I am asked with some frequency what gear and supplies I use.  Although I don't claim to be a "good" runner, I do know what it is like to be a slow, bigger runner.  I have assembled this list of things that make running easier for me.  None of these items have been given to me nor am I reimbursed in any way for my discussion of them.  Stop by every now and then as I will be adding new things.

How do I carry my stuff?
1.  For short runs (3 miles or less) - I tend to use a SPI belt.  I carry my blackberry, camera (races only), tissues, extra gum, and my car key.  It works well for my needs.  For only $19.95 - it's a good bargain.  Check out all the cute colors and patterns HERE.

A word of caution - they make these in a "water resistant" model - they are a few dollars more; however, don't be fooled into upgrading . . . the water resistant is exactly the same except it comes with a quart size freezer zip lock baggie. 
2.  For runs of 3-6 miles, I tend to use a single bottle lumbar pack.  I can't seem to remember where I got mine, but the one pictured below is similar.  It enables me to carry a bottle of water (I use the 16.9 ounce bottles, but it came with a reusable sports bottle) and some other items.  In one of the small pockets I usually carry my blackberry.  The other small pocket usually has a tissue, extra gum, and a couple of lifesaver candies to prevent low blood sugar.  You can google "single bottle lumbar packs" to find other similar options (HERE is the link to the one pictured below). 
3.  For runs 6 + (including races), I use the REI Double Shot Waistpack.  Now, "real runners" would NEVER carry something so large and bulky, but since I'm slow, we're talking about long runs and half marathons of longer than 3 hours.  On these longer runs, I carry a lot of things including carbohydrate chews, tissues, blackberry/camera (races only), extra gum, lifesaver candy, chapstick, etc.  During my winter trail runs, I also took a small flashlight and an emergency blanket (those thin reflective ones that fold up into a 2" X 2" sqaure) . . . .just in case.  Although the pack came with 2 large reusable sports bottles, I prefer to use the 16.9 ounce water bottles found at convenience stores (because I buy a case of 32 of them at Sam's Club for $3.60).  Click HERE to learn more about this hydration belt.  The Ocean blue color of this pack is only $19.93 (I have the gray one which costs $34.50).  There are tons of similar items, but REI had the best price, hands down. 

4. After 2 years of running and racing, I decided to upgrade to a more "professional" looking hydration belt. While at the Big Sur Half Marathon expo, I picked up an iFitness belt plus 2 add-on 8 oz. water bottles (I drink a lot!).  Click HERE to check out the belt and click HERE to check out the add-on bottles.  To accommodate the massive amounts of things I carry with me, I purchased generic pouches that attach to the belt.

What do I wear?
1.  Socks - I have tried no less than 10 different types of socks and I got the MOST blisters with each of them.  Finally, I discovered "toe socks" from Injinji.  Click HERE to find them on Amazon.  I don't necessarily enjoy the toe sock feel when I'm not running, but I don't seem to notice the "things between my toes" when I'm running.  I wear them all year round and haven't had a single issue - I wear ankle height socks during the summer and crew height during winter.  They also come in pretty colors and fun stripes. 
2.  Shoes - I have had a LOT of running related minor injuries - knee and foot pain, shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and low back pain just to name a few.  I have tried tons of different types of shoes.  I first began in Brooks Defyance 3's, then moved to Pearl Izumi Floats 3, and then gave Saucony Progrid Ride 3s (I'm seeing a "3" trend) a try but they caused knee pain.  I've now completed several hundred miles in my old junior high school gym class running shoe Nike Air Pegasus 27's.  So far so good!
3.  Pants - I don't have fancy running pants.  My training partners do, but I just wear these French Terry pants from Target (click HERE).  They work for me, for now.  They are certainly comfy and only $19.95 a pair.
4.  Capris - I have found some amazing capris which have made all the difference to my internal temp during the hot summer runs.  They are, however, a little tighter than I would prefer.  They are Tek Gear Relaxed Fit Mesh Capris from Kohls and I got them on sale last June for only $9.34 a pair.  They don't seem to have the exact same pair on their website, but THESE are pretty close.   In 2011, I found even better capris at Target.  They are relaxed fit mesh capris and can be found HERE

5.  Shirts - I wear Tek Gear shirts from Kohls as evidenced by the purple shirt above.  I got them on clearence last June for only $7.64 each, but I can't find them on to show you.  Any performance material (sometimes called "wicking" or "tech") shirt will work.  For me, I LOVE the v-neck because crew necks feel like they are choking me. I have found dozens of tech shirts in a rainbow of colors at JC Penney as well.  Click HERE to see for yourself.   I ordered customed designed tech shirts for "C" and I for our Women's Half.  I loved the shirt we got - both the tech material and the low cost to custom design them.  Check out where we got them, HERE.

 6.  Undies - THESE moisture-wicking briefs are a necessity for running in hot weather.  The proof is in the lack of butt print - to that I mean, if you wear regular undies and then sit on the sidewalk after you run - you will leave a booty print of sweat on the sidewalk . . . NOT the case if you wear these beautes!  Rest assured - your sweat "mark" will not be left when you get up.  They are a bit pricey at $16, but worth every penny.  They come in other styles such as boy shorts and thongs.
7.   Bra - I could benefit from more research in this area because I don't wear anything special. Currently, I wear THIS from target.  

8.  Watch - I wear the same watch as I did when I was in the army 12 years ago.  It got me through some of the toughest physical challenges of my life, it can surely get me through whatever training run I go on.  Although it's been called "retro" and you can find it in the "classic" watch section at Target, it works really well for me.  Click HERE to get it at amazon for only $17.96 - bargain, huh!  Here's what I really like about this watch:  super easy to use, displays time and date, has awesome training features like an interval timer and stopwatch, and extremely long battery life!!!!  Short of a Garmin, this watch will get you what you need.

