My Personal Running Favorites

by tinareale on April 24, 2012

Why, hello there! Thank you all so much for the congratulations and support on my race this weekend. It was such a fun experience and I always look forward to sharing with all of you. You should know that your support means the world to me, so thank you for it. Smile

You all likely remember (since I just posted it yesterday) that I had a fun night with the ladies behind the Another Mother Runner blog this past Friday. Part of the evening included them sharing some of their personal running favorites with us other mother runners in attendance. It struck me as a cool idea, so here I am ready to share my own with all of you. These are the products that help get me through my runs – the things I count on and absolutely love. Perhaps they are some of your favorites too!


I always eat one of three things before my runs and usually before my workouts as well – a banana, a larabar, an English muffin or piece of whole grain toast spread with peanut butter and jelly, or some combo of those things. They never let me down. And check out  my post on workout snacks if you missed it before!

Coffee. Always before a morning run. Always. Otherwise things get…uncomfortable, we’ll call it.

Gu energy gels. Non fruit flavors only. I simply cannot chew and swallow during runs without gagging. I don’t enjoy the aftertaste of electrolyte drinks/chews/gels in fruity flavors. But the chocolate, vanilla, and espresso flavored gels get me through perfectly.

I have become a light chocolate milk recovery drink convert. That or a green smoothie. But chocolate milk doesn’t require dirtying a blender…and it’s fun to throwback to childhood after running 10+ miles.


My two favorite water bottles – stainless steel, insulated Thermos bottle and Nathan sport bottle. The Nathan bottle makes it easy to carry water with me on the run and I love the additional storage it offers (for my non-fruity Gu, of course). Then, the insulated Thermos bottle stays nice and cold to await me at the end of my run…even in the peak of summer heat. The thing amazes me.


Help My Aches & Pains

With my recent injury, this deserves its own section. I am so thankful for these things helping me right now.

Foam roller. Whether or not you run, if you workout then you need one of these. I actually got mine at a KMart that Peter and I went into to kill time one afternoon in Florida for my cousin’s wedding. It has 3 layers – a rolling bar (perfect for the bottom of my feet), a “textured” smaller roller that I love for my calves, and a standard smooth foam roller. Love it!

Zensah compression sleeves. I wear these for any longer run and to help with recovery. I wasn’t sure they would make much of a difference before buying some at the end of last year and now I have two pairs so I can always have a pair fresh and available.

KT Tape. I bought some of this to help me after my injury because offered a 50% off group deal. I have to say I may be more impressed with this than the compression sleeves. I definitely think it helps provide some extra support as I continue marathon training. I try not to use it for every run, but do think it helps my recovery and to get through longer runs.

^^^see it on my foot/ankle??^^^

ACE brand reusable and flexible cold compresses. They mold so much better to my aches and pains than a bag of frozen peas and it’s nice that you can use it directly against the skin. I still make sure to do full on ice baths after long runs though.


Fun & Functional Gear

My phone. Not only do I run with it as a safety precaution, but also for my music. It has all of my favorites – including many from this 100+ favorites song list.

Shoes right for my feet. You already know which ones I like.

A Spibelt. That thing is so handy dandy and can hold so much. Sure, it’s a glorified fanny pack but who cares if it will hold my id, key, phone, and the next item on my list.


Chapstick. Nothing fancy, but it saves on chilly, dry, windy days.

Quality clothes. Cute workout clothes is not my number one priority. I want something functiona.. Moisture wicking shirts. Flattering bottoms that don’t bunch, ride up, sag, or anything of that nature. SUPPORTIVE and COMFORTABLE sports bras!!! I think that one matters the most to me since I have searched high and low for good sports bras. You know what I find funny? My number one favorite sports bra is the exact same one Dimity and Sarah love and recommended to us all on Friday. See that big poster?? It’s the truth.


The Champion Double Dry Spot Comfort Max-Support Sports Bra. Long name = how long it can hold up comfortably in a run. Long. Forever. I literally will not wear another sports bra for runs and own four of these babies. Best sports bra hands down.


