Spring is here, and for runners that means it's time to ramp up training and gear up for the spring racing season. Soon it will be time to put away the hats, gloves and track suits for something lighter, cooler and more liberating. Picking up some new gear for the spring can give a great motivational boost to your running and get you flying along the trails and paths that were blocked by snow for the last several months.
Here are five "must-have" pieces of running gear that can help you ramp up your training and feel more comfortable this spring.
1. Heart Rate Monitor/GPS
Adding a heart rate monitor to your training can make your training smarter and more efficient by helping you target the correct intensities for various types of workouts such as easy runs, interval training and tempo runs.
More: Find a heart rate monitor.
A GPS device such as the Garmin Forerunner GPS combines both. It has the fully functional and reliable heart rate monitor, as well as a GPS that tracks your time, distance, pace and just about everything else you'd want to know.
The Forerunner allows you to track and download your data straight to a computer. All the information is there: speed, time, heart rate, calories burned, you name it. You can also set goals and track your progress toward that goal.
It even allows you to set up a "virtual partner" using the results of a previous run and supplies a graphic display of how you're doing compared to prior runs. For many runners, the journey of striving to improve is what it's all about. Having that detailed information readily available can really keep you motivated.
More: 4 Tips to Stay Motivated on Your Long Run
With spring comes more sun exposure (hooray!), which unfortunately can be tough on your eyes. Sunglasses should be as light as possible and provide excellent UV protection.
More: Shop for the right shades.
The Optic Nerve Eyeque is budget-friendly eyewear that comes with a lightweight, one-piece frame and photomatic lenses, which change in tint from lighter to darker, based on the amount of UV light in the surrounding area.
I like the way they sharpen the view, no matter the degree of sunlight, with more depth and contrast in overcast conditions while removing the glare and making the view more comfortable on even the brightest days.
One of the cooler features of the Optic Nerve Eyeque glasses is the side air vents that keep the lenses from fogging up due to moisture. I also find them so light that it's easy to forget that I'm wearing them.