Unless you have no self control when it comes to buying gym gear, and a huge IKEA wardrobe.
Honestly, I have ridiculous amounts of gym kit. It mostly mixes and matches, but I do have preferences for different kit for different types of training – when I started getting into serious lifting, I wore sleeveless tops and leggings more often so I could see the muscle tone & movement in my back and shoulders, as well as to minimise deadlift shin (long socks also work for this). Also I am too lazy to get changed after evening workouts, so clothing that keeps me warm enough on the walk home is better when it’s cold. For outdoor running in the winter I don’t like having both my arms & legs covered, unless it’s really chilly, so I have a pretty big collection of exercise clothing.
Trainers: these days it has to be Brooks. My current pair are Ravenna 9, but I’ve worn Vapor 2 and Vapor 3 in the past and also Saucony Omni, when I first started running & got shin splints. I also have a cheap pair of Karrimor Caracals for trail running or very wet weather. I’ll run shorter distances on treadmills in more basic trainers but for anything over four miles or so, I need my proper runners. I am lucky enough to rarely get blisters, but I am down to nine toenails.
I get my gait analysed in run4it’s RunLab every couple of years, they’ve always been incredibly helpful and do not do the hard sell on expensive gear.
I do not have a lot of time for ‘women’s trainers’ (& women’s kit in general) because they’re mostly pink/purple and have flowers on. I wear a size 7/8 shoe so I can quite often get mens’ trainers, which is good.
Bra: I do not compromise on sports bras. Like a lot of women, my running improved a huge amount when I found a sports bra that fitted well and was right for me. I like the Shock Absorber Run, but the way the back straps work mean that once it’s stretched a bit the support isn’t as good. Current favourite is the Brooks Juno, despite the expense – fits well, feels nice, looks good. I haven’t run long distances in this bra though so things may change as training progresses – I still have scars on my back from a 3 hour training run in 2017 where it rained heavily and the back clasp chafed me really badly. Never had that with a Shock Absorber so we’ll see how this winter’s training goes.
Tops: meh. A lot of my workout tops are race finisher shirts, most of which I can’t bring myself to get rid of even though I only wear about half of them on a regular basis. I like the idea of having them made into a blanket/throw type of thing, but I’d probably just keep that in a cupboard too. I guess it would save space. I will mostly train in whatever’s there; races are invariably in GFR club kit. I prefer a t-shirt to a vest.
Leggings/shorts/etc – one day I’ll find ones that fit nicely and perfectly and I will buy six pairs and that will be the end of it. Current favourites are some Ronhill long reflective leggings I picked up in the run4it sale, some 3/4 length mesh Nike tights that were also in the run4it sale, and some adidas supernova half-length leggings with reflective strips at the knee which are my fave for night-time running. I almost always race in the same pair of Nike shorts I’ve had for several years.
Jackets: I used to wear running jackets a lot more often, because I wanted to cover my body as much as I could. Nowadays I usually cba unless I need the pockets. Jackets don’t keep the rain off, and if you’re going out for a run in the rain you might as well wear short sleeves and get wet. I have a nice Ronhill jacket which is very reflective, has a decent pocket, and has a LED in the back, which comes in handy jog leading. This year’s London Marathon rejection jacket is also nice, although mine is a bit tight at the moment. Hopefully it will fit better soon.
Socks: Cheap 3-packs from the Nike outlet store most of the time. I have a couple of pairs of Hilly twinskins & I also like Feetures. I find compression socks or sleeves are really nice for longer distances – I have a pair of bright pink 2xu compression socks which are good for getting noticed but the foot of the sock is less comfortable and bunches up sometimes. I also have a pair of less ostentatiously bright Hilly calf sleeves and a cheap pair of red compression socks that I bought to match the GFR club vest. After a 3-4 hour training run, compression socks do really make a difference to calf ache or discomfort, so I’ll be wearing these a lot in training.
Accessories: I have a flipbelt and a Nike waistpack with a bottle carrier, as well as a soft armband to carry my phone if I’m not using a waistpack. The door key and £5 can fit in the tiny stupid zipper pockets in shorts/leggings. My watch is a Garmin 235 and I’ll probably do a specific post about that and the statistics it tells me at some other point. For music, I have Urbanista Boston wireless earpieces and Skullcandy running earbuds, mixing & matching depending on length of run. I don’t always listen to music or podcasts when running, though
So, quite a lot of exercise gear. Too much. Another 2019 commitment will be to not buy any more new gym clothing. I will need a fresh pair of trainers between now and April, but nothing else. Let’s hope I stick to that…