This literally revolutionized my running by soothing aching muscles & speeding recovery time. It's not a comfort massage - IT REALLY HURTS SOMETIMES. But it helps "roll out" knots in muscles and promote healing by increasing blood flow to those aching areas. I started using this while training for the Top of Utah Marathon and use them about twice a day almost everyday. Typically I roll out with the pad immediately after a run (focusing mostly on my quads), and then stretch - repeating a lighter version of this later in the day. I have found that it really has sped recovery and eliminated virtually all of my IT Band pain.
Ice & Heating PadIf I'm using these, it's probably not good. I don't typically like to depend on either of these for relief - I just try to "tough it out". But sometimes an over 40 runner needs some help.
The first is a Freezable Gel Pack that we keep in the freezer at all times to use after workouts on particularly sore areas to reduce inflammation. Typically ice won't be used much more than immediately after a workout or in the case of chronic inflammation. The Gel Pack is great because it forms to the specific body part and ices more surface area than a bulky ice pack.
The Microwavable Heat Pack is a product by Bed Buddy that is simply a sock filled with rice. Microwaving the rice creates a moist heat that is great to heat up tendonitis inflamed areas. The heating of the muscle can increase circulation and increase blood flow to aid in speedy recovery or loosen the area before a workout.
Okay, this may be the one thing I do that makes me clinically insane. I've started working these in after long runs and it really seems to reduce the inflammation and speed recovery for my next run. I fill the bathtub with cold water and then start adding ice ... that simple. I try to get into one about 5-10 minutes after finishing the run and stay in for about 15 minutes, with my running pants still on. And surprisingly ... IT'S FREAKING COLD!!!
I apply Body Glide to my toes, nipples, crotch, and any other place that will potentially get a blister or be irritated by rubbing fabric during a run. I used to use a bee's wax product, but it kinda stunk and really stained my clothes. Body glide is scentless, but does stain clothes a little. I've found that shout will usually remove it. I probably depend on this more in the summer months, but I use it all year round. Body Glide is probably the leading anti-friction product for runners on the market. You can find it everywhere.
Garmin Forerunner 305
w/Heart Rate Monitor
I know most running purists don't use GPS devices, but my Garmin is as much a part of my workouts as my feet and legs. This was a luxury item that I invested in about a year ago, but it really has helped me grow as a runner. The GPS function is great so I don't have map out run pre-workout. Also, it helps me unfamiliar areas that I frequently run when I'm out of town on business.
I probably use the "Pace Tracker" function more than any other. At any point during my run, I can tell exactly how fast I am running. This watch has many other functions that I find very helpful as well like the heart rate monitor, the elevation tracker, and the calorie counter. I virtually never run without it!