This motley collection of resources includes everything from running, cooking, blogging, online business and books. I found these resources to be incredibly useful and highly recommend them.
In general I’m a gear averse runner. I try and stay minimal, though, I find that I use the following gear quite a bit. My very first foam roller is now so badly dented that it’s not much of a roller anymore!
Amphipod Runlite Airstretch is my hydration ￼pack of choice. It comes with 2x 10oz snap-in bottles, a large integrated pack with outer pocket and key fob. You can easily move the bottles to the front or back depending on your comfort. I’ve added two additional snap-pods to carry food items as well. I think once I run distances longer than 25 miles without aid stations, I might consider a backpack instead of a waist belt. See more below on the Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest for being self sufficient on long runs.
I use Ankle Weights in many of the drills and ￼workouts, especially in the advanced progressions. They are very effective in making your lower limbs work harder, thereby strengthening them in the process. I love how light your legs feel afterwards.
The Balance Board brings the uneven terrain ￼(think trail running) right into your living room. This board is great for proprioception as well as strengthening your ankles and feet. Many of the advanced progressions in the proprioception exercises can be done on this board for added difficulty. When you first start on the balance board, make sure you are supporting yourself against a wall. It is a little tricky.
I installed a Doorway Pull-up Bar in my house a long time ago, when I was an avid rock climber. I’ve always been a huge fan of chin-ups and reminisce the days when I could do chin-ups with one my kids strapped to me on a Baby Bjorn carrier! The ab crunches is simply one of many exercises you can do with the pull-up bar. It’s a great way to work on your arms, shoulders and core all in one go. The ab crunches is just one of the possible variations on the Pull-up Bar. You can get pretty creative with this one.
I cannot say enough good things about the Exercise Wheel. It’s one wheel to rule your core! I love the wheel so much that this is the only exercise gear that I carry with me when I travel (well, okay, maybe the foam roller too). The fact that one simple movement works your core, abs, forearms and shoulders makes this one of my all time favorites. It’s used my martial arts experts like Jackie Chan. There are a couple of different variations with the exercise wheel, one where your knees are down (intermediate) and one where you are standing (advanced).
Every runner that I know has a Foam Roller tucked away somewhere in their house. The most versatile of all gear, the Foam Roller can be used for strengthening, proprioception and therapy for sore calves, IT band and quads. It can also be used to elevate your legs when you are doing exercises like Plank and Bridge. Or if you get the half foam roller, you can practice your balance on it while still being stable. You can also use the Foam Roller for your lower and upper back, gluteus and even for one-armed push-ups!
My chiropractor got me my first Thera-Band when I busted my shoulder on a roller-blading injury. Along with the Door Anchor, I used the band to strengthen my shoulders and arms and they proved to be very effective. The resistance provided by the bands have many uses and I’ve put it to effective use to strengthen my ankles. There are some really simple exercises you can do with the Thera-Band to make your ankles stronger. Stronger ankles are especially helpful in trail runs where the terrain is un-even and your foot lands at different angles.
The Ultimate Direction SJ Ulta Vest is something I finally gave into after looking at the last stretch of 14-miles without aid stations on my first ultra marathon. I wrote a detailed review about it, but in spite of the hefty price tag, this vest is a must have for runners that are out on long trail runs and need enough food and water to be self sufficient. The 2x 20oz bottles in the front, the ample storage space (pouches in the front for gels a large mesh with two sized compartments in the back) and the light weight all make this vest a great resource to have.
Yoga Ball is similar to the Foam Roller and is an amazingly simple and effective tool for rebuilding your core. You can also use the Yoga Ball for elevating your legs for the Plank and Bridge. These balls go for $20 to $30 in most sports stores and my chiropractor even recommended that I use them to sit while working on computers! Turns out my legs are anatomically the same length, but functionally my right leg is slightly shorter than my left. Also known as a the Haggis Syndrome. 🙂
After three months of running, I stumbled across Active to learn about local races around where I live. Active has a number of training guides, simple workouts and exercises to get you moving.
The mother of all running sites, Runner’s World is recognized as a worldwide authority on running information and to advise and motivate runners of all ages and abilities. The forums on the site are useful to socialize with other runners and get advice on various running topics.
Ken Bob Saxton’s site on barefoot running (since 1997), Running Barefoot is an excellent resource for the why’s, the what’s and the how’s of barefoot running.
Stan Jensen’s Run 100’s is a web site that focuses on various aspects of ultra running including schedules of the 110 North American 100-milers. This site also includes references to coaching and camps and is a great resource for learning more about ultra running.
I Run Far is a great resource for trail running and this site provides a mix of timely news, race reports and gear reviews. Read past the “ultra” in these articles. There is many wisdom here even for runners that are just starting out.
Kevin Sayer’s UltRunR is an eclectic collection of various articles on ultra running that includes hydration, race strategy, clothing and training. Again, don’t be scared by the word “ultra” since there are plenty of basic advice here that can be applied to everyday running distances. The humor section is also a fun read.