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My Recommendations

Updated: Mar 8

My official recommendations on running gear and everything else!

(As of early 2024)


I get asked what gear I use almost every single day. Whether it's one of the many athletes I work with, or just friends, teammates, or family members- runners are always inquiring about what gear is working well for other people. And there's a good reason for that! Not every company is excellent at marketing, and there may be great products that just haven't gotten in front of your eyeballs yet. Great example: I've turned A TON of people onto using NAKED Belts. It's a stretchy storage belt that's a mind-blowing alternative to a vest or other belts. It was shared with me by Jim Walmsley and some of the other Coconino Cowboys, but I had never heard of it or seen anyone else use them. Obviously, I trust those guys a lot, and they were right; the thing is incredible and holds a ton of stuff with almost no bounce. I've used it for thousands of miles, but I don't think I've ever seen an ad of theirs, and I don't think I've ever seen them sponsor a race or an athlete. They really aren't in the public eye that much, at least not in the US yet. So word of mouth had to suffice. So, on that note, let me share everything I use in my running.


Photoshoot for rabbit running apparel
Photoshoot I did for rabbit's summer trail line

Shoes

 I've been an Altra guy for a long time. The wide toe box is incredible, they're well cushioned but light and nimble at the same time, but zero drop isn't for everyone. If you have had Achilles problems or are concerned about getting them, I'd honestly stay away and try the Hoka Clifton. I've worn A LOT of Cliftons over the years, and it's definitely the best shoe to recommend to someone if they can't try one on. Sometimes, my friends who work at running stores get annoyed by how often people want them, but they're honestly that good. I call them a solution shoe; for a lot of people, they are the solution to some problem they're having. I also love the Nike Invincible; the foam in that shoe is incredible. The Brooks Adrenaline and Ghost are incredibly popular for good reason as well. It's been a few years since I wore those, but they were always high quality, and they both still sell a lot of shoes because a lot of people really enjoy them.   

If you can go to a good running store, try shoes on, and get help, DO THAT. That is a far better way to get shoes. The absolute best way to get new running shoes is to go to a quality local running shoe store, completely ignore all colors and styles, try several pairs on- both walking and running, and go with your gut on whichever model feels the most comfortable.




Racing Shoes

I guess I also have to talk about racing shoes, which is more of a road topic than trails. On the trails, you'll usually want to rock your most comfortable favorite shoe. There are known perennial powerhouses of quality, fast trail shoes. The Hoka speedgoat comes to mind first. Altra makes awesome trail shoes, and so do Salomon and many other companies. 

On the road, there are a lot of fast racing options. Unfortunately, road racing shoes are ridiculously expensive, and they have unique fits. There isn't a perfect solution to how to approach this. It'd be great if you could try some on in person, but even that will be different from racing in them. Hopefully, you purchase from somewhere with an honest return policy, so if they hurt your feet, you can swap them out. Running Warehouse is generally excellent for that. Your local running store should be as well. I have worn all the Nike racing shoes, the Alpha Fly and Vaporfly, and they're awesome but not perfect. They do not last long at all, and they favor faster runners who land more balanced or on their forefoot, not heel strikers. Just about every other company makes good racing shoes. I really like the Hoka racing lineup. For a while, they've had several different types of options, and they're often a little more comfortable than some of the others. I would start there, read the descriptions of the carbon X, Mach, rocket, Cielo, etc., and see which would line up with your running.


A lot of Nike Vaporflys featured here at a road race in Vegas
A lot of Nike Vaporflys featured here at a road race in Vegas

I guess I also have to talk about racing shoes, which is more of a road topic than trails. On the trails, you'll usually want to rock your most comfortable favorite shoe. There are known perennial powerhouses of quality, fast trail shoes. The Hoka speedgoat comes to mind first. Altra makes awesome trail shoes, and so do Salomon and many other companies. 

