When it comes to running gear, the single most important item you need is a good pair of running shoes. However, there are a few things you may also need in order to make running safer and more comfortable. Having these basic gear will help ensure that you’ll grow to love this form of aerobic exercise and be healthy and fit for the rest of your life.
Essential Running Gear for Beginners
Running Shoes – Every runner needs a decent pair of running shoes. If you have an old pair gathering dust at the back of your closet, ditch them and get yourself a new pair of running shoes, preferably from a specialty running store. The employees at the specialty store should be able to advise you on the best running shoes for your foot type and gait. The running shoes you choose should provide the cushioning and support you need to run comfortably and avoid injury.
Clothes – You need comfortable clothes for running. Choose a shirt made of wicking fabric such as DryFit, Thermax or CoolMax, to draw sweat away from your body. Cotton fabrics are not recommended because once they get wet, they’ll stay wet. Clothes that wick away sweat and moisture help prevent chafing.
Wear a comfortable pair of running shorts. If it’s cold out, you may want to wear sweatpants/tights. Cotton socks are not recommended as they hold moisture and leave your feet wet and cold. Instead, wear socks made of wicking material such as polyester. Women should wear a comfortable and supportive sports bra.
New runners have a tendency to overdress. When the temperature is above 55°F, all you have to wear is a pair of shorts and a shirt. Once your body has warmed up, it will feel 15-20 degrees warmer from your extra body heat. If it’s really cold, consider wearing a stocking cap and gloves.
Hydration Belt and Water Bottles – It’s important to stay hydrated, so if your run lasts more than 30 minutes and you have no access to water on your route, you’ll need to carry your own water or drink. A hydration belt and some water bottles can hold your fluids while keeping your hands free.
Running Watch – One piece of running gear that you will find useful is a running watch so you can keep track of how long you have been running. You can also use it to time your run/walk intervals. As you gain more running experience, you may soon want to buy a GPS watch or one with a heart rate monitor.