Running Gear Guide From Mike

running women with runninggearI get a lot of questions about what I use and why. Here are some of the things I use in my everyday training.

I’ll try to review these in depth and give some pros/cons over time. Until then, if you have questions about anything listed here, just comment or get in touch.

Also, I’ll add some links to these items when I have time! — Michael

Socks and Shoes

  • Vibram Five Finger KSOs– I’m just starting with these and am really liking them. There are a lot of fake versions of these shoes out there – so be sure to order these from a legitimate, known retailer to make sure you’re not getting a cheap rip-off.
  • New Balance 905s – These were my minimalist shoes I ran with in multiple events (short and long distance).  Although the 905s aren’t the same any more, I still find myself buying a lot of New Balance shoes including a couple pairs from their Minimus line and trail shoes.
  • Brooks Adrenaline – I used an older version of these (Adrenaline 6) when I first started running. They are medium weight stability running shoes and you can find some pretty awesome deals (like $65/pair).
  • Injinji Socks – These are said to help prevent blisters and are a must if you want socks with Vibrams.  I find them pretty comfortable and a good lightweight sock.
  • Gold Toe PowerSox Cool-max socks. These are my everyday socks (I literally tossed every pair of white socks I had and replaced them with these) for two reasons 1. they are seamless and 2. have arch support built in. They are also comfortable and a pack of them is about the same price as any other white socks (3 pack is $11 retail). I’ve found them at a local department store for as low as $6 for 3 pair.

Running Clothes

  • Local events are a great place to get inexpensive workout shirts. As part of your entry fee in a 5k, you’ll usually get a shirt (plus the experience of an event). I’ve gotten some very good shirts that I use with a $20 entry.
  • Champion brand clothes from Target are also great if you’re just starting out. You can get great men’s and women’s clothing, often on sale for less than $15.
    Regular priced men’s shirts are often $12.99. All of my winter running tights (yes gentlemen, you will need these if running in VERY cold weather). I don’t like super short-shorts
  • For the rain and wind, I use a Nike ACG Storm-Fit Fair-weather Rain Jacket. This jacket is incredibly durable and blocks wind very well. This is definitely one of my best pieces of running clothing. I’ve had this for two seasons and plenty of miles and it still looks brand new.
  • I got a New Balance NBx 2.0 Wind-blocker Jacket as a Christmas gift, I haven’t used it to run yet (but will be perfect for this spring weather!), my first impression is that it may be too nice to run in Looking forward to getting out there with it.

Running Watches/HR Monitors

I’m big on HR training and have quite a bit of data. For now, I have two primary things I really like:

  • Garmin 305 – yes, there are newer models that are smaller, but for $150 on Amazon, it’s a great gadget. Pace and Distance via GPS and HR via a Garmin Strap. If you do triathlon, I also recommend the Garmin Quick Release kit, which lets you replace the wrist strap with a velcro band that is much easier to get on in transition.The quick release kit also includes a bike mount if you want to use the Garmin 305 for pace/distance on the bike.  I’ve never put mine on the bike (I have a dedicated bike computer) but looks pretty solid and seems pretty good.
  • Garmin FR60 – Actually a very accurate watch using a foot pod to calculate pace and distance.By accurate, I mean that once calibrated it measures the EXACT same distance as my GPS watches.  No waiting for satellites to be found AND a battery that lasts a full year!  It’s also a nice, normal looking watch   so you can wear everyday and in the pool.
  • I bought the Premium Heart Rate Strap / “Comfort Strap” for the HR which works on all the Garmin models.   I didn’t have any problems with the standard strap that came with the FR60/305, but wanted to have a waterproof strap to swim and then immeditately come out of the water and jump on the bike   It’s a great solution, and is indeed more comfortable when you wear an HR strap more than an hour or two!


I only wear headphones on a maximum of three runs a week. You get a performance benefit from listening to music when running, but you lose this benefit if you always run with music.

  • Bluetooth Headphones: Yep, headphones with no wires!!! After making the switch you will never want to go back. They are fricking cool!  They usually keep them near the cell phone accessories. Without touching your phone, on the headphones you can switch tracks, pause the music, and adjust volume…and pick up a call if you need to.  These are finally getting affordable (many sets are $30 to $50) and you won’t regret getting rid of the cord!
  • Cell Phone – The headphones should work with your iPhone or Android, but I currently use a Samsung Focus (a Windows Phone 7), great zune interface and much more than icons on a page.
  • Zune Service – I good playlist will last me 1 to 2 weeks and then I want something different. I love the Zune service since I get unlimited music. Can download music and playlists wireless on my phone or sync from my computer…
  • Phone Armband – I use a Tune Belt (Model AB-83). It fits my cell phone great. If you are doing a long run or in the rain, I suggest putting your phone in a zip-lock bag and then in the tune belt. With the bag, my phone still works great and I have added protection if I sweat a lot or have weather issues.  They have these for just about every phone/mp3 player including iPhone/Blackberry, DroidX/Droid Incredible,

Other Stuff

  • Nathan Speed 2 Water Belt – Yes, I’m that guy that carries water even in a 5k. It started as wanting to have someplace to put my keys when I went out on a run. I carry my car key and house key, a credit card, drivers license, $5 cash (in case I need to buy something) and two bottles of water. I also have a Nathan 4 bottle belt for long runs, will fill 1 or 2 with Gatorade. Both belts are very solid and each bottle holds 10 ounces of water.
  • Ice Packs – most grocery stores and pharmacies will have everything you need. I keep four reusable ones ready to go.
  • IceWrap – I’m sure you’re getting the hint that if I feel any discomfort or anything I ice immediately… yep, sure do. After the Chicago Half last year, I was pretty jacked and this thing was awesome. Just that fact that you can strap it on and don’t have to hold it in place is a big help. I have a knee one, but have used it for shins, ankle, and arch. They are currently offering 10% off if you use the code GetIceTEN. Ice-wraps ice wraps and packs
  • Advil – ALWAYS eat something when taking this, it will help substantially with recovery.
  • AquaJogger – When dealing with an injury, allows you to “run” in the water. Read my full review here.  Before you buy one, see if your local swimming pool has them available.  Mine had a whole closet of them for “deep water” aerobics.



  • Honey Stinger Gold – Love this stuff since it has ALL Natural ingredients and tastes like Honey.
  • Jelly Belly Sports Beans – My coach was sponsored by them in the past and got me hooked on them. I tend to use them on the bike more than the run – but if you like jelly beans, these are jelly beans with caffeine and electrolytes!
  • Pretzels – yep, good old rolled gold. These provide salt and something I have my wife bring to long events (to hand to me after 10 miles or for the finish line)
  • Bananas – Plenty of potassium combined with a few carbs. These are good fuel for a run!

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