Celebrate Global Running Day With New Shoes, Earbuds, And More
Global Running Day is June 1 and, let’s face it, while runners are particularly easy marks when it comes to justifying gear purchases, a worldwide holiday for the sport helps even more.
Maybe you’re training for a 5k that’s coming up soon. Or maybe you need to start getting miles under your feet for a half marathon this fall. Possibly, like me, there’s a full marathon in your future and you realize that 18 weeks of training starts, well, now.
The key to any training is making sure you have the right gear, not only so that you can get the information you need about your run, but to ensure that you recover right. There’s also the fact that there’s nothing quite as inspiring as a fresh new pair of shoes.
Here’s all the apps and gear I’m using to train and recover.
Nike Run Club
Nike Run Club has been my constant running companion since I got my first Apple Watch. The integration with Apple’s teeny wrist-based computer makes it easy to quickly queue up a run and hit the pavement. If you’re running a 5k or half marathon, NRC has two great programs that walk you through training, coaching and inspiring you along the way. The thing I like about Nike’s training plans is that there’s a fair bit of variety to the running. Sure, there will be repeated workouts, but there’s also speedwork and hill training. And if you’re running farther, NRC has you covered there too, with guided runs that go up to two hours. Speaking from experience, it’s nice to have someone in your ear as you get towards the end of a long run, prompting you forward or having you mix up your pace a bit so that you don’t get bored. It’s also nice that the Nike Run Club app integrates with Apple Music, so that you can queue up their recommended playlist when you start a run (or easily add your own). The only thing that NRC doesn’t have is cross-training. For that you’ll need to turn to something like the next app on my list.
Some of Peloton’s best content has nothing to do with their hardware. The Peloton Outdoor program has a cracking full marathon training program that takes you through 18 weeks of running and strength training. All of it is done on your phone, no treadmill needed, taught by the same inspiring, funny, insightful crew that does all of Peloton’s other training. The program can get a bit repetitive (your mid-week runs are more or less repeated during each 6 week block) and, oddly, there’s no instructor-led long runs, not even a playlist to get you through the miles (which is a shame, since Peloton’s playlists are fantastic). But you do get supplementary strength-training classes, which is extremely helpful, especially if you struggle with consistent cross-training. If a full marathon isn’t for you, Peloton also has 5k and general outdoor running programs to inspire you on the road.
One thing you need for both apps (unless you’re that runner who has their phone out and volume on full while they train) is a good pair of earbuds. The problem that presents, however, is that you block out the ambient noise around you. Not being able to hear an approaching vehicle or a whizzing cyclist can be startling at best and, at worse, have grievous results. Some manufacturers have added ambient noise modes to combat this but they’re usually not on by default and can add a distractingly unnatural tinniness to your audio. That’s why I was thrilled to take the Sony LinkBuds out for a run. Their unique open-ear design delivers your audio with utmost clarity while still letting ambient noise filter in naturally. They’re comfortable on long runs as well, since they don’t sit in your ear canal like most earbuds, but instead ring the outside of it. They’re splash-proof, sweat-proof, and have 5.5 hours of battery life (long enough for most training runs). The included charging case gives you an additional 17.5 hours of available battery. Being a Sony audio product, they have all kinds of software tricks as well. The LinkBuds will adjust the volume to adapt to environmental noise. The V1 processor does a superb job of producing crystal-clear audio without distortion. It takes a bit of learning to figure out how to control the LinkBuds with haptic taps (there aren’t any buttons) but the Sony Headphones app has a solid walkthrough (as well as additional app-only features). They’re $179 on the Sony website.
On Running CloudMonster
So you’ve got a training plan, but without good shoes, you’re only going to go so far before you injure yourself. The best shoes not only help prevent injury but make running long distances more comfortable and efficient. On’s latest innovation, the CloudMonster, does all of this. The shoe sports absolutely enormous Cloud elements on the sole. These not only absorb the impact of your foot hitting the road, but bounce back, propelling you forward with each step. Now, I’ve heard that statement plenty of times before but within seconds of putting on a pair of CloudMonsters, I could absolutely feel a springiness that I haven’t felt in any other shoe. They’re undeniably bouncy. The sock liner is super soft and the recycled upper is boldly colored and forgiving on the top of your foot. Especially if you’re going to be running long distances, try out a pair that’s a half-size bigger than your everyday shoes. The farther you run, the more your foot spreads out. If the toe box isn’t wide enough, you could end up with painful blisters or worse. Once you find a pair that fits you best, the On CloudMonsters will keep you moving forward up to and through race day. Find your pair on the On-Running website for $169.
Arc’teryx Norvan LD3
If you’re going to be hitting the trails as part of your training (or maybe for the race itself), bounciness is less of a concern as much as durability and protection. Arc’teryx uses a Vibram sole in the new Norvan LD3 that’s super-tough without adding a lot of weight. And while they might feel weird if you’re running on the road, get the 4mm lugs on the Vibram outsole onto a patch of loose sand or muddy trail and you’ll feel as confident as if you were running on packed dirt. The upper is nicely ventilated to let your feet breathe and the Norvan LD3 sports a wide toe box. Even so, I’d recommend going a half size up on this shoe as well. My first trail run resulted in a bit of rubbing on my big toe. Arc’teryx has a reputation for shoes that are absolute tanks on the trail and the Norvan LD3 is no different. Find a pair that works for you, toss them in your gear bag, and go find a trail to conquer. They won’t let you down. Snag a pair on the Arc’tyrex website for $165.
Already, the Ōura Ring provides invaluable information, letting you dive deep into how well you sleep, how your heart rate has varied, and how ready you are, performance-wise. It even keeps track of your temperature and blood oxygen levels, alerting you if it thinks that you might be fighting something and need to take it easier. Plus, the Ōura Ring automatically detects and celebrates afternoon naps, which makes me love it even more. With the addition of in-workout heart-rate monitoring (rolling out to Generation 3 devices now), the Ōura Ring has increased its utility as a performance-tracking device. Rather than just pull in workout data or guess when you’ve been working out, you can start tracking your run, cycle, or walk in the Ōura Ring app so that it can analyze your performance and recovery data in real time. Post-workout, the Ōura app lets you know how your workout will impact the rest of your day. Often, rest and recovery are viewed as “being lazy” by amateur athletes. But the pros know that just as, if not more, important as training hard. The Ōura Ring gives you insight into this forgotten training stat. Plus, it looks pretty nice too. There are four finishes to choose from (or you can go for the ultra-lux Gucci model that comes with a lifetime app subscription) starting at $299.
OOFOS OOcoozie Mule
After all that running, your feet are going to need some extra care. Walking around barefoot after a run can actually aggravate the tendons in your feet. That’s why I like to have a pair of these OOFOS OOcoozie Mules handy. They’re ridiculously cushiony and the vegan sherpa upper is velvety soft. The footbed is made out of OOFOS proprietary foam that soaks up impact while walking. The design supports and cradles your arches, helping you recover faster. I actually aggravated an old Achilles injury while training recently and OOFOS footwear is the only thing that makes walking around not hurt. If Mules aren’t your thing, check out the OOmg Low Shoe that has a more traditional upper but the same, super soft, super supportive footbed. What’s nice is that both are machine-washable, so they’ll last even longer. The Mules are $114 on the OOFOS website.