On the road, there are a lot of fast racing options. Unfortunately, road racing shoes are ridiculously expensive, and they have unique fits. There isn't a perfect solution to how to approach this. It'd be great if you could try some on in person, but even that will be different from racing in them. Hopefully, you purchase from somewhere with an honest return policy, so if they hurt your feet, you can swap them out. Running Warehouse is generally excellent for that. Your local running store should be as well. I have worn all the Nike racing shoes, the Alpha Fly and Vaporfly, and they're awesome but not perfect. They do not last long at all, and they favor faster runners who land more balanced or on their forefoot, not heel strikers. Just about every other company makes good racing shoes. I really like the Hoka racing lineup. For a while, they've had several different types of options, and they're often a little more comfortable than some of the others. I would start there, read the descriptions of the carbon X, Mach, rocket, Cielo, etc., and see which would line up with your running.


Socks

Okay sounds crazy, but I absolutely love Toe Socks. My favorite is the Ultra Run from Injinji. They're somewhat expensive, tbh, but I've worn every running sock, and they're the best. Toe socks separate your toes so they can't rub together and blister, which used to be a big problem for me. It takes some time to get good at putting them on, but I'm a world-class expert at this point. 

Okay, okay, for all of you who are like, "Nah, I'm not wearing toe socks," I have other brands I like and use. I love Drymax; they're really solid, soft, dependable, and comfy. I also really, really love the Balega Hidden Comfort; they're excellent. I promise you won't be mad at any of those.


Compression

On the same front, I'm a big supporter of compression. There are lots of good brands; the most reliable is probably CEP. They're generally the industry standard in compression. I've worn compression calf sleeves for most of my running career. I prefer those to the socks because they're way easier to get on and off. The socks are good too though. PRO TIP- It is well known that wearing compression socks or sleeves while traveling enhances blood circulation. By doing so, they prevent blood from accumulating in the feet and legs, which can lead to swelling and discomfort.


Apparel

Moving on up the body to apparel. This tends to be super personal, but I do have some specific recommendations. First one, game changer for me, Nike makes these pants that are basically half jogging/running pants up top and the bottom half is more like long tights, although not as tight. They're one of my favorite articles of running clothing ever made, and I own at least three pairs. They're way easier to get on and off than just long tights. Since the bottom is almost skin-tight, actually running them is way better. There's no loud WHOOSHing sounds, the fabric isn't slapping against your legs etc. You can also bike in them in the winter, no loose fabric around the calves means your fancy nice running pants aren't getting caught in your chain. It's easier to wear running shorts under them, so if you're warming up for a workout or race, it's easy to start in them and then switch to competition gear. And most notably, as a dude, they're far more socially acceptable to wear around after a run than just long tights.

The other apparel item that really sticks out are the rabbit half tights. They have side and back pockets, they're extremely comfortable, and the fit is perfect 10/10. I own several pairs, and I wear them constantly for many things. Being able to lock your keys down in the back zipper pockets and bring several gels along on the sides are incredible features.

Rabbit makes a ton of really comfy, lovely running apparel. Starting to get expensive, but man, all the nice stuff is, unfortunately. Same with Vuori and Tracksmith; excellent gear but pricey.


Tech

Moving on up, one that is incredibly important to me; headphones. For almost a decade, I've been running while listening to podcasts and music. If you're like, 'uhm, so what? Isn't everybody?' Well, most years, I've run at least 4000 miles, so we're talking over 40k miles of sweat, dirt, and usage. I've dropped some major cheddar on headphones. For a long time, my setup was an iPod shuffle, and these Phillips sport corded headphones. They quit making the shuffle RIP, and those headphones broke so dang easily that I probably had 8 pairs. So, I graduated to other things. I used the Beats Pros for a while but found that with sweat, their batteries become acidic and degrade crazy fast. I did 3 pairs, and my wallet said NO MORE. They didn't have the greatest warranty either. I've now settled on SHOKZ, formerly known as After Shokz. I bet you've seen these around; they're the bone-conducting ones. I rock the Mini Run, and that's my official recommendation; the part in the back is too big on all the others I found, well, for me at least, and the Mini has a higher water resistance rating than some of the other models I looked at. They're safer because of the bone conduction. You can hear traffic, other runners, cyclists, etc.


