So you want to be a runner? Great. Head out to your local sporting good store, purchase several pairs of elite running tights, half a dozen wicking t-shirts, a top of the line shell to protect you from the elements. A Garmin is a MUST as you will need to methodically log every mile, create a spreadsheet of your split times, and map out extended courses wherever you may go. Look into hiring a running coach as you must be sure your form is on point. Finally, wireless headphones. Those old iPhone ones will just not do. Once you have purchased all of these must haves you will be ready to run.
Kidding!!! Okay that’s really what I thought when I first started running. I needed those fancy schmacy running sunglasses, I must have the best running tights and matching tops that Athleta has to offer. Running without the “gear” was just unthinkable. But what I have learned in my short few years as a runner? Almost NONE of this is necessary! So I wanted to share with all of you who are new to running, thinking about running, wondering if they could become a runner, what you REALLY need to run. Aileen’s essentials of running gear.
Note: I am definitely not a running coach. I am just a mom who really fell in love with lacing up and heading out my front door to see where my feet may take me. You can read how I became a runner here. Or click “running” in the tags over on my sidebar and read all of my posts related to my soul sport.
You MUST have good running shoes. The shoes that have been sitting in your closet since you were in college will not do. The clearance rack at Target may be home to some great deals but those shoes will cost you more in the long run. Running is a high impact sport. Running has the potential to cause serious wear and tear on your body. Properly fitted shoes are the key to keeping yourself healthy and continuing to be able to log those miles.
My beloved Brooks Adrenalines
Without a doubt, I recommend that you find a local running store and have a gait analysis. Most of the specialty stores will look at your stride free of charge and recommend a pair of shoes. Don’t rely on what your neighbor recommends or the responses to a post on social media. You may be an “overpronater” and need a shoe with more stabilization. Your best running friend may need something with more arch support or a wider toe box. Our feet are all different, our strides are all different and our running shoes need to be different too. Go with what a professional recommends, not with what shoes strike your fashion sense. Be sure that your local running store has money back guarantee. You may need to put a couple of miles on your new kicks before you know they are good for you.
Just like shoes, you NEED a good running bra. Not only does a good bra help to support you but it can lessen the dreaded chafing many of us larger busted runners experience. Again, find a good running store. Ask a female associate what she recommends. Try on a bunch. They will be tight, they are supposed to be. But they shouldn’t be uncomfortable. During a women’s running event I attended several years ago, the host reminded us that a good running bra should be replaced every year. I’m terrible about doing this! I usually wear those running bras out. Hand washing and line drying will help to give a longer life to your gear!
My favorite Moving Comfort sports bra
And that’s it. End of post.
I’m honestly not kidding. Good shoes and a good bra are the only 2 pieces of equipment that you must have to be a runner. They are necessities. The rest of running “stuff” is just icing on the cake. Here are my thoughts on some other running items:
You can find running clothes in just about every price point. I have both insulated Nike running tights that cost more than any pair of jeans in my wardrobe. I also have wicking running capris I picked up at Walmart. They cost $9. Honestly, I love them both. One of my favorite places to score some name brand running clothes- Goodwill! Many many folks make those New Year’s resolutions and now is about the time when many give up on themselves. Those expensive running shorts, skirts, pants, capris, tops are donated to the Goodwill and can be yours for less than $5. I have picked up some pretty sweet scores at my local stores!
If you are going to spend money on something else, I would recommend socks. They can prevent blisters, wick away sweat to prevent strange foot rashes, fungi and other such awesome things. At an event hosted by Another Mother Runner, I was introduced to Balegas. They are incredible. Supportive but not bulky. I LOVE them. You should check and see if AMR is coming to a speaking event near you. You cannot help but leave one of their events inspired. As a bonus, they often give away some great socks in their swag bags!
My foam roller and I have a love/hate relationship with each other. Foam rolling can be a key part of staying off the running injured reserve list. Like I mentioned, running can put a significant wear and tear on your body. Foam rolling helps with myofascial release and muscle stretch. It can help workout those kinks where your muscles tend to knot up. My sore spots are always my calves, hamstrings and gluten. But you can foam roll your upper body, quads and hip flexors as well.
An expensive foam roller is worth the money but you can create a DIY roller for far less! Grab an old pool noodle and slip a piece of PVC pipe into the center. Boom- you’ve got your own running torture device!! Rolling a tennis ball up and down your calves can be a great way to loosen those muscles. Rolling a golf ball under your feet while sitting can help to alleviate tension in the muscles in the soles of your feet.
There are many runners who run without music but this mother runner needs her jams. Since I always run with my iPhone, I stream Spotify or iTunes Radio. There are days I listen to my favorite 90s throwbacks. Other days I jam out to some teeny bopper pop music. In the early morning, I love some Third Day to get my soul in the right place. And then there’s always my man, Luke Bryan!
That’s it my friends, get some shoes and a good bra. Go out there and lace up. I believe a mother runner is tucked inside all of us waiting to run.
I would love to hear your running “must haves”!