As most of you know, I'm an avid runner. I run at least 5 miles a day during the work week, and log longer runs on the weekends, anywhere from 10 to 20 miles on both Saturday and Sunday. I've been following this schedule for about 5 years. I know, I know…they say you're supposed to take a day off between good runs, but I've spent a lot of time perfecting my stride so that I stay injury free. Through trial and error, I've concocted a running method that has given me durability. For a person who will turn 49 this October, I've only missed about 20 days of running during the 5 year period and that was only due to extreme sickness and travel schedules. This is just me, mind you, and I don't recommend my running schedule for anyone who's not able.
I've been using the Microsoft Band for my fitness tracking for the last month and have already written quite a bit about my experiences. From testing road mileage against the treadmill to attempting to understand sleep tracking to planning a charging routine, there's a lot to cover and much more to come.
The Microsoft Band is not perfect. There are a number of things I'd like to see in the next version. The band can be thinner, the clasp can be improved, more apps could be made available (SDK just released recently), battery life should be extended, the screen needs to be hardened, and Microsoft needs to consider waterproofing it. But, as a fitness tracker, it’s a stellar device. My wife, who uses a Fitbit, is jealous of it and I suspect she'll be getting one soon.
But, one of my biggest peeves with the Microsoft Band (and, what held me back from buying one for so long) is that it doesn’t have onboard storage for MP3s. This means I still have to run with a separate music source. I envy those people that can just take off running without music, but that's not me. I need a good, powerful playlist to help distract me from high mileage and keep me from watching the clock.
I'm asked pretty regularly what accessories I carry when I run. I've adapted and changed what I transport from time-to-time, and will continue to do so to continually improve. As I make changes in the future I'll let you know about those and the reasons behind them. So, here's what I use now, both for the technology I choose to lug around and to accommodate my varying running schedules and weather conditions.
Microsoft Band – this is a given. Price: $199
HTC One M8 for Windows – this is a great phone. The GPS works well, and prior to buying the Microsoft Band I used Runtastic for Windows Phone to track, monitor, and log my runs. It also provides my running playlists, streamed over Bluetooth to my headphones (see below). Price: Varies per carrier
Plantronics Armband - previously, I had been using the Sporteer Velocity Armband for a couple years. But, after switching headsets and finding that my choice supplied and awesome armband in the package, I've since switched to that. I carry the HTC One M8 in an armband. There's a card pocket inside which is great for running when I travel. I just shove my ID, necessary credit cards, and my hotel keycard inside to have with me. Price: Free with purchase of the Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones.
Plantronics BackBeat Fit Bluetooth Headphones – I recently replaced a long-running set of Jabra headphones that I had grown to love. After using them for a couple years, they finally kicked-up and died on me. However, after some recommendations, I settled on the Plantronics. I've reviewed them HERE. Price: $95
Teton Trailrunner 2.0 Hydration Backpack – I can usually run without hydration for around 5 miles, but when the weather is hot and I'm logging those weekend runs, I need to carry a good amount of water. For that, I currently use the Teton Trailrunner. It comes with a 2 liter bladder with a water delivery tube that snakes outside the backpack, making it easy to hydrate. I don't generally guzzle water, so the 2 liters lasts about 20 miles for me. Depending on your own consumption needs and the humidity, it could go quicker than that for you. I know people that rave about the Camelback products, but the Teton is about $40 cheaper for the same features and comes with useable pocket. I use the pocket to stow away running snacks and sometimes a light jacket if the weather forecast is foreboding. Price: $25
Nathan DomeLight Beanie – One of the best gifts I've received in a long while is this hat. It keeps me extremely warm running during the winter months, and keeps the rain off my head during the spring and summer. The beanie has a built-in LED light system with 3 different settings: constant, fast flash, and slower steady flash. The light system is great for night running for obvious reasons. There's a male version and female version. The female version has a ponytail hole in the back. Price: $25
Glider Gloves - for those winter months, the best touchscreen glove I've found is the Glider Gloves. The gloves fit accurately, giving you full range of finger motion, are no-slip, are extremely warm, and provide a flawless touchscreen experience. Price: $25
One additional must-have piece of running ear for me is sunglasses. I'm not a sunglass snob like most, and actually prefer the cheaper sets because I have a propensity to break them constantly. My only requirements are that they fit snug, are comfortable, and the lenses wrap around to my temples to keep out bugs and wind. I can't even recognize the manufacturer name on the set I'm using right now to make a recommendation, but I like them, and I think the price was around $8.