1. Gymboss This is a device for timing intervals. Works great; however, some running watches do this well. Personally, I prefer to use the Gymboss, which clips to my shorts; alternatively, download an interval timer app for your phone.
2. Foam roller This is a self massage device that works best for relieving muscle tension. Available in several lengths, some with a knobby-like pattern to add to the effect. Optimally, use both before and after workouts.
3. Massage roller stick This is a self-massage device that works better for small muscle groups/lower leg (but do not use on the front of the lower leg). Optimally, use both before and after workouts.
4. Balance (stability) Cushion This is for proprioception work, enhances balance exercises to improve posture, coordination, muscle strength. Check out Mojo for Running Podcast Episode 85, Balance and Proprioception for Runners, Part 1 and Episode 86, Exercises and Drills to Improve Balance and Proprioception.
5. Seiko Digital Metronome This is a clip-on device to monitor/guide cadence while running. You can get other brands for much less, even $6, but they’re not even worth that; I bought several, and none lasted for more than a couple of weeks. The Seiko brand has lasted a year before I even needed another batter. The battery is difficult to change, thought. Alternatively, download a metronome app for your phone. Use this to improve your cadence. I’m such a big fan of emphasis on cadence (speed of foot strike), that I’ve recorded four episodes of the Mojo for Running Podcast: (MFR 27, Cadence, aka Stride Rate; MFR 28, Cadence Part 2; MFR 32 Mojo Metronome; MFR 98, Cadence, The Magic Bullet for Runners) about it and one episode of the Beginner Runner Village Podcast.
6. Kettle Bell This is a weight that works well for strength training outside the gym. 15 lbs is probably a good weight to start with for women and 20 or 25 for men, but that depends on your size and strength. You can do a google search to find examples of various exercises, or order this poster. You can buy various sizes, but you can do an awful lot with just one kettle bell. Great for when you want to have some resistance but you don’t want to buy a set of weights.
7. Exercise Band This is a simple elastic band, sort of like a giant rubber band, maybe 8 inches in diameter. I love it for adding resistance for doing clam shells or side to sides.
8. Agility Ladder Great portable way to do agility work anywhere. Alternatively, you can draw a ladder on the ground with chalk just like you did for hopscotch.
9. GPS Garmin Forerunner running watches. The Forerunner 15 is a good starter watch, but most people upgrade after a year or so. If you want more features and wireless uploads, I recommend the Forerunner 25 or the cool, new design of the 35. I have the 235 and love it. I’ve always had the best luck with Garmin Forerunners. I’ve tried other brands but have always come back. Just check the features of the watch because if you’re a gadget person, you may want to spend more to get more data. I like that my 235 is waterproof and provides heart rate without a chest strap. I would avoid the ones with a touch screen. Get only what you need/want, even if money is no object, because too many features make the watch more complicated to operate and may result in aggravation.
10. Hydration pack. My favorite is the Nathan Intensity. I’ve had several others, but this is my favorite due to the combination of space for gear, 2 liter bladder capacity, comfort, durability, and design. I discussed hydration packs in Mojo Episode #66, Hydration Systems for Runners.
BONUS: If I could only buy one book, it would be The Runner’s Guide to Healthy Feet and Ankles by Brian Fullem. You’ll find yourself dipping into it as a handy reference every few weeks; so, keep it handy.