Essential Running Gear For Beginners

Running is surely the oldest and most natural form of exercise? I’m guessing cave men and women managed with little running gear? However these days we really like to stay comfortable and safe. There’s plenty of items that bring running into the 21st century, but then, this essential running gear for beginners is really all you need to get started?

Of course, a lot of the gear you use will depend on your own budget and the climate of your area. You’ll also have to take into consideration your own goals and just how dedicated you’ll be to the activity.

For instance if you’re only running to lose weight and you belong to a gym, you might not need to invest in winter running tights or cold weather running gear? You could get your cardio in on a stationary bike, a treadmill, or a rowing machine, right?

On the other hand, if you don’t belong to a gym, or are quite serious about your running, you will probably need good winter gear, especially if you live in a cold climate. The fact is, there’s plenty of runners who never balk at a run in inclimate weather.

The weather here is very seldom particularly cold or snowy, but there’s nothing quite like the meditative effect of hearing my shoes in the rain water, the general sounds of rain, and how it feels hitting my face.

Ok, it doesn’t take much to get me running, and I was about to get completely off the subject?  But it’s going to be much more enjoyable with essential gear.

The Essential Gear for Running

Shoes

Shoes are going to make or break your running efforts, so they are probably the most important piece of gear you’ll have.  My own thoughts on shoes for beginner runners is to just start out with a name brand running shoe that feels great.

Woman with 2 different color jogging shoes for beginners

Do not buy them in the Am, or in the beginning of your day. Your feet will expand as the day goes on by about 4%. So if you buy shoes in the morning, they could be too small by that night.

You want to be sure your foot has a little room between your toes and the end of the shoe with the same or same weight socks you’ll be wearing. Try to get them almost the width of your thumb across your nail longer than your foot.

Of course the style of running will determine what sort of shoe you need. There’s:

  • Running shoes for the roads
  • Trail running shoes
  • Cross training shoes

I’ve found that finding the best shoes comes with experience, and trial and error. So, look for a good shoe that your foot will have room to move a little from back to front and laces up to fit firmly but not tight from side to side.

For your first pair of shoes look for comfortable, premium material, adequate support and cushioning that feels right for you.

Socks

To tell you the truth I ran for years with whatever socks happened to be handy when I reached for them? I might have a pair of ankle socks on one day, and calf socks rolled down to my ankle the next?

One red tennis shoe with ankle sock for running on a leg

Don’t do that! Part of you essential running gear should be socks, right from the get go! Low cut running compression socks will make all the difference in the world. They will add support to muscles and increase the blood flow to your feet.  The best running socks will give you more endurance because they improve the oxygen flow through you legs and feet, so they are worth it.

You should expect good socks to:

  • Wick away moisture
  • Hold down odor and fungus from exercising your feet for long periods of time
  • Reduce fatigue and soreness from running
  • Be soft and comfortable

I would definitely consider good socks made for compression and support to be part of the original running gear for any beginner.

Sports bra

Woman running with sports braYou should know right away that I’m not a woman? However, having been around women all my life and women runners and athletes for a good part of it, I know a sports bra is essential gear for running women.

In fact, a sports bra is a must for some women.

All of my information for bras come from women who have ran without them, and now advise me they would never dream of running in anything else. I am advised that you do not want to get into jogging thinking your boobs flopping around is just part of the drill?

That’s about all I have to say about that piece of basic apparel for women, other than a run should be as comfortable as possible.

Winter Wear

Fall is just setting in as I’m writing this, and it won’t be long before the days are cold. Paying attention to the best clothing articles to wear when you start running will help make running a natural part of your life.

Running in the cold and rain (up to a point) is just part of the drill for many of us. However, there are a few things beginners tend to look over when it comes to running when it’s cold, like:

  • You’ll want to add about 10 – 20 degrees to actual temperature when you decide what to wear on cold days.  You’ll find out quick enough that you will start out cold — but your body quickly warms itself up leaving you with too much warm clothing.
  • When the temperature starts dropping below 50 degrees start thinking about tights, gloves, a headband or skull cap, and sleeves.
  • Most people wear warmer shirts and start adding thermal wear to the mix when it get in the 30s.
  • Before the temp gets in the 30s and sometimes lower, I am still running in shorts with T shirts and a sweatshirt most days.

Layering clothes on cold days is a real plus for a couple of reasons:

  • Layered clothes are usually warmer than one piece of heavier clothing
  • As you warm up it’s easy to start shedding layers. You’ll learn to tie shed clothing articles around your waist and shoulders as your body warms.

Of course with a good treadmill or other cardio pieces in your home, you won’t need to battle the elements at all?

Stopwatch

Here’s why I consider a stopwatch essential for my own running habit: I can set it for how long I want to run prior to starting out, and clear my mind of  looking at my watch, or wondering how long it’s been?

Sometimes I know the route I will take, and time isn’t a factor at all, other times I take a different route, want to add to it, or it’s essential to get to the office by a certain time. In any case, you can get a very inexpensive watch with a stopwatch function.

If you don’t want a wrist watch, you can get a stopwatch to either wear around your neck, or carry in a pocket? Either way, for just a few bucks, you’ll find it a great piece of equipment.

Sun Shades

Unless you are running at night, you will find yourself squinting from either the glare or just facing the sun.

If you’re jogging for 40 minutes to an hour most days, 2 or three times that on the weekends, you might as well make life as comfortable as possible, right?

The sky’s the limit when it comes to how much a pair of sunshades will cost, but you can pick up a decent pair of wrap around shades for just a few bucks and save your eyes, and maybe a headache?

Want Tunes?

Not me, but it generally looks like I’m the only runner without earbuds these days.

Personally, I expect a run to clear my head of all the collected garbage and noise, destress me, and leave me rather empty when I’m finished — most days?

When I do want to listen to either music or some motivational something or the other, I can tell you these are the best bluetooth headphones I’ve used.

I know, I know, they aren’t the name brand earbuds people spend a ton on for bragging rights. However, these earbuds stay in my ears quite comfortably with great sound for a fraction of the cost of most others of the same quality.

I use them when I’m in the mood, running or sitting in the library, but you will need to decide for yourself if headphones are an essential part of your own running.


Conclusion

Let’s face it: essential running gear for beginners is really shoes (unless you’re running barefoot) and most any loose clothing that won’t chafe and bind.

However, in my own experience these are fundamental to making your running comfortable and satisfying.  Whether you think of beginning to run for long term exercise and cardio or just long enough to lose a few pounds — get good shoes, socks, sports bra (if applicable), and stay warm.

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