Food

Alright, let's talk about eating stuff. I love to start my day with a cup of decaf, a little oatmilk, and the laird's superfood turmeric cacao creamer. Almost every day after I work out, I have the same smoothie. I'll go over that more at some point, but it's a couple bananas and a lot of greens, I rotate protein powders, but I've been using Ka'chava for a little while and absolutely love it and a good amount of nuts, oat milk, peanut butter, and some other stuff. Insanely high in protein, a great amount of iron if you get the right greens mix (I use the supergreens from Sprouts), and such a good blend of all the important vitamins and minerals we need to recover. I've had my blood work checked several times in the last few years, and it's been fairly excellent; I credit a lot of that to this smoothie. I also take a multivitamin every day, mainly because I haven't eaten meat in over a decade, and there are some deficiencies that can pop up from that, like b12 or iron. I use this one from Wholier; it's been great. Ideally, we want to get our nutrients from what we eat, but we supplement when that might not be the case!

Fuel For the Run

For our long runs and longer races, we're gonna need to fuel while on the run. All the athletes I work with get a discount to The Feed dot com. It's a great place to compare and look at fueling products. They allow you to order in singles, so if you want to just try a gel but not be stuck with a giant box of something that made you want to throw up, they're a great site to utilize. Personally, I've been using the NeverSecond gels a lot. Best tasting gel I've ever had by far. 30g of carbs per gel is awesome; hitting 1 every 30 minutes would put you at 60g carbs an hour, which is a fine starting point for almost any long run or event. It might sound strange, but I have also been using UnTapped pure maple syrup gels and have loved them. Clean pure energy, and goes down so smooth. That's definitely one to try. I also really like Spring; their gels have a very natural feel, and some of them are over 40g of carbs. Precision Hydration has been an impressive company to follow, their website has INCREDIBLE fueling and nutrition resources, I highly recommend them.  



John Slater and Enrique Jimenez running on bright angel trail at the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Running at the bottom of the Grand Canyon

Eric Senseman and Jared hazen Gearing up for a long run on the Black Canyon Trail
Gearing up for a long run on the Black Canyon Trail

For drink mixes, I've always been a big Skratch fan. I feel like I really vibe with how they operate and their values. Most long outings, that's what I have in my bottle. There are so many solid options in that space; Tailwind, Gatorade, Maurten, I could go on and on. I would just try to read through a bunch of them and see if any really resonate with you. Taste is going to be a big factor with that, so trying some singles and seeing if anything stands out in that way is probably the best way to go about that. Which brings up a great point on fueling in general. The greatest, most well-thought-out plan means almost nothing if you aren't able to execute it. So make sure the products you go with make you happy and taste good to you, so you'll take them!


Running Tech

Okay, wrapping up, let's talk about a couple of running tech items. The first and maybe the most important thing on here is a GPS watch! I've used Garmins for most of my running journey, and they are just awesome. Their satellite accuracy is generally the best. They make so many different watch options that you can easily find one that fits you. From $150 to over $1000, they have options for the more casual runners, to folks that are running 100+ mile races. I love to put music on mine; I use the 945 Forerunner. There are several watches in the Garmin Forerunner line, and they're all excellent. I sell or give away my old one every few years and buy the newest, just like an iPhone. Although lately, I've been eyeing the Enduro, and I might try that one next; it has an impressive battery life and has solar charging!!

Sometimes, I'll use a separate Heart Rate Strap on certain easy days or on the bike. I've been rocking the Polar Verity Sense. It goes over your bicep instead of around the chest. The chest straps are just too annoying for me, even though they're the most accurate. Arm straps are still slightly better than wrist-based HR, which has its limitations.

Another piece of tech that I'm surprised about how much I love is our Peloton Bike. As a runner, I always kinda rolled my eyes at the Peloton people. That was until I got a stress fracture, and then this thing became my best friend. I was absolutely blown away by how well they're built and how much I loved the classes. I've now convinced A LOT of runners and athletes I work with to utilize their Power Zone program and classes. The Power Zone classes are very similar to what we do in running training; finding our threshold and working the specific zones around it that speed up the improvement process. Super fun and so helpful in the winter when the sun is setting at 4pm and it's 15 degrees out.


Okay, that's all I can think of now. I'll pop in here and update things whenever I find something cool or interesting that deserves to be shared! Hit me with any questions if anything stuck out, and I'll try to link to everything so if there's anything you want to try it's easy to find!







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