The Working Closet

where life meets style

simple running: gear checklist

I’ve been reading a lot about minimalist running strategies in the past year, which mostly seem to consist of trading in traditional running shoes for something closer to bare feet. I’m not heading in that direction any time soon (or ever, really) but I have been paring down my gear. Specifically, I’ve ditched my iPhone in favor of lighter, less connected options. And I couldn’t be happier.

running gearClockwise from top left: Wrist ID Sport, C19 by Champion Women’s Fast Wrap Digital Watch, iPod Shuffle, Skull Candy Ink’d Earbuds

When I tell people that I’m no longer running with my phone, they always ask if I’m worried about my safety. My answer is no — I run in my neighborhood, which is a well-populated area, and I’ve never felt threatened or scared. I typically see the same people every morning, out running and walking and cycling, and I know that most of my neighbors are home when I go out to run. There are plenty of people around, should anything happen.

I also run with a Road ID, which has my name and birth date and address on it, as well as Wade’s name and cell number. In a real crisis, someone could call him to come get me.

Mizuno Wave Inspire 8Mizuno Wave Inspire 8

I still use RunKeeper to track my miles and pace, but I enter everything manually on my laptop after my run. Last summer I realized that the RunKeeper GPS wasn’t working properly and was dropping up to a mile off each of my runs, which was frustrating. Instead of relying on the temperamental GPS, I map my routes online and then time my runs with a basic sports watch. Super easy.

I like running without a GPS because it lets me focus on the run, not the pace or distance. I know where miles one and two are on my route and I can check my time at those points, but after that I just run — and it’s been really liberating, particularly now that I can confidently run longer and longer distances. I don’t need the reassurance of the GPS program telling me how many miles I’ve covered — I just run until I’m finished, however long that may be.

I still run with music; I replaced my big phone with a tiny Shuffle earlier this spring and I can’t get over how light it is. I clip it to my sport bra and tuck the headphone cords down my back and go. I buy low-end Skull Candy earbuds, because then when I sweat all over them it doesn’t matter. They stay in my ears and the quality is good, but I can also hear road noise over the music, which is a nice thing. I ran one morning with my super fancy Apple earbuds and couldn’t hear anything but the music — not a good feeling (although the sound quality was amazing).

Other than my shoes, that’s it for running gear for me. What are your running essentials?

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21 comments on “simple running: gear checklist

  1. Lori
    June 21, 2012

    I’m not a runner. But I would love to get into it. Do you have any tips on getting started? Maybe a “here’s how I did it”? I think what’s stopping me is that I’m not in a neighborhood; I’m in an apartment. I don’t want to drive the few miles to the track I could run at and I just feel weird running around the complex. There’s not room for a treadmill in the apartment, plus I’d prefer to do it outside than indoors. I know: problem child.

    • Susan
      June 21, 2012

      I can totally do that. Watch for it next week, Lori!

    • I’m a big fan of the Couch to 5k program. I did it once before I was pregnant, and went from totally out of shape & 240 pounds, to actually being able to run for a solid 30 minutes. I just started up again now that my son is old enough to be in a jogging stroller. I promise – if I can do it – anyone can do it. The only thing you really need is a really good pair of shoes (don’t skimp) and a watch. Good luck!

  2. ris
    June 21, 2012

    I use over-the-ear headphones for the same reason–I like to hear road noises and know when someone is coming up behind me. Also they’re about $10 and last for about a year, so it’s not a tragedy if they get lost or crap out. When I do longer runs I carry water, so the shorter runs where I don’t have a bunch of stuff with me are great because I feel so free and unencumbered!

    • Susan
      June 21, 2012

      I can’t carry water — having anything in my hand throws me. When I do long runs, I plot a route that circles past my house mid way; I leave water or Gatorade on the mailbox and stop to drink. Classy. ;)

      • Shannon
        June 21, 2012

        I do that too (with water), Susan!

      • bryahnn
        June 21, 2012

        Oh, the mailbox is a good idea!. I just keep planning bigger and bigger loops because I know if I stopped at home for a drink, I wouldn’t leave again! I’ve actually considered asking my friends if I can stop at their houses for water when out on a longer route.

        • StacyfrPgh
          June 22, 2012

          A family friend uses my mom’s house as the halfway point and stores a drink there. Carries to the house, leaves it in the garden, loops back around, drinks and then carries bottle home.

  3. John
    June 21, 2012

    Great post, I thought it was only me who manually tracks my mileage (I use Dailymile). I think I take slightly less than you, I have a phone for emergencies and my keys and that’s it.

