The Obsessed Fortysomething Runner: How much running stuff do I have, anyway?

Running is supposed to be an inexpensive sport, but having just finished a load of laundry with my running clothes, I got to wondering, “How much running stuff do I have, anyway?”

Before conducting an inventory, I settled on some ground rules for the exercise. To qualify as “running stuff,” it had to be something that I use primarily for running. Thus, I have some race shirts that I do wear, but not when I run because they’re cotton; those do not count as running stuff. I similarly did not count any underwear, because that’s necessary, running or not. Accordingly, the inventory of a category below – say, shorts – does not mean that those are the only ones I have. Rather, the number represents the number of pairs of running shorts that I have; it does not include casual shorts, etc.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how much running stuff I have….

Shorts: 8 pairs

Most of these are Champion/C9 shorts from Target, but two are review products (Fourlaps and Four Athletics). I am not particular about my running shorts, but I do quite like the Four Athletics pair – I often save them to be available for races.

Running tights: 3 pairs

Two pairs of tights are merino wool ones from Costco, and the other one is from Saxx Underwear that I received for review purposes. I’m something of a bad temperature wimp, but lately I’ve been making an effort to put up with the cold for easy runs. The ridiculous December/January snow that we’ve gotten (shutting down the city, closing the gym, etc.) has played a role in forcing that on me.

Long sleeve tech shirts: 11

There’s a big mix of products here. The Petit Endurance Project one was a review product. The Turkeython race shirt was a gift from Darwin Rasmussen from 2012, and I’ve worn it for races on occasion. Then there are some C9 ones from Target – the most notable one of which is a super-reflective bright light green color good for night-time running. My wife gave me a Patagonia wool running shirt back when I was still a running newbie but when it was clear that I had been bitten by the running bug. I’ve got a couple of shirts from Road Runner Sports, and last but not least, I’ve got several Columbia Sportswear shirts with Omni-Heat (the reflective lining that traps some of your body heat).

Truth be told, I do wear some of these shirts even when I’m not running, either as baselayers on frigid days, or as outer layers on cooler days when I’m not teaching (and hence not wearing a suit). I also think I’m more particular about which shirt I choose to wear on a given day, much more so than I am with shorts.

Short sleeve tech shirts: 18

Another broad mix like the long sleeve shirts, although here there are more race shirts, mostly from Uberthons (Luckython, various Fall Half Marathons, Signature Series, and Ambassador/Team Uberthons shirts). As you can guess from the previous items, I’ve got my share of C9 tech shirts from Target, and several Columbia Sportswear ones with Omni-Freeze Zero. Two others are review products from Fourlaps and Four Athletics that came with the shorts.

I could have inflated this count by three if I’d included prAna shirts that I got from the Columbia Sportswear Employee Store*, but those – while moisture wicking – are ones that I actually like to wear for everyday casual purposes, so they don’t fit within the definition of running stuff.

I’m not an employee, but when I get my hands on a store pass, I make good use of it!

Jacket: 1

My wife and kids gave me a lightweight Brooks racing jacket for my birthday a few years ago. It makes for a good outer layer during drizzle, and definitely served me well during my first ever half marathon, which was affectionately known as the Typhoonathon.

Hoodie: 1

I debated whether to include the Pistol Lake hoodie that I received for review purposes, because I’ve been wearing it for more than an extra layer while running in freezing temperatures. However, I have been making use of it that way a lot lately, so in it comes.

Safety vest: 1

I picked up one of these super-reflective safety vests at REI on clearance. I don’t run much at dusk or night-time at home, but for some reason, I do when I’m on vacation trips, so I bring this along.

Socks: 15-22

These come from Target, Road Runner Sports, and other places. A couple of Dahlgren socks I picked up when they were selling them at the Zombie Apocalypse Run in 2013 have held up to the present despite frequent use. There’s an Uberthons pair (white, ankle cut) from a giveaway last year. I have a couple of Injinji socks but I don’t wear them as often, mostly because of the extra effort it takes to put them on. (My mom-in-law thinks they are hilarious, though.) The reason I don’t have a certain count is that it would depend on whether I include thicker wool socks that get worn more in the late fall and winter.

Gloves: 2

Few things are worse than freezing hands during outside runs. I’ve got a pair of liners from REI, and then regular gloves from Columbia Sportswear with Omni-Heat lining. During the recent runs in sub-freezing temperature, I’ve started off with both pairs and ended up warming up to the point where I was bare-handed when I came home. Pockets!

Hats/caps: 3

Two of these are those tight-fitting skullcaps from Columbia Sportswear. I used to wear them more but that was when I used over-the-ear headphones that would fit over the caps. The jack on those headphones doesn’t work well with the Galaxy S5, so I switched to bluetooth in-ear phones, but the caps would press too tightly against those. So now if I run in cold weather, I wear an Uberthons beanie.

Earphones: 1

I wear a pair of Mpow Swift bluetooth earphones to listen to audiobooks (easy runs, long runs outside), music (tempo or interval rep runs on the treadmill), or TV audio when streaming shows (long runs on the treadmill). They’re lightweight, have decent sound, and work mostly reliably except for some odd reason they sputter “out of range” for about 20 seconds when I round the corner of my street.

(I have a fancier Turtle Beach Elite wireless gaming headset that I use for audio when I’m rowing on my Concept2, but I don’t use it for running as it’s heavier and bulkier than the Mpow Swift, so it doesn’t get counted here even though I use it solely for fitness purposes.)

GPS watch: 1

Yet another past gift from my wife (I was pretty easy to shop for, back then) was a Garmin Forerunner 220. I was using Runkeeper on my old Galaxy Nexus smartphone in those days, and accepted the present graciously but had some internal skepticism about whether it would be useful. Ha ha, how wrong I was! I did flirt with the idea of upgrading to the Forerunner 235 but resisted the urge to join the cult of the new.

Non-GPS watch: 1

A couple of years before she gave me the Forerunner 220, my wife gave me a Timex non-GPS watch, which I still use when I run interval reps at the local track, because it has very handy-dandy start/split/stop lap functions.

Quick dry towels: 4

Fellow blogger Matt Rasmussen made me aware of Waves Gear‘s quick dry micro-towels, and since then, I try to keep a stash of clean ones in my gym bag so that I can shower after using the treadmill. The large size towels are great – towel off, and then use them as a pad to stand on while getting dressed.

Running Shoes: 3

This is a count of the running shoes that I’m currently using, not that I’ve ever had, obviously. Off the top of my head, I can remember retiring a generic Asics pair from Dick’s Sporting Goods, two pairs of Nike Air Pegasus 28s, two pairs of Saucony Kinvara 2s, two pairs of Saucony Kinvira 4s, and two pairs of Brooks Glycerin 11s. Right now, I’ve got a pair of Kinvara 4s that I use exclusively for races, Kinvara 5s for the treadmill, and Hoka One Ones for easy runs outside. I’ve also got another pair of One Ones and a pair of Kinvara 7s in storage.


There you have it, my list of running stuff. I’m sure that a non-runner would look at this and wonder why you need any of it other than the shoes, but I’m guessing that the rest of you can understand where I’m coming from.

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