Essential Gear for Long Distance Runners

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Photo credit: Outsidetimes.com

So you think neighborhood jogs or a morning sprint to the park with your dog are no longer enough? Are you ready for the challenge of marathons and trail runs? Let’s get you started on this exciting phase of your running journey by getting you geared up with the essential kit for long-distance runners.

Shoes

Wearing the right pair of shoes can sometimes spell the difference between a pleasant run and one where you get sores, blisters, or worse, injuries. Choosing the most perfect fit for you is an individual choice and depends on many factors like your gait, the distance you plan to cover, whether you’ll be running on pavement or off-trail, and whether you’re aiming to train for anything specifically. To know which running shoes are the perfect fit for you biomechanically, head on to a specialty running store with staff that are most likely runners themselves and have been trained either by the store or the specific brands themselves on how to provide recommendations for the best running shoes for every type of runner.

Clothing

The clothing on your body is of course the most important outfit you will wear while running, and all you really need along with your shoes for a short run. Everything should fit well, and be free of tags, protruding zippers or buttons and other annoyances that will only grow noticeable with every mile. Choose a quick-drying, sweat-absorbing shirt, running shorts or tights, and quality socks for the job. For women, invest in a good sports bra to provide support. You should also have a light windbreaker handy in case the weather turns windy and cold along the way.

Running Belt

A quality running belt is crucial to the gear choices a runner can make. The right belt will allow you to carry essentials even on long runs while distributing weight equally and causing minimal disturbance. It is also a discreet and safe way to carry your phone, keys, cash and cards while running and on the go.

For long-distance and trail runners, you will also need this to carry energy bars, energy gels, electrolytes and hydration packs.  Invest in a good running belt whether you’re taking a walk around the neighborhood, going on a trail run or training for a marathon.

Tracking device

You will still be able to run without the aid of technology of course, but if you want to see how far you’ve covered on your run (bragging rights, anyone?) or make sure you stay on course, bring your phone or a digital wristband that measures the distance you’ve ran, the number of steps you’ve taken, the calories burned, your heart rate, and the time it took for all of these. Having a device with a GPS on is also essential for trail runners to make sure you don’t get lost or go on unfamiliar terrain.

Socks

You might take this part of your everyday outfit for granted, but you would never appreciate good socks in any better situation than when you’ve been running 15 miles or so and your foot is raw from so much contact with your footwear. Just so you know, socks especially made for running are contoured to your foot so it can do away with seams that can irritate you if you’ve been wearing it long enough. It also dries faster than normal cotton socks and some draw sweat away from the skin.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only allow you to look super stylish while running, it also has the practical purpose of shielding your eyes on bright days and help protect it from branches that may suddenly pop out as you round a corner. For nighttime runs you can wear photo-chromatic lenses that will shift tint in the dark, shielding your eyes from protruding small branches that wouldn’t otherwise be clear in your line of vision.

Sunscreen/sunblock

When you’re running a marathon you can almost be sure that you’ll be running for hours on end in broad daylight. Even if you get lucky and you race on a cloudy day it doesn’t exempt you from UV protection, as I have recently found out the painful way when I confidently when I ran long-distance on an overcast day, only to find out that my skin stung after the run and I had to treat a moderate sunburn after.

Lip Balm

Don’t forget this if you don’t want to have chapped and blistered lips after a lengthy run! Lip balm is always handy whether you’re running under a scorching sun or in cold, windy weather.

Photo credit: Gearpatrol.com

Lubrication

When you’re running a marathon or on a trail for hours on end, your skin is bound to complain due to too much friction as your skin rubs against your clothes. So make sure to bring along a good lubricating product (I like rub-on sticks—very convenient and not greasy!) to protect the areas between and under your toes, around the heel and between the legs where the friction from clothing and pounding against the ground are highest.

Head protection

The specific head cover will vary depending on running conditions, but head protection is an absolute necessity if you don’t want to pass out from too much heat or cold while you run. Choose a brimmed hat for runs on bright, sun-drenched days or you could go for a beanie or light hat that will cover your ears and provide insulation should the weather suddenly turn cold and windy.

So whether you’re aiming to run a marathon, maintain a fit and strong body or simply want to forget everyday stress through long-distance running, invest in good running gear and have fun (as much as you can)!

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