Every sport requires specialized equipment. Running is no exception; however, the requirements are substantially fewer, and consequently less expensive, than what you might see for other sports.
For example, think about all the equipment one needs to cycle. Not only that, but the decisions that go into deciding which equipment to buy. Road bike or off-road? Clip pedals or cage pedals? Helmet or no helmet? T-shirt or tech shirt? Gloves or no gloves? Night cycling or day cycling? I could go on and on. Each of those decisions results in a separate purchase and possibly greater expense.
On the flipside, there is swimming. While I do swim about once a week, I am definitely not what you would call an enthusiast. I have my swimsuit, moldable ear plugs, and goggles. Period. And my equipment is simply basic, and inexpensive. However, when I shopped for this equipment, I could see how a swimming enthusiast might get carried away with purchasing super expensive supplies, like $25 techno ear plugs instead of the $5 moldable ones and $30 goggles instead of the $15 version.
Other sports with high price tags for equipment are golf, horseback riding, skiing, baseball, football.
Thankfully for us, the running enthusiasts, the equipment needs are rather basic.
I would say the most important element of equipment~the one on which you want to spend as much as you can~is the shoes. Shoes provide both cushion and support for your feet and legs. Not enough support, and your whole body could be affected, from your knees to your hips to your spine.
Every athletic shoe manufacturer carries a multitude of styles to fit every need, and usually in a range of prices. In fact, there are so many styles that I get overwhelmed and rely instead on the friendly staff at my local Luke’s Locker. I wear Saucony now, but don’t ask me which style. Last year I wore Basics, and, way back in the dark ages of my college years, I ran in Adidas and Reebok court shoes. I don’t even think there were shoes made specifically for running. If something like it existed, I didn’t know about it. No wonder I suffered such horrible shin splints back then.
As you can see, it helps to do your own research and find a quality running supply store with staff whom you can trust. Furthermore, as with any purchase, more money spent does not necessarily equal better quality. The $100 Saucony shoe that works for me might not be the right one for someone else who runs better in the $60 Adidas.
Depending on how many miles and on what type of surface you are running, you can expect to replace your shoes at least twice a year. I can always tell when mine need to be replaced by gauging my shin, knee, and hip pain. Plus, it helps to focus on when it starts to feel like I am running with pancakes strapped to my feet.
And, aaahhh, to run in a brand new pair of sneakers. So light, so airy. Who wouldn’t want to perpetuate that comfort?
There are other items that you might want to consider:
- Good quality socks that not only help cushion your feet but also absorb moisture efficiently.
- Lightweight clothing, preferably tech tops of some sort, which will absorb moisture regardless of the temperature in which you run. The benefits of this for cold weather running are obvious~cold gear is a must~but running in a heavy, wet, sweaty t-shirt in 85 degrees is never comfortable. For all the men reading this: I will always envy your ability to run shirtless (and don’t mind me if I stare at you as you run past)!
- A reusable water bottle, along with some way to carry it. This is a personal preference. I prefer to hold my bottle in my hand. Some prefer fuel belts, others a waist pouch. Pick what works best for you.
- A ball cap works well to keep sun out of your eyes and to absorb moisture.
- Sunglasses. I can’t run without mine, even on cloudy days. I think is it part of my running persona.
- Sunscreen. No other explanation needed.
- Headlamp, flashlight, or other luminary devices if you run at night. Don’t be that runner who gets hit in the crosswalk because the driver coming from behind the hedges couldn’t see your approach.
If you are intent on growing your passion for running, as with any sport, invest in the necessary equipment for comfort and control. You will not enjoy anything if you are practicing it with missing, ill-fitting, or worn equipment. Take care of your body by supporting it with what it needs to do its job. It will then take care of you.
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