One of the many great things about running is that it is one of the cheapest sports or exercises you can do. There is very little investment in equipment and gear and it can be done anywhere.The more serious you become about running and the longer your running distances become, the more gear you will need. For instance, marathon runners will likely want to invest in a hydration pack or fuel belt, along with gels and sports drinks. If you are brand new to the sport or stick to shorter distances, however, there is very little you will need to get started.
The only essential piece of equipment that any runner needs is a good pair of shoes. We’re not talking about the cross training or tennis shoes that you have sitting in the back of your closet. We’re talking about a pair of shoes that are made specifically for running and that have the right amount of cushioning and stability for your foot, body type, and gait. The best thing to do is going to a speciality running store and have an employee fit you for a proper pair of shoes. To do this, they will watch you run and ask you about your running and injury history (if any) and find the pair of shoes that are best for you. Expect to pay around $100 for a pair of running shoes. It may sound like a lot of money, but remember that this is the only equipment you need and definitely the most important! Having a good pair of running shoes can be essential to your running success.
Other gear that will make running more comfortable for you includes a shirt made of wicking fabric, a comfortable pair of shorts, capris, or tights, a good pair of wicking socks (NOT cotton), and for the women, a supportive and comfortable sports bra. Try selecting clothes that don’t ride up or chafe when you run. When dressing for a run, dress as if it is 15 degrees warmer outside. Your body will warm up quickly once you get moving, and you want to be comfortable rather than too hot.
One piece of gear that many runners like to use is a watch. If you’re just starting out, there is no need to invest in a GPS watch or heart rate monitor or anything fancy. If you really want to know how long you are gone for, or want to time laps on a track, a basic $10 digital watch will suffice. If you have a smart phone and want to know the distance of your runs, there are dozens of apps that use GPS technology that you can use while you are running. There are also dozens of activity trackers, calorie counters, and music apps that many runners like to use because they can be motivating to get out the door.
Ashley Crossman is a certified RRCA running coach and ACE personal trainer. She owns her own coaching business, She Runs Strong, and is the running coach for two charity training teams in Phoenix, Arizona: the MS Rockstars (benefiting the Multiple Sclerosis Society) and Sole Mates (benefiting Girls on the Run Serving Maricopa and Pinal Counties). She has completed seven marathons and numerous half-marathons and smaller races.