Some of my favorite running gear (and the search for the perfect shorts)

Like everywhere else, the weather here has been weird (8°F on Tuesday, to 70-something this weekend), so this week I've been running in everything from fleece-lined tights to shorts and a tank. I thought I'd share some of my favorite gear: the stuff that got me through training for my first marathon: the 40+ mile week, the 50 mile week, and my most-miles-ever month.

(Important note! These are not affiliate links. I was not asked to review these things, nor am I receiving anything for mentioning this stuff.)

I restocked some of my running gear after my spring half marathon partly out of necessity (I owned just TWO sports bras and two pairs of shorts, which is shameful and awful, though I swear I washed them every time I run) and partly for fun/motivation, now that training for a marathon made me a "real" runner.  

1. My one guilty pleasure purchase was my Garmin 310xt: I upgraded my old 305 because I wanted something with a longer battery (20 hours compared to 10). I love how it's much smaller and fits on my wrist without having to crank the band to its tightest setting. There aren't a lot of major differences between the two, but the 310xt is much more comfortable and has a 20 hour battery life, so for me it was worth it. Of course, now I'm eyeing the 620, but I definitely don't need a new one.

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2. Heart rate monitor: Garmin's "soft strap" one is way better than the older one that came with my Forerunner 305, but it still chafes me like crazy. I really want to find a way to make it more comfortable for everyday wear. This was really a lifesaver during that time in the beginning of training when I had no idea what paces to be running. I just ran by heart rate for a while.

2. Smartwool PhD Ultralight wool running socks: Wool, what's not to love? It's cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I explored assembling an all-wool workout wardrobe once, but it turns out wool is better for some things, like socks, than others (like sportsbras and shorts), plus it was out of my budget at the time. My go-to place for SmartWool socks is Sierra Trading Post, because they usually sell "seconds" for cheap. I haven't tried another brand of wool socks but I imagine they're all basically the same. And, these suckers lasted me more than two years before they began to get holes and had to be replaced.

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3. Sports bras: Nike Victory Adjust X-Back Bra & Moving Comfort Urban X-Over bra

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It's really hard to find a high-impact running bra in extended sizes that isn't hideously ugly, so when I saw Nike's, I was hooked (cha-ching!). I think it's actually cool-looking. Plus, the one I got over a year ago still hasn't lost its shape or stretched out, even though I accidentally put it in the dryer a couple times. However, and this is a major problem: it chafes like crazy. Proceed with caution/moleskin. 

The bra that is slightly less cool-looking but does NOT chafe me is the Moving Comfort Urban X-Over bra. I converted to this bra during marathon training after a particularly excruciating long run in which my Nike bra chafed me so badly, I was bleeding. I trusted my Moving Comfort bra on marathon day and it didn't disappoint. I give it my highest praise! The only thing I don't like about it is how thick it is -- in the summer, I never felt like wearing it.

4. Trigger Point "The Grid" foam roller

At the time I couldn't believe I was spending $40 on this thing, but, as everyone says, it's a pretty nice foam roller.

5. Shorts? I am still looking for my perfect pair of running shorts. Running shorts are either too clingy and tight and hot, or too baggy and unisex. The ones that seem like they'd be great do weird things once I actually start running. The three pairs I've tried are all fine, but not great:

Nike 2" Rival Short

  • Pros: yoga waistband, very lightweight, many pockets, comfortable. 
  • Cons: Chafes for some reason, $50, and I'm unfortunately between sizes.

Adidas Supernova Glide Short:

  • Pros: Comfortable, kind of hip/retro colors, affordable
  • Cons: No yoga waistband and only one teeny tiny pocket

Under Armour Get Set Go Printed Short

  • Pros: yoga waistband, short, looks great on, comfortable
  • Cons: Has just one pocket with no zipper, so everything just bounces right out. C'mon!

My dream short is not-Spandex, relatively short (3" inseam or less) shorts with a yoga waistband, four-way stretch fabric, for under $35. Is that so much to ask?

PLEASE TELL ME: Has anyone spotted my Dream Short in the wild? Do you have an all-wool workout wardrobe?