The statement is true, up to a point—the casual runner only looking to indulge in the sport as a weekend hobby should need little more than a sturdy pair of trainers. However, those who are considering taking up running more seriously may want to equip themselves with a few other essentials. From the right types of shoes to tech that can help you track your performance, check out our list of essential running gear for novices:
One of the most common causes of running injuries is wearing the wrong type of shoe. Investing in a good pair should be a priority.
Most sales associates at running specialty stores will be happy to help you out if the choices are overwhelming. Beginners should start their search for the perfect pair of kicks at these stores, where they can receive expert evaluation about their feet as well as on their running style. Novice runners should benefit more from shoes with added cushioning, even if these are heavier and clunkier. You can always graduate to the lightweight stuff later.
Another factor to consider is the tread. Make sure to let the sales associate know what surfaces you'll be running on. Different treads exist for different terrain: a trail running shoe will not look or feel the same as pairs designed for running on a track or the road.
A good pair of socks that can wick moisture away from your skin is essential when you’re running. For the weekend runner, athletic socks should do. Those looking to go for runs multiple times a week may want to look into running-specific socks, though. These are made with a blend of breathable synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester to help prevent the formation of painful blisters.
Ladies will want to invest in good sports bras that offer adequate support while they run. Specifically, keep an eye out for sports bras designed for high-impact activities, and make sure to try them on before purchasing.
Finally, lightweight running clothes are a must. Most runners recommend steering clear of cotton shirts and going with technical fabrics instead. Nylon and polyester feel lighter, cooler, and can wick sweat away from the body, keeping you cool and comfortable. Go for pieces that will not hinder your movement.
Your smartphone can be one of the most useful tools that you can have on hand while running. With it, you can use running apps to track and keep a record of your runs, listen to music with headphones or earphones to stay motivated, use the timer and stopwatch functions, and more. Just be sure to invest in an armband carrier or a running belt so that you can take your phone with you.
For a more lightweight option, go with a fitness band or a smartwatch. There are many types available on the market, from basic digital watches with limited functionality, to feature-packed timepieces that do almost as much as your smartphone. Browse for products and go with the one that fulfills your specific needs.
It’s important to stay hydrated while running, especially if you plan on doing so for longer than a half-hour. If there is no convenient access to clean drinking water along your usual running routes, it’s a good idea to bring your own in a water bottle or carrier.
If you’re planning on running during the day, you should protect your skin from the sun with a waterproof, sweatproof SPF product. UV-blocking sunglasses are also a worthy investment. A visor or hat should provide some added protection as well.
Beginner runners need not splurge on the latest and greatest in running gear to have a good experience. When making a shopping list, remember to go with practical options that should help make the activity as comfortable and as safe as possible. This way, you can maximize your budget and make the most out of your first set of running gear.