5 must-haves for the new runner
5 must-haves for the new runner
So you decided to start or resume the race. Good for you! Yes, it’s tough as a busy parent, but now it’s the fun part: shopping!
While running may seem like an affordable sport – you really don’t need anything other than the open road – you need to make sure you get the right equipment when you start out. The right pair of shoes, for example, can really make a difference to your overall running experience, so it’s best to invest early on. Here’s what’s on my list, plus a few extras:
1. The right pair of sneakers. Before you start running, you need to make sure that you are wearing the right shoes. Are your feet overpronating? Or do you have flat feet? Do you need a neutral shoe? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you should go to a running store (like Fleet Feet or Second Sole) and let them tell you. They will watch you run and / or walk and from there they can tell you exactly what kind of shoes or inserts you might need. Believe me, I’ve run in the wrong shoes before and it ended in an injury which you don’t want.
2. Good headphones. Will you be listening to music or podcasts when you run? Next, you want to invest in the right headphones, especially those designed for exercise and capable of handling sweat and movement. I find that I can’t run in headphones, but I love the feel of the wireless headphones when I run. My favorites are the Powerbeats Pro – they fit my ears, won’t fall out when I run, and are sweat and water resistant.
3. Phone carrying case. I love my running gear with pockets, but I also prefer to run with my phone in my arm or in my hand. You can find an affordable yet functional phone carrying case at any running store, running show, or even Amazon. Make sure you find one that fits the size of your phone and is also sweat resistant. I like that mine also carries my ID and a credit card, if I need it. (PSA – If you don’t carry your ID with you, you may want to check another way to carry ID, such as Route ID)
4. The right clothes. On your first few runs, you might find that you are able to walk out with an old cotton t-shirt and shorts you’ve been wearing since college (not that I’m speaking from experience…). But you will soon regret it. Absorbent and sweat-resistant clothing is essential in all seasons. This includes sports bras (for those who need them) and even high quality socks.
You’ll also want to think about all the seasons – what you wear for running outside at 70 degrees will be different from 40 degrees and 20 degrees. Plan to dress about 15 degrees warmer than you actually are. For example, if it is 40 degrees you may start to feel like it is 40 degrees, but after a few minutes of running your body warms up and you will feel like it is closer to 55. degrees (if you were just walking or sitting there). You may also want to wear layers until you find what is ideal for your body temperature. When it’s 45 degrees I usually wear a shirt and a light jacket (which I can take off) and a capri. If it’s in the 50s, I wear shorts.
5. Body Glide or other anti-chafing solution. No matter your size, shape, or skill level, you may feel some kind of friction on your body. To avoid this, find an anti-chafing solution that works for you. Some people swear by Body Glide. I find my Dove antiperspirant to be a great alternative as well.
As goofy as I look in this running photo, you can see I’m wearing some of the essentials – a running headband, GPS watch, phone carrying case, and my favorite sneakers.
Bonus: These are nice to have, but probably not necessary:
- If you have long hair or flyaways, a running headband can help keep the hair out of your face. I love the Sparkly Soul headbands, they are one of the few that remains on my head.
- For recovery you may want to invest in a pair of compression socks. I also like to wear them on long car trips, especially before races.
- To help you calculate your mileage, a GPS watch specially designed for runners can make the difference. There are some free apps you can use if you only have one phone (like Map My Run or Strava), but I love my Garmin Fenix 5S. I can see my split times, record a lot of different races (my husband also records his swims and his round of golf on his Garmin), can schedule workouts to follow etc. It also tracks my sleep, receives my text messages, etc.
- To stay responsible and motivated, a running buddy and / or community. I know it’s not something you buy in a store, but I’ve found that running buddies – whether in person or online – always make it easy to chase. Find someone (or people) to motivate you, advise you and run with you.
Running is better with friends!
Runners, what else would you add?