Get Fit | My Running Essentials

July 6, 2012

I know most of us are probably already half-way into our various summer-time slim-down plans, but today is the beginning of a brand-new, much-requested fitness feature on S&P called Get Fit!  Discovering fun and creative ways to live a healthy, active lifestyle is something that I consider to be one of my favorite pastimes, and if I can provide helpful resources, insight & encouragement to others along the way, then why wouldn’t I share?!

Get Fit is a place where you’ll find tips, tricks and honest accounts of my own personal experiences, and I’m so excited to share with you in this new way.  As usual, feel free to let me know if you have any questions or specific topics you’d like me to cover, and I’ll do my best to deliver exactly what the S&P community is interested in!

Keep reading to find today’s topic below – My Running Essentials…

Running // I know –  You either love it or you hate it, and let me start by telling you that I’ve personally experienced both ends of the spectrum, but I can honestly say that it has been one of the most important things that has gotten me through an interesting, and somestimes difficult, past few years.

The Backstory // I ran track on and off throughout junior high and high school, but always focused more on field events and sprinting.  I cringed whenever I had to run more than 100 yards, and used to curse the very track I zipped around when we had to warm up every day before practice.   A major burn-out led to a notable running-lapse in college, and that turned into a huge lack of both endurance and interest.  I didn’t pick it back up until after G and I got married and moved to Kansas CIty in 2007, and for some unexplained reason, got bit by the bug and haven’t stopped since!

I’m not saying that it’s always easy or that I’m always ready and raring to head out the door, but the equipment is simple, it’s extremely portable & there’s really nothing like the rush of endorphins you get after your heart gets pumping and your feet have started hitting the pavement.

Currently // My training, speed & endurance seem to go through phases, but I’m currently on a pretty consistent schedule where I’m able to run 3-6 miles at a time, about 2-3 times per week.  That’s a huge improvement over HARDLY being able to run an entire mile without walking 5 years ago, and even though it has been a long process, the rewards and benefits have far outweighed the hard work.  I have seen a significant improvement in my mental, emotional & physical health, and my energy levels are notably higher than they were when I started.

Here are some of my must haves that I rarely hit the trail without…

  • Map My Run // This free smartphone app has been a total lifesaver, and beside my tennies, it’s the one thing that I honestly wouldn’t bother running without.  It tracks my mileage, pace, speed, altitude, route & calories burned, and stores them all for me so that I can see my improvement and challenge myself to keep getting better.  I also love that if I’m not running as often as normal, it sends me a gentle e-mail reminder to get back out there, and surprisingly – it seems to work!  Like a little buddy keeping me accountable! :)
  • Nike LunarEclipse // I recently switched to this shoe after running in the Nike Free Run +3 for several months, and I cannot believe what the change has done for my training!  The Frees were great when I was doing a lot more cross-training (kickboxing, spinning & interval training), but now that we don’t have a gym membership and the main purpose of my shoes is outdoor running, I need something with more support and cushion (Granny alert!).  The LunarEclipses have eliminated the little twinge in my knee, and the “bouncy” soles make me feel like I can go a lot farther than before.
  • Aveeno Hydrosport Sunscreen // Being outside for a few hours a week can make for some MEAN tan lines.  My skin darkens almost immediately upon stepping outdoors, so I always make sure to apply a generous coat of sunscreen before heading out.  My current favorite is Aveeno Hydrosport 30 SPF.  It’s a spray-on application (very handy for reaching my back/shoulders), smells GREAT & is a natural product by a line I love.  I put this all over my face/body and can sweat and sweat and this stuff really seems to stay put – the key to staying protected from the harsh rays!  I’ve recently begun to contemplate how crazy I would seem if I ordered a case of it…  I take sun protection very seriously!
  • chicBud Earbuds // These little babies were given to me at an event I attended this past winter, and when I finally used them and realized how amazing they are, I was kicking myself for not trying them out sooner!  The cord is flat which prevents tangling, and the little squishy parts of the actual ear pieces come in 3 interchangeable sizes: I like the smallest one for running and then I use the largest option for listening to music while I commute/travel.
  • Tunes // Since I’m already running with my iPhone, I’ve found that it’s most convenient to either listen to music on the free Pandora app, or my favorite podcasts on iTunes.  The Black Eyed Peas Pandora station pumps me up for quick runs, but when I’m feeling like I need a distraction to get me through a tougher route, I listen to After the Jump (Design*Sponge’s Grace Bonney), WTF with Marc Maron, or TEDTalks.
  • Kindle // When I travel, I typically choose to run on the treadmill of my hotel gym – some people hate it, but I actually LOVE running indoors.  To keep from getting bored, I usually have the TV on to some type of news program and then I ALWAYS have my Kindle on hand, and have become a pro at reading while I jog!  If you try this out, please be very careful (start slowly!) and don’t forget to make the text size much larger than normal. :)

Thinking back to those humid and hilly first several jogs in our then-brand-new hometown of Kansas City, Missouri, I honestly cannot believe how far my body and brain have come, and what used to be something that I completely dreaded, has turned into something that I truly love.