9.  Sweat bands - to keep hair flyaways back and keep the sweat from dripping into my eyes, I LOVE Bondi Band.  They have cute colors or clever sayings to keep things fun and upbeat.  Click HERE to check them out.  If you buy them online, google "Bondiband promo code" first - there is almost always a discount. 

What other "stuff" do I use?
1.  Body Glide - DON'T run without it.  This product is a MUST have to prevent chaffing.  I use it for every run!  Click HERE to learn more about it.  It can be purchased on or from your local running store.  It's usually about $9.  I have at least 4 sticks (car, gym bag, work, home) at all times.  In May 2011, I learned that the Body Glide for Her is the EXACT same product as what is pictured below.  The company wanted to make the packaging less intimidating for women and thus added sleeker stick and pink cap.  Don't get fooled into paying more for the "her" product - according to the Body Glide company, it's the exact same product. 
2.  Carbohydrate chews (for runs of 8+ miles) - 
There are MANY forms of carbohydrate chews from MANY manufacturers and everyone has their favs!  I prefer Chomps by Gu in the watermelon flavor or Bloks by Cliff in either the Black Cherry or Tropical Punch flavors.  For a half marathon, I usually eat 2-3 pieces at mile 4, mile 7, and mile 10.  You can get these for under $3 at a wide variety of locations including sporting good stores, grocery stores, Target, and running stores.

 3.  Interval Timer - We sometimes refer to it as the devil beeper, but it's really helpful.  Because my running partner and I both have one, we have them set on different intervals so that we can easily incorporate runs with different intervals into our training schedule.  You can get yours HERE, HERE, or HERE for under $20. These things are awesome because they can be beep soft, medium or loud as well as short or long and it can also be set to vibrate so you can use it while you listen to jamz.  
4.  Road Shoe ID - this is a must have to keep you safe.  In the unfortunate event that during a training run or a race you need medical attention, medical personnel has access to your key information.  Also under $20, there's really no excuse not to have one!  Click HERE to learn more about how to get your customized ID today.

5.  Yurbuds - if you like to listen to music or audiobooks while you are running/walking then these are a MUST have!!!  They are great. I've tried several different types of headphones and earbuds over the years and always feel frustrated that they need constant adjustment.  I'm not a person who likes to mess with things - running is challenging enough for me that anything else that requires effort and energy are too exhausting.  Yurbuds comes with a guaranteed not to fall out.  I wrap the cord around Curvyman Cord Supervisor to keep it out of my way.
Click HERE for more info on Yurbuds.
Click HERE for more info on the Curvyman Cord Supervisor
5.  Zensah compression sleeves - These are the GREATEST!  They make your calfs and shins recover faster and feel great.  If you have a bit of lower leg soreness from a long run - put thee on for a few hours (I've been known to wear them for 12-24 hours at a time . . . ahhhhhh, so good!).  They are about $39.99 no matter where you get them (,, or at a race expo).  These are definitely a staple in my wardrobe after a challenging race or a long run.  I own 2 pairs (light pink in size lg/xl - these are too long; and a pair of neon orange in size sm/med - these fit perfectly).  I'm hoping to get a 3rd pair because I love them so much!
 What do I read?

 1.  Women's Running magazine - I'm a BIG fan of this magazine.  It's written for women of all abilities from newby to veteran.  It's great because it celebrates the accomplishments of women who have lost weight, who have completed a 5K all the way through those who have done marathons and ultras.  I get my subscription through amazon but you can get it directly from
2.  Runner's World magazine - I enjoy reading this for the most part.  I have learned so many helpful tips.  This magazine is definitely not written for the novice; however, there are always tidbits that the semi-beginner can take away from each issue.  I take a lot of the advice with a grain-of-salt because most of the technical info is way above my ability.  I buy mine from Amazon, but you can get it directly from their website.  A subscription will run you about $1/issue.
3.  “Half –Marathon:  You can do it!” by Jeff Galloway.  This book was essential for me to read in prep for my first half marathon.  This is a must read if you are considering a half marathon (there is a full marathon edition too).  I got it at Amazon for $9. 
4.  "Marathoning For Mortals" by John Bingham.  Although some of the info in this book is stuff I already knew, there are a few chapters that make it worth it.  Here and HERE are my reviews of this book.  I purchased the book from amazon for $3 HERE.
5.   "The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women: Get Off Your Butt and On with Your Training" by Dawn Dais.  This book made me laugh-out-loud until tears streamed down my face.  It's not so much about a how to train or any sort of instructional guidance at all.  This book is all about sharing your torturous training experiences with someone who has been there and done it.  It's a fun read and should in no way be purchased if you are looking to read something educational or serious.  I got the book on Amazon for $5 HERE
6.  "The Beginning Runner's Handbook:  A Proven 13 week walk/run program" by Ian Macneill.  This is a MUST READ for all new to running.  If you are just starting out in your first training program or have run a recreation 5K, this book will provide you with valuable insight and information.  I strongly encourage you to make it one of the first things you read!  Click HERE to read my review of the book.  You can get it used at Amazon HERE for $7.50. 
7.  "Complete Idiot's Guide to Running" by Bill Rodgers.  I really didn't think I needed to read a book about running, I mean - what's involved, left foot right foot left foot right foot, repeat!  I had been an "untrained" runner 10 years earlier when I was in the army, and didn't think any "book would be necessary when I returned to running later in my life.  I had the opportunity to meet the author and hear him do a short presentation so I decided to read his book - what did I have to loose?  It turned out to be very educational and I am so glad that I had taken time to read the book.  At only $5 (older editions are even cheaper) from Amazon HERE, it's a bargain!