There’s a lot to be excited about in running these days. Whether you are die hard fan who sets an alarm to watch the London marathon or picked up running during the pandemic we hope that you will find something beneficial in our running essentials list.
Three Basics You Need to Start Running
This is the only aspect on the list that will cost you money, but you get what you pay for here. Picking a quality shoe and spending a little extra money upfront will save you time and money in the long run by avoiding injuries and forcing you to take time off. If you struggled in the past to find the right shoe most running stores will size and fit you to the correct shoe for free.
Pro tip: When shopping for running shoes, look at retail stores such as Nordstrom or Marshall's for an older generation to snag a better deal!
A watch or a phone:
This will allow you to track your runs and keep tabs on how your fitness is improving. A great free resource is Strava!
It will keep track of all your runs and paces and even has some safety features you can activate such as Beacon which allows you to broadcast your location to select contacts. For anyone running late at night or are just concerned about safety this can be a great resource!
I enjoy all the data Strava has to offer, but know that it is not everyone. For those who don’t need or want all of that data, a Timex or even your phone’s stopwatch is enough to get you out of the door.
Whatever your style, make sure you have something to help you keep track of those miles or minutes that you bravely struggled through.
It is important for everyone to make some sort of goal in order to keep their habit up. It does not have to be anything crazy such as qualifying for the Boston Marathon your first year running.
It can be something as simple as getting out of the door each day to unplug from work. Something that works for a lot of people is signing up for a race a couple months in advance which then helps to get out the door.
You can use the S.M.A.R.T acronym to help set your goal. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. This will help you pick an appropriate goal that will increase your chances of sticking with it and achieving it. One of my goals this fall and winter is to run before work at least once a week. For me this has always been a challenge but it is simple and easy enough that I should be able to achieve it.
Three Things to Upgrade Your Running
A quality pair of shorts can go a long way, staying cool and comfortable on hot days can make or break your workout. It is ok to stay with the big players in running for this product as Nike makes a great 2” racing short the AeroSwift. These shorts will have you breezing through your next race. If you are looking for a smaller brand we recommend Tracksmith’s OTQ Race Shorts. Both will have you feeling and looking like an elite runner.
A physical therapist:
Unfortunately most runners have some sort of issue that would be helped by going to see a physical therapist. I am certainly guilty of this and it will be my next big process I incorporate into my running routine. As we get older it is important for us to pay closer attention to our body and Seeing a regular PT will save you time and possibly money if you can nip an injury in the bud before it blossoms into something more serious.
This is a standard next step in tracking mileage. It will allow you to keep better track of your paces, weekly mileage, and even elevation gain. Luckily there is a large range of GPS watches available which can vary in price from $100-$500 all with varying features. The Garmin Forerunner series watches will give you everything you need on roads or trails, coming in at $200 for the latest model, Forerunner 55, you won’t have to shell out too much money to get precision splits and data from your runs.
Pro tip: When shopping for GPS watches check out the refurbished sections of websites to pick up an older generation for a reduced cost.
Three Things to Splurge on
Racing flats are a great way of taking your running to the next level. Once you start racing and incorporating faster, more specific workouts you will really learn to enjoy using a lighter and more responsive shoe. A good flat that is compatible with your running will help to keep your training and legs feeling fresh. When I start to feel like training is getting monotonous it’s great to incorporate a shorter, faster session where you flat up and drop the pace down. Some of the Unplugd favorites are Atreyu’s The Artist and Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2.0 Shoes.
This is similar to the Strava Premium features outlined above but takes up to the next level. The Whoop band is constantly tracking your heart rate and other physical indicators to give you data on how your fitness is improving and how quickly you are recovering. The latest versions have features to track your sleep time and quality to give yourself a full picture of how your recovery is progressing and which areas you can focus on to improve. It does come with a monthly subscription but if you are putting up big miles, tracking your recovery and effort would be worth the $18 per month.
Roka makes an assortment of prescription, lifestyle and active wear glasses. Although I was skeptical at first about shelling $100+ for running sunglasses they proved to be absolutely worth it. They fit snug to your face and don’t bounce around like many cheaper brands. You can also customize the colors for no extra cost, which helps to ensure you’ll be happy with how they look. The SR-1X is the staff favorite style as they are versatile for both running and cycling. You will be surprised at how much better you feel running when you are not squinting at the sun for half the run or getting dirt and dust in your eyes.
Do you have a tip to keep running? Let us know in the comments below!