I'm relatively new to running consistently and in addition to having to wrap my head around the notion of continuing to run even after I get bored, I have stumbled upon a different issue: where do I put all my stuff?
I can't bring my security blanket of a gym bag full of enough extras to get me through any unforeseen catastrophe along on my runs, but I can't leave everything at home either. What if I need cash for an amazing yard sale find? What if I get murdered and they need to ID my body? I need to hydrate! And take Instagram photos so everyone knows I'm working out! And get back in to my house when I actually remember to lock the door!
Turns out that while I'm new, not everyone is, and several amazing minds have already come up with some pretty clever and convenient ways to stash your belongings while you dash.
1. HIDDEN POCKETS
Zipper pockets in jackets and shorts are of course helpful, but they tend to be too loose, so your cargo bounces around uncomfortably as you run. Plus, during hotter months when you are just wearing shorts and a tank, you may not have any pockets to speak of. Many clothing companies include small hidden pockets for just the necessities. Lululemon's Speed Shorts, as flatteringly tiny as they are still manage to hide three pockets for snacks, cards, keys or any other small things you may need to bring with you. The second skin that Moving Comfort calls their Urban Gym Capris has an open top front pocket in the waistband big enough to keep a smart phone secure, even while running, without fear of it flying out and skipping across the asphalt.
2. SPORTS BRAS
Women have long known the secret of storing necessities like phones and money hands-free by placing them in their bras in lieu of carrying around a purse. The next logical step is sports bras specially designed to safely carry your prized possessions (along with the prized possessions they were originally designed to carry). Objex sports bras and camis have a secret pocket sewn on the inside of the chest to keep your music player and other gear in one convenient place, with easy access to everything should a terrible song on your playlist come up mid-run. While some pockets can bounce distractingly during runs, bra pockets hold the contents closer to the body so they stay put. Buddie Bras have two pockets in the front of their bras that can easily store a phone, safely and securely, with an entire extra pocket to spare. The lining ensures sweat won't infiltrate your delicate loads. I put a check in my Buddy Bra, along with my smartphone for tunes, and after a five mile run to the bank, both slipped out completely dry.
3. WATER BOTTLES
Never forget to hydrate, or your keys, again by storing them in the same waterbottle. Sport + Store water bottles have a screw off bottom that can hold keys, cards, small snacks and more.
4. WRIST WALLETS
Keep everything (almost) in the palm of your hand while pounding pavement with Sprigs Banjees Wrist Wallet. The Sprigs Phone Banjees wrist wallet can hold your cell phone, cash, credit card and a house key all at once. The front hooded pocket is designed to hold bigger items like electronics, and the back zipper pocket will fit cash, cards and keys. One of the most spacious products available, it's great for longer runs where you may need to bring backup stores.
5. HYDRATION BELT
If function is more of your focus that fashion, you could wear a hydration belt. (Come on, they aren't the most stylish thing in the world.) Water bottles? Check. Pockets? Check. Fanny pack flashbacks? Dear, lord. Hydration belts, like the Revenge from Fuelbelt, not only carry more goodies than you can imagine, they sit still right around your waist so you don't have to break stride to swig some water, grab some fuel, or check your Facebook.
If I can bring everything I need for a trip to the grocery store, to the bank, to meet a friend for lunch or to get to work easily inside of my running clothes, why not run instead of drive? While my gym gear is usually chosen based on what makes me look the best under harsh, florescent gym lights, when it comes to running gear, function is top priority. That's not to say I don't still look great in it; I'll just credit that to all the extra errand miles I've been running.
Kelly Turner is a Seattle-based ACE-certified personal trainer and professional fitness writer. She began writing after becoming frustrated with the confusing and conflicting fitness information in the media and the quick-fix, gimmick-centered focus of the fitness industry itself. Her no-nonsense, practical advice has been featured on DietsInReview.com, FitnessMagazine.com, Yahoo! Shine, and she has a regular fitness column in The Seattle Times. Kelly has her own blog at www.kellyturnerfitness.com or follow her on Twitter @KellyTurnerFit.