Five Running Accessories That Can Make All the Difference
  • October 30, 2015
  • (Disclaimer: I received Plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones, Wigwam Ironman socks, and XX2i Optics sunglasses to test out and review as a BibRave Pro. Check out to learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and also to find and write race reviews! As always, I only discuss products that I try and love.)


    I’d love to tell you that I am always motivated to go out on a run, but I’d be lying to you. Running and I have always had a love/hate relationship. I know there are runners that cannot function on a daily basis if they don’t get out the door and get a run in … I am not one of those runners. There are plenty of mornings when my alarm goes off and I immediately hide under the covers instead, trying my best to avoid eye contact with my running shoes so I don’t feel a pang of guilt in my stomach for choosing ZZZs over mileage.

    I’d also love to tell you that I am not motivated by material things. While I believe that intrinsic motivation is important and I like to believe I have a decent amount of it stored up in my soul, I also can admit that I like getting shiny, new gear as much as the next person. This is America, after all! All hail consumerism! All hail new sports bras and colorful running shoes!

    I’ve said it before, but occasionally rewarding yourself while striving for your fitness goals can help motivate you to keep going. Sometimes when I need to get out the door, a bit of gear can help get me excited to go on a run to try it out.

    Here at my top five running accessories that have made getting up and getting on with my run just a little bit easier.

    1. Bluetooth headphones

    It’s official. I cut the cord on headphones and I don’t know if I can ever go back.asweatlife_Five-Running-Accessories-That-Can-Make-All-the-Difference_plantronics

    I don’t mind normal headphones. In fact, I have sworn by the relatively low-priced Skullcandy headphones for years. However, I’ve come to realize that getting rid of the headphone cord during a workout or run is extremely freeing. I sometimes even get that magical my life has its own soundtrack! feeling on my runs because I hardly notice that I’m plugged in.

    I first dabbled in Bluetooth headphones last year with Jabra. They had great sound quality and I loved not having a cord flying around during my workouts and runs, but the fit never was quite right for me.

    This fall, I finally found a high-quality pair of Bluetooth headphones that stayed in my ears easily: the Plantronics BackBeat Fit. They are wrap-around earbuds, so it’s easier for them to stay in place when I am running/jumping/lifting impressively heavy weights. Even my boyfriend (who never runs with headphones because no pair will stay in his ears) has been stealing these from me, so I know they’re good.

    Bluetooth headphones aren’t all pros with no cons, though. You’ll need to recharge the battery semi-frequently – especially if you’re like me and listen to your music way too loud. They also tend to be a little more expensive than other options, but if you ask me, it’s worth it.

    2. GOOD socks

    When I first started running, I scoffed at the price tag of running socks ($15 for a PAIR of socks?! What are they – designed by Kanye?!). I thought they were a gimmick and figured everyone who bought them was a sucker. And then I ran my first half marathon without them.


    A few lost toenails later, I learned my lesson. These days, I refuse to run any distance over six miles without some fancy-pants running socks on my feet. Fact: good socks are worth the investment. They’re also a great way to reward yourself or get yourself prepped while training for an upcoming race.

    Call me a sucker if you will, but I still have all of my toenails.


    Some of my favorite running sock brands include: Smartwool for the winter, Balenga for every day running, Wigwam for thinner athletic socks and Zensah for compression.

    3. Running sunglasses

    Here, I’ll say it. Running sunglasses can look intense. Admittedly, I’ve avoided trying them out for years because I thought they made me look like I cared too much about running or something. Yeah, it’s silly. I also was pretty sure they were expensive so I never looked into it.

    I finally tried running sunglasses and I was surprised by how much I liked them. They are lightweight – I barely noticed they were on – and I wasn’t running around with my usual squint that I’ve grown way too used to having. They didn’t fog up and I no longer ran in constant fear that a bug was going to fly in my eyeball (it’s the absolute worst when that happens, but also hilarious for any innocent bystanders).

    I do think I look a little like a PC Bro from Southpark in these XX2i’s, but I rock them with confidence anyways. Bonus: I now have an easy Halloween costume idea for this weekend.


    PS, if you’re on the fence due to price, right now you can snag the same sunglasses for 50% off with Promo code “XX2iROCKS” on their website.

    4. A GPS watch

    Investing in a GPS watch was a game changer for me. As an avid data cruncher, the information I collect from my running watch is really valuable to helps me stay on track with my training goals.

    That said, it’s also important to remember that not all runs need to be analyzed (read as: overanalyzed). Sometimes it’s best for your brain and your heart to leave the watch at home and run by feel.


    Not ready to take the plunge but want to start tracking your runs with GPS? There’s an app (actually, several) for that – two of my favorites are Nike+ Running and Map My Run.

    5. A good running partner

    As great as cool gear is, nothing beats having good company on a run. I am generally a solo runner, but sometimes a run with the #girlgang, my mom, my boyfriend or even (/especially) my dog is just what I need to rejuvenate my love for this sport.



    So, did we miss anything? What are some running accessories that make all the difference for you?

    About Cass Gunderson

    Cass hails from the southwest suburbs as a proud White Sox fan and a graduate of University of Illinois. By day, Cass is an associate at ParkerGale, a small private equity firm that buys profitable technology companies. Raised as the youngest in a family of older brothers, Cass grew up a tomboy and remains active in sports. To her mother’s satisfaction, Cass learned how to embrace her feminine side in college and has developed an interest for fitness activities that require spandex as opposed to knee-length basketball shorts. In her spare time, she runs a lot (sometimes for hours and hours) because it is cheaper than paying for real therapy. The rest of her spare time is spent convincing herself that pizza and donuts can be part of a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet. Cass completed her fifth marathon in 2016 and got tired of the distance, so she found an ultra-marathon to do instead. She can still be found on the basketball courts in Lincoln Park wearing knee-length basketball shorts.

    2 thoughts on “Five Running Accessories That Can Make All the Difference

    1. Kris Britton

      Among my essential run gear is a cute pair of nike tights and a head band. The tights keep me warm in the winter and the headband helps the sweat and/or cold!

      1. Cass

        Agreed. Hyperwarm tights are a MUST for winter. I don’t think I could run in the cold without them! And any headbands (that actually stay on your head) are game changers.

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