Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Workout Essentials

As promised a few days ago, I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite workout essentials.  While it can be said that the only workout essentials you really need is yourself and perhaps a bottle of water, I've got a few more things that I simply cannot workout without.  My hat is off to those people who are minimalists when it comes to exercise, though!  (Note: the opinions below are mine and I have not been asked by the brands/companies listed to provide my opinion.  I am simply a huge fan of the below products and love to share them with people.)

1. My running shoes. I love my Asics.  A few years ago, I won a gift certificate to a local running store following a race I participated in and I admit, I was a bit nervous to go in.  I do not look the part of a runner and I was afraid of feeling out of place. The staff at Big River Running (http://www.bigriverrunning.com/index.html) were so helpful and friendly, though.  I was fitted for running shoes and got to take a few pairs on a test "run" outside the store.  I loved the way the Asics felt on my feet and so I took home my first official pair of running shoes.  Sadly, I think I have about reached the max. mileage on these babies and I might need to invest in a new pair.  These shoes have crossed many a finish line though!

My Asics, my first true running shoes
2. Yurbuds.  I hate the way earbuds feel in my ear.  They never stay in my ear and when they do, they hurt like hell.  I've heard the new earbuds for iPhones and iPods are much better, but I am content with my older earbuds because I found Yurbuds (http://yurbuds.com/).  I learned about Yurbuds a few years ago, as they were a sponsor for the Komen St. Louis affiliate, for which I am a volunteer.  At the time, Yurbuds was a fairly new business, but I was drawn in by the fact that they were a local company that supported an organization I was passionate about and they promised to stop the dreaded earbud issues.  I have a hot pink Komen inspired pair of Yurbuds that I love.  I cannot say enough good things about them.  My earbuds have never fallen out and they are incredibly comfortable to wear; it's a fantastic product.

Yurbuds, Bani Bands headband, and my armband
3. Bani Bands headband.  I'm not a big headband wearer.  I don't think I can pull them off and they never seem to stay on my big noggin.  However, a few months ago one of my favorite bloggers (Megan at http://runlikeagrl.com/) was raving about a Bani Bands headband (http://www.banibands.com/) that she had.  I was intrigued as Megan said her Bani Bands headband never popped off while she ran.  I was fortunate enough to win a free Bani Band headband earlier this year and I love my sparkly silver headband!  It really does stay in place! It has really come in handy since I cut my hair and got bangs and therefore can't really pull up my hair like I used to.  If you ask Matt, he'll tell you that when I wear it, you can see me from outer space due to all the sparkles (he is not a sparkle fan, shame on him), but I love it!  It's practical and sassy all in one!

4. New Balance armband.  My armband has been a recent acquisition, but I love it.  I've been looking for an armband for a long time and have never been able to find one that fit my upper arm (ugh), but I found this New Balance armband (http://www.newbalance.com/) at Target and it fits!  Having my hands free while I run has been great, particularly this summer since it allows me to carry a water bottle with me to stay hydrated (next up on the accessory must have list is a hydration belt, I think).  Having my phone out of my reach has also been beneficial for my sanity.  I don't check my phone as much for my pace if it isn't in my hands, nor do I change my play list nearly as much.  Win-win!

5. My phone.  My phone has become one of the most important accessories for my workouts.  I can track my runs either through the Couch to 5K app or the Nike+ Running app (my current fave), I can listen to my favorite play list, or my current favorite use of my phone is listening to podcasts while I workout. 

What are some of your favorite workout accessories? 

It was an absolutely beautiful day today, so Matt, the boys, and I took a nice walk after dinner.  On Easter this year, we went to explore a new trail by our house that runs parallel to the Mississippi River.  More importantly (to Nick), a portion of the trail passes over railroad tracks; doesn't get much better than that.  It's a nice trail and we decided to go for a walk there tonight for a change of pace.  It was probably for the better, too, because our normal trail was packed with people due to the nice weather and there were no parking spots available!

Looks like the weather is hanging around for a few days, so I see a lot of outdoor runs in my future!

"Think about how far you've come today and how much farther you'll go tomorrow."