Running is a valuable way to exercise, get out of the house, and protect your physical and mental health. But as a newbie, the running culture can sometimes make picking up the sport feel like seeking membership in an exclusive club complete with an entrance exam, two letters of recommendation, and a physical assessment.
Showing up with these essentials will start you off on the right foot, even if you stumble on the actual track.
A Device to Track Mileage
When you’re first starting out, you’ll want to pay attention to patterns. Am I improving? What’s my average time per mile? Did I push myself too hard on my first three laps and that’s why I pulled a hamstring?
Thanks to the latest technologies, keeping track of your activity doesn’t have to be its own workout.
#1: A Smart Watch
The Apple Watch, Fitbit, and any of their major counterparts will have a built-in fitness tracker that counts steps, calories burned, and distance traveled.
If you’re looking to go a step above that, you can invest in a dedicated running watch that has increased accuracy and data collection. Though it’s not a necessity for beginners, the mere prospect of a flashy new gadget may just be enough to keep you invested in the sport.
#2: Running Apps
You can download useful running apps for tracking progress that analyze your metrics and even share your latest times and routes with friends.
They’re most effective when used in conjunction with a smart watch, but simply running with your phone in your pocket will still give you access to some interesting data.
The Right Attire
Ask a runner what they wear for their workout and you’ll get a list a mile long (no pun intended). From headbands all the way down to socks and shoes, it’s hard to find a clothing item that hasn’t been optimized for runners.
#3: Stretchy, Breathable Activewear
When it comes to selecting workout gear, fabric is everything. Here are a few go-to options that check all the major boxes:
- Nylon – sweat-wicking, breathable, and super stretchy
- Polyester – a plastic-based fabric that is simultaneously lightweight and durable
- Spandex – known for its limitless flexibility
#4: Moisture-Wicking Socks
These will keep your feet dry and prevent blisters during even your sweatiest runs. Plus you’ll avoid any foot odor that can build up with “traditional” socks.
#5: Supportive Shoes
It is impossible to stress the importance of proper footwear enough.
Running is a great form of exercise, but it does put a good deal of strain on your lower body, especially if you’re running on pavement. In terms of both durability and style, you can’t go wrong with Nike running shoes for women and men alike.
#6: Warm Up and Cooldown Equipment
Beginner runners are much more injury-prone, as they take time to adjust to a new activity and determine their limits. Beyond the act of running itself, what you do before and after are just as important to staying safe and prolonging your newfound running career.
Take the time to craft a proper rest and recovery routine with these important items.
#7: A Foam Roller
Available at most fitness stores, a Luxfit foam roller is the perfect entry-level self-massage tool. If you’re looking for a foam roller for deep release, invest in something a little more heavy duty, with raised bumps that hit the spot. While not pleasant, per se, rolling out your muscles is a necessary evil.
#8: A Lacrosse Ball
Used for massaging as well, a lacrosse ball can really dig into the smaller muscles that a foam roller doesn’t quite penetrate. While you could use any small spherical object, such as a tennis ball or baseball, the lacrosse ball is perfect in terms of both size and firmness.
#9 Resistance Bands
Incorporate these into your stretching routine for a little extra resistance. Their size and malleability mean they’re perfect to throw in your running bag for an immediate post-run cool down stretch.
They double as an essential tool for some of the best hip strengthening exercises, too.
Running Club Ready
No, running is not about having the fanciest kicks or the most futuristic wristwatch. It’s about fitness, well-being, and community. But like with any new endeavor, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. And quite honestly, who doesn’t want to have the coolest new shoes?