When I started running, I had no idea of the importance of the equipment for a runner. I did not have any experience or knowledge, except a general understanding of common sense principles about what to do – and probably, even better, what NOT to do – when running.
I learned the importance of doing the right choices when selecting the running equipment. This is a clear case where selecting the cheapest option is often not the right thing to do. Let’s go with order:
Running T-shirt and shorts:
Good quality is very important, especially the type of material: synthetic (polyester with elastic fiber finish) material, capable to keep your body dry, ensuring the constant evaporation of the liquids produced by sweating. Cotton is hydrophilic and would make your T-shirt wet and heavy, causing unpleasant friction on your body, especially on delicate areas like nipples!
The fit is also important: avoid too loose fit, for the above mentioned friction reason, but also the fact that a more stable skin-shirt contact will promote that mechanism of transport of the water outside your body, allowing a more efficient cooling and improving comfort and performance. Tight fit would give a beneficial compression effect, but I strongly recommend not to exaggerate with a tight fit, choosing the right level of comfort.
The same rules are valid for the shorts, pockets with zip will help you to bring safely some small objects, and the selection of the proper material will avoid the unpleasant experience of friction causing pain at the inner thigh!
About this fundamental item I wrote a dedicated post. Be reasonable, and don’t save on a good pair of running shoes if you feel they can make the difference.
Cotton is forbidden, as it will retain water and cause friction, causing most probably blisters under your foot. Again, selection of socks made in materials fostering transpiration is the way to go. Regular sport shops have a good selection of these socks, with competitive prices.
Compression socks are made to compress vein and orient circulation in smaller capillars. Although there are not many scientific studies proving it, this compression effect should be helpful for a more efficient blood circulation. You may consider to use them during the race of in the post recovery. Personally, I do not have a clear opinion on this matter. I wear them during a long distance run, they do not hurt, while I cannot judge if they clearly (besides a potential placebo effect!) improve my performance or recovery. I keep using them; price for a good pair of compression socks is around 50 €.
Do you bring your phone with you for music or tracking your race with an app like Endomondo? Then you know there are two main ways to fasten it to your body, an arm support or a pouch fixed on your waist. Although I use both solutions, I must admit the first is the most comfortable. It also keeps away the feeling of keeping the phone and all those magnetic fields far from some private parts. Science or myth? I don’t know but why to take a risk? 🙂
I will write a post about GPS watches soon. They changed my running experiences, I must give them that. I am probably a bit geeky, but the possibility of tracking progresses and many data is something adding a lot to my motivation. Many watches not only provide accurate GPS tracking (more accurate than mobile phones). They also record important body parameters, like steps count and heartbeat. This makes them not just GPS watches, but trackers of health indicators like quality of sleep, stress and calories burnt.
Some models, through their apps, introduce also elements of gaming and community tools (e.g. challenges, award badges) improving the social experience.
For this reason I recommend a GPS watch: having a health monitor device always available is not a bad idea!
Nothing is nicer than running in a bright day, but UV can be a challenge! Sunglasses are useful to protect your eyes, designed to be comfortable and yet, not easy to lose when running and… sweaty. Prices and models are ranging very much. I do not use them as I usually do not feel the need.
Listening to music can be a boost for motivation. You can find playlists created to help you keeping the desired steps per minute cadence! Connecting with wires phone and earbuds can create a uncomfortable swinging effect that can disturb your race.
There are many make and models of bluetooth with modern design you may consider: Jabra, Jaybird…or just apple earbuds if you have them.