And their sports bras are currently on sale…just saying. Also just saying I still wear the Smoothing Knee Pants at least once a week as well. I heart Champion.

So, there you have it. Some of my favorite running gear. Now, your turn – what are some of your favorite workout (running related or not)  products and items?


A huge THANK YOU to Champion for contributing prizes for this week’s Best Body Bootcamp! I’m not exagerating when I say they are my all time favorite sports bra and capris. Show them some love on Twitter and Facebook for sponsoring an ENTIRE FITNESS OUTFIT for this week.

Congrats to Casey W for winning the NuNaturals and Popchips prize packs for last week’s prize!


1 MizFit April 24, 2012 at 7:04 am

I have many loves even though I dont run :)
my foam roller, OISELLE :) , my dirty red running skirt!

2 tinareale April 24, 2012 at 7:08 am

I actually have some Oiselle shorts in the mail for me as we speak. I have wanted to try them for forever since I always hear such good things, so I gave in and ordered some. :)

3 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 24, 2012 at 7:10 am

I’m one of those weirdos who cannot carry ANYTHING when I run. It’s me and my iPod – that’s it!

4 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 24, 2012 at 7:54 am

This is some good gear! I need to try out a hand held waterbottle, I just hate holding things! I actually got a camelbak pack for long runs, which is nice because I can store other things in there too. I also want to hear more about this tape! I should look into it!

5 Heather (Where's the Beach) April 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

Great list – I am a huge believer in KT Tape now as well. I am also with you on the GU/Gel – vanilla for me and only vanilla. Made the mistake of trying out a “fun” flavor once on a long run. Not good at all! And I rely on my Triggerpoint Therapy kit for recovery.

6 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers April 24, 2012 at 8:25 am

I have that same cold compress, and I love it! I’m also a big fan of Aleve and Nike Tempo shorts.

7 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat April 24, 2012 at 8:32 am

When / if I ever get back in to running, I’ll definitely be referencing this post! I had KT tape applied a few times when I was getting PT for a torn tendon, and I agree that it definitely helped!

8 Candy April 24, 2012 at 8:38 am

I use a lot of the same products you do…ACE compress, Spibelt (LOVE this thing), KT tape, Zensah sleeves, and GU gels. My fav pre-run snack is usually toast + PB&J or banana and some cottage cheese. I too am addicted to chocolate milk for a post-run treat. It is so yummy!!! I’m going to try the Mizunos the next time I need to buy running shoes. I have Brooks now, and I like them but I’m always up for trying something new!

9 Lori Lynn April 24, 2012 at 8:49 am

I’ve only done one 5k, but when I did it, I was afraid to drink coffee in the morning (though I paid for it during the race, b/c I was so tired), for fear that I’d have to go to the bathroom during the race. Coffee seems to go right through me. That may be why I have trouble working out in the morning. I do so much better when I have caffeine in me, but if I do a 5 a.m. workout, I don’t have time to drink a cup of coffee beforehand!
I would love to use my phone when I work out, but I have a Droid razor, and it’s just too bulky for me to wear. So, I use my Ipod shuffle.

10 tinareale April 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

This is borderline TMI, but I actually drink coffee in order to go to the bathroom before my runs. I’ll have a cup about an hour before so that way I have a chance to prevent “stomach issues” that come up otherwise. And for having to pee – running in the am even with coffee doesn’t seem to get me. In the afternoon, though? I’m in trouble.

11 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon April 24, 2012 at 8:51 am

Toast with peanut butter and banana is the BEST pre-run/pre-workout snack ever!!

My favorites are target running shorts, decent socks, and my beloved hot pink bandana. It prevents sweaty bangs in the eyes and (I like to think) makes me more visible to cyclists and drivers. Plus it makes me look SO cool!

12 Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef April 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

vanilla gu’s are my favorite. have you ever tried cliff energy gel shots? their vanilla is absolutely amazing!

