Today I am going to talk about three things that every runner should have and use regularly. I am not mentioning the obvious things like shoes or a gps watch. Those are super obvious and you most likely already have a religion like relationship with your shoes and your watch (or is that just me)? So I will not talk about those. There are also a host of other items that are nice but not essential. Things like headphones, good socks (I know a lot of runners that never wear socks), or a heart rate monitor (don’t waste your money). Those things are more personal preference and will not necessarily make you a better athlete and runner. The items I am going to talk about here are things that I did not use when I started running but have become indispensable as I have gotten older and more serious with my running. Used properly they will have positive effects on your overall fitness. Here are three things (besides shoes and a watch) that can make a huge difference in your running. Click To Tweet
- Foam Roller. Most of us cannot afford to get massages after every hard run or workout. We simply don’t have the time or money to make this a reality. A foam roller is the next best thing. By rolling your muscles your train the fibers to line up properly, increasing the ease at which the muscle can lengthen and contract. This makes them more functional. When you do hard workouts or long runs, you do damage to the muscle fibers and when you recover these muscle fibers heal and become more capable. Your foam roller helps them do this in an orderly fashion. I use my foam roller on a daily basis whether I run or not. It is a vital part of my post run routine. A lacrosse ball is also a great tool to have for reaching those, small tight areas that need special attention (think your glutes or the bottom of your foot).
- Set of Elastic Bands. These are like magic. I first discovered these when I had some pain in my ankle that just would not go away. Doing some searching online and talking to my doctor, I built a physical therapy protocol that called for using these bands to rehab my injury. Since then I have found other physical therapy protocols and exercises that I have incorporated into my training when necessary. On more than one occasion I felt something strange coming on and by using these bands I was able to not lose any time running and make myself stronger than before. There are also mini-bands that you can use to incorporate some resistance into several strength training moves. These are small, inexpensive, travel well, and are incredibly useful. If you don’t own a set I encourage you to get some and give them a try.
- Race Dots. Okay, these will not directly impact your fitness but I love mine so much I just had to mention them. These are super powerful rare earth magnets that you use to attach race bibs to your shirt or sports bra. No more safety pins destroying my favorite singlets and technical shirts. Admittedly these will not directly affect your fitness. However, they can have a huge impact on your mental state on race day. I love that I don’t have to worry about my bib being crooked or bunched up because with race dots you can adjust the bib with the magnets still on. If you’ve ever stabbed yourself with a safety pin on race morning you’ll never risk doing that again. I am a huge proponent on limiting stress on race days and for me race dots are an important part of that. If you race a lot these are a must have.