If you are a newbie runner this is the good stuff…
The Gear! It’s the best part of running, in my opinion…only because I love to shop. But in all honestly there really isn’t much that you do need to be a successful runner. There are a lot of products out there that are very spendy that you could spend your money on, but if you are really not looking to own the most running gear, or the newest gadgets then this post is for you.
Let’s start from the top down shall we?
Being a runner in Minnesota presents a plethora of dressing challenges, especially if you plan to train outside (because, duh!) The three basic things you should have are
- Cold weather hat – one that blocks the wind, and keeps you warm, but not overheated.
- A headband…for those brisk spring & fall runs to keep your ears warm, and again to not overheat you.
- A visor or other billed cap…this one is optional, but I usually always run with one in the summer…it keeps the sweat, and sun outta my eyes.
Next is for the ladies…or the girls if you will…get a good sports bra. And by good I mean invest in an expensive one. The cheapies from the big box stores are great if you are a card carrying member of the IBTC, but if you are like me and carry 2 small watermelons on your chest, you’ll need a couple of good ones. I love my Moving Comfort bra…side note I scored it at Goodwill, with the tags still on it for about $5 a couple of years ago, otherwise these babies are about $50. But speaking of Target sports bras…they have taken (several) pages out of lululemon’s book and finally have a few different styles to choose from. I have 2 of their high support bras (got em on clearance!) and they seem to be ok, on par with MC.
Tops & Bottoms
As far as tops and bottoms…and unders for that matter, it’s all personal preference. Layer in the cooler weather (base, mid, and outer), and go simple in the hot weather. But the one and only steadfast rule I follow: no cotton. Cotton doesn’t breath very well, and it keeps the moisture on your skin leading to blisters, and chafing and all sorts of nastiness and painful consequences. My personal preference is to run in a tank or short sleeve, and compression capris or shorts that are knee length on the mild days, with a long sleeved tee or jacket if it’s cold. I cannot do running shorts to save my life…I’ve got big thighs, and they ride up, and up, and up and then chafe and it’s super uncomfortable and unflattering to be pulling them down and have it captured in all those race photos.
Shoes & Socks
Now for the shoes and socks discussion…good shoes are key for a runner. You can’t run in chucks, and not expect to be in pain, or get injured. This is one of those areas that you just cannot skimp on. If you are training for any distance, over a 5k you are going to want to go get fitted, find a brand and style that work for you, and everyone is different, so try a few and see what you like.
As any seasoned runner will tell you…stay out of the big box sports stores. The staff are not trained well enough to fit you properly, they won’t watch your gait as you run in them, they won’t suggest other fits and brands…check out a running store in your city or neighborhood. Running shoes are the most expensive thing you’ll buy, but they are so worth the investment…repeatedly. As you’ll need to replace them about once a year.
I have had a progression over the last few years, first Nike (no…), then Asics (ouch), New Balance Minimus (better), Mizuno (ahhhhh), Brooks (no way), Newtons (meh…not enough miles to judge yet) and finally Skora…another minimalist running shoe. I have always neglected the sock issue, mainly because I hate wearing socks in my non-running life, so it stands to reason that I hate them in my running life. Which is why I love my Skoras…I can go sans socks. WOOT. But again this I think is personal preference. Some have some extra cushion on the bottom, some are low profile, some are over the ankle, some under…so many to choose from. But not cotton…don’t do it. Also in the category are orthotics…if you need them due to injury prevention, or to minimize the impact on troubled joints get good ones at a running store.
Now that the basics are covered, this is where you get into the stuff that makes your run more fun, more effective, and possibly more expensive. None of these are required, but on a long run carrying nutrition, hydration and anything else you can think of makes the run so much easier.
- GPS watches & Apps
- Fuel belts
- Reflective gear (vests, lights, etc)
- Compression Socks ( I think these are right up there with the bras…gotta have em)
- The Stick*
- Foam Rollers*
- Water bottles
- Body Glide
*I’ll address these in a later post regarding injury prevention.
So that’s my list of basic running gear that any runner should invest in. What are your must haves when it comes to running gear?