As I've mentioned in many a social media bio and about me page, I am an avid runner. I run both high school cross country and track, and I consistently follow training plans during my off-seasons. I've been running year round for about five years now, and I've picked up on some things that, while perhaps not essential to running, sure make it a lot nicer. This post is a compilation of all those things.
n e w r o u t e
Okay pay attention-- this one's a lifesaver. NewRoute is a free app that allows you to map out running routes in advance. It's simple, practical, and has all the features you need without being confusing. You can save routes into different folders, which is nice if you consistently have different starting points. (For example, I have a folder dedicated to routes for when I'm running after school at practice and a folder dedicated to when I'm running from home.) You can make folders based on mileage, surface, location, or whatever else you come up with. Also the app marks where you're going to hit each mile. Basically, NewRoute is amazing. (Just wish they'd come out with an apple watch edition so I could avoid getting lost while on runs.)
a p p l e w a t c h
A GPS watch is definitely not necessary for anyone who wants to run, however I've been running with a GPS watch for the majority of my running career, and I couldn't live without one. I started with the Garmin Forerunner 10, which was... okay. It's very basic and inexpensive, which is nice, but I ended up wanting something with more features and less sync time. I opted to get an Apple Watch over another Garmin mostly because I wanted something a little more versatile and fashionable. I've been very satisfied with my Apple Watch, and I'm glad I chose it over another Garmin. (That's a whole other blog post right there...) For anyone not willing to invest in a watch, plenty of free apps exist to turn your phone into a GPS tracker. (Strava, MapMyRun, etc.)
m y f i t n e s s p a l
Another app for you here, MyFitnessPal is how I track my nutrition. I would venture as far as to say that most people don't track their food, but I really like to know what I'm consuming. Whenever I've gotten into the habit of tracking my food, I find that I just automatically choose healthier options, not even because I feel like I have to, I just genuinely want to. I also get peace of mind knowing that I'm staying up on my caloric needs-- especially when I'm in season. I've tried plenty of food trackers, and I've found that MyFitnessPal is the best one when it comes to functionality and accuracy in predicting your caloric goal. It also has a very extensive database of foods and is free in the app store.
s u p p l e m e n t s
This is something that definitely varies from person to person. Personally, I take a iron supplement and a daily multivitamin. Iron deficiency is not fun, and I sleep better at night knowing that I get around 300% of my daily iron. Multivites, whether you run or not, are generally a good idea. Our foods are cleaned and altered to the point that we are unable to get all our nutrients from foods alone. Taking a multivite ensures that you're getting everything you need!
s h o e s
For me, finding the right pair of shoes has been quite a journey with much trial and error. However, I did finally land on a model that is exactly what I need in a shoe. They have a lightweight quality without sacrificing stability and support, and as someone who is rather narrow-footed, they fit very nicely. I'm loyal to the Brooks Ravennas. While everyone has different needs when it comes to running shoes, if you like a lighter distance shoe, I'd highly recommend checking them out.
s o c k s
Another "essential" is running socks. I just love having thick, cushion-y socks to run in. I've been buying Features since I started running, and I'd highly recommend them to anyone looking for a specialized sock.
f o a m r o l l e r
Foam rolling and I are pretty tight, not gonna lie. In season, I roll out two to three times a day. Out of season I still go for a quick roll-out session on the daily. There are tons of rollers out there, but my favorites have ridges or bumps to really massage your muscles. Also in this department is this awesome plastic ball that you can use to roll out the soles of your feet. (People also use golf balls for this, and I've heard that works just as well). Doing this is great if you have shin problems or muscle spasms in your feet.
a p o s i t i v e a t t i t u d e
Yeah, yeah, sometimes it's not the easiest, but I truly believe that the thing that makes running the easiest is a positive mindset. The runs where I genuinely want to run instead of doing it because I feel it's obligatory are the best runs. Obviously there are going to be days that you just don't want to run, but the more you think happy thoughts about running, the more you'll enjoy it.
And that concludes this collection of odd-ends I use to make running a little easier on the day-to-day. Let me know if you have any essentials when it comes to running or working out in general!