Arm bands, waist packs and compression socks, oh my!

Sometimes accessories can be motivating, and sometimes they are a necessity, but do you really need all this stuff?

Running used to require running shoes and maybe a pair of running shorts. Now a days, there are special moisture wicking socks and shirts. There are compression socks, shorts, capris and tights. Watches that track your steps, miles, pace, calories and sleep. There are shoes for running on the road, on the trail or for speed work outs. There are products to prevent chaffing, to relieve achy muscles and to replenish calories and electrolytes. It can all be a bit overwhelming to a new runner. I have compiled a list of some of the things that I like and why to help you decide if it is something you want to spend your hard earned money on.

  • Hat or visor: I always wear a hat. Mostly to keep the sun off my face, but also because you don’t want o see my hair after a run :-). My favorite hat is Nike featherlite. It fits the best.  I also have a beanie hat to keep my ears warm when I run in the mountains in the winter.
  • Sunglasses: I always wear sunglasses to protect my eyes and obviously to keep the glare of the sun out. I have had Oakleys which I love, they don’t fog and provide the clearest vision, but I am currently wearing a pair I got at an expo for $29. They are light weight with polarized lenses and I honestly don’t see much of a difference between them and the Oakleys except they fog up occasionally when I am at a stop light.
  • Garmin: I have had several Garmins over the years. The one I have now is the smallest and most accurate. In case you don’t know it is a GPS watch. It tracks my distance, pace and time. I’m pretty sure it can do other things but that’s all I care about. You can upload the info to your computer and it will graph your runs.
  • Earbuds: I almost always run with music (except in early morning runs when I’m alone in the dark) and I want earbuds that are going to stay in my ears. I currently use Jaybird. These are my favorite so far. They are wireless Bluetooth earbuds that stay in place, but they are pricey. I also have used Yurbuds. They also stay in place. They are not wireless, but are a lot less expensive.
  • Armband: If you run with your phone and your earbuds connect to it, this is a must. I have gone through a few armbands and have found the best deals on Amazon. Be sure to check the size (made that mistake once) and the warranty.  Some have lifetime warranty so you can get a replacement when the strap wears out (and it will).
  • Waist pack: These are good for long distances when you have to carry Gu, lip balm, ID, keys, bandaids (you never know), feminine products (sorry guys), etc. I like the Spibelt. It stays in place without bouncing around. I use the large size because my phone is huge. It looks like they now have ones to hold Gu and water (I may be upgrading soon). spibelt1
  • Fuelbelt: These are belts that hold water bottles for long distance running. You can get belts with 2 or 4 bottles depending on your needs. I have one with 2. Fuelbelt is a brand name, there are others available depending on what you want. I had one that held one big bottle, hated it, threw it away during a long run. I like ones that Velcro instead of clip. Velcro stays in place, whereas belts that clip have straps that need tightening which tend to loosen with heavy bottles so you need to constantly adjust them. Running is hard enough without having to fiddle with a belt constantly! If ordering one online, know your size. I like wearing mine low so it needs to be bigger. Running stores generally have a variety to choose from and try on and the prices are comparable to what you will find on Amazon.fuelbelt
  • Compression socks: These are suppose to help blood return during long runs, and help achy legs. Personally, I think running helps blood return and nothing helps achy legs except Advil, ice and rest. Having said that, I also believe in trying anything at least once, so yes, I have compression socks. I rarely wear them, but I recently read that runners are at rick for blood clots in the legs (DVT) after running long distances and then sitting for a long period of time. Such as, when you travel for a half marathon or marathon the drive or fly a long distance home, or maybe just lounge the rest of the day in front of the TV. Wearing compression socks after a long run can help prevent DVT’s and help muscle recovery. I plan on wearing mine after my next half marathon. We’ll see if my legs feel less tired.


So there you have it, a few things to think about. To me, these are necessities, but you really only need a pair of good running shoes, comfortable shorts, lightweight shirt and a hat, and you are ready to go. Oh wait, women need a good sports bra. And moisture wicking socks, and that’s it 😉

Hope this has been helpful.

Thanks for reading!

Leave a comment or email me at if you want to see something featured on my blog.

Keep running my friends!

Leave A Comment

Tell me what you think...