A few of my favorite things
Feetures! "high performance" ultra thin socks Moisture wicking! Low-cut with a convenient tab for a perfect fit! Thin enough to please even sock haters like me, with just enough cushion to efficiently combat blisters! What more could you ask for in a sock?
FuelBelt handheld hydration bottles A handheld water bottle is my salvation during those pesky miles between fluid stations and water fountains. (The latter can seem endless in New York—especially during cold months, when they're shut off anyway.)
Nuun hydration tablets Replenish, yon runner! Keeping up with your electrolyte levels during a workout can prevent you from bonking midway through a long run. Most hydration guidelines call for an athlete to take in at least 16oz of fluid during a workout lasting an hour or more, preferably spaced out in 15-minute increments. Adding some electrolytes to those water breaks can help keep your energy up, as well as preventing dehydration.
Pro-Tec Foam Roller Sometimes stretching just isn't enough. Rolling out tough knots at least once after a vigorous week of runs can help prevent (and treat) muscle injury and soreness. I started doing this after having some issues with my tight-as-a-drum IT bands, and have noticed myself feeling much lighter and looser after a good, hard session. (NB: Rolling hurts, especially at first. Just go slow, keep up with it, and try to acclimate your body to the acute pressure. You'll be glad you did.)
Zensah compression leg sleeves I never leave home without these, which makes me pretty easy to spot when I'm on the road. (My favorite pair are blindingly pink.) The idea behind compression—during either exercise or recovery—is to slow the discharge of lactic acid from your muscles, which is part of what makes us feel tired and sore after any intense physical activity. As a totally anecdotal not-based-in-science-whatsoever recommendation, I can tell you I shaved a full minute per mile off my average pace once I started wearing these regularly.
Pandora.com Want to know what I run to? Search for "Meister Radio."
GMap Pedometer It's hard to rely on GPS when you're running in the shadow of tall, satellite-blocking skyscrapers, so I rely on good ol' map-based route tracking whenever I'm headed in a new direction or checking on my mileage. This site is great, too, because it allows you to bookmark and edit routes, and it also provides elevation information and calorie counting (if you're into that sort of thing).
JogTracker For nonurban runs, I like to use a GPS-based phone app like JogTracker, which gives real-time Google Map–based location info, as well as time, pace, and distance tracking. Statistics from your runs (as well as maps) can be uploaded and saved for access at JogTracker.com, from which you can also share details via Facebook and Twitter.
MarathonGuide.com Looking for a run to plan your next vacation around? This site makes it easy to search for races by destination, type, and time of year.
Road Runner Sports I buy almost all of my gear and running apparel online through RR Sports, and will happily and enthusiastically vouch for their speed, customer service, and prices. Bonus: VIP members get free superfast shipping, as well as regular discounts and deals that will help sate the gearhead in you.
Runner's World Training Log This is where I keep a record of every day's run. The log lets you enter your start time, duration, workout type, weight, weather notes, event or map URL, and a description of the day's jog. Plug in the required info and it will calculate your average pace, as well as VO Max and how many calories burned. A calendar summary gives you a snapshot glance of your monthly miles, and you can even keep an eye on how much of a beating your current shoes have taken, in order to replace them (typically after 300–500 miles).
RUNNING WHILE SMILING posts about gear
04/25/12: How to Keep a Running Log
05/29/12: Enduring the Treadmill: "Virtual Active" Videos
Other gear-related reading