HEALTH WITH JESSICA

My Running Ready List

I’ve been a runner since my adolescence. I ran track & cross country in middle & high school…but once I graduated it became an even greater part of my life. And that runner’s high people talk about? Yup….hooked. 

Having been an active kid, but still one that struggled hard with my weight…I had done a lot of different types of exercising. **Hello STEP AEROBICS!!** That was my first love! Anyone having visions of leotards and leg warmers now?! Once I started running small races I felt I had graduated from “someone who runs on occasion” to “a RUNNER”. And here’s fair warning…we don’t call it jogging. Not cool. Ask any runner. I guarantee a cringe. 

So this is a little compilation of my TOP 10 Running Ready “Things”. The stuff I consider before lacing up and hitting the road (not a dreadmill….ugh. I only do that if I HAVE to). 


1. BE FUELED

So this is different for everyone, but I personally don’t like running on an empty stomach.  However, I also can’t have had any kind of a substantial meal close to when I run. It does NOT feel good. 

I eat something small…1/2 a Larabar or a  graham cracker with peanut butter for example…1/2 hour to an hour before I head out. Race days are different (& that will be a different post!) but this is always what makes ME feel my best for a run.

2. BE HYDRATED

You might be saying “duh”…but this can be overlooked easily and you will notice it in your running!! You’re more energized when you’re hydrated & you’re legs feel lighter. It will help keep you from cramping up. A word of caution though: don’t drink a gallon of water right before you head out!! Instead, be a consistent water drinker. Drink throughout the day. I’ve invested in a little water bottle that is formed to fit the hand and has a strap hat attaches to the hand. Love that I don’t feel like I’m holding onto it so much. 

3. BRING YOUR PHONE

I know this might annoy some of you. I always bring mine because I use it for my music. However, I would bring it anyway for safety!! Don’t be the person who thinks they will never have anything happen to them. You could get injured and need help or…so many things we’d rather not think about. Just be smart, people. 

4. HAVE AWESOME TUNES

My awesome tunes will likely sound different than your awesome tunes. AND I do know some people who don’t even care to listen to music while running. I’m not that girl. An awesome playlist or some Pandora stations ready to go is key for me! My legs move much faster with good tunes!!

Although having awesome tunes is…awesome…make sure you can still hear your surroundings! I run with only one headphone in and/or with my music pretty low. Annoying, I know. But I feel far safer being able to hear what’s going on around me. 

5. HAVE GREAT KICKS

I am a bargain hunter. But, I will spend a little extra money on my running shoes if I have to. Your feet will thank you, your knees will thank you, your hips will thank you, your back will thank you…your body will thank you. Be sure to go to a running store near you (I go to Roadrunner in Tualatin, but there’s also 5 Star Sports in Corvallis…those are the best I know of near me). These places will examine your stride, posture, arch, etc and be able to recommend the right shoe for your needs, including the type of running you do and what kind of terrain you favor. In addition they will recommend an insole…get the insole!!! Your body needs the right type of support for YOUR feet. The way we treat our bodies NOW will be felt in years to come

6. TELL SOMEONE WHERE YOU’RE RUNNING

This goes along with the idea of bringing your phone. Please friends…be smart. Things happen…they just do. Be proactive about your safety!

7. DRESS APPROPRIATELY 

I’m not talking about making sure your parts are covered….but that too! What I’m referring to is weather! For me it’s most difficult in the Winter when I’m cold. It’s so easy to bundle up way too much and then be overheated and miserable. 

What I try to do is dress in layers so I can remove one if needed, but also not dress in too many layers! I mean who wants to run while holding a bunch of clothing? Trust me…it’s a drag.

I typically make sure I still feel chilled “enough” when I’m ready to go. That might sound weird…but if I am still wanting to add a layer that’s a good thing…I promise you after a few minutes of running you’ll be thankful you didn’t overdress! Same goes for your head. On ocassion I will wear a ski hat, but I always know I’ll end up carrying it, unless it’s really that cold out. They do make warm head band type things that are perfect for covering your ears but not your entire head. So much of our heat escapes from our heads, it’s really important to not overdress that part!

Don’t forget to make sure you are visible!! Dress BRIGHT! And if you are running when it’s even a little dark out, consider reflective tape or something of the like. BE VISIBLE!! Drivers are more distracted than ever. It’s up to you to make sure they see you!


Getting ready for a mid-January, Oregon run!

  • Warm clothes ✅ 
  • Bright colors ✅ 
  • Awesome tunes ✅ 

8. BE A GOOD ROAD “SHARER”

Safety first, right?! A few rules of thumb for keeping myself & others safe during my runs:

  • If on the shoulder of the road, run against traffic so you can see cars coming. Unless you have hardly any shoulder and are about to round a sharp corner or going up a super steep hill…if I know the driver coming at me won’t be able to see me and I have barely any shoulder, I cross to the other side until there’s better visibility on the side I should be on.
  • When on a sidewalk or path I always warn others when I’m coming up on them and about to pass them by saying loudly (no need to shout and scare someone) “right behind you!”. I used to say “on your right” or “on your left”…and it was pretty hilarious how people couldn’t figure out which was right or left when they were kind of startled! 
  • Always hug your side of the path when on a trail/path/sidewalk so people can easily pass on your left. 

9. USE A RUNNING APP

The only one I can really speak about is RUNKEEPER because that’s what I have always used. I am a creature of habit…when I find something that works for me I stick with it. Runkeeper tracks your mileage, your pace, your splits, your route, calories burned…it tells you where you’re at with your time (mine is set to tell me every five minutes how long I’ve been running, how many miles I’m at and what my pace is). You can also use training programs it offers for race preparation. Lots of extras…but these are the most important features for me!

10. RUN A RACE

You don’t have to be competitive to run races. They ARE, however, wonderful tools if you like to challenge yourself!! You will be SO proud of your accomplishment too! They really are tons of fun. It’s awesome being out there with all these other people who are committed to healthier habits and who are challenging themselves as well. You’ll be inspired by everyone from the elite runner who finishes at the front of the pack, to the little kid who whizzes past you, and the mom or dad pushing a running stroller with a kid or two in it, to the people who are way past your own age and challenging themselves! It’s pretty awesome!!

I would love to hear some of the things you would put on your own list!! (These things apply to walkers as well!)

Happy running!!

XOXO, Jess

About Jessica Parker

A wife, mom, step mom, fur mom, Jesus girl, certified health coach & fitness instructor with a masters in health Psych. I love helping people find balance & health in their lives while living vibrantly.

I want to hear what YOU think!

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