Running is one of the most instinctive and natural types of human activity. On top of that, it is also one of the most accessible forms of exercise. You can do it almost everywhere and it doesn’t require any special equipment. It’s just you and the open road, wearing about anything. The running gear for beginners require a good pair of running shoes and whatever you consider being comfortable clothing.
However, running can be enhanced with a touch of innovation. Running gadgets can provide useful information and help us run better by improving our pace and endurance.
That’s why I’ve created a list of all the available running gear, starting from the essential equipment and moving to more advanced, that will transform you into a lean, mean running machine. After all, why even bother running if you’re not going to give it all?
Probably, the most important running gear for beginners but for experts as well are the running shoes.
There’s a huge range of running shoes that could satisfy all the needs of the most demanding runners. However, there’s no ideal running shoe that could suit every runner. This is because of there so many parameters such as biomechanics, weight, running surface, foot morphology that vary between runners.
Nevertheless, in order to address all these characteristics and find the most suitable shoe for you have to consider the three most important factors that will help you decide on the shoe selection process. These are:
It is well-known that the weight of the shoe affects your running speed. Lighter is faster. If an elite runner wearing 100 grams lighter shoes he could potentially save up to 57 seconds off his marathon time. Lighter is faster, but is it better?
Lighter shoes typically have less cushioning, which can make them feel faster. Yet, the extra cushioning of a heavier shoe might be a better option for long distances because when shoe weight is reduced by removing cushioning, it actually causes runners to consume more energy in absorbing shock from each foot strike. This means that you should not sacrifice comfort in pursuit of speed.
A shoe’s "heel-to-toe drop" (HTT drop) is the difference between how high a shoe is in the heel and the forefoot. In simple terms, shows how much your toes drop below your heel. Typical ranges for heel drop are from 0 to 16 mm. A high drop encourages excessive heel striking and can often lead to knee injuries. A lower drop of 4 mm is more suitable for those who naturally run towards mid and forefoot. However, the lower the drop, the more calf flexibility and ankle mobility you need. Most shoes have a drop between 4 and 12 mm. Some shoes have less than 6mm and a few minimalist designs have zero drop.
Cushioning softens the effect of a foot strike by providing impact absorption.
Stability shoes: Are recommended for people who overpronate. This means your foot tends to roll inward slightly when you're running. If you’ve got medium arches and are looking for cushioning and support combination then stability shoes are the best choice.
Neutral shoes: If you’ve got high arches and are looking for pure cushioning, then neutral shoes are the right choice. Since your feet already move efficiently, neutral shoes let your feet do what they do naturally while comforting each step and protecting your feet.
Another essential running gear for beginners is the top. You should wear light, breathable and durable shirts that are appropriate for the weather and are designed to keep you dry and comfortable. Try avoiding cotton and prefer technical fabrics which feel comfortable, light and cool against the skin, unlike cotton.
Technical fabrics can regulate your body temperature. They will move moisture away from your skin to the outer surface, where it will evaporate, keeping you dry and comfortable.
Shirts can vary from short or long sleeves. Best to pick shirts made of Dri-Fit, Climalite or Coolmax materials which are suitable for running in warmer weather conditions. The material should feel cool, light and comfortable against the skin. For running in colder weather the tops are made of thermal materials.
Long Sleeve Tops
For mid-season usually, Long Sleeve Tops are more appropriate. They will provide you the extra protection without causing you to overheat as you get into your run. Some are built of the same fabric you’ll find on short sleeve t-shirts; others have a closer-knit and therefore a little more warmth. These work great in cool to mild weather.
For free whether you should try a technical running t-shirt which is sweat-free and breathable. Most are slim or lose cut and they wash and dry easily.
In case of cold weather technical fabrics is your pick. Thermal running tops with effective thermal regulation vary in warmth but all are light, sweat-free and breathable. The warmest tend to be slightly fleeced on the inside, most are slim fitting for effective temperature regulation.
The last but not least running gear for beginners are the shorts. Choosing the right running shorts can be challenging and overwhelming because of the huge variety available. Running short fit depends on body type, weather, conditions, fabric preferences, running style, and personal style. Let’s break it down:
- Are basically form-fitting, thigh-length shorts made up of a stretchy material that provides some level of pressure, against the butt and thighs while allowing exceptional flexibility.Compression shorts can help you:
- Run further as you’ll get more oxygen into the blood to power your muscles.
- Reduce muscle fatigue, recover faster because you’ll be removing waste lactic acid quicker.
- Reduce soreness in the muscles resulting in faster and longer runs.
- Feature a loose fit and are lightweight racing shorts. They are a more performance style, as it offers the greatest range of motion to the runner, and inseams are typically shorter, starting at about 1” for men and women.
- In my experience, the best shorts are those made of breathable, lightweight fabrics, with a light mesh interior underwear lining. Also, consider getting shorts with a key pocket or extra pockets for carrying keys, ID, or even the phone.
- Proper tights are made from high-performance stretchy fabrics. These can draw moisture away from the body, and keep you running comfortably, regardless of outdoor temperatures.
Stepping up from the essential running gear for beginners comes the sports watch. If you are a serious runner and looking to supercharge your run with one of the great gadgets available on the market, then a sports watch is a must for you. Running watches tend to be some of the top performers in the fitness market.
Running watches offer a huge range of features to help you improve your performance. Some of the key features are the following:
- Highly accurate GPS, for precise tracking of your running distance and speed. Although GPS feature is a battery drainer, you want a watch that can last at least five hours of GPS run time.
- Altimeters, barometers, and gyroscopes show up in GPS watch geared to hikers and trail runners who want to keep tabs on altitude, air pressure, and navigate new routes in the wilderness.
- Optical heart rate is another great feature to have. It measures your workout intensity so you can train smarter ensuring each session delivers the right training effect. Alternatively, if accuracy if of paramount importance, you can pair the watch with a chest strap to monitor your heart rate.
However, as a beginner runner, you don’t need a fancy digital timepiece. In fact, a simple watch with a stop and start button can do the trick.
Headphones are not part of the necessary running gear for beginners. However, music makes running more enjoyable and can even increase performance because it’s a great motivator for working out. So before you head out to the track, trail, or treadmill and lace up your shoes don’t forget to power up your headphones.
Listening to your best song collection, or a podcast or even an audiobook while running can make your runs much better. That’s why having a proper pair of running headphones are some of the most essential running gear you can get these days.
- They have to be a good fit. Don’t get me wrong, the sound quality matters, but not if they fall out every time you keep up the pace. So a proper and comfortable fit in your ear is a must.
- They must be sweatproof or waterproof so that they won’t get damaged by sweat or rain. For that, you can have a look at the IP rating, which indicates the level of protection. A two digits IP rating secures intrusion protection from dust and moisture. In general, the higher the IP rating, the more resilient your headphones should be.
- Another important factor is connectivity. There are two main wireless options. Classic Bluetooth headphones come with a cable connecting the earpieces together or true wireless headphones without the cord.
This was a quick run-down of the running gear for beginners, available on the market. As a beginner, there is no need to buy all these. However, after a few runs, it’s time to properly gear up.