: CLIF Kid Zbar. I do NOT promote these as a daily food choice because real whole foods (not packaged food) should always come first. However, after a long run or hard effort, many athletes have a hard time getting food down. It is incredibly important for your body to eat something within 10-15 minutes of finishing a taxing workout. This helps optimize recovery and refuel your muscles. While oats are my go-to most days, I have minimal appetite after long runs. The same goes for after marathons - I have been known to eat chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip muffins just to get something down. It's similar to eating breakfast - better to have a donut than nothing at all! Our metabolisms and bodies need food. Thus, I have turned to CLIF Kid Zbars. Right after a 20 mile run when the last thing I want to do is eat, these are still yummy. I love both the chocolate chip and the chocolate brownie flavors. After my body settles, then it's lunch!

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What are your essentials for running, cycling, swimming, golfing, skiing, etc.?

Cassie says, "You asking me? I just like my backyard and sticks." :)

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