The Fabulous Four

There is that common saying about running....all you need is a pair of shoes. Well my closet and dresser with their overflow of running shoes, hydration packs, socks, clothing, fancy watches and other various things that I just need to run seem to indicate that shoes are just the tip of the iceberg. But I will agree that shoes are the most important item when it comes to running and if you have limited funds, give you the biggest bang for your buck. A good fitting pair of shoes can mean the difference between logging miles and logging hours of rehab. I will always recommend going to a specialty running store to get fitted for the first time. Not just because I worked at one but because they know what they are doing when it comes to fitting shoes. But if you are well past the point of getting shoes there may be a few other items you may want to invest in.

To keep me relatively pain free and up and running I have four tools that I use on a regular basis and would recommend to runners at any level.

1) A resistance band. I like to use this to help me stretch my hamstrings and across the body. I also tie the ends together to make a round band and use it to do hip exercises. For a few bucks this band provides a lot of options for stretching and strengthening. 

2) A foam roller (I have this one) or roller of any kind. They come in various sizes and made from various materials now but a foam roller helps me stretch my back and roll out my IT band and calves. I use the roller before running  and after. If you have never tried rolling out your calves and stretching your back before running try it! 

3) The orb. At first I was like 20 bucks for a rubber ball, uh no thanks. But this by far is my all time favorite way to get at the knots in my calves and massage out whatever mystery ache is happening in my hamstring. I can also massage my back, butt, shins whatever with this thing and it is compact enough to go in a suitcase.

4) Pilates for runners. Runners often have weak cores and hips (and arms and everything else cause we tend to just run) and this can often be the root cause of injuries. I have done Pilates in a class format, tried various YouTube versions and other DVDs but Laura Tarbell's Pilates for Runners is, in my opinion, the best. Not only is there a ton of core work but she also focuses on balance, hip strengthening exercises and a bit of upper body. I aim to do this DVD twice a week. At an hour long it does take a bit of time and I have found that some weeks it works better for me to do the first half one day and the second half the next breaking it in to a quicker 30 min. session.

These four things are my favorite shall we say prehab items to keep me running. They have been particularly useful as I start to up my mileage again after not running for awhile. What we do before and after running can be just as important as getting out there and running.

What gear can you not live without?


  1. i'm impressed you use your foam roller (i have the same one) for calves- i can't seem to really "get in there" on that body part and normally result to the stick for that. If something should ever happen to your orb, a dryer ball is a great alternative as well (and much cheaper)


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