The half marathon was awesome, and you can read all about that here, but I wanted to share with all of you, my favorite running gear must-haves! Most of these apply to shorter runs as well, but I used these specifically during the half marathon. I will start at the feet and head up.
A good pair of running shoes. I have found that I really like Saucony Grid Phantom because of the 12mm heel to forefoot offset. As a side note, I also use insoles to help with arch support.
Compression socks. Specifically I love Pro Compression Marathon socks. They come in three sizes and a ton of different cool colors and prints. Highly recommend - and find them when they're running a deal, you can often find them for 40% off and / or free shipping. I wear these on nearly every run and also use them for recovery after long runs.
KT Tape. Also known as Kinesiology Tape. I suffer from runners knee in my right knee. While I do go to physical therapy to help fix the problem, during longer runs I will use KT tape to help stabilize my knee to give some extra support. Check out their site and see if KT tape will help with any of your running aches and pains.
Running bottoms (and hat apparently... haha). When it is nice and warm, as it typically is here in southern California, I wear the Nike Pro 7" training shorts (the longer black pair). You can wear the Pro shorts alone, however they are meant to be worn as a first layer, as I do. I pair them with the Nike Tempo running shorts, which are super light weight and come in a ton of fun colors.
Also, the Nike Dry Fit hat - great for running, keeping the sun out of your eyes. Its adjustable and super light weight. I love it even with my big head and long pony tail, it works.
Tops. There are a ton of options. Here are two of my favorites... The Nike Dry Fit tank and the Nike Dry Fit 1/2 zip long sleeve top. Both are good for the different seasons. I wear the tank during long runs or in the summer heat (along with sun screen!) and I wear long sleeves in the winter on a really cool run or in the evening. The reason why I seem so obsessed with the Nike product is because of their Dry Fit technology. It really does wick away the sweat (and water I dump on myself) during and after my runs. Unlike cotton tees or other athletic wear, the Nike does dry fast, feels fresh, and keeps its fit, form, and stays feeling good.
Some of my favorites accessory must haves. My Nike+ SportWatch with GPS and my arm band or flip belt. I love my Nike sport watch. I literally feel like I cant run outdoors without it! I love using it to keep my pace, distance, time etc. Especially on long runs, I love having all of that info right on my wrist. As for my phone / music, I tend to wear the arm band to keep my phone high and handy. I don't personally love the flipbelt, however my babe likes to run with it. It may be because I find it too tight and it rides up on my waist, who knows?!
Lastly are some pre and during run snacks / energy. I find the CLIF bars are great pre-run energy snacks. During a long 10+ miler I like to take in some extra carbs and protien with a CLIF builders snack size - plus its small size is easier to stash on you during a run. Lastly, for a long run where sugar and quick energy is needed, I like the Gatorade Prime chews. They taste good, the chews don't dry out your mouth, the consistency is good, and they definitely help when your blood sugar gets low and you need a quick pick-me-up!
I hope my running gear must-haves have been a help to you if you are new to running, want to try something new, or looking to compare before spending all that $$$ we spend on running gear!!! What do you run in? See anything here you also swear by? Totally disagree or have a recommendation for me?