Training is all about going and doing the work, but there are many things that can make your workouts much better, and your progress measured.
During the past few years I have come across many apps, used different gear, and supplemented with a lot of different brands. Below I am listing what worked best for me even as the workouts progressed.
I love Lululemon, its originally for yoga, but works amazingly for runs. Their leggings are the right length, the stomach area doesn’t fold when you run, and you don’t have to keep pulling up. Their tops are long enough to cover your rear, breathable, and you can find them in any cut you are comfortable with. They also stay in place, as I hate in when there is “loose” material when I run, or the collar gliding up and rubbing on my neck. Moreover, its fashionable to wear if you need to run errands before or after your workout.
I haven’t tried many, but when I got my hands on the Asics, I didn’t feel like trying anything else. I went to their flagship store and got a full run assessment to pick the right shoe for me, and I have been using them ever since. I felt the difference in my posture; I no longer had pain in my knee or ankles after a long run, even on unstable terrain. I’m sure there are other good brands, but if you haven’t looked into Asics you should give it a try.
Accessories: Heart Rate Monitor
This took me a long time to figure out, I wanted to use something without a belt, but found out the most accurate readings require one. Currently I use the Garmin Fenix 3 HR watch, which has a built in monitor, but without the belt it’s off by about 100 calories. The Garmin syncs with an app and has great analytics, but it’s a bulky watch that I find hard to wear all day. At the same time I use a Wahoo belt that syncs with an app, its basic and has a handful of workout options.
This took forever to find, after tens of purchases, frustration, and just plain annoyance! For me, as much as anyone else, I wanted something that just stayed in its place, and earplug ones just weren’t doing it for me (believe me I tried about 5!). It had to be wireless, swaying wires just got on my nerves, and so finally my husband got me the Beats wireless headphones. They’re big, they weren’t intended for workouts, and their leather isn’t sweat proof, but they’re perfect. They are noise canceling (perfect for avoiding annoying comments), they sat exactly where you put them, and they double as a hairband for the odd strand of hair that loosens out of the ponytail (bonus!).
They might not be for everyone, but they fit all my criteria.
As mentioned, I use the Wahoo app with the heart rate belt, it records your heart rate, the distance on a map, and pace. It is really basic and if you aren’t looking for something too detailed it’s the best.
The Garmin watch gives a more detailed summary of the workout, and when synced with the app (which eventually syncs to the website) you get an amazingly detailed workout analysis. I got the Garmin when I entertained the idea of doing a triathlon, as it has features that cater to triathlon training, plus its waterproof.
Finally, I like Map My Run to log my runs and cycling. If you upgrade to MVP you have a lot of fun features, like finding running paths around me if I’m travelling, or challenges going on around my area. It allows people (with your permission) to see your workout live, I find it good for safety!
All these apps can be synced with each other, meaning my Wahoo belt is detected by Map My Run, and it uses the data to gauge my calories burned. Another fun feature I found in all of them is that you can add your shoe to the app (style and when you bought it), and based on you workouts it would tell you when its time to change them.
For Fun: FitBit
One of the easiest ways to get yourself moving without working out, my FitBit makes me want to move. You set your target steps per day, your target distance, calories, water intake, sleep, etc., and it’s a great way to get friend to move with you. You can set up step challenges, win virtual trophies, and just measure how active you are being on a daily basis. At the end of the week you get an email summary of your steps, which can help you identify which days you need to make an effort to move more. The FitBit app syncs to the other apps too, recording workouts and calories consumed.