When I returned to running, I was a relatively new single mom on a very low income. My funds were very limited at the time, but I knew I needed to get healthy and running was my method of choice. With the Fall Half Marathon and No Boundaries (basically a couch to 5k) starting within the next few weeks, I thought I would share some the necessities a new runner needs:
- Running shoes: Take the time and go to a running store to get fitted. I recommend Fleet Feet for my St. Louis area friends. Running stores typically have a money back guarantee and will let you exchange the running shoes until you get a pair that work for you.
- Moisture-wicking socks: Before I started running, I had never heard the phrase “cotton is rotten.” If anything, in my humble family, cotton fabrics were encouraged. Cotton is not suitable for performance clothing. Cotton will hold sweat against your skin, which when combined with the repetitive motion of running, can cause blisters and/or chafing. I started with and still love Balega No Show socks. I also find good results with Feetures Light Cushion No Show. Splurge for at least 2 pairs of good running socks.
- Mositure-wicking running shorts: Again, avoid cotton fabrics to prevent chafe and irritation. Even on my tight budget, I splurged for high quality compression shorts like these from Brooks. I selected compression shorts due to my size and the amount of chub rub I might have. I was afraid regular shorts would ride up between my legs. For the budget conscious among us, Target carries the Champion brand and offers a great selection of moderately priced moisture-wicking workout gear. Since my financial status has improved, the only running shorts/skirts I wear are SparkleTech Skirts. Over the years, I tried many brands of running skirts/skorts and these were the only ones with shorts that stay put. While not price friendly for the budget conscious, these skirts are all hand made in the USA by a great mom and pop company located in Florida.
- For the girls: a moisture-wicking, high impact sports bra: Visit a local running store or specialty bra shop to be properly fitted. Do not skimp on this product. Trust me. Splurge for at least 2 of these and NEVER put them in the dryer. My favorite is the Maia. Excellent support without the unflattering uni-boob. For the guys: prevent chafing and wearing a bloody number 11 on the front of your tech shirt during your long run, Nip Guards. In a pinch, band aids would work as well.
- Moisture-wicking shirts: For running in temps of 50 degrees or higher, I prefer a singlet (tank) or sleeveless shirt. You might be cold before you start running, but trust me, you’ll warm up quick.
- Hat or visor: I wear a visor for nearly every run. It keeps sweat and sun out of my eyes, and in case of rain, it takes care of that, too. Moisture-wicking would be good here, too, but you could probably make due without the technical fabrics in a pinch.
- Hydration system: I prefer the customizing options of the Amphipod brand. Mine came with two 10 ounce bottles and a pocket large enough to fit my Samsung Galaxy S5 Sport. I can add more bottles and bottle holders as necessary for the season and the run distance.
- Timing device: Early on, I couldn’t afford a fancy GPS watch. Before I would head out for a run, I would visit Map My Run to plan my route. I would know ahead of time how far I needed to run out and back to get my scheduled mileage. For interval timing, the Gym Boss Interval Time is a great cost effective option. Since I started, GPS watches have become more affordable. Garmin is my preferred brand. It is a solid performer. You can often find great deals on these devices online at Walmart or Amazon.
- Road ID: Be safe on the run. If something happens to you on the run and you need help, let your Road ID speak for you.
- A great attitude and determination to never give up. Your attitude can make all the difference on every run. When things are challenging, focus on what is going right with your run. Always focus on putting on foot in front of the other, even if you have to slow down or take an extra walk break, keep moving forward. Your attitude and determination can make the difference in enjoying your run.
As you set out on your new running adventure, I hope this list helps you be a little be prepared