With all the gift guides and recommendations, I would like to redirect you to the Sunny Running Holiday Gift Guide. It’s advice is unassailable.
However, if you find that insufficient, I also have personal recommendations to make — for practically everything. Here is a complete list of all the gear I use, more or less. (Side note: None of this is sponsored. Some of it was at one point, long ago, that’s why I got it, but the sponsored stuff I didn’t like I’ve long since stopped using. And, I’ve bought plenty more. So, this is actually what I use regularly. Though I’d love to not have to spend so much money on it all.)
Suit: Jolyn – I almost exclusively wear the Brazil bottoms and the Uniform top. Two reasons: Easier to deck change and get in/out of, and it can pass for both a casual lounge suit and a lap suit. Efficient and lazy. Also, one time, these high school girls all went and bought the suits after complimenting mine, so that’s basically a win.
Goggles: I hate all my goggles currently. I have no goggle recommendations.
Wetsuit: Xterra Vortex (both the sleeveless and long sleeve) — The sleeveless suit I’m not nuts about — it feels high in the neck — but the long sleeve is my favorite, supple and smooth. Unfortunately, I tore it across the zipper this summer and had to get it patched back up. Totally worth the $40.
Paddles: Finis Agility Paddles — Since I switched to these, I swear I’ve gotten faster. Or, at least, less slow.
Bike: 2006 Cannondale Caad 8 — This Cannondale is the Camry of bikes. (OK, I actually have no idea if that’s true. I don’t know anything or care anything about cars. But, there was this Camry I used to drive around — which I consistently called a Chevy [same first and last letter, basically the same thing] — and it lasted through everything. No brakes, no headlights, no rolling down the windows, but it went. That thing was a beast.)
TT Bike: Specialized Shiv — It doesn’t get faster than this bike. End of discussion.
Power Meter/Computer: PowerTap — I actually use a really old wired one. But, I’m fine with that. I don’t want to be on Strava. I don’t care if my computer syncs with Bluetooth. I don’t want to put maps on it. All I want is the four things I want to know (HR, power, cadence, distance/time — ok, I guess that’s five). Sometimes, I use Steve’s Garmin head unit with his wireless PowerTap and it’s nice. You can do a lot more stuff with it. Clearly, I take full advantage of that.
Shoes: Shimano WT51 Tri Shoes — I was given these, but they’re great. I haven’t changed shoes in five years, though that may also be because I’m lazy.
Helmet: Giro Atmos (usually) and S-Works Evade (for races) — The Atmos is great, except for the small problem that it leaves two dents in my forehead. So, you know, whatever. And, I’ve been wearing the Evade for races, which I actually like a lot more than my old Giro TT helmet. It’s comfortable and airy, but still aero.
Clothes: Whatever team ones people give me for free, though you probably want to buy this jacket and these booties. And, don’t wear cycling shorts with really tight elastic bands at the bottom. It hurts at the end of the day. #protip
Shorts: Mysterious Nike Shorts — So, I love the Nike shorts I am wearing in these photos. But, you can’t find them anywhere anymore. They’re not quite the classic Nike Tempo shorts — slightly different cut and wider waistband — and I bought them for $8 at the Nike outlet store, so this may just be one of those mysteries that is never solved. We all know I have massive problems with shorts and I go through a lot of them, so I can attest that the mysterious Nike ones are the best. But, in a pinch, the classic Nike Tempos are ok and the new Nike Rival shorts are my second favorite. Oiselle’s Roga shorts are also fine, but tend to make my thighs look even more massive than usual.
Shirts: Under Armour Cotton T-Shirt — I’m currently on a plain workout shirt kick and these are my favorite. (Also, see Gap tank tops and long sleeve shirts.) They’re comfortable and no one asks you questions about the races on the front. Also, you can wear them with fancy yoga pants and go to a meeting before the gym. Lazy efficiency is a theme for me.
Jacket: Brooks Nightlife Essential Run Jacket — I don’t wear jackets to run in much, but sometimes I just wear this one to look cool.
Tights: Fabletics — I was surprised, because it’s a total grab bag scammy coupon thing, but the Cala Capri tights I got from Fabletics are excellent.
Sports Bra: Target Champion Seamless or Nike Pro Classic — I live in Target sports bras. They’re cheap; they come in lots of colors; and they’re comfortable. Lately, though, I’ve splurged a bit on the solid Nike sports bras, for when you want to run in just a sports bra.
Shoes: Saucony Kinvara 4 — I’ve been wearing lots of different shoes for the last two years, since the bone spur in my foot got all messed up. Most of them were decent, but when I needed to buy new shoes last month I decided to go back to the last shoes I was told actually fit my stride/foot/etc. It’s amazing how much better they feel. I still mix it up some and the Brooks PureFlow 2 are pretty good, and I always wear my Nike Frees for gym work (though I have an old model and I don’t really like the new ones that much).
Watch: Garmin 405 — This is the first GPS watch I’ve had and it’s fine. But, I broke the band early on and now it pops open almost all the time. It’s also almost three years old and can barely talk to satellites anymore — I guess they all learned new languages. So, I’ll probably be getting a new one, or just keep wearing my basic Timex and making up the other data.
Water Bottle: Amphipod Hydroform Handheld — I don’t usually carry anything on a run that I can’t stick in my sports bra. But, for long trail runs you kind of need some water/nutrition/pocket. I’ve tried running with vests and backpacks, but they always chafe. This is a light, easy handheld that you don’t even notice much.
(This is seriously pretty much all I eat for workouts, plus sometimes cookies.)
Vanilla Powerbar Gels — Because they taste like frosting and have a liquid enough consistency you don’t gag. I only eat vanilla and some of the fruit flavors. Rarely caffeinated.
Clif Bars and Chocolate Chip Clif Z-Bars — I’m basically just eating Chocolate Chip Mint Clif bars right now. For the longest time I exclusively ate Clif bars. Only the chocolate-chip, peanut butter, and blueberry crisp flavors. I’ve since expanded my arsenal to include the mint chocolate-chip and, in an emergency, white macadamia nut or double-chocolate. I’ll also eat Powerbar harvest bars and those double-crunch ones now, but I still primarily stick with Clif bars, Clif Z-Bars (soooooooo gooood) and Clif Builder bars (mint chocolate only). Why? Because they taste good and are not gross. Duh.
Clif Margarita Shot Blocks — I used to only eat Gu Chomps, but they stick in my teeth and tend to get really hard when it’s cold out. (Apparently, they’re all made at the same facility in Southern California, so the difference may just be in my head.)
Gu20, which they now call Gu Brew, or Gatorade — That’s pretty much it. Definitely will not drink Hammer or Heed.
In general, I also can’t say enough good things about KitKat Minis and Bud Light Platinum (the official beer of Sunny Running). For burritos, it’s all about Sonoma Taco Shop‘s super steak without sour cream. For sushi, I don’t think you can beat Sushi 69. And, for a nice cut of meat at a good restaurant I pretty much exclusively frequent Bel Campo. And, I think we all know that if I had my choice I would eat nothing but guacamole, Sabre pine nut hummus, and homemade chocolate-chip cookies.
So there are my recommendations for practically everything. I have more opinions of course, but this seemed like enough.