You don’t need a lot of money to become a runner. Unlike some sports, you don’t have to immerse yourself in all types of equipment. You don’t have the expense of buying a snowboard, alpine skis, a kayak, or a bicycle.
While there are no major equipment expenses in running, there are some purchases you should make if you decide to really get into the sport. The biggest one is to buy proper running shoes. Don’t rely on multi-sport sneakers or the cheapest running shoes if you decide you like running and want to stick with it.
Running shoes should be bought from companies who specialize in running and other sport shoes, not from your basic retail store such as Walmart. Running is a sport in which your feet take a lot of impact and you don’t want to mess around and end up with nagging foot problems and injuries.
For the best information on how to choose a running shoe, take a look at our comprehensive article on Running Shoes for Beginners. The goal in choosing running shoes as in choosing all other types of running apparel is a balance of comfort and function.
Today’s running apparel isn’t so much about looks or fashion as it is about the technical aspects of the fabrics used in the manufacture of running clothing. You will need to learn about fabrics which wick moisture away from the skin, layering, and technical outerwear.
The cotton t-shirt is becoming a thing of the past when it comes to running. That’s because rather than wicking moisture away from the skin and helping you to stay warm and dry, cotton wets through easily and bunches up. When you cool down in a wet t-shirt you start to shiver and get cold.
This same thing happens to socks, so when you purchase running or walking socks stay away from cotton. Today runners don’t bother with cotton socks which get sweaty and cause wet feet. That’s actually a good way to get blisters. Instead, you need to get some good running socks which are made of synthetic materials.
Many companies have their own names for their proprietary brands of fabrics which wick moisture away from the skin. For instance, Coolmax, Dri-Fit, and SmartWool are a few of the blends for socks. Drymax socks are a polypropylene blend which prevents blisters and keeps your feet dry and cozy.
Synthetic running socks also have extra cushioning in the right spots plus seams which are smooth to prevent foot irritation.
Most running shorts, like bicycle shorts, are made of synthetic fibers. As with other types of running apparel, the fabric of choice should wick moisture away from the skin. The layer next to your skin should remain dry while the wetness is dispersed in the outer layer where it can evaporate into the air.
One example is Road Runner Sports ( RRS) men’s Velocity 5” short which has micro poplin for moisture management. The women’s 5” Velocity shorts use the same materials. All of these types of fabrics are known as microfibers.
Running shorts can be form fitting or baggy depending on your tastes. The most important thing is to make sure your shorts wick away moisture and that they give you the freedom of movement you need to run comfortably. Look for shorts with at least one secure pocket where you can keep keys, cash, gels or other personal items.
Wicking materials are just as important in running shorts as they are in socks, shorts, tights and jackets. You need to purchase a quality running shirt which will keep your cool and dry no matter how hot the temperatures are.
Road Runner Sports (RRS) Velocity shirts come in sleeveless, short sleeve and long sleeve versions from which to choose. A quality running shirt may be more expensive overall but it will also last for much longer than a cotton t-shirt. Generally, running shirts are soft and comfortable.
Tights are good to run in on cool days and also to wear over your shorts before a race to keep your muscles warm. You don’t need to spend a fortune on running apparel–men‘s and women‘s Velocity tights are a good value for the money and you can get them at Road Runner Sports.
An great example of technical outerwear is a jacket that is both warm and constructed of fabrics which can breathe. DryRoad is the proprietary material in both the Womens Pro Velocity Full-zip jacket and the men’s Pro Velocity Full Zip. DryRoad has excellent wicking properties.
If you plan on being out in the cold and snow a lot, look for running outerwear which is made of Gore-Tex and insulated synthetic materials.
It’s cold outside–time for hats and gloves
Some people don’t like to run in the cold so the minute temperatures start to get chilly you might find them on the treadmill at the gym or working out at home. Some runners like to get outside to run year-round. Even if you live in an area that has snow and below zero temperatures, it’s possible with today’s running gear to have enjoyable winter runs.
The biggest two requirements for running in winter are to acquire a hat and gloves. Forty percent of your body heat escapes through your head so it’s necessary to stop the flow with a cozy, warm hat. Look no further than the Asics Deluxe Fleece Beanie and you will be toasty warm during your workout even through the most inclement weather. The beanie is 100% polyester fleece which means it is ever so soft and lightweight.
If you really want to hit the road in extremely cold and inclement weather, you should check out the men’s and women’s versions of the Manzella Heavyweight Gore-Tex runner glove. They can give you the protection you need in the most extreme winter running conditions. For those who want lightweight warmth, take a look at the Asics Fleece Gloves.
All it takes is a few little running accessories to make life on the road or trail a little easier. Here are a few products which you should check out:
- Sunglasses– Tifosi Vogel Sunglasses are among the most comfortable.
- Waterbottle–Take a look at the Camelbak Quick Grip Waterbottle.
- Pedometer–Nike + Ipod sensor and receiver kit. A Nike shoe pedometer and Ipod sensor can give you the stats you need to increase your running performance.
Running is a lifetime sport. Many people run well into their 70s and 80s. You don’t need much in the way of gear to run year-round. The purpose of most running gear and apparel is simply to keep you warm and dry and to prevent injuries. The more prepared you are for the weather, the more you will enjoy your run.