The vast amount of running gear and advice available to the beginning runner can be overwhelming. When you’re just starting to run, it’s hard to tell what you really need and what you might be able to put off buying for a while. In my opinion, there are five things that every beginner should have to start running:
1. Good running shoes.
Investing in a good, comfortable pair of running shoes is one of the most important investments you can make in your running. Bad shoes can mean sore feet and can lead to other aches and pains, even injury. Running shoes are designed for the high impact of running and will keep your feet, legs, and body happy, which will make you want to keep running. If you need tips on how to pick your choose, check out my post on how to choose your first pair of running shoes.
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2. Good socks.
By “good” here, I mean moisture wicking socks with no cotton. Moisture wicking socks will help keep your feet dry and reduce friction against the foot which will help prevent blisters from forming. Again, happy feet mean that you’ll want to keep running!
3. Sports bra.
Ladies, having a properly fitting sports bra is incredibly important for high impact activities, especially if you’re on the busty side. A good sports bra provides support from the band, so it’s important to get the right fit around the rib cage. (You’ll want to be able to fit two fingers under the band on either side of your ribs, but no more.) The straps of the bra just need to be comfortably snug and shouldn’t be leaving major red marks in your shoulders.
4. Any watch.
Most beginners will start with a run/walk routine or by running for a prescribed amount of time. You don’t need a fancy GPS watch to start out, but having some way to time your run/walk intervals or to keep track of how long you’ve been running is really helpful. If you want to upgrade a little and you prefer to run with your phone, there are many free apps that use your phone’s GPS to track mileage. But, a simple watch works just as well!
5. Training Plan.
In my opinion, having a structured training plan to follow gives beginners accountability. When I started running, I loved the feeling of checking that day’s run off of my to-do list, which gave me a huge boost in confidence. Following a training plan will also help keep you running on a regular basis, which will help you improve—running three days a week is the minimum your body needs to adapt running and get better at it. That said, don’t be afraid to adapt your training plan if your body tells you that you need a break or if you have a lot going on in other parts of your life.
Experienced runners: what do you think is essential for a beginning runner?
Beginners: what questions about equipment do you have?