I may not be a minimalist when it comes to almond-butter consumption or running-shoe ownership or the number of dog adoption websites I peruse on an hourly basis, but I’m undeniably a purist when it comes to at least one thing: my daily run.
While some runners would never step foot outside their apartments without their iPhones or iPods or iWatches or iWater*, I pride myself in needing little more than a sports bra and my Asics to get me out the door. Oh right, and pants. (Sorry, NYPD, it won’t happen again.)
*not yet an Apple product
Now don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing inherently bad about bringing some comforts of home along for your daily workout if that’s your thing, and some blistered days I’m actually quite jealous of my forward-thinking peers who filled their pockets with band-aids and tissues before heading out the door. But for me personally, I prefer the freedom of running with empty pockets, primarily because it allows me to get out the door quickly before I come up with a reason to delay my run. I may love running, but I can always find a reason to put it off if you tempt me, and realizing my ipod isn’t charged would be too strong a temptation indeed.
But while you’d be hard pressed to find me carrying much more than my body weight on most of my workouts, there are nonetheless three (small) things I’d never leave home without. They don’t add much bulk, but even this minimalist runner can make an exception for these three items:
- A $20 bill. It can be folded to the size of a quarter, vendors will still accept it if it’s sweaty (sorry, vendors) and it’s enough money to cover any basic need but not so much that you’d be financially devastated if it accidentally slipped out of your shorts. By carrying a single Andrew Jackson, I always have enough currency to buy a bottle of water if the fountains are off, or a Gatorade if I need some sugar, or a taxi cab home if my run didn’t go as planned. Expert tip: buy your water from a Central Park tourist cart, not a Duane Reade, so you aren’t left paying tax and carrying around nickels and dimes for the rest of your run.
- Chapstick. If you’ve known the agony of realizing you need chapstick when you’re already three miles from home, you’ll understand why this is a non-negotiable. Opt for a moisturizing variety with SPF. Expert tip: make sure it’s clear, not red or pink, so it can double as body glide if you start chaffing. Sure, you’ll look a little crazy when you start to apply chapstick to your underarms or between your thighs in public, but you’ll thank yourself when you can later step into the hot shower without screaming in post-chafe agony.
- An extra hair thing. If you’re rocking a crew cut like my brother, you can skip this one. For those of us with flowing locks who need a ponytail in order to function, a snapped hair tie mid-run is absolute devastation. Carry one with you and you’ll never look like an 80s head-banger as you cross the finish line. Expert tip: Keep one looped into your laces at all times so you don’t even have to think about it. I don’t remember who taught me this trick, but it’s the best idea I’ve ever heard — and I’ve heard of Magic Mike 3.