Running is admired for its minimalism. We have been running for centuries, it's an easy hobby to hold, but as you do start to run further and faster you will need to consider adopting a few must-haves. Being prepared for a run, is what makes every last kilometre bearable.
Here are our 5 top must-haves for all runners:
The right shoe
Wearing the correct gear for running is crucial. Not just for performance benefits, but to avoid injury too. The most important gear to pay attention to is your running shoes, these can make or break your experience. With the right shoe you can run miles, comfortably and fully supported, without the risk of injuries such as shin splints or even blisters. There is no single best running shoe for all people, so the best way to find the right shoe for you is to visit an expert who will analyse your gait and find the shoe that fits.
One thing to note is that, although running shoes are tough, they don't last forever - for an average of 300-500 miles. Look out for obvious signs of wear such as the feeling of 'flat' shoes or a worn sole, and replace to stay injury-free.
GPS tracker + app
Tracking your runs can be a great way to track progress, stay on plan and challenge yourself further. Choose a GPS watch that connects to an app, this way you can look back on your runs to compare and contrast variables such as time, pace and heart rate. Using an app such as Strava is a great platform to log activity. Be sure to join our Strava club and join in on our challenges!
Maintaining hydration levels before, during and after you run is important. The key is to avoid dehydration. For runs shorter in length water isn't a necessity, so long as you are hydrated before you set off. However, for longer runs ensure you take fluids with you and have them waiting for you when you finish. Check out our blog post on the fundamentals of hydration.
Carrying around water may be the last thing you want to do, it is usually the bane of a run, but it can be done comfortably. Try a hydration belt or backpack, or even handheld bottles designed specifically for running. Search for the best option for you.
Ensuring there is enough fuel in the tank before and after a run is a fundamental component of a good run and a fast recovery. Choosing the correct nutrients and knowing when to consume those nutrients is part and parcel when engaging in any activity, particularly a moderate-high intensity such as running. Consuming a balance of unrefined carbohydrate-rich foods, high-quality lean protein and healthy fats will help maintain energy levels, speed up recovery, prevent injury and muscle deterioration and strengthen the immune system.
So you have a goal, but what's to say you will stick to it? It's not always easy to stay motivated, especially if the newness wears off, or you don't have a race in the calendar. Hiring a coach or enlisting a running buddy to hold you accountable is a must!
When you don’t feel like lacing up your shoes, having somebody there to encourage you is emotionally and physically rewarding. The same applies for when you start to feel too comfortable and aren't quite pushing yourself hard enough. Accountability is key.