Running is an awesome sport because all you really need is a great pair of running shoes, comfortable and practical running attire, and, for women, a good sports bra. That’s it, everything else is just helpful additions. If you’re new to running, chances are you might be overwhelmed by all the gear in your local running store. Before you buy out the store, we’ve compiled a list of what we think are the most important necessities to get you started. Once you start to tackle more miles you’ll be able to decide what you can (and cannot) add to your running gear collection.
One of the best tips we can give is, nothing new on race day! Meaning, train in the attire you plan to wear, the gear you plan to use and eat/drink the same things you plan to on race day. Test out different brands, styles, fits, flavors, etc. Find items you like and stick with them throughout your training so come race day everything will be an easy routine.
Running shoes are constantly changing. With so many different options it’s difficult to decide which brand, material, type will work best for you. “There’s no single best shoe for every runner,” says J. D. Denton, who has owned a Fleet Feet running store in Davis, California, for 14 years. Ill-fitting or worn-out shoes are one of the leading reasons to many running injuries. Visit your local running store to be fitted by an expert or click here to get an idea of the shoe that will fit you best.
Depending on where you live and the time of year, there are many options for running clothes. What you wear and what you feel comfortable in will depend on how hot or cold you do or don’t get/stay. Since your body heats up on a run, a simple rule of thumb would be to dress for about 10-20 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. You always want to make sure you have non-cotton moisture wicking pieces on to help pull sweat away from your body and it will dry faster than cotton. If it’s colder out try to make sure the item closet to your skin is the moisture wicking piece.
A good sports bra is a must for women. Ladies, don’t skimp on your sports bra! If you’re not comfortable while running there is no way you will stick to it.
Socks are probably the most important necessity next to your shoes. Most running socks these days are moisture wicking as well. These days socks don’t shrink, stretch-out, bunch up or fall down! Test out a few different brands to see which material and style works best for you.
A running watch is a fantastic tool to help you know your pace, distance, progress and can link your runs to fitness apps and social networks. Watches range greatly in price and capabilities. Visit your local running store where an expert can help you choose which is best for your training needs.
Nutrition and hydration packs:
Hydrating the day before and during longer runs is essential. Remember it’s always better to have too much water with you than not enough. Take a trip to your local running store and test out their stock of running water bottles, water belts, and water backpacks. Everyone has their own preference on how to stay hydrated. Find one that works for you use it throughout your training.
Headlamps, blinking lights and reflective gear:
These are all a safety must have if you are running in dark early morning or evenings. Not only will they help you see where you’re going but they will keep cars, bikers, walkers etc. alert when you are out getting your miles in the dark.
Visors, hats and sunglasses:
On sunny days especially these are a necessity for training. They will not only keep the sun out of your face but, a visor, hat or sunglasses will also keep your face relaxed. A relaxed face will keep your neck, arms and shoulders relaxed for a more comfortable run. Squinting tightens up your face, neck, shoulders, back etc., which can affect you all the way down to your legs. On rainy days, wearing a visor or hat will help immensely to keep raindrops out of your eyes.
Runner’s fall in love with this stuff! It looks like a stick of deodorant but is amazing at preventing chafing and blistering on longer runs. Chafing is especially prone to happen when there is a lot of moisture in the air. Slather on Bodyglide anywhere you have a chafing problem and trust us, you won’t be disappointed! (Vaseline can be used as well. The only big difference is that Body Glide has an applicator.)