Favorites: Run Essentials

I'm back with another edition of five things I love. These are some of my favorite essentials that are making summer running a little more enjoyable and little more motivating.

Compete Training Journal
I've recently started another round of marathon training (I'm going for a sub 4:00 for my third marathon this October!) and began using this journal to track my progress. The book was created by pro runners Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas and includes tips on how to set goals, train with intention and set smart race strategies. It also has pages to log your runs/workouts and a bunch of useful material on how to look at competition and racing in a good, healthy way. As someone who is detail-oriented, I've been loving this because it gives me space to track my training and improvement all in one place. It'll be something fun to look at down the road.

Photo: VeloPress

Photo: VeloPress

Tailwind Nutrition
I use Tailwind during some of my longer runs. It's so easy to use—just mix it with water to meet your calorie, hydration and electrolyte needs. It dissolves easily into my water bottle and the taste is mild (just a hint of flavor that's easy on the stomach). It meets all nutrition needs so I can carry less (no need for energy chews or extra food). I buy the stick packs because I like trying all the different flavors and I can easily pack another stick if I need to bring more fuel on my run.

Photo: Tailwind Nutrition

Photo: Tailwind Nutrition

PROBAR Bolt Energy Chews
If I don't bring Tailwind on my long runs, I'll likely bring a pack of these organic energy chews. They're loaded with electrolytes, B vitamins and complex carbs for sustained energy. They have great flavors and options that have caffeine. I use these during road races because I don't carry water with me. The only annoying thing is that they can get a little sticky and hard to chew while you're racing but the taste makes up for it. Fun fact: PROBAR is a local Salt Lake City company and I used to work for the design studio that did their packaging!

Photo: PROBAR

Photo: PROBAR

Patagonia Duckbill Trucker Hat
It's pretty gross how much I wear this hat. I take it with me on every hot summer run and it's accompanied me through my last two races. On most of my runs, you'll find me with a trucker hat on my head and I've found that this is the best one at keeping my head cool while shading me from the heat. It's light, breathable and can pack small and still retain its shape. I love everything about it. Mine is often caked in a layer of sweat but it's so easy to rinse and dries quickly. Patagonia just released some new colors so I might need to get another one (even though I already own two)!

Photo: Patagonia

Photo: Patagonia

Stance Run Socks
I've built up a collection of Stance's run socks and they're the best. They're made with breathable materials and lightweight cushioning and come in the best patterns. There's a variety of styles—tab, crew or calf. I like the tab socks for road running and the crew for trail running. 

Photo: Stance

Photo: Stance

Favorites: Food Edition

I've been thinking about introducing a new series of blog posts about some of my favorite things, beginning with five of my current food favorites. Here's what I've been loving lately.

Even Stevens
There was a time where I ate here at least once a week for almost two months straight. It's that good. For each sandwich sold, this Utah-based sandwich shop donates another sandwich to a local non-profit. My top sandwich picks are the Turkey Day, JP Grilled Cheese (love the jalapeños!) and Banh Mahi. I like ordering the turkey or grilled cheese sandwich in a half-sandwich/half-soup combo so you can dip the sandwich in their Tomato Basil Bisque. They also have a really great breakfast burrito called The Graduate, which has two eggs, tots, spinach, tomatoes, house sauce and Sriracha. I sub the meat choices (either sausage or bacon) for avocado and it's delicious! Geof and I have eaten many of these burritos as fuel before our Saturday long runs.

Halo Top
I'm so obsessed with this ice cream. It's a smart choice because it has low calories, low sugar and high protein. Halo Top uses natural ingredients in all of their flavors and it tastes just like regular ice cream. I'm not lying when I say that I could eat a whole pint at once. It's been labeled as healthy ice cream and I definitely don't feel bad when I eat it—each pint varies between 240 and 360 calories. They recently released ten new flavors and I want to try them all. My favorites so far are Red Velvet, Sea Salt Caramel, Pistachio, Mint Chip and Birthday Cake.

Photo: Halo Top

Photo: Halo Top

Jinya Ramen Bar
My first taste of Jinya ramen was two years ago in Vancouver and I was so excited to find out they just opened their first location in Utah. The chain is based in California and offers authentic Japanese ramen made with rich broths that you can customize with a selection of toppings. I love the spicy chicken ramen with an added seasoned egg. They also offer tapas—I'm a big fan of the brussels sprouts tempura with truffle oil. 

GoGo squeeZ
This apple sauce pouch is made with natural fruit and so easy to eat on the go. I received free samples when I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon earlier this year and it's now become a staple for me. I love this as a snack and as part of my race day breakfast. The pouches are convenient and there are so many different flavors to choose from. I've liked every single flavor I've tried and love that there are a huge amount of choices so I can mix it up.

Photo: GoGo squeeZ

Photo: GoGo squeeZ

Cubby's
Cubby's is a relaxed restaurant chain that started in Utah, featuring burgers, sandwiches and salads. They make everything from fresh ingredients and I've heard that they don't even own a freezer or can opener. My favorite options are the Portobello, Pikey and Cockadoodledoo sandwiches (minus the bacon) with a side of rosemary or sweet potato fries! I want to try one of their salads next.

Writing this made me realize that I have a slew of other restaurants and foods that I want to feature, so I'll probably do another food favorites post in the future! 

Favorites: Winter Gear

Now that marathon training has officially begun, I wanted to share some of my favorite cold weather items that have made running in the winter so much more bearable. It's still snowy and cold in Salt Lake and I've been able to maintain running 3-4 times a week (in 20-30 degree temperatures) with the help of the gear below. 

New Balance Heat Hybrid Jacket—$180
This jacket has been a lifesaver on days where the temperature falls in the low 20s. It's lightweight, has Polartec insulation and keeps me warm while still wicking sweat. I even get too hot when I wear this sometimes, but I tend to run warmer than most. It's such a perfect winter jacket—all the warmth plus reflective details, a hood and zipper pockets!

Photo: lululemon athletica

Photo: lululemon athletica

lululemon Down For A Run Vest—$138
Sometimes you just need a layer to keep your core warm. This vest is made from wind and water-resistant fabric and retains just enough heat to keep me comfortable but not overheating. The side panels are stretchy and have slip pockets to store nutrition or gloves.

lululemon Toasty Tech Tight II—$118
These fleece lined pants are extra warm and a must-have for cold weather training. They're high-rise and have so many pockets for storage. I haven't worn these unless temperatures dip into the 20s but for that range, they've been amazing.

Yaktrax Run—$40
These are great for days where I want to trail run or if the roads are icy or snowed over. The devices slip over your regular running shoes and provide just a bit more traction when conditions aren't in your favor. They're easy to use and seem durable and secure.

Oiselle Power Stretch Mittens—$32
Described as the "it's too damn cold to run but I'm going to anyway" mittens and that description is fitting. I decided to try out a pair of mittens this year since they're supposed to keep fingers warmer than gloves. They're made form Polartec Power Stretch for high warmth and the inside is so soft and fleecy. I use these when temperatures are in the 20s.

Photo: Petzl

Photo: Petzl

Petzl Tikka R+ Headlamp—$80
I received this as a gift two holiday seasons ago and it's taken me through any night run I've been on in the past year. I admit that I love to run when the sun sets and it's so important to stay visible. This headlamp has reactive sensors, multiple light settings and is water-resistant and rechargeable.