My favorite running gear – 2019 edition

One of the nice parts about running is that compared to many sports, it really doesn’t require much gear. However, there are a few critical parts of running gear that can make a big difference. Once I found ones I liked, I’ve pretty much stuck with them. When running, especially long distances, you never want to be weighed down with too much stuff, so finding those few items that make the run more pleasant without weighing you down is clutch.


Running Watch: Garmin Vivoactive 3

This is actually the longest I’ve kept a running watch now after upgrading each year from each version of the Vivoactive. Garmin hasn’t released a new version in a while, and it seems unlikely with frequent upgrades to the Forerunner series. I almost bought a Forerunner, the more running focused watch due to features like advanced running stats and on-device music storage and playback on Prime Day, but decided to wait for the latest version to go on sale. The Vivoactive works great for me, tracking even my long marathon runs and training sessions with plenty of battery to spare, and I don’t miss music playback since I bring my phone on pretty much every run. The screen is very easy to see in the sun and the smart watch features make it a great every day watch. I also love that I can change the bands to any normal 22mm watch band easily, making it simple to change up the looks of the watch when I want.

Wireless Headphones: QY7

I don’t even know the brand for these, but they are the highest rated cheap (under $20) wireless headphones on Amazon. I’ve gone through two pairs now, and while I don’t love just throwing them away and getting new ones, it’s just so easy with these. This pair has lasted me three marathons and almost three years, so durability isn’t an issue, even in the rain and super sweaty days. I also nearly pulled the trigger on a nicer set of true wireless buds on Prime Day, but stuck with these at least until they start to die. For cheap headphones, the sound isn’t terrible, they pair easily and stay connected, and last a full week of runs.

Music Device: Mighty (version 1)

I don’t take this with me all that often since I like to have my phone with me for pictures and emergencies, but when I do decide to leave the phone behind, usually on short weekday runs, I grab this small device which lets me store a huge number of Spotify playlists on it and listen over my Bluetooth headphones. I’ve had several issues with them, usually after long periods of disuse when the battery fully drains, but they’ve always been good about sending me a new one. The latest one seems to be working better as I’ve had it for almost a year without issue now. It’s nice to be able to head out for a run with motivating music without having to carry my big and heavy phone.

Water Storage: Camelback Dart

In high school I was introduced to Camelback when I got one of the biggest ones for Marching Band. I used that thing for years until it got so gross I couldn’t get water through the tube any more. After a few years of struggling to bring enough water on long marathon training runs, I grabbed this version of the backpack and love it. Big enough to carry water for all but the hottest long runs, I can easily do 18 to 22 miles with plenty of cool water. It’s also not terribly heavy and the cross straps help distribute the weight. Two separate pockets work great for stowing a few packs of energy beans and bars. I never head out of the house on a hot day without it.

Shorts: Lululemon

My favorite pair of shorts for running have quickly become my pair I ordered from Lululemon with a discount fro completing their Ghost run last fall. Good shorts need a combination of support, light weight, some storage, and moisture wicking, and these shorts check all those boxes better than any other short I’ve used. I still like my various Nike, New Balance, Adidas, and Bayleaf ones and granted they were all much cheaper, but the Lulus are the ones I grab when I head out for a difficult long run. My favorite feature is a phone pocket that goes into the liner on top of the leg, rather than at the waist, perfectly balancing my big phone so that I often forget I have it.

Running Shirt: Any race shirt

After roughly five years of races, I now have a drawer so full of race shirts that I have trouble closing it when everything is clean. I’ve even tossed some of the older grossest ones and ones that don’t have a nice material, but they tend to keep stacking up. I don’t really have a preference when I head out as they’ve all pretty close, so I tend to chose one based on the thickness related to the weather. Some of the NYRR New Balance ones are particularly nice though, so they often come out of the drawer first.

Running Socks: Lululemon

Like my shorts, I have a pretty wide selection of socks from New Balance, ASICS, and others, but the ones I’ll always grab before heading out on a 20 mile run are the pair I got for free at a Lululemon store. They’re both soft and cushioning, and have a longer than normal tab up the back so I don’t get chafing or blisters on the back of my heel even when I run the dirty trails by my house. With any other socks, I’m guaranteed to lose some skin on the back of my feet from dirt, rocks, grit, and sweat.

Sunglasses: Any random pair

Like most adults of a certain age, I have somehow accumulated an entire drawer of plastic branded sunglasses from various sources over the years. I usually just grab anything from this drawer when I head out. One pair came from a brewery tour, another from a bachelor party, another from some conference, and so on. I always figure I should hang on to pairs because one day one of them will break or get lost, but I don’t think a single one has so far. I guess they’re pretty indestructible. At least they keep the sun and sweat out of my eyes.


Headband / Bandana: Brewery, Music Festival, or London Marathon ones

This year, I decided I would embrace my running alter ego and became a bandana guy. A five mile run that turned into a half marathon in California in the mid-day summer sun convinced me about the virtues of running with a bandana, and now I don’t leave home without one. I’ve got a few from the London Marathon where New Balance gave them out, and from a music festival we went to. Yeah I look like an aerobics instructor from the 90s, but I don’t let it bother me dude.

Shoes: New Balance LDN, Brooks Ghost, Saucony Ride, Nike Vaporfly 4%, and Vaporfly Next%

I think I might have a running shoe problem. I currently have eight pairs in rotation. I began as a Brooks Ghost only runner, but after experiencing foot and leg soreness which went away when I began rotating shoes more, I now never wear the same pair in the same week. I have also started getting shoes to commemorate marathons, picking up Nike Vaporfly 4%s in Berlin during the marathon, New Balance LDN ones in London, and ordering the new Nike Vaporfly Next%s the day they came out. I haven’t tried them yet, but it is fairly amazing how much of a difference different pairs of shoes can actually make.

My running gear is pretty simple and minimal because I like to keep things light on long runs and just focus on the run. I also haven’t changed it much in the last two years since I’ve found things I like that stay durable. I do continue to experiment with new shoes, but with heavy marathon training adding 40 miles a week at peak times, I do actually go through pairs fairly quickly. I’m always on the look out for new headphones and watches since those are the two biggest running focused pieces of tech I own, but so far what I’ve got has been good enough for me. If things continue, I might even still being using these same items in another two years.

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