  4. Christina
    June 21, 2012

    Have you tried an expensive watch like the Nike+? Basically it is a fancy pediometer but you can keep track of mileage and time and it plugs right into your computer after your runs and it tracks all of your mileage on their site. I have had mine for a few years and it has been great. I still map longer runs but for the most part I rely on that for pace/time/mileage. I have a shuffle and lightweight shoes that I love. I did buy the same kind of shoe you have but I didn’t like them at all! Too much shoe! I am back to another more minimal brand/type. On really warm days, I carry a running type water bottle. It doesn’t bother me as it is light weight and I can keep my phone in there if need be – http://www.roadrunnersports.com/rrs/products/AMP119/

    • Susan
      June 21, 2012

      I’m looking at a lighter weight Mizuno for my next shoe, the Wave Runner (I think?). I’m always fascinated by people’s shoe choices — who knew it was so personal?

  5. Katrin
    June 21, 2012

    I love my Asics, I’m on my second pair! And I’d love to run light, but the only way to get my runs on is by running home from work. So that means carrying my backpack with my work clothes (suit, shirt, etc, I leave my heels at work though), wallet etc. with me. But it also means that the few times I do run without anything I really enjoy it that much more! Oh and I really can’t imagine running barefoot, my feet need all the support they can get.

    • StacyfrPgh
      June 22, 2012

      My husband, who cycles to work, drives in every Sunday and leaves his clothes for the week in the office. Then the next Sunday, changes the dirty for clean. Maybe that would work to lighten your load?

      • Katrin
        June 22, 2012

        That’s also a fab idea! I usually just regard the 6 to 7 pounds I carry as an additional workout.

  6. Kristen
    June 21, 2012

    When I go for short runs, I’m also pretty minimal — very similar to you, with my road ID, music player, watch. But, anything over 4 miles (or sometimes less, in the hot summer), I have to carry water. I either carry a handheld that is actually strapped to my hand or, if it’s a long run (or I have a dog with me), I use a Camelbak. Not super comfortable, but it’s just so convenient.

    When I need to have a phone with me (long runs far from my house, for example), I either pop it in my Camelbak or use a SPI belt. I never use my phone for music while running, though — I don’t want to know that I have 15 emails waiting for me. I don’t want any temptation to stop, you know?

  7. Shannon
    June 21, 2012

    I hate being weighed down when I run (I use a shuffle too–love it), BUT I absolutely have to run with a phone. I trail run, and it just wouldn’t be safe not to have my phone w/ me just in case. I do wear a Road ID, also–love that–but ever since a friend of my husband’s, who runs where I do, BROKE HER LEG early one a.m. on a run and had no way to contact anyone (no phone with her, out in country so not near houses), I will not go without my iPhone. Unfortunately this means I have to wear an arm cuff thingy that carries my phone–but I got used to it right away and don’t even notice it anymore. In the winter when the trails are snowed in and I have to run closer to my house, I still need a phone b/c we’re out on the edge of the country and I am constantly risking a.) frostbite–the wind is fierce out here, off the farm fields and prairie–and b.) falls on the ice. I know, I make my running sound so fun, don’t I? ;) (Truly, it is wonderful, and I make it work!) :)

  8. elz
    June 21, 2012

    Oooh, the shuffle intrigues me. I run with an earlier variety ipod now, but something I could clip and go would be nice. As for earbuds, These-http://www.yurbuds.com/ you can hear road noise and carry on conversations, but also hear your music. Best thing I ever bought at an expo.

  9. Shannon
    June 21, 2012

    I forgot to mention–I don’t know how anyone can keep ANY type of earbuds in their ears while running. Both the ones that came with my shuffle and the skull candy ones I bought fall out when I run no matter what I do. argh! I end up having to wear $10 Sony slimline over-the-head black headphones–the kind we all wore with our Discmans back in the day, ha ha! They’re slim, lightweight, and low-profile, but still so retro…but hey, they do NOT fall out/off! You can’t beat that! And they’re cheap!

  10. LondonGirl
    June 22, 2012

    I carry my keys, a small phone and some money….. a small value bill/note is very useful is you have a medical emergency. An arm pouch feels annoying the first time you wear it but after you don’t even notice it.

  11. Leigh
    June 25, 2012

    I carry water with me and have a little holder thingy that slips over my water bottle with a zip pocket to hold my car key. Other than that, all I have is my shuffle and my cheap Sony earbuds–@ Shannon, I bought the kind of earbuds with three different sizes that you can switch out because none of the others were comfortable. I rarely even wear my watch because then I obsess over my time rather than just getting into the run.

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