Back in the day, I started running because I thought it’d be the cheapest possible way to exercise. All I needed was any pair of old shorts and an old tshirt, some sneakers (and, with the size of my shoe collection, I had a few to choose from already) and the willingness to get my butt out of the door. No membership fees, no monthly payments, no big expenses.
*pause so we can all stop laughing at how wrong I was*
Like anything else, if you get really into it (and one can say writing a blog almost solely dedicated to running qualifies as being “really into it”), it gets really expensive really quickly. At first, I think, came the dri-fit shirts. I got posh and decided running in cotton shirts was too gross. Then, with the first knee pain, came the doctor’s appointment (another $40) and the medical advice to buy proper running shoes. Hello, $300 receipt. Then, since I had the fancy shoes, I got a little more excited about taking them out. And so came the receipt for the first ever running event (Wharf to Wharf on Waiheke Island), which got me completely hooked onto crossing finish lines. Since then, I’ve been averaging about one official event per month. Some are fairly cheap, others do make me think I’ll have to resort to instant noodles for the rest of the month (mostly because some of these events are out of town and involve travel expenses). Fast forward a few months and I got hooked on trail running. This means mandatory equipment for races, in some cases. Hi, expensive hydration pack with all sorts of stuff inside.
Anyway, you get the point. This stuff’s not cheap. So I’m always on the look out for good deals on running-related stuff. I’ve got a list. I’m pretty sure it’s filled with stuff all runners want to have. So, if you have a runner in your Christmas gift list (or some extra money floating around that you might want to use to start the Super Generic Girl Running Fund), this is a good time to take notes.
1. Gu energy gels are the perfect stocking fillers a runner can ask for. At about $3 a pop, these little things don’t come cheap.
2. Garmin Forerunner 10. Or any Forerunner. Or, whatever, any GPS watch. I’ve been using the Nike+ watch (powered by TomTom) and we have sort of become best buddies.
3. Running shorts. Or any running apparel, as long as it’s cute. Oh and the right material. I suppose that’s important too.
4. Camelbak hydration pack. Especially useful for trail runs or long road runs, especially if you enter events and like avoiding the water stations.
5. Apple EarPods or any good headphones for runners.
6. My Cep compression socks are simultaneously my most expensive and my most amazing pair of socks. Don’t think a runner can have too many of these but, for the price, I think one pair is pretty much enough. Has to be.
7. Spi belt. I bought a hydration belt a couple of months ago and it sucked because there was no ideal way of adjusting it to my waist without it ending up jumping up and down while I ran. I heard these are quite good in that aspect. All I want is a way of not carrying my phone in my hand the whole time.
8. Running necklaces. Down here in Kiwiland, they aren’t too keen on giving out medals at running events. You’ll probably get a medal for a full marathon (and, even then, not all full marathons), but you are very unlikely to get one for anything below that. Some achievements, though, deserve to be celebrated with something long lasting. When we ran our 35k trail run, I headed to The Run Home on Etsy and got S. a customised necklace with her name and the distance and location of that race. Beats a medal, I think… but I still wish we’d gotten medals.
9. These running nutters sometimes decide that darkness isn’t a good enough excuse to stay home. I pack my head torch every time we head out for the trails, just in case. Also good for after work runs in Winter, when it’s pitch black by 6pm.
10. Tech gloves. Because surely I’m not the only one who checks Facebook while waiting for the pedestrian lights to turn green, amirite?
11. Road ID bracelet. If I happen to run my way to afterlife, there are a few things people need to know like: my name, my emergency contact details and that under no circumstances should my obituary refer to me as a “jogger”. Just the basic important stuff.
12. Running-related literature. I’ve got an Amazon wishlist the length of an ultramarathon. Lisa Tamati‘s Running to Extremes is just one of them, among a long list of practical marathon training guides. Basically, anything that’ll make a runner want to keep reading while, at the same time, put the book down and head out for a run.