Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Essential Gear Recs

When you spend so many hours moving, having the right gear matters for your comfort and performance. I'm not competitive, and comfort is VERY important. Here are some of my favorite and necessary fitness products.


RoadID: Emergency contact and ID bracelet
I'm young, healthy, and don't have any notable medical issues that would affect acute treatment. What sold me on this was a testimonial from a woman who was at a regular old race one day when the runner beside her fell, accidentally tripping her in the process. The woman lost consciousness, but emergency personnel were immediately able to contact her family to let them know what happened. And that really could happen to anybody.

The item doesn't just have your emergency info printed on it; it also has a unique serial number on the back that will allow emergency medical professionals to access your whole health history online (that you input and update), including any medications you're taking.

I first bought the Ankle ID, thinking it would be least likely to annoy me, but I took it off when I wasn't working out and would then forget it when I needed it. At a friend's suggestion, I bought the Wrist ID Slim model to wear 24-7, and it has been perfect. The order form had one too few characters for me to put my sister's whole first name and phone number, but when I contacted customer service to suggest altering that for future customers, they went ahead and added the extra character for me!

Bonus: The Road ID app lets you notify a few contacts that you'll be going out for a walk or a bike ride and will be finished in XX minutes. If you stop moving for 5 minutes, the app sends an emergency alert to your contacts with your exact location, in case you got in an accident and are unable to contact them. It's a great design and gives me peace of mind when I'm riding my bike.

Sports bras:
Six years ago a busty runner friend introduced me to the ENELL SPORT, and I've been evangelizing ever since. Folks who wear larger than a C cup just can't wear a simply elastic sports bra, and it's virtually impossible to find actual high-impact support for running anywhere. Even the highly recommended Moving Comfort brand was a huge disappointment when I tried it on. Enell offers serious support and actually keeps everything in place. I can run in it and I can even visit the trampoline park in it. Enell products range from size 32C to 56G, and they offer custom sizing, too. Though the cost may seem steep, it's worth every penny, and busty folk aren't going to find high-impact sports bras for less.

I also recommend Shock Absorber's Ultimate Run Bra. It both encapsulates and compresses. Some people say that it's difficult to get into, but I have limited shoulder flexibility and have no problem fastening the bottom hooks in front, spinning it around to the back, sliding in my arms, and then fastening the top hook. As a short lady, I love love love that the shoulder straps are adjustable and don't slide. My one complaint is that the band runs small, and that's saying A LOT compared to how snugly the Enell band fits, so I had to add a bra hook extender to wear it.

Both these recommendations are wireless and come from a 34DDD runner. I've compiled additional sports bra recommendations from folks of all sizes in another post here.

Running shoes: Vibram FiveFingers
Minimalist running shoes aren't for everyone, but those who like them LOVE them. I started running in regular tennis shoes but got such awful blisters that I'd have to spend time taping half of each foot before every run. I also had constantly dead toenails. I received the VFFs as a gift and have since run two half marathons and a 15-mile Spartan Beast in them.

They've had some bad press lately because people are changing their stride suddenly and getting injured. If you've been landing on your forefoot for a while, you'll be fine; otherwise, very slowly integrate the VFFs into your running, 5 minutes at a time.

Not sure whether you'll like them? Run a lap on a track or down the length of your block in socks or bare feet and see what you think of that. REI and Whole Earth Provision (Texas only) have great customer service to get you fitted for the right VFFs and very generous return policies.

What are your running essentials?

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