Must-Have Running Gadgets – From the Marathon Trenches

We runners are a fanatical bunch, especially the marathon variety. That’s one reason we grow really attached to gadgets and tools that help us survive all those long and sometimes monotonous runs. Today I’m going to share a few of our favorite running things, including myself and others who run as much, or more, than I do. My pick is the Garmin Forerunner 205, a GPS receiver that provides precise speed, distance, and pace data. When I started running with Team Dirty Martini several years ago, everyone had them. Though at first I accused them of being dorks for wearing one, I am now addicted. I will warn you, however, of the grieving period you may experience upon the realization of how slow you may actually be running.

Beth Risdon, writer, teacher, cook,  runner and author of the entertaining blog, Shut Up And Run!, also picks the Garmin watch. “Keeping a certain pace and knowing my exact distance on runs is essential to me because it seems I am always training for some marathon or half marathon where I have a time goal.” Dena Harris, who is training for Boston and blogs at Why Aren’t I in Charge, also gives the Garmin her top vote, despite that “it looks like I’m wearing a mini-Macbook on my wrist.” Her second vote is her Sole F80 treadmill, citing that “if my house caught on fire and I knew Blair and the cats were safe, the thing I’d go back in for is my treadmill.”

Kelly, from Austin, with a huge passion for healthy living, had a tough time picking  just one. She selected the SPIbelt because “it is very light weight but expands to hold everything I need when out on a run: my house key, some Gu, and my cell phone. It is also stays in place and doesn’t ride up.”

On days when she runs more than 13 miles, she loves her Nathan trail mix belt.

Matthew Frazier, a Boston qualifier and recent 50K finisher, vegetarian and blog aficionado, said that he “enjoys running with a heart rate monitor and really loves his Nathan hydration vest for trail runs where there is no access to water for miles and miles.”

Polar A5 Heart Rate Monitor by IvyMike.

A previous contributor to my blog, John Kachurick, had this to say: “I’m not a big gadget guy, the only ones I live by are my 2nd gen IPOD shuffle and my online pedometer.

And last, but certainly not least, Kristina Pinto, also known as Marathon Mama, said that that: “My favorite “tool” helps me run in severe summer humidity. I like to get a bandanna wet and then put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes before I run. Then I tie the nearly frozen bandanna around my neck and it keeps me from overheating on super hot runs. I hate running in the heat and this is a sure thing for getting me through.”

What’s your favorite gadget? I’d love to hear your ideas. After all, if a gadget can help me run faster, I’m all ears!

Melinda Hinson