Do we have any other runners out there reading?  (I know there are at least a few of you!)  Feel free to share in the comments about your own experiences, questions, or tricks of the trade, because you know I always love a great conversation.  Let’s help each other learn about new ways to make jogging more comfortable, convenient & enjoyable!

Do you HAVE A QUESTION or topic hat you’d like to see featured on GET FIT?  Shoot me a message, and I’ll do my best to incorporate it into this brand new fitness column on S&P!

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  • Reply Tinacious Me July 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Omg i love listening to TED when I’m running! :D
    ~ http://www.Tinacious.Me ~

  • Reply Farm Girl Fashionista July 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Sounds like a similar story…school track and hating laps around the track?! I started running again in January…after 20 years…so my “granny” feet will be picking up some of those tennies! ;)Thanks! I do 3-4 miles at least five days a week now and ran my first 5k last weekend. I enjoy the results (down 40lbs) more than the process…but I feel so good afterwards! Thanks for the great post!! =0)

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Wow, fabulous! And down 40 lbs?! That’s incredible! So inspired to hear about your experience!

  • Reply livefreeandfashionable July 6, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    I have always hated running but your tips are giving me the inspiration to try again! Thank you!

  • Reply Gray Skies July 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    I miss running so much! I used to run every other day, but a few months ago I messed up my knee and now can’t run at all without excruciating pain. Do you know of any good knee braces/wraps? I’ve tried a few, and none of them have allowed me to run easily so far :(

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      Aw, man – injuries are the worst. I’ve used an ACE bandage knee wrap before, but I don’t remember it really making much of a difference. :/

      Hopefully it’s something you’re seeing a phyical therapist for? I’ve had two pretty bad injuries in the last few years (knee & hip/groin), and PT has been the only way I felt well enough to get back in the game.

  • Reply Amanda July 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I am in love with my garmin! When I run, I want as few things in/on me as possible, so I don’t take my phone. Instead i use my garmin and my ipod clipped to my waistband.

    I would say that my experiences are similar to your as far as the mental health I have gotten from running. I would most definitely look for a running group in your area (or get with a few friends who are similar in training as you are). I find that on those days that I don’t want to go, I can most often find someone else whol is willing to participate in my misery with me! :)

    I didn’t start running until about 6 years ago, and now our group has participated in 4 1/2 marathons, a relay-marathon and a triathlon. I am proud to say that this year in Louisville, I set a PR on my 1/2 marathon. How amazing is that? I’m getting older, but faster!?

    I love that you are doing this segment!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm

      I’ve always wondered if a Garmin would be something that I’d like! I just recently started using a Nike Fuel band (though not really for running specifically), and am thinking that it might have some of the same functionality.

      A running group is a superb idea! I know there are a few in Hoboken, and every time I see a big group of gals hoofing it around town together, it makes me want to join in!

      Glad you like the segment, and I love the older-faster mantra – kind of random, but seems to be working for you and me both! :)

  • Reply Brookelyn July 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    I’m not a runner, due to back problems and doctor’s orders, but I love using the elliptical at the gym, and I always use the, ABC or CW app on my iPhone to stream shows while I work out. Finally ordered Netflix, and I went through all four seasons of Mad Men on the elliptical! Love this new series!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:04 pm

      Oooh, haven’t heard of until now – will have to give it a look! Having something to preoccupy you while you work out definitely makes it easier!

      Sorry to hear about your injury, though. :/ Another low-impact cardio workout that I love is the rowing machine… do you ever use that one?

  • Reply sheri1217 July 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I’ve been running for 20 years (did I just write that?) – 2 things I’d recommend are – 1) have 2 pair of shoes and alternate them, and 2) carry ID with vital stats in a pocket of your shorts or shoes: – important in an accident if you can’t communicate!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm

      Woot woot!!! That’s a great track record, Sheri!

