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  • Writer's pictureLaurie Lasseter

Before you build and start your training plan, you need to acquire the right gear for running. While running doesn’t require a lot of gear, it is important to have the right equipment to prevent injury or discomfort. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started:


Choose the right footwear: Before you start your program, make sure you go to a reputable running shoe store for a professional shoe fitting. You’ll use these shoes a lot in the next few months, so it’s worth investing in a well-fitting pair (or two pairs if you can - alternate them throughout your race preparation training). Good shoes go a long way toward preventing unnecessary injuries.


A good running shoe store will have a treadmill and the salesperson will watch you run in different types of shoes to make sure you get the right shoe for your running gait. Key variables to consider in shoes include arch support, stability/pronation control and cushioning. Bring an old pair of running or walking shoes with you - your wear pattern will tell the salesperson a lot about your running shoe needs. Make sure the salesperson measures both feet and go to the store late in the day when your feet are at their largest and most swollen. You do not want your running shoes to be too small!


Once you have your shoes, keep track of the mileage you run in them. The average life of a shoe is 300 to 500 miles. Make sure you replace them before they are so worn that they start to cause body aches and pains. Once you find a type of shoe that works for you, buy several pairs. Shoe styles are constantly changing, and you never know when your favorite shoe might change in a way that you can no longer wear it.


In addition to your running shoes, you will want the salesperson to fit you with a few good pairs of running socks. I prefer double layer socks to avoid blisters, but other people prefer a more padded sock that provides extra cushioning. Work with the salespeople at the running shoe store to make your selection – you may want to try a pair of each type to see which you prefer. Another option, especially if you have poor blood flow or encounter swelling in your feet, is to wear compression socks. These are available at the running shoe store or at the pharmacy. Compression socks can also help reduce leg fatigue while running.


Clothing:

Most of your running training for the Endeavor Health Naperville races will occur in warm weather, so your best bet for running clothing are running shorts and a running tank and/or running bra. Make sure you get items that are meant for running so that they are breathable, moisture wicking and prevent chafing - usually microfiber fabrics. Do not run in any cotton clothing. Make sure to try everything on and get a good fit. It is important to stay comfortable during your training!


You may also want to buy a light hat or headband and some very light gloves in case it gets a little chilly in the fall. A hat or visor can be a good idea to protect your eyes from the summer sun and to help keep the sweat out of your eyes. There are hats made for running that do a good job of wicking moisture and keeping you cool.


Prevent Chafing:

To prevent chafing when you run, try an anti-chafe balm such as Body Glide. Apply this to any areas where your clothing rubs against your body (or you have body parts against body parts). Common areas include: inner thighs, inside of upper arms, bra lines/seams for women, nipple area for men, etc.  Apply before every run but especially for your longer runs. It washes off very well in the shower after your run.


Timing devices:

Research the various brands of smart watches such as Garmin, Apple Watch, etc. These devices sync to your phone and computer and track your workouts. They even allow you to share your workouts with your friends via special social media sites for running such as Strava, Garmin Connect, etc. For a lot of people this is a great motivator. Many of the current watches also include a heart rate monitor which some find valuable for monitoring their running progress. The heart rate monitor is also a great feature if you have any cardiovascular considerations such that your doctor wants you to monitor your heart rate during exercise.


Hydration:

It is incredibly important to hydrate regularly while you are running. If you don’t have access to water along your running route, you may need to carry your own hydration. The first option is a handheld water bottle with a strap that goes around your hand. These are easy to access while running and easy to adapt to once you get used to the weight in your hand. Another option is a hydration belt where the water bottle sits at the small of your back or at several points around your waist in several small water bottles. These keep your hands free, but they sometimes bounce and the fluid is less accessible than with a handheld water bottle (especially with the single bottle version). The final option is a hydration backpack such as a Camelbak. This solves the access problem (you access the water via a tube located near your mouth). However, these can sometimes bounce like the hydration belt does. Try them all out and see which one you like best.


Once you have all of these gear areas covered, you will be all set to begin your running program. Good luck and happy training!


Laurie Lasseter

Marathoner

ACE Certified Personal Trainer

RRCA Certified Running Coach

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