I’ll admit that I’ve spent way too much money on fitness swag that I don’t use. However, I’ve also dropped more than I care to admit on things that have turned out to be worth every penny. I thought I’d tell you about 3 of my top splurges, in case you’re looking to treat yourself:
1. Compression Gear
Price: $40 (sleeves) – $125 (pants)
Specifically, CW-X and CEP compression gear – the former for my running shorts and pants, and the former for my running socks and sleeves. I wore the CW-X Stabilyx pants for my marathon
And I wore the CEP compression socks or sleeves for every single training run (except when I wore the CW-X pants)
According to the CEP website,
Extensive studies show that wearing CW-X tights results in 26% less energy expenditure than running in regular tights and 36% less energy than running in shorts. CW-X’s patented Support Web brings the hips, knees and ankles into proper alignment, reducing impact and load to the legs. The Support Web™ also provides a suspension system for the hamstrings and quadriceps, reducing workload in both the pull and push phase of the running motion. With more efficient strides, your muscles don’t have to work as hard over time and your legs will feel fresher.
Personally, I believe that compression gear saved me and that without it, I wouldn’t have made it to my marathon (or through my marathon) injury free. When I was training for my first half-marathon in 2011, I had such pain in my calves after my long runs that I often had to cut my other training runs short. When I started wearing compression socks, I would run two days after a 20-miler and have fresh legs. Amazing!
2. Foam Roller
Price: $45 – $70 for a full length (3 feet)
I’m sure most of you are familiar with the way of the foam roller, but it bears repeating that these things are miracle workers whether you exercise daily or sit at a desk all day. Until you roll around on one of these torture tools you, you probably have no concept of the amount of tension you’re holding in your legs – particularly in your IT band.
If you have a foam roller or can access one at your gym but aren’t sure how to use it, check out these tutorials:
3. Good Headphones
Until last year, I always used either my ipod headphones or $10 sony headphones I would buy, trash with sweat and replace every 2 months. Eventually, my parents got tired of me complaining and bought me a pair of Bose mie2i headphones for my birthday. Problem: even though one of their marketed uses was for exercise, these headphones did not pass the sweat test, and I had to replace them 4 times before I became irate and, coincidentally, Bose decided to come out with the same headphones but in a shiny new sport version. Hallelujah! The kind people at Bose let me pay the difference on my last exchange and upgrade to the SIE2i headphones. Admittedly, the first pair I got had a glitch and had to be replaced in the first week, but it’s been smooth sailing since then (a month and counting, knock on wood).
If you’re someone who can’t exercise without music (like me), I can’t emphasize enough how much good quality headphones can improve your workouts. Totally worthy investment in my opinion.