As I packed my gym bag this morning, I decided that today I would share with you all the things I strap to my body before a good run. I'm a numbers person, so tracking my heart rate, calorie count, mileage, and speed is important to me. I like to watch my progress.
First and most importantly is my heart rate monitor. I have a Garmin Forerunner 50, which comes with a watch, a strap to go around the chest, and a USB to connect to the computer. The watch has a timed intervals, laps, splits, and an optional biking computer and optional foot pod. I'll probably get the biking computer and the foot pod would be great, but for that I use my...
Nike+. The Nike plus is great because it gives you details of your run through your headphones. The sensor can either go inside the heel of your shoe, if you have a special Nike brand shoe, or it can strap to your laces. It then keeps track of your miles, speed, and level online. I'm a level Orange. I've gone 45 miles in 9 hours and 33 minutes since I got the device. There is also a community you can be a part of, inspiring you to join challenges (for example, women vs men for the most miles run in 2009). There are training options and goals you can set. It's very addicting. The only bummer is when the iPod is dead!
I also use a PT Strap to go around my right knee - the knee I had ACL surgery on in 02. In general my knee is perfectly stable, so I don't need a full brace, but the strap helps to redistribute some of the pressure from the front of my patella to other parts of my leg. My knees hurt all the time, but these straps seem to help.
I also use a PT Short Sleeve for my left knee, which I'm 99% sure is going to need surgery once I'm finally insured. I don't know what I did, but it wobbles and hurts like a bitch after mostly every run. This strap helps a lot. When i bought it, sales dude told me to be careful, because whatever's going on in there will probably get worse. I'm running anyway, but cautiously.
I don't know exactly what brand of running socks I use, but after using regular cotton socks for 9 months, let me tell you - they are AMAZING. They're made of acrylic, which is soft and wicks the sweat off my feet and out of my shoe, reducing blisters and overall yuckiness. They also have two layers, which rub against each other, completely preventing blisters. Your foot rubs against the first layer, and your shoe rubs against the second layer, but since they don't touch each other, there's no friction. It's delightful. I never thought I'd get so amped about socks.
I have two pairs of shoes which I alternate - Saucony Progrid Rides (which apparently I paid way too much for!) and a pair of Asics I got from Sports Authority and I can't remember the name right now. Of course, running shoes are the most important part of the outfit, especially for those of us with bad knees. I'm due for a new pair, so I'll need to check out Women's Running Magazine to see what their picks are right now.
I always run in pants (as opposed to shorts) because I'm vehemently against chafing. Seems pretty logical. I also love my Under Armor wicking shirt.
Last but not least, I always use my iFitness Mini Sport Belt to hold my iPod and keys and phone while I'm running.
Hope that helps you get started :)