      Have heard the 2-pair-of-shoes thing, and if definitely makes sense. I also have been meaning to get myself an ID card and you’re comment is just the reminder I needed… Thanks! XO

  • Reply Hope July 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    I love running! I’m actually training for the NYC Marathon. My essentials are the Nike+ running app, my Nike LunarGlide shoes and headbands of all shapes and sizes. :) Running can be tough, but I’ve found that sticking to a training schedule helps me stay on track.


    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:08 pm

      You’re my hero, Hope! I don’t really think I’ll ever have an interest in doing a marathon, but LOVE shorter road races and would to run a 10K someday or maybe even a half!? Can’t wait to hear about how the training process and race go for you!

  • Reply Kate (Embarrassment of Riches) July 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Great post! Here are my essentials:

    An ID (my brother gave me a RoadID for Christmas; I love it) is essential, as Sheri said. I know it’s morbid to think about, but if you’re in an accident or have some kind of sudden health problem it can be a lifesaver. At the very least, it will keep your loved ones from worrying for hours or days if you end up in a hospital unable to communicate.

    Pepper spray – here in NYC, I carry it because I run before dawn.

    The Couch to 5K program (if you’re new to running) – I’ve been a runner for only 4 years but am training for my fourth marathon. I couldn’t even run 60 seconds before doing the Couch to 5 K program, so I recommend it to everyone wanting to become a runner.

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:10 pm

      Ok, DEFinitely need to get myself an ID. Pepper spray sounds smart, too, although running with a doberman pincher-mix usually keeps me feeling pretty safe. :)

      Have heard great things about the Couch to 5K program, and it sounds like it worked wonders for you – Thanks so much for sharing your picks!

  • Reply danielle and dinosaur toes July 6, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    i LOVE this! i also run, and i’m always curious about others’ running details (distance, shoes, etc.). unfortunately, a few months ago, i had to stop running altogether because of a stress fracture that was caused by too much running, and i think it was harder to give that up than it is to give up coca-cola. but yesterday was my first day back with a leg as good as new, and this post just gives me more motivation to run, run, run!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Oh, man! I can’t imagine having to stop cold-turkey for so long. So glad you’re back to feeling more like your old self, and good luck getting back into the swing of things! Go get ’em, girl! ;)

  • Reply Kristen Davolt July 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I love running! I kinda hate running on the treadmill and most days that is my only option. Treadmill running is still better than no running. On the treadmill I’ve got my iPod and the tv on to entertain myself. If I run outside I’ve got my gps watch no music, to afraid of getting hit by a car, and I don’t feel like I need music if I’m outside.

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Agree that sometimes music outside seems excessive/dangerous… I generally don’t bother with it during rush-hour traffic or if I have my pup with me. Fewer things to think about, you know? What music pumps you up while you log your miles indoors?

    • Reply Kristen Davolt July 7, 2012 at 6:58 pm

      Anything with a fast beat usually standard radio stuff or if the song mentions anything about working out or running i’m into it.

  • Reply Stacy July 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Running keeps me sane. My essentials for running in Southern California are:

    * Hat with a brim, to keep the sun out of my face, and the sweat out of my eyes
    * Sunscreen
    * Saucony Vivara II running shoes; getting ready to try the Vivara IIIs. SO lightweight! Made a huge difference in my running when I switched to these!
    * My iPod. I have tried running without music and I just.can’

    I agree with everything you say about it being such a boost to my emotional/mental/physical health. There’s just such a sense of accomplishment after finishing even a short run, that it can make a crappy day seem not so crappy.

    I’m looking forward to this series on your blog!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 6, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks so much, Stacy – I’m excited that you’re excited about the series! :)

      Love hearing about what shoes others love, and have another friend who SWEARS by Saucony.

  • Reply The serial shopper July 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    great post!!


  • Reply starla729 July 8, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    awesome post! i just found your blog and love your fashion posts, but this one is right up my alley too :) i just started running this year and am training for my first half marathon. it’s amazing the mental and physical benefits I’ve experienced throughout my training process. I’ve done other workout types before (bootcamp, yoga, spinning) but this is a whole new challenge for myself and i love it. i really enjoyed the suggestions you noted are good from your experience and it was great to read the other comments as well. i’ll certainly be adding your blog to my google reader :)

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      So happy to have you, and glad you liked the post!!! :) Best of luck on training for your exciting upcoming race!