13 Alex @ therunwithin April 24, 2012 at 9:02 am

I am the same way, before I race I always ALWAYS need to have coffee. It settles my stomach and helps me ‘ahem’ move along before the race. I am looking into investing in some sort of belt or arm band to keep ID and keys in for when I move to the city, I like yours a lot.

14 tinareale April 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I love my Spibelt and it doesn’t bounce around or anything if I wear it tight (but still comfortable) across my hips. Love it. And I have to have coffee for the same reasons – to move things along.

15 Alyssa @ fit and fun in third April 24, 2012 at 9:10 am

The only energy chews I like is the blueberry gu chomps, and as far as refueling, it’s always a green protein smoothie… Sometimes thinking about that smoothie is the only thing that gets me through my runs! :)

16 Carissa @Fit2Flex April 24, 2012 at 9:19 am

I love this post. Such a cute idea to put all your running favorites together. I may have to do a post like that too!

How do you like the KT tape? How do you know how to properly use it?

17 tinareale April 24, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I find the tape helps a LOT. And they have a lot of instructional video demos on their site that are really easy to follow.

18 Jess April 24, 2012 at 9:31 am

Scott teases me endlessly when I stow chapstick in my pocket on our longer runs. Seriously though – sometimes chapped lips distract the hell outta me on a longer run. It’s ALL I can think about. So having the chapstick with me is a lifesaver! Even if the hubs thinks I’m nuts for it ;-)

19 Laurie @Love, Laugh, laurie April 24, 2012 at 9:41 am

Love love this post! As my first half is getting closer (less than 4 weeks!), I am still asking questions about what I should have with me for the day of, so this is so helpful! Also, i am a huge chocolate milk believer, so I love that addition :)

20 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride April 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

I love this post, it was a good reminder of my favorite things but also a few things I have been needing for a while. I need to buy a foam roller! I always figured they were so pricey so just took advantage 1-2 times a week at the gym but I think it’s time to invest in one. I have been eyeing the spibelt for a while too, trying to find pockets for chapstick, phone, ipod, key, etc is never fun!

21 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List April 24, 2012 at 9:50 am

I use a lot of these things!! Especially the SpiBelt! That has saved me so many times from having to carry things – I can fit my iPhone, beans, keys and an elephant in there!

22 tinareale April 24, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Gotta have that elephant. Great for improving leg strength. ;)

23 jobo April 24, 2012 at 9:51 am

chapstick!! YES! I get stressed out almost if I ever forget to bring any. Nothing worse than having chapped lips and that’s all I can think about!! mm chocolate milk. or how about Zico chocolate coconut water ;-) similar taste and so good!

24 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning April 24, 2012 at 9:52 am

I love Moving Comfort capris and sports bras. They’re pricey (but isn’t everything that’s good quality?). I need to get a belt like that to store small things in. I have a fanny pack. I look really cool wearing it.
I have “the grid” foam roller, which is a beast. I really like it. Or hate it. You know what I mean. I just always have to force myself to use it!

25 Carly April 24, 2012 at 10:00 am

I used to love your blog and then it became running obsessed….

26 tinareale April 24, 2012 at 8:16 pm

I appreciate any honest feedback and constructive criticism. I honestly feel as though I talk less about running now than before since I don’t post as regularly about all my running workouts and try to emphasize motivational topics or strength training related routines and techniques with some catch-ups in my daily life and other things mixed in. I just go with the flow of what I feel like sharing and I understand that won’t fit everyone at all times. My recent few posts were about running, yes, but before that only 1 of the previous 2 weeks related to running. I just try to go with what I feel like sharing at any given time. But, still, thanks for feedback. :)

27 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts April 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

Great post! I took lots of notes! I too love anything Champion – all of my sports bras and pants are from them. And they don’t cost an arm and a leg! Thanks for sharing your faves!! :)

28 Heather (Heather's Dish) April 24, 2012 at 10:51 am

champion bras are really my favorite for workouts…they’re just supportive in all the right places on me!

