Favorite Running Items (Part 2): Check Out Brynn's Top Picks

You can't have too many running items.
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You know...shoes, shorts, shirts, socks, maybe even that ritualistic cup of coffee before your run or race.
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When you find running items that work, chances are pretty good you stick with them for the long haul. Right?
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In this article, WeeViews Ambassador Brynn Cunningham shares Part 2 of her favorite running items in 2023.

👇In case you missed it...👇

Welcome to part two of my 2023 favorite running items series!
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👉If you missed it: Brynn’s Favorite Running Items of 2023 (so far): Part 1

Author training at Bear Run Nature Reserve for a December 50k (Photo/ Megan Simpson).

For assistance in determining your own size, here are the female wear tester’s measurements:

  • Height: 5’ 3 ¾”
  • Weight: 120-125 pounds
  • Waist: 27.75 inches
  • Chest/bust: 34 inches
  • Hips: 34 inches
  • Typical shirt size: XS
  • Typical pant size: 2, small and extra small 
  • Shoes: 
    • Chacos (7)
    • Birkenstocks (39)
    • Most daily shoes (7.5)
    • All running shoes except the Altra Escalante (8)

👉Looking for more sweet running items to help you go the distance?

Here's Part 2 of my favorites in 2023...

1. LifeStraw Peak Squeeze Water Filter System (22 oz)

While my Salomon ADV Skin 5 Women's Running Vest (Click to read the full review) comes with two perfectly good flasks, I wanted a small flask that could quickly and easily filter water straight from the many creeks and streams that I run through, over and beside.
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After some research, the LifeStraw Peak Squeeze Water Filter System (22 oz.) became the obvious choice...
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...the final selling point being the video depicting its superior durability.
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I carry it with me on almost every run where I’m wearing a hydration vest and fill it up for plain, crisp, ice-cold water, while the 1.5 or 2-liter reservoir in my packs holds a hydration mix.
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Pros:

  • Fits in the front pockets of my Salomon running vest and side pockets of my Nathan Vaporhowe vest (review here)
  • Easy to grip while running 
  • Secure, twist-off cap covering the drink valve
  • Small - 22 ounces 
  • Durable 
  • Easy to use - dunk and fill the receptacle, screw on the filter, drink
  • Removes 99.999999% of all bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli; 99.999% of all parasites; 99.999% of microplastics; and silt, sand and cloudiness greater than 0.2 micron
  • Filter lasts up to 500 gallons (2,000 liters)
2. Altra Escalante Racer

The Altra Escalante Racer acts as my low-profile, minimalist, barely there shoe for wearing in daily life during warm weather.
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I also use them for the following specific running activities:

  • Competitive 90-minute all-ages kickball games that include lots of anaerobic, max-heart-rate sprinting, jumping, throwing and kicking
  • Playing soccer and basketball with my kids
  • Running the 0.75 miles and back to drop the kids off at the neighbor’s house via paved roads, grass fields and dirt trails 
  • Strength/ run circuits that change every time but look something like this: 
    • Pullups
    • Toes-to-bar
    • Burpees
    • Calf raises
    • Hip thrusts
    • 20-40-second sprints 
    • Repeat

Size: 

  • 7.5 

Specs: 

  • Heel-to-toe drop: 0 mm
  • Stack height: 22 mm
  • 5.7 ounces

Pros: 

  • Open weave design vents air well (Engineered Static Mesh)
  • Comfortable with or without socks
  • Feels weightless
  • Wide toe box
  • Secure connection to the earth with the low stack height 
  • Flexible
3. Woolly Cropped Tank Flex Merino. Fits perfectly under the Salomon ADV Skin 5 Women’s Running Vest.

While I usually wear regular tank tops, like the ones listed in Running Tank Tops: 5 Wear-Tested Picks to Keep You Cool, it’s nice to have a cropped option.
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Pros: 

  • Super stretchy
  • Midweight merino wool
  • 95 percent 18.5 micron merino wool and 5 percent elastane
  • Soft
  • High underarm so the armpits don’t rub
  • Odor resistant 
  • Fits perfectly under my Salomon ADV Skin 5 Women's Running Vest (Click to read the full review)
  • Full back and high chest coverage so the vest doesn’t sit on bare skin 
  • Available at walmart.com
  • Thermoregulating - performs well in 50 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Works as a layer under a long sleeve in 40 to 50-degrees 
4. BOSU NexGen Balance Trainer

On July 15, I was walking to the startline of a white water kayaking race. As I turned to look over my left shoulder to chat with a friend, my right foot landed in an obscure, grass-covered hole about 10-inches deep with a cinder block in it.
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The ankle rolled laterally to a 90 degree angle, the foot went under the cinder block, and I went down.
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POP, the ankle went!
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Unable to bear weight, I was picked up and carried away by friends as I cried and screamed more curse words and profanities in ten minutes than I’ve uttered in the past five years.
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I was M.A.D., mad, mad, mad, and in a great deal of pain.
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Fortunately, I’ve been doing foot and ankle strengthening, stability and mobility for years by way of:

  • Jumping rope
  • Plyometrics
  • MOBO Board
  • VooDoo flossing
  • Mobility and therapy tools (16 recovery tools reviewed here)
  • Yoga
  • Strength training with weights and bands
  • Going barefoot often

Unfortunately, no amount of prevention could have spared me from the accident, though maybe it decreased the severity.

Bruising, discoloration and swelling on day three of lateral ankle sprain.

The aftermath?

  • Swelling, discoloration and bruising
  • Crutches for two days
  • Aircast and brace for two weeks
  • Taping during all activities from weeks two to six with Hampton Adams athletic tape, recommended on the SWAP Running podcast by coach David Roche

Treatments: 

Ways I use the BOSU (and recommend for all runners): 

  • Standing on the ball or platform side while working at my standing desk 
  • Standing with feet wide then progressing to a more narrow stance on the platform side and slowly rocking the BOSU forward and backward, side to side, and 360 degrees in both directions

Strength training with weights: 

  • bridge marches
  • single leg step-ups
  • all types of squats (including Bulgarian split) and deadlifts 
  • and more

Yoga:

  • Sit on the ball-side for boat pose and core work
  • Flow through vinyasas, using it under the feet or hands 
  • Stand on it for Mountain, Chair and single-leg balance poses
  • Place the front foot on either side during Warrior-style poses
  • With push-ups and arm balances like Crow
  • and more

Bonus? 

  • My sons use it as a springboard and trampoline!
5. Swiss rx Collagen

I read about Swiss rx Collagen on The Feed, and within 12 hours post-ankle injury, I put in my first order.
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Pros:

  • Patented ingredients (Tendoactive®, Fortigel® and Mobilee®)
  • “Floods soft tissue with the correct collagen peptides for injury repair and prevention.” -The Feed
  • “Scientifically proven to reduce activity-related joint pain and strengthen collagen, reducing the breakdown of collagen in the body.” - The Feed
  • Dissolves easily in hot water with Dandy Blend, which I drink every morning, and probably coffee (haven’t tried it in the former)
  • Neutral taste
  • Easy on the palate
  • Lots of good sales through The Feed
  • Auto-ship available 

😲According to my physical therapist, I recovered from the injury six to eight weeks sooner than most patients with the same issue and was cleared to train for a December 50k trail race. 

  • Was it the collagen? 
  • It’s hard to say, but I continue to consume Swiss rx Collagen every morning with positive high hopes that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure :) 

Happy running! 

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Brynn Cunningham
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Trail runner, ultrarunner, white water boater, cyclist (mostly MTB), swimmer, triathlete, cross country and backcountry skier...

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