Running Equipment

by Daniel Johnston

Besides a good pair of running shoes, nothing else is really necessary to begin running. However, as you get to be a more advanced runner (and especially when you compete in races), you’ll probably want to get some more stuff.

Running shorts are definitely a nice thing to have. There’s really nothing complicated about it, nor it does it matter too much which shorts you get, as long as they’re comfortable for you. You definitely want to get a few pairs, though, so you can be running in clean shorts.

You’ll also want to get some good running shirts. These you can get from pretty much anywhere.

Many runners like music (myself included), so getting a good pair of wireless headphones. After having a cheap pair that didn’t work too well, I decided to shell out the money for the Jaybird Bluebuds X. They’re totally worth it because they are super easy to use, totally nonintrusive, and play really good music. They can also go really soft or really loud depending on what you want. You’ll also probably want to get an armband that carries your phone to go with that.

A lot of people love Garmins and swear by them, but I don’t really like them. One, you have to wear them as a watch, which I don’t like because I’d rather have as little stuff as possible on my body when I’m running. Also, Garmins can’t play music, so you have to carry your phone anyways.

That’s why I like using the Runkeeper app on my phone to track my runs. It tracks your pace, time, distance, route, splits, incline and gives you alerts while you’re running as you ask. For example, it will tell you if 5 minutes have passed or if you’ve run a mile if you want it to. If you want, you can also sign up for Runkeeper Pro. It doesn’t have a ton of features for $100 a year, but it compares all the runs you’ve ever done and gives you training data, so it’s pretty useful.

Everyone has a different system, though, so make sure to figure out what works best for you.

If you’re running in longer races (half marathons or marathons), you’ll also definitely want to get GU or some equivalent. These give your body energy during those long races so you can keep going without your stores getting depleted.  Although some people still believe in the infamous “wall” at mile 20, that has mostly been eliminated do to increased scientific understanding, and fueling during the race is part of that. Go to the store and buy some fuel if you’re running a race. Definitely try it out on a training run to make sure it’s good for you.

The question then becomes how you want to store the GU. The best way is a belt pouch like this one. The ones made by SPIBelts are very good. In fact, sometimes when I’m running and have them on I have to keep checking and looking down to make sure it’s still there because I can’t feel it!

This is not a complete list and there may be other things you need, but this is more than enough of a start. Although a lot of this stuff can be really helpful, to be a great runner you really don’t need much equipment; you already have it.

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