Whether you’re looking for a gift for the runner in your life, or looking for something to enhance your own running, I’ve found that even the littlest things can make a big difference for a runner. Throughout my time as a ‘runner’ I’ve experimented with many different gadgets. Some running gadgets were exciting but short-lived, while others have stuck with me throughout the years.
They say that running is a sport anyone can do, with just a pair of shoes and their own clothes. I absolutely agree that running is for everybody, and while all you need is some shoes to head out your front door, it certainly is nice to have a little extra. Many running gadgets are helpful in preventing injury, and increasing our longevity with the sport. Some running gadgets provide entertainment, thus enhancing our enjoyment. Some even keep us safe and warm throughout the elements and by ourselves.
Looking back through all the different gadgets I’ve tried, there are a few that I really would not want to run without. I love the simplicity of this sport, and would never want it to turn into a sport where you need something to compete. However, these running gadgets have absolutely enhanced my experience. From interval training, to long runs, to pouring rain, motivation, or inches of snow, these gadgets help me make some of the coolest memories.
In anticipation for the holidays and another round of Friday Favorites, I’ve compiled a list of my absolute favorite running gadgets – gadgets that any runner can use. Whether you’re a beginner, an Olympic qualifier, or anything in between – here are some gadgets for you.
Running Gadgets that Every Runner Can Use
- Garmin, or another GPS watch (with a Heart Rate Monitor): While there are definitely times when I like the freedom of running without a watch, I absolutely LOVE being able to track my pace and miles. I usually only pay attention to distance while I run, but whenever I do speed workouts the pace and interval setting are a huge help. This is my first Garmin with a HR Monitor in the wrist and I love it. Tracking my heart rate helps me make sure my easy runs are truly easy, my tempo pace is correct, and helps me allow adequate time to recover. I currently have the Forerunner 235 and it is my favorite yet.
- KT Tape: This has been my saving grace for every ache and pain! It makes such a huge difference whenever I wear it. I most frequently wear it on my knee for long runs, and it feels like my knee is being carried throughout the entire run. I swear this tape has saved me from being sidelined from injury!
- Wireless Headphones: I don’t run with music very much any more, but when I do I absolutely love having wireless headphones. I use Jaybird headphones and they have worked perfectly for what I need. The charge lasts me for most run distances, they are comfortable, and easy to hook up. Having no cords makes a big difference!
- Mantra Bracelet: This is just for fun, but I love wearing a mantra on my wrists for those tough runs. Looking down reminds me that I in fact can do this and it will be worth it. That motivation is always right where I need it when I need it most! My bracelet is from Thought Blossoms.
- Training Journal: This is so simple, but has made a huge difference in my runs this year! I literally use a planner that I bought from Target, but it does the trick. I record my paces, HR, difficulty, thoughts, aches and pains, weather and everything in between in this planner. Each workout I complete is recorded and I love looking back on them throughout the year.
- Foam Roller: Such a classic, I know. My foam roller is definitely not my favorite toy but it has helped me a lot. I make sure to roll my legs after long runs or speed workouts and it really speeds up recovery. Sometimes I use this to help ease back and shoulder tension as well! I have the simplest kind but it does the trick.
- Yaktrax: I try to avoid using these regularly, but on those really snowy or icy days there are a necessity. These Yaktrax attach to your shoes really easily and help grip on those slippery surfaces. They don’t change your stride or really even make you notice that they’re there. I’ve noticed a huge difference when wearing these on ice especially!
- Compression Socks: These socks are definitely my friends while marathon training. I wore them for the NYC Marathon and many other races. I don’t notice a huge difference when I’m wearing them, but do notice that the recovery is much faster. My legs ache way less after long runs wearing these socks. They promote blood flow and always make me feel more confident in avoiding injuries. My favorites are the plain black ones because they go with everything!
- Gortex Running Shoes: I’ve written about these shoes before, but I am just so impressed with them this season. What’s special about them is not the brand or style, but the material they are made with. Gortex is water resistant and has yet to leave my feet wet while running in the rain or snow. I wore these shoes through about 5 inches of snow last week and my feet were super dry even at the end! Here are some styles that come in Gortex.
Well, if I had to pick, those are my favorite running gadgets! These things have stuck with me through all different training periods, running styles, and weather, and I don’t plan to change them any time soon.
Happy running, friends!