  • Reply MB July 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Hey, curious as to how you carry your iphone when you run. Do you hold it or do you have an armband? Great post! Love your blog! xx

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm

      I actually carry mine in my hand because I find that it’s easier to switch songs/check my time/pace/etc, but sometimes I really wish I had an armband! Thanks for the love, and so glad you liked the post! XO

  • Reply Happiness at Mid-Life July 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    I run with my iPhone too and can’t run without music now. I use Nike+ as my running app – I love that it connects to Facebook and friends can send a cheer while I am running. It really keeps me motivated while I am running to know my friends are cheering for me.

    There’s an app called that I downloaded sometime ago that matches music in your library to your running pace. I haven’t really used it too much yet but am excited to see if this will improve my pace.


    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Oooh, I love the idea of having friends cheering you on mid-run – that’s awesome! And can’t wait to try… thank you SO much for the recommendation! XO

  • Reply Libby July 15, 2012 at 12:34 am

    LOVE this post! I’m currently training for my 2nd half marathon :) I’ve never thought to listen to podcasts or something… great idea! And my Kindle is a treadmill lifesaver!! I use a “Send to Kindle” app in Google Chrome to push web articles / long blog posts straight to my Kindle so I have a nice variety of reading material.

    Can’t wait to read more from this new series!!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      I didn’t even know about the “Send to Kindle” feature… you MAY have just changed my life!!! :) Glad you like the series and happy to have you! XO

  • Reply Beth Parker July 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Many thanks for these encouraging words, Jessie! As a former marathon runner who can’t even run a stinkin’ mile anymore–seriously, this was just the little shove I needed to put the shoes back on and start slow! With Fall right around the corner, I am terribly eager to get back in gear. Question, you mentioned you had to start all over again with difficulty running even a mile (so frustrating)…what method did you use…mileage or minutes?? If you have a template you could share, I sure would love it…Many thanks…just stumbled upon your blog & adore it!


    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 17, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Happy to help, Beth, and thanks for stopping by! When I started over, I pretty much paid all of my attention to consecutive mileage run, and little to no attention to time. I didn’t use any sort of template (although I have a feeling it would have been easier/more productive if I had), but I know a lot of people swear by the Couch to 5K program. Maybe try that one and see how it works for you? Best of luck in your training and again: So glad you said hello!

  • Reply matilda deathstar July 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Prior to last year I had never been able to run for more than 30 seconds (even as a thin fit teenager!) In spite of this, I started the couch to 5k program and now I run 20-30 miles a week and LOVE IT.

    My essential gear is a heart rate monitor (I use a bluetooth one that works with my iPhone), iPhone (I like mysmoothrun and run keeper), and Moving Comfort sports bras (most have a bra closure so you don’t have to be a contortionist to get in and out)

    I am also obsessed with running pants/shirts that have zippered pockets for keys. I have no idea why more manufacturers don’t make them.


  • Reply Anonymous July 19, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Hi from South Africa. I just foun your blog and love it. I was also very excited to see that you are also a runner. I started running last September and it has changed my life. I have a Nike+ watch and it rocks. I’m due for a new pair of shoes so I’m going to give those LunarEclipse’s a try.

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 26, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      Fabulous, and thanks!!!! So glad you stopped by, and happy to have you.

      Be sure to let me know if you like the sneaks! :) XO

  • Reply amy July 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    I love running posts! I’m a marathoner, and I have a suggestion or two:

    –Get fitted at a reputable shoe store for shoes appropriate for your feet and the way they contact the ground. This is very important for preventing injuries.

    –Foam rollers are awesome for IT band issues and easing sore muscles. I use mine after every run.

    –I love my Garmin, and I use it with RunKeeper because I find it’s more user friendly than MapMyRun.

    Love your blog!

    • Reply Jessie Artigue July 26, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      All great tips, Amy! And yet another tip in the scale that says I need to look into getting a Garmin.

      Thanks for weighing in with your expert advice!

  • Reply Megan August 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    Running is such a great form of exercise but it can definitely be difficult to stay inspired at times.

    Sometimes I like to switch things up with an interval run which can be accomplished on either a treadmill or on the road. Typically when I do an interval run – I go for a shorter distance or time and alternate short bursts of speed for 45 seconds to a minute and then recover with a light jog for a minute or two . So, let’s say you warm up for 5 minutes, and do a hard interval for 45-60 seconds and then recover for a minute or two and then repeat the hard interval again. I typically will do this workout so that I do 10 hard intervals and then cool down. It’s just something that changes up the workout a bit and also keeps your muscles from getting too used to one routine.

    Best of luck with your workouts! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog :)

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