Running is not a sport that requires lots of fancy equipment that cost a bomb to buy and maintain. That said, finding the right running gears is essential if you’re training for your first race or just starting it as a hobby. For maximum comfort during your runs, here are some tips on getting the basic gears that you’ll need.
Getting a running shoe that fits you prevents injuries and keeps your feet comfortable. Most people think that the brand and price are what makes a good running shoe but that’s not necessarily the case. So instead of basing your decision on these factors, look for stores that have running advisors. They can then recommend a suitable pair of shoes by taking some measurements and evaluating your running style. Ideally, you should try on the shoes before purchasing them. An additional tip is to bring the socks that you will run in so that the fit of the shoes don’t change.
Some features to consider in a running shoe is its weight and cushioning level. Shoes with more cushioning are usually heavier, and vice versa. So, try out different types to find the best one for you. Shoes fitted with reflective material might be wise if you’re planning to run in the absence of daylight. Lastly, the thread that makes up running shoes for trails is different from the thread of running shoes meant for the track, road, and treadmill.
2. Running Socks
The good materials for running socks are mainly polyester CoolMax and acrylic. In the winter, the wool mixture is a good choice. These synthetic materials prevent blisters from forming but as a final measure, you can always wear double-layered socks.
Whether you should get ankle socks or socks that extend to your knees is totally up to you and the weather. Lower socks might be better for the summer while longer socks are reserved for the summer. Ultimately, you should find what works best for you.
3. Running attire
The best material for running attire is technologically enhanced polyester, nylon, and wool. This material not only keeps you warm in the cold and removes sweat from your body in the heat, it’s also a more durable material than cotton in the wash. Be careful not to wear too much even if it’s cold as once you’re warmed up for the run, your body heat will keep you warmer.
4. Sports Bra
Getting a sports bra that provides good support is crucial when you’re running. However, this can be difficult because while it can’t be too loose, it also can’t be too tight as you won’t be able to breathe!
As a general rule, you should replace your sports bra when it’s no longer elastic, when your weight changes significantly, and after 72 washes.
5. Additional features of running clothes
Compression fabrics are great for recovering after your run because of the support it provides. There are compression socks, tops, tights, etc. so feel free to explore them. Pockets are important to keep important items like your phone and keys but they can be a hassle to run with. The best way to deal with this is to get jackets or tights with pockets to hold these items.
During winter, you can look out for running tops that have a thumbhole so that your hands are more covered. During the summer, there is clothing with sun protection properties that provide additional protection for your skin on top of a hat and sunscreen.
Now, here are some additional gears that might be good to have but are not really a necessity.
6. Smartwatch and phone
Smartwatches these days are fitted with GPS, heart rate monitors, and timers to track your runs. Some runners even leave their phones at home and are able to run freely with just their watches.
But if you like to bring your phone along during your runs for music or to take pictures, you can do so as well. You can either hold it in your hand or consider other gears that can hold it for you like a running belt.
7. Running belt
Running belts can hold more than all the pockets of your outfit combined. They are a great option for running hands-free.
8. Sun Protection
Before running, you should apply some waterproof SPF 30 sunscreen that can protect your skin against both Ultraviolet A and B. For added protection, use a UV-blocking hat that doubles as something that stops sweat and sunscreen from creeping into your eyes. Some runners go the extra mile by wearing running sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays.
The general recommendation is for runners to drink about five ounces of water every 20 minutes. So if you’re running for 30 minutes or more, remember to bring a water bottle along.
The above are all good running practices or gears that you should put to good use. But it is equally important to be aware of all the things you should avoid while running. So now that you know the dos, here are some don’ts.
What to Avoid
So we have covered what you need, here are some things you should avoid and most of these have come from my own personal experience.
Avoid cotton socks and shirts because the sweat will never leave which is bad news in all weather. Chafing is also more likely to occur with cotton. While sweatpants were a great choice for running in the winter, they are now second to technologically enhanced fabrics because they don’t keep you dry which neither keeps you safe nor comfortable.
2. Thick wear
Rather than one thick layer, it is better to go with multiple thin layers in the winter. This prevents the case where you overheat but are unable to remove it as it will then be too cold. It is also important to avoid thick socks because they pose a risk for black toenails, especially in the summer where your feet expand in the heat.
3. Worn Out Shoes
It’s never a good idea to run in old shoes as the original features like cushioning and support are most likely worn-out. That could mean a greater impact on your knees and joints as you run which in turn leads to injuries. So monitor your shoe’s performance and switch it out once it no longer serves you well.
4. Racing with new gear
When you have a race, the last thing you want is a gear to be ill-fitting or uncomfortable which then affects your performance. Try your new gears during practice then stick to your best picks for important days like a race.
I did this for my first marathon, bought some new trainers 2 days before and thought I would ignore all the experienced runners advice. Yeah, don’t make the same mistakes as me.
While training and eating healthy are both important aspects of being a runner, your running outfit and gears could make or break your running routine and experience. While we don’t encourage you to splurge on getting all the gears, at least invest in the basics like a good pair of running shoes to start your running journey off.