Last night at Ingrid’s gymnastics, I was talking to a friend about how much fun it is to support a fitness habit with gear. I’m really not a shopaholic but as a geek, I do love gadgets and data and all of that. And as a Mainer, you do have to consider the clothing as well.
So, here’s what I run with:
I just bought this shirt from Target – a Powercore running shirt that is soft inside, wicks sweat and all of that. It’s compression so it’s super tight, but it helps with the jigglies quite a bit. I’ve had a few days to use it, but this week has been warmer so I’ve been using my summer clothes (A basic wicking tee from C9 by Champion – more Target – and a pair of Avia capris I have had for years) but the below 40 degree days, this shirt has been great.
I also wear a sports bra, but I’ve had it for years and don’t even know who makes it but I think it maybe came from Kohl’s originally? It works so far, so I haven’t gotten a new one. Since I’m, ahem, fairly large chested, they are hard to come by, so I’m just happy to have one that works and sort of dreading the day I need to find another one. (Though I’ve heard good things about Moving Comfort…
For cold weather legs, I was advised to get Under Armour Frosty Tights. Those things are like $50! But yay, they had some on 50% clearance in Navy Blue, even available through Amazon with free shipping, so I bought them for $25. The first time I wore the compression shirt and the compression tights I felt a little — exposed (despite being so covered only my hands and neck and head were showing) because it’s all tight. But oh well, I run in the dark and never see anyone and even if I do? OH WELL. I’m running. I was really surprised at how warm they kept me on my coldest days (so far) so I’m glad I got them.
My socks are from Target, too (sensing a theme?) and are Duo Dry ankle socks and they seem to be just fine, though I’ve heard that other brands can be better.
Shoes: I am wearing Asics GT2150 that I purchased last year from a local sporting goods store. This is when I first decided to do C25k, and they seem fine but I really would like to go to the Maine Running Company for an actual fitting. I have heard noth
ing but good things about that process, at their store, and being an overweight, duck footed runner, I could probably use some professional advice. They seem to work fine, but I read about others who just LOVE their shoes and stockpile them and won’t ever buy anything else, and I think I need more professional input before I can say that.
First and foremost, I run with my iPhone. It’s (“just”) the iPhone4, but I love that it does so many things all at once. I have apps to monitor my pace and distance and cadence and tell me when to run and when to walk and when I need to move faster, and I just looove that. And while my phone is tracking all of that data, it’s ALSO playing my favorite podcasts (I know I should probably run to music, but running is when I have clear enough headspace to actually LISTEN to my podcasts. My favorites are This American Life, MacBreak Weekly, Manic Mommies, and This Week in Tech. I have other favorites, too like the Moth, but that would require more playlist management than I do right now because it’s a short one. The other 4 I listed are all at least an hour long, so they are good for my workouts. I’ll always take recommendations for other podcasts, though!)
The apps that I use are iSmoothRun — it tracks a ton of data AND will export to multiple places. I have mine set to post a summary of my run to Facebook, Twitter, DailyMile and RunKeeper. I can also set up custom interval workouts, so when I get frustrated with a C25K week, I can make my own. Like, this morning I did my 3/1:30 routine, but I have a list of workouts I’ve made that I can choose from. I set a custom pace (12:30 – have I mentioned I am sloooow) so that when I am in an interval, it will tell me to speed up or slow down. And after every interval, it will let me know how I did. Interesting finding — I can never find that exact pace until the END of my workout. Which is weird, because it means I’m speeding up as I go farther??) It cost a few bucks when I bought it, but I really like it.
I use Downcast for my podcasts. This is a new one for me, and might be the solution to listening to shorter podcasts on longer workouts, because it does have a playlist feature. I like it way more than the interface in itunes, or even their new podcasts app, but I only recently bought it because my old one was basically bricked with an update. (Podcaster 5) and it was time to move on…
Headphones: Kinivo bluetooth headphones. When I hit my 10% goal in Weight Watchers, I rewarded myself with some wireless headphones. I am surrounded by magical technology, and it has always, always driven me nuts that headphones are still usually a knot of wire and figuring out which is right and which is left and then having the cord flap in your face while you run, and needing to have the headphones always be just 3 feet from the phone. Oh my god, the anxiety corded headphones have given me in the years of digital music. Anyway. I bought the Kinivo pair based on reviews and price. I am not an audiophile that is going to be super critical of sound quality, but they sound fine to me. They are over the ear, which I prefer because I can hear the environmental noise — cars, people, etc — still. Since I also wear glasses, I was worried about how they’d compete with the limited over-the-ear real estate I have, but it’s been fine. They sync quickly, remember the phone, and have a pretty great battery life — it took 3 weeks to drain them the first time, and I’m still waiting for the second drain. My only minor complaints are that the one button can be tricky because if you go to power off and don’t press long enough, you’ll dial the last number dialed (oops!!) and there is no ear-to-ear adustability, so there is some space between the plastic band and my neck. But for $25?? Those aren’t issues.
Fitbit! I got the Fitbit for Christmas and have worn it just about every day since. It tracks steps and flights of stairs (and sleep, buuut with a toddler that doesn’t sleep through the night, that ends up just depressing me) and syncs to a website where you can share your data with friends. I wear it on my bra, both when running and just with everyday use. It’s very cool to see the trends and how I’m doing with my goal, and to know that it’s 2000 steps to go around the loop and that my morning run route is almost 7k steps. And with my employer holding a step contest right now, it is super easy to just pull up my data and enter my numbers. I have the Ultra, but the newest version — the One — adds some great features, like Bluetooth syncing. (It will work with an iPhone 4s or 5, and the newest iPad, I think.) Right now, I don’t see the numbers online until I get home because it has to sync through a base station.
And to carry my iPhone, I use a SPIBelt. Yes, it’s basically a fanny pack, but it’s SO much better than one. It doesn’t bounce, it protects my phone from the elements, but keeps it near, and it fits so snugly that with my regular shirts, I wear it underneath and you don’t even notice it’s there. I have the water resistant one, in black, but they make lots of other colors and options. I had tried an armband for my phone but to make the phone fit, I had to remove my every day case, and it was awkward on my arm, and I couldn’t get to the controls, etc. With the SPIBelt, it disappears, basically, and I need to remove my phone to access the controls (or not, I can stretch out the belt part and see my phone if I just unzip) but I can just set up my app and my podcast and go with it.
That’s what I have now — what will I want next? I can see purchasing official running capris in the spring, and some new socks and shoes. (OH! And I met my goal for the Freaky5k so will be donning a Team Sparkle skirt later this month, color TBA) And with technology, I’ve heard cool things about heart-rate monitors and GPS watches, but I look at the Garmin website and just get overwhelmed. Or if/when I update my phone, and I can use Bluetooth 4.0, I could probably just get a HRM and sync it wirelessly WHILE wearing my headphones (my Bluetooth doesn’t allow multiple connections). ANd then I think if I could have the GPS features of the Garmin with the ease of use and syncing with the Fitbit. . . that would be awesome. It would be nice to see more easily the time and pace and all that (with my phone in the SPIBelt, I can’t see it, so I rely on the app to tell me my statistics. And I haven’t used an HRM but have heard good things. But when I look at the Garmin site and see all the options, there doesn’t seem to be a perfect one (the 405 seems best, it’s now discontinued but available on eBay — but I’ve heard mixed things.) I am such a gadget hound, and will always be looking for the one device to do it all, all the time.
Is there such a device? Or any Garmin fans out there to provide advice?