It’s that time again! Track spikes have been put away, and cross country season is about to begin.
Being a cross country runner, I always carry my running backpack with me filled with my most favorite items. What’s in there you ask? Here’s the top six things I put into mine! Maybe you can use this as an example to help you get better prepared for your upcoming season.
This one is obvious, but you will never catch me without my Saucony Women’s Guide ISO 2 shoes. This is my all-time favorite running shoe. They are perfect for runners who need a stability shoe, but want to add versatility to look good yet be practical. They offer the perfect support without feeling heavy, and are always comfortable on my feet no matter what mileage I put in. The shoe includes foam cushions that ease your stride your stride, and offer the flexibility of the forefoot.
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common of all cancer types. More than 5.4 million skin cancers are diagnosed each year in the U.S. That’s more than all other cancers combined. So, sunscreen is essential, especially when you run in the sun. Sunscreen is a product that you put on your skin to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. Personally, I like to use Blue Lizard Sunscreen: Sport. This sunscreen works well with my skin and keeps me from having painful sunburns. It’s mineral-based with Zinc Oxide to provide true broad spectrum sun protection, and designed to keep up with maximum water resistance and sweat resistance. This sunscreen does not contain Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, parabens or fragrances – which means it’s good for the environment. The really cool thing about this brand is that their bottle turns blue when you need to reapply. This is very useful because it reminds me that I may need to put on sunscreen again for maximum sun protection.
Again, this is an obvious one, but purchasing the right socks for you is key. Without a good pair of running socks, you are more susceptible to blisters, rubbing, sweating and other concerns. My favorite pair of socks are the Balega Ultralight Contoured Fit. These socks wick away sweat, prevent chafing, and help me avoid painful blisters. The contour fit makes for the perfect running sock and are so comfortable that I love running in them every time.
Most people don’t know what running glide is, but once you use it you won’t ever stop. Running glide helps to protect runners against parts of the skin that are prone to chafing or blisters. My favorite brand to use is Squirrel’s Nut Butter. It is very easy to apply, and is very helpful when preventing skin irritations. And, it smells great too! Squirrel’s Nut Butter is an anti-chafing product made with all-natural ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax & vitamin E oil. I find that this product not only helps protect my skin but also restores my dry skin feeling moisturized.
Lip balm is always very useful. I have found that after runs, my lips always become dry and chapped. Having a reliable lip balm on hand keeps my lips from becoming overwhelming irritated. I personally use Burt’s Bees Beeswax Lip Balm because it is a classic and comes in various flavors and styles! It has moisturizing Vitamin E and refreshing peppermint oil. Burt’s Bees is 100% all natural, free of parabens, phthalates, petrolatum and SLS.
Always drink water! Drinking water keeps you hydrated and ready for challenges you may face in your runs. You should be drinking half an ounce for each pound you weigh. If you weighed 100 pounds, you should be drinking about 50 ounces of water each day. My favorite water bottle to use is my Hydro Flask. Hydro Flasks can sometimes be a little pricey, but they are worth it. They are made from stainless steel with a double-wall that is well insulated. Hydro Flasks are large enough to hold all the water you need, and they keep it refreshingly cold all day. I love carrying mine to school so that I can drink water all day prior to practice. And, I love being able to add all kinds of fun stickers.
Now you know what’s in my running bag, what will you include in yours? There are so many cool, innovative running products out there; try out a bunch and see what makes the most sense for you. These are my favorites and I always use them when I run.