29 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss April 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

LOVE my Nathan water bottle! I actually ran with mine for my full… it was much, much handier than having to slow down with the crowd at every water stop.

30 Brooke @ Exercise For Fries April 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I love my Lululemon swiftly long sleeve. If they didn’t cost me my first born I would have a million of them!

31 Samantha April 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I started a post exactly like this yesterday but never finished it! Perhaps I will now.

I LOVE Champion sports bras! They’re the only ones I’ve found that don’t chafe me!

32 tinareale April 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm

That’s exactly why I love mine so much – chafe free!

33 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health April 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm

I always need my iPod nano for some tunes. I also love my Gymboss timer and my heart rate monitor :D

34 Heather @ Better With Veggies April 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm

What an awesome collection of products – it’s so fun to see what everyone uses for their runs! And I’m off to check out that sports bra, I was just thinking it might be time for another. I feel like I go through a lot of them in a week. :)

35 Lisa @ RunWiki April 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

My list looks very similare to yours.. love Champion as well, a big fan, however I have never tried that specific bra.. putting on my need to have list.. and that Thermos.

36 Lee April 24, 2012 at 8:15 pm

Totally agree with you on the fruit flavored Gu. It’s gross. The chocolate kind though, tastes like chocolate icing and the pb was really good too.

37 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions April 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I’m a big fan of Target’s C9 line. It’s nothing crazy fancy, but I appreciate its budget-friendly-ness and have found most of the what I’ve bought to be really comfortable/effective at doing what it’s supposed to do.

I desperately need to get myself a foam roller. My legs have been killing me basically all of yesterday and today, and I would love to do something other than stretching to make this soreness peace out.

38 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness April 24, 2012 at 10:13 pm

I cannot run in cotton. Everything is moisture wicking. Oh, and my foam roller. Can’t live without it.

39 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More April 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I keep thinking about getting a SpiBelt because everyone loves them, but for some reason I just haven’t. I think once I get back to running outside (versus the treadmill at the gym), I’ll make the purchase!

40 [email protected] April 25, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I love chocolate milk as a post-workout replenisher, it takes amazing (I’m definitely a chic-o-holic) and its filling enough to make me not want to eat everything in my fridge. For massaging muscles, your tools look very helpful but I find using a tennis ball to roll over my sore calves works just fine. In addition to the Chapstick for cold days, I wouldn’t survive without also including tissues in that handy-dandy fanny pack!

41 [email protected] April 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I only wear my ipod nano and my shoes (and clothes of course. hah). I can’t handle it all.

And YES to the choc milk after a run or hard workout!! I LOVE that stuff.

42 [email protected] for the Soul April 25, 2012 at 1:07 pm

ahhhhhhhh I loooove the foam roller! I seriously think it helped my recovery go quicker when I had foot problems and not the best running shoes a few months ago.

43 Lindsay @ FuelMyFamily April 25, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I am going to target this afternoon to spend a gift card and I think i am going to try one of these sports bras. i recently found a Nike one at marshalls I love because it clasps in the back and has adjustable straps. As a nursing mom I need all the support i can get!

44 Emily B. April 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I’m so glad you mentioned Chapstick- I know it’s weird, but it’s my one must have piece of exercise equipment (besides good sports bra)! I don’t know why, but I feel so off if I don’t have chapstick to use before a work out, and I’m not a huge chapstick user generally!

I think I”m going to have to look into compression sleeves and see what all the fuss is about…

45 Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run April 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

FABULOUS list…and I’m bookmarking it for reference. ;)

I LOVE the picture of you running above…I’m guessing you’re clapping at the kiddos? ;) I do it, too. :D

I live in sports bras now…and hubby hates me for it. ;) I’ll have to check this one out…I could use a few more, especially for those long runs!

46 Liz April 27, 2012 at 7:45 am

The champion bras are on sale right now!

Previous post:

Next post: