I’ve been a fan of Asics running shoes since High School. They seem to have redone their sizing in the last couple of years (since I went from an 8 1/2 wide to a 10) but they still work great for me. Currently I’m training in the GEL-1140 and the Venture which is a discontinued trail running shoe.
I run with my phone in an armband most of the time. I have a Motorola Backflip running Android. The only reason I started doing this was for the GPS tracking. The Backflip just happens to fit fairly well into and iPod touch armband, you just have to cut a small hole for the headphone jack. I use the Sports Track Live application to track my runs. It’s also a nice saftey feature when doing very long runs. The application has a “Live” component so that anyone can click a shared link on Facebook or Twitter and “see” your progress on a map as you run. This has been greatly appreciated by friends and loved ones when I’m out running for 2+ hours, they can see where I am and if I’m still moving. It’s also very nice to be able to get all your stats in one place and have maps to go along with it. I’m very happy with the Sports Track Live app.
For runs where I just want music, it’s raining, or just really long runs I carry the Sansa Clip+. 8 gig of music (with a 4 gig micro SD card) is a lot of music in a package that weighs almost nothing. It doesn’t have all the features of an iPod or Zune, but I’m out there to run, not play with my MP3 player. Also, at $40, if for some reason it gets destroyed I’m not going to be heartbroken. On runs longer that 2 hours battery life on my phone is an issue with music playing, apps running, GPS on. So, I just let the phone do the tracking and use the Clip+ for music.
On the hydration front I use a couple of different options. For runs in the 6-10 mile range I go with the Camelbak Quick Grip bottles. At first I was concerned about carrying water like this on long runs, but, I figured if most everyone running Ultra’s was sporting them I might as well give it a try. Turned out not to be all that difficult or cumbersome. The strap holds them to your hands so you don’t have to grip the bottle to hold onto it and the small pouch holds a couple small gel packs. During really hot weather I will add a Camelbak or Nuun tablet for mineral replacement and carry a bottle even with my hydration bladder.
Speaking of hydration bladders… I have used various versions of several companies bladders and packs for many years. They are great for hiking and bike riding. I always found that they bounced too much for running, even with a chest strap. Then I found the Nathan Exceed. This pack has the straps cross over your chest. I’ve done this before by crossing the straps on a regular pack and it never quite worked right. Nathan got it right. Where the straps cross over is a small pouch for gels or mp3 player, this is also where the hydration tube holder is. I have the minimal version, so there is not a lot of storage in the back, but enough for a few bars, gels, gloves. I cannot recommend this product highly enough. It took a couple runs to get the adjustment correct, but once I found it the pack just stays put.