I’m not an authority on gear but I am a runner who made poor choices before I knew better.
(I wear a lot of Under Armour (UA) stuff because I like the way it fits me, but you find what fits you!)
Let’s start at the feet. For real. If you do nothing else for yourself as a runner, GET YOURSELF FIT PROPERLY FOR SHOES!!!! Fleet Feet has a well trained staff ready to help you out in this area. And they’ve got two locations to serve the Tulsa area.
In addition to shoes, you need tech socks.
I’m going to stop there and talk about tech gear. “Tech” stands for “technical” and it’s a man-made fabric that contains NO COTTON and has wicking capabilities (pulling moisture away from your body). Do you hear me? NO COTTON! Cotton is rotten. If you don’t believe me, do some comparison runs. Run in your beloved cotton. You think it should be good for you because it’s a natural product. But cotton is heavy and when it’s wet, it holds onto the moisture. Seriously. If you think nothing’s better than cotton, test that theory! But …. not all tech shirts are created equal. If it feels heavy on the hanger, it’s probably going to feel heavy on you.
So, tech socks. Important. If you run in cotton socks, you could end up with blisters. I remember a friend complaining at the 2010 Jingle Bell Run that she wore fun, festive Christmas socks that were cotton. And she ended up with blisters. Do other things to make your running outfit unique. Run with tech socks. They’ve got them in colors if you’re that serious about it. I personally only buy one kind and color of socks (I got them at Fleet Feet). Because I don’t want to have to spend much time matching them. So my tan line on my ankles is getting worse every time I run. (=
I wear UA under armor under my UA compression shorts. (Actually, I wear them most days because they’re that awesome, I own 9 pair!) I was hesitant about compression shorts. Seriously, TIGHT shorts? Can’t possibly look good. But they’re a really good idea. Cover them up if you want.
When I started, I ran in what I called sliders with tech shorts over them. The outer shorts rode up. So I started looking for skirts. That were WAY too short for my fat legs. This is where the KB skirts came in. KB makes leotards. And she’s very good at it. So I asked her if she’d look into making skirts. And she’s been my skirt maker since!
You don’t have to wear compression shorts, but make sure your shorts are a technical fabric. Compression shorts help keep unnecessary rubbing to a minimum, though.
Most of my shirts are UA lightweight shirts. I have them in sleeveless, short sleeve, and long sleeve. Because they’re that awesome. SUPER light weight. May even be a little see-through. But not bad enough for anyone to tell me not to wear them. And I’d hope my running friends are honest enough to tell me not to wear something.
Ladies, no matter how big or small chested you are, you need to support your girls. Fleet Feet can also fit you for a nice sports bra. They’re expensive. Mom bought one a few weeks ago that was $56. Personally, I wear a regular, supportive bra and then a sports bra over it. I feel well supported. If I didn’t, I’d be at Fleet Feet tomorrow. Strap ’em down! You might be less worn out after your run!
Hats and visors are awesome. They keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes. Again, make sure it’s tech.
Sunglasses are a very good option as well. Here’s something you may not know – don’t buy the ones that plaster to your face for running. They’ll fog up. In hot weather. And cold weather. Give your face a little breathing room. (=
And here’s something else that I run with that I consider necessary – a water bottle. I started with this one. It was awesome. The others seemed so small. I was so worried I’d run out of water! Turns out Mom’s the water hog! It’s insulated so the ice and water stayed cold through any of my runs. Then I got tired of carrying it in my hand. Seriously, I’d love a bottle like this that would fit in my hydration belt. I picked this gem up at the Walt Disney World Expo before my first half marathon. The belt doesn’t have any attached water bottle pouches and I liked that. I bought these “add-ons” for the belt. You can just wear one, which is what I use if I’m going 4 miles or less. I wear both if I’m going further. The belt is designed to sit on your hips and not move. Mine doesn’t sit on my hips, it sits a little higher. But it doesn’t move. It does make one of my skirts hike up, but not the others. It’s not a big deal. It’s got a pocket big enough for my iphone with several built in slots for an ID, cash, whatever. It’s got several places to store gu or small packets of things. And it’s got toggle things for your race bib. But I don’t use those because I don’t like the way the bib feels when it’s that low.
If you’re serious about running, you’ll want a Garmin. Because they’re that cool. I use an iphone app to tell me my intervals, that also plays my music. A Garmin can let you know when it’s time to switch from running to walking. But if you’ve got it set to do that, you can’t have it lap at each mile (at least with the version I have). I prefer to have my Garmin do the mile marks because I believe it’s more accurate than my phone app.
Headphones are also a good idea. Mom and I have gone through several kinds. I still prefer the ones that came with my ipod shuffle. I don’t want to run with the ones I got with my iphone because I don’t want to lose them. Silly but true.
The last thing I can think of is a Frogg Togg. I have a Chilly Pad. Actually, I have half of a Chilly Pad. Mom has the other half. And that’s plenty big. But now they’ve got a ‘dana that’s smaller and you can tie it together. I wrap the Chilly Pad around my neck and tuck the ends in my bra.
They make compression sleeves for your lower legs and your arms. I’ve never had a need for them so I can’t tell you a lot about them.
There are also several muscle releasing tools you can purchase at Fleet Feet. Again, I’ve never used them but I know people who swear by them. Check them out at Fleet Feet if you’d like more info.
Gear is important. Almost as important as being properly hydrated and fueled for your runs. If you don’t believe me, do some comparison tests. Let me know how they go!
Is there anything I didn’t cover? If so, leave a comment, I’ll tell you what I may or may not know.
Do you have an opinion on running gear?