As a new runner, you may be wondering, “what should I wear running?” and “what else do I need?”. Honestly, even though most of us runners have a ton of gear and gadgets most of it is not essential and you only need a few things to get started.
Sneakers unless you are planning on barefoot running (which I occasionally do). I have gone to both extremes in shoes. High stability all the way down to vibrams and as mentioned above barefoot strides). Running store attendants have recommended shoes at the end of both spectrum for me. What has worked for me is sticking with something neutral and minimalistic but everyone is different. So I would recommend trying some shoes out on a treadmill and asking for some recommendations but go with what feels right for you. It may take some trial and error but eventually you will find the kind of shoe that what works best for your feet, body type and running style. For your feet you will also need some running socks (not cotton), some people prefer to go sockless but I can not manage to do this without getting major blisters. And you don’t want cotton because cotton soaks up moisture and causes blisters as well.
Moisture Wicking/Technical Clothes When you are first getting started you can probably get away with just grabbing a t-shirt and a pair of shorts/pants out of your closet and getting out the door. But as you run longer and more often you are going to want to wear moisture wicking clothes. These clothes are made out of synthetic fabric and will wick the moisture away from your skin and keep you more comfortable in both hot weather and cold. They will also cause less chafing.
In the warm months just a pair of shorts (and a run bra for women) is enough. If you are shy or don’t like to bear skin wear a singlet or short sleeved shirt. Personally, I prefer not to wear a sweaty shirt, the less I can wear the better.
For the cooler months you can add arm sleeves to the outfit or a long sleeve shirt. I like the arm sleeves because I can just take them off if I start getting warm. A pair of tights are also useful in the cold. If it is really cold I just layer things and sometimes wear a vest, maybe a light jacket (but it rarely gets that cold here in Texas). All your layers don’t need to be tech fabric, the most important layer is the bottom one that touches your skin, this should be tech so that it wicks the sweat away from your body preventing you from getting too cold. Gloves are also essential for cold weather, technical fabric is nice here to but I often wear cheap ones because I end up pulling them off and sometimes losing them. Also, don’t forget a cap, this will make a big difference on cold days and it is something that is really easy to take off and stash if you get too warm.
Undergarments Personally I prefer to buy shorts and skirts with liners in them so that I don’t have to wash another garment. But if you do wear them running you should avoid cotton and anything with to many seams to avoid chafing. If you are a woman a good running bra is very important. There are many different brands and kinds, go and try some on, get one that fits correctly and one that is meant for high impact exercise, to avoid to much bounce which can be painful.
Non clothing items
Glide or you can use vaseline in a pinch. This is the one thing I always put on. For many people it may only be necessary on longer runs. But I would rather be safe than sorry. Putting glide on in places that rub or where there are seams in your clothes will avoid painful chaffing and cuts on your body. If it is raining make sure you put on an extra layer.
Stay Safe You should wear a RoadID bracelet in the event of an accident, if you can’t speak for yourself, your Road ID will. Wear Reflective gear and a have a light if you are running in the dark. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen and sunglasses during the day.
Hat/Visor is a very versatile and useful item. It will help keep the sun out of your eyes on sunny days and it will keep the rain out of your eyes on rainy days.
Watch or Phone You don’t need a fancy GPS watch (even though these are helpful to keep track of mileage and pace). A watch that you can keep track of time with is enough to start with. If you are comfortable taking your phone with you, it can be useful for keeping track of the time and there are quite a few running apps out that have GPS and will also keep track of your mileage and pace, just like a GPS watch. Once you start going longer having your phone along is also useful in case of emergency .
Water bottle or fuel belt If you are running long and there are no water fountains on your route bringing a drink with you is a good idea to stay hydrated. I prefer wearing a belt because I don’t like holding things in my hands while running but you will have to figure out what works for you.
Sun Protection If you are running during the day, sunscreen for your skin is a must. Sunglasses (they don’t need to be fancy) or a hat to protect your eyes is also a good idea. A good visor or hat is also good on rainy days to help keep the rain out of your eyes.
Foam Roller If you can’t afford to get a massage after your runs I would recommend one of these. Just a few minutes rolling your legs out on one of these will help loosen them up before runs and work kinks out afterwards to help avoid injury. I use mine all the time.
Heart Rate Monitor If you are going to train using heart rate zones, you will need one of these, these usually come with a watch, so you can combine both of these in one purchase.
While there are certainly more things you could buy for running you can get going with these basic things.
If you would like recommendations on what you should wear in specific weather conditions try our What Should I Wear Running app. Available for on Itunes and on Android.
An ad free version of our What Should I Wear Running app is also included in our Runner’s Ally app.