7 key pieces of running gear for beginners

Whether it's for fitness or fun, if you're serious as a novice about the sport of running, here are seven key pieces of gear for beginners to help you get started on the right foot.

7 key pieces of running gear for beginners

1. Running shoes

Good shoes will protect you from common runner's injuries and make running easier. For this reason, it's important not to skimp when buying your first pair. Go to a running store that fits beginning runners.

  • Ideally, you should be able to run on an in-store treadmill and have the staff analyze your stride in various pairs of shoes.
  • Don't leave until you have a pair that fits well at the heel and toes and provides the arch support you need.

2. Moisture-wicking socks

While most running clothing isn't essential for beginning runners, moisture-wicking socks are completely necessary.

  • Cotton socks cause blisters and will let your feet stay wet.
  • A pair of socks made from a synthetic or wool material will keep your feet dry and ready to hit the road.
  • Most runner's socks are also constructed without seams to prevent blisters.

3. Watch

A fancy digital timepiece isn't required for running, but an inexpensive watch can help you keep track of your training times.

  • When choosing a watch (if you don't already have one) make sure it has a band that dries quickly and a face that you can easily read.
  • Any other features, ranging from waterproofing to GPS, is a matter of personal taste.
  • Even if you intend to invest in a runner's watch, wait a few months so you'll know what features you'll need.

4. Chafe protection

Anti-chafing balms or petroleum jelly will prevent the chafing that's common among beginning runners.

  • Anti-chafing balms can be applied wherever there's any friction.
  • Many men also apply petroleum jelly to their nipples to prevent bleeding.

5. Water bottle

When you start running five kilometres or more, you'll need to hydrate while training.

  • An inexpensive water bottle filled with plain water is acceptable in nearly all circumstances.
  • Sports drinks and energy gels aren't usually necessary unless you're running at least 15 kilometres.

6. Runner's belt

Once you have a water bottle, you may want to consider a runner's belt.

  • A good belt will hold your water bottle, have a water-resistant place for your cell phone, and have enough room to hold your ID and keys.

7. Training logbook

Beginning runners often make the mistake of increasing their mileage or speed too quickly. This impatience can lead to painful injuries that can require months of rehabilitation.

  • A training logbook will help you plan a reasonable training schedule and ensure that you're not pushing yourself too quickly. It also helps you appreciate improvements in your stamina and running speed that you may overlook.

With this quick list of running gear, you'll get started on a safe and efficient path.

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