Running requires minimal special skills, making it the most straightforward sport virtually anyone can participate in. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t need to prepare anything before running. Aside from knowing the proper warm-up techniques, having the right gear greatly improves your performance – not to mention your comfort – during the activity.
It’s not a matter of getting the most expensive running gear available, nor the most affordable. What’s crucial is to wear proper running clothing that ensures your movements are not impeded during your run. This means that you must invest in your safety, comfort and optimal performance by purchasing the right kind of sportswear for men and women.
Remember that while you can start running while wearing non-running-specific apparel, some clothing may not provide the same level of comfort and safety that clothing specifically made for the activity can offer.
In fact, beach shorts and football shirts are definitely not made to accommodate the demands of running – beyond short distances, that is. Often, these pieces of clothing flap around unnecessarily, causing chafed skin and leaving you uncomfortable overall. This should be reason enough to seek out gear that is specifically designed to make running a breeze.
Essential Items for New Runners
To give you an idea of what to look for, here are five essential items that all new runners must have:
1. Running Shoes
As mentioned earlier, running shoes are the most important gear you need to start your quest as a serious runner. Forget about using a pair of used running shoes that you haven’t worn in years. Not only will their durability when suddenly subjected to prolonged runs be compromised, but it is almost certain that those old shoes will no longer be able to provide the cushioning and protection that you currently need.
Instead, buy a new pair that will care for your feet while enabling you to improve your physical performance. The shoes should be able to suit your feet’s unique biomechanics as well as your gait.
You see, running shoes come in a wide range of categories, each offering varying levels of support and cushioning. There are neutral, guidance, stability, or motion control running shoes, as well as others that are made around the concept of minimalism. The footwear can also be designed based on the terrain you’ll be running on, ranging from well-paved roads to mountain-side trails.
If you’re having a hard time figuring out which one is perfect for you, begin assessing your needs. Observe your gait and the unique qualities of your foot, and determine the landscape you will most likely run on.
To be sure, try out different shoes before deciding. Look for a pair that best fits your feet and adjust as needed. Request assistance from in-store running specialists who can help identify the right shoe for your unique needs, or ask for product recommendations and purchase the shoes from a trusted online store specializing in top-notch sports gear. Also, remember not to limit your search to specific brands as the quality and build of the actual product takes precedence over popularity.
2. Running Socks
Although some runners prefer to run without socks, this component of the complete beginners’ running ensemble is crucial in keeping your feet protected during the activity.
When buying running socks, go with those that are made from materials that can wick away sweat and moisture. Seamless designs are also preferred. Both of these qualities help reduce friction and prevent blistering later on.
Socks with additional padding in specific areas are also better, but you must consider the features of your running shoes first. In addition, there are socks that are specifically designed to be worn on the left and on the right foot, so make sure that you wear them properly.
3. Running Shorts or Tights
For runners, the ideal lower body attire comes in two variants: shorts and tights.
For running shorts, choose those that are lightweight, comfortable, and capable of wicking away sweat during training. Many of these shorts have a pant liner, which means that you no longer need to wear anything with them. Before buying, make sure that you try them on first to determine whether the inners aren’t too restrictive that they may cause chafing when you run.
Make sure that the shorts are not too tight that they impede circulation around your waist, but not too loose that they move around too much when you run. Having a small zipped pocket can also prove to be advantageous, especially if you’re bringing some cash or your keys when you run.
Running tights offer some distinct advantages. Aside from being a good alternative to shorts, running tights can also serve as an added layer in your ensemble. What’s more, they can help protect your inner thighs from chafing.
Moreover, tights are preferable for most female runners since they help enhance performance and improve blood circulation to the legs, thanks to their compressive properties.
4. Shirts, Singlets, and Other Tops
When you start running, you may think that throwing on any cotton shirt would be fine. However, when it comes to running tops, the material used can spell the difference between a great run and a slow, sweaty and overall uncomfortable experience.
Keep in mind that you will be sweating profusely when you go for a run. A cotton shirt may be breathable, but it will absorb your sweat and cling to your skin, which can be unpleasant throughout your run. The key is to look for shirts, singlets and other running tops that are designed with technical fabric.
Technical fabrics work by drawing the moisture away from your skin and towards the top’s outer surface, where it can evaporate completely. This moisture-wicking function will keep you comfortable as you run. Look for lightweight running tops that are made with Dri-Fit or Climalite materials, or similar. You can choose from tops that are sleeveless, short-sleeved, long-sleeved, or with a turtleneck.
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5. Sports Bras
For women, having a good sports bra can spell the difference between comfort and agony. It is great for reducing unwanted – not to mention, uncomfortable – bust movement while running. This is vital if you are to avoid stretching the supporting ligaments permanently.
When shopping for sports bras, expect to pay more for the ones that offer better support. You should also consider getting properly measured and fitted to ensure that your sports bra suits your body perfectly.
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A Final Word: Dress to Perform
Running is a rewarding physical activity that, when done correctly, can help you stay physically fit. The kind and quality of running clothing and accessories you choose can have a positive impact on your experience and inspire you to take up running as a lifelong activity.
If you are serious about sticking to your training routine and improving your performance and endurance over time, consider getting additional supplies and gear designed specifically for runners, such as a Polar heart rate monitor or even GU energy chews for longer runs and competitions.