What do you need to be a runner?

Aug 24, 2012

So I hung up my first pair of "real" running shoes today.  I couldn't believe it.  They had 400 miles on them and they had seen better days. 

Wait, what?

I've run 400 miles? 

Holy Shit!

Go me!

Sorry, back to the topic at hand ... running gear.

What kind of gear do you need to be a runner?

1.  First and foremost - a good pair of shoes.  Get out your wallet and head straight to a running store.  Not just a shoe store, not Kohl's, really not even a sporting goods store.  A running store.  They will measure you foot, feel your arches, potentially make fun of your socks, and find the perfect shoe for your foot.  Yes, they will cost a little more than your average tennis shoe, but they are so worth it when you aren't getting blisters or a host of other problems you can get from ill fitting shoes.

2.  A good sports bra.  This is almost as essential as the shoes.  The girls shouldn't be bouncing around ... at all ... during your run.  I mean seriously, do you want to help gravity?  I didn't think so.  The running store sells these too, (and I am sure they are fab) but I have been able to find a good fitting one at Target that saved me about $25 bucks.

3.  A good pair of socks - remember cotton is rotten.  I like Drymax, but there are tons of good brands out there.  Just make sure they are synthetic.  And probably you should order them on the internet, they are way cheaper!

4.  A DriFit shirt of some sort.  Doesn't have to be some name brand, mine are from Target, but does need to be made of the wicking material so you aren't drenched in your own sweat after 5 minutes.

Really, that's all that is essential.  There are some other things that are handy, here's that list:

1.  If you have an iPhone or other phone where you can get apps and you run with this device, I highly recommend downloading an app that tracks your run.  We use Map my Run.  A woman comes on however often you program her to and tells you your mileage and pace.  In the beginning, I really relied on this woman to get me through, I had her talking to me every 5 minutes.  Now, she only comes to alert me each mile. 

2.  Body Glide.  This is definitely a nice to have so that you can avoid chafing, but I only used it on and off (mostly because I forget) and really haven't had that big of an issue - some swear by this, so for now it remains on this part of the list.

3.  A GPS watch.  If you have an iPhone, then you don't need this, but if you don't, this is nice to have to keep track of your pace and distance.  They are a bit pricey, so to each his own.

4.  Running ID bracelet.  This isn't on the top list because, well, you can run without it.  But you shouldn't.  You really need to have some form of ID on you, just in case.  No one wants to think about the just in case, but it is a reality, so just be a Boy Scout, be Prepared.

5.  A phone, any phone, doesn't have to be fancy.  Just in case you need to call for help.

Things I tried and decided were a waste of money for me:

1.  Fancy headbands.  I found a brand from target that worked for me and the two expensive ones I bought didn't. 

2.  A running specific water bottle that can be carried.  I hated carrying it as much as I hated carrying a regular bottle of water, so I might as well carry the cheap bottle of water if I am going to carry anything.

3.  Fancy running shorts.  While I like my $30 Nike branded running shorts, they are not different than the $10 pair that I got from Target. 

4.  A running hat or visor:  Neither kept me cool or helped keep the sweat out of my eyes.  Trash.

Things I still want to try or things I haven't needed yet:

1.  Energy chews/gus/jelly beans.  There is so much information out there on running nutrition, that I really haven't been able to process it all.  There is a lot of info about eating something during a workout of more than 1 hour, because your energy stores may or may not be depleted.  I am still sorting through.  These packets are expensive and they come in a million different flavors and I don't want to waste the money until I know more about them.

2.  Reflective Gear:  If you run at night or early in the morning, this should move up to your essentials list.  People are not looking for you, you have to make them see you.  They make all kinds of things from vests to reflective bracelets to tape - you name it, you can probably get it so that it will glow in the dark.  I haven't tried any yet as I try to avoid running in the dark.  I don't need any help injuring myself!

What's on your list of running must haves?  Tried anything you would never spend a dime on again?



  1. I bought a thing that holds a water bottle on your back for longer runs...stupid purchase...I hate it, feels awkward. I definitely spent money on good shoes, they make all the difference! I'm a new runner, so I'm still compiling my list of must haves!

  2. I'm pushing 20 half marathons and have never gotten into the whole gu nonsense. I swear by Body Glide and do an "out and back" course so I can drop water on the way and not have to carry it. I second buying shoes at a running store!

  3. Have I suggested this blog to you yet, nutrition success.org? No space but this form won't let me leave it as one word. That is my hubby's cousin and she has been a runner for her whole life, ran half marathons pregnant I think, and most recently competed in the Olympic trials. She writes for runners world.

    She is an avid runner and dietician so her whole blog is devoted to nutrition for runners. And, balancing life with running. She has a lot of tips. You know I don't. :). But at least I can suggest her to you. lol

  4. For some reason, I have been having trouble trying to commment all weekend and it still won't let me reply to your comments, sorry!

    @adrienne, I totally agree. Those things are so akward and the sloshing drives me mad!

    @andrea, the gu things sorta gross me out. I think it's the texture that gets me. It's like those applesauce packets the kids get, ewww. Though this is my impression just from squishing them in the store!

    @bizzy, thanks for the link! I love her site!!!


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