Beginner’s Guide to Running Gear

They say that running is great because all you need to do is lace up a pair of running shoes and go, right? Technically, that’s true, but most runners add a few more pieces of gear to their regular running routine. While most of the things on our list aren’t absolutely necessary, many of them are nice to have and will make running much more enjoyable.

1. Technical Clothing

If you take one thing away from this article, let it be that you should not wear cotton to work out. Cotton absorbs water and then clings to your body instead of wicking the sweat away and drying quickly. For shirts, it can mean nipple chafing for men, or general discomfort for women. For socks, it can cause blisters. The technical clothing is going to cost more, but (in general) will last longer and make you more comfortable while you’re running. Sometimes technical clothing also comes with fun pockets or other neat features.

2. Shoes

I always recommend going to a local running store and getting fitted for proper shoes. You may have some pronation going on that could benefit from some extra support, or you may not need anything and a support shoe would cause some discomfort. A good pair of running shoes is going to be an investment, but is worth it.

3. Watch

Watches can range from a simple sports watch to a more advanced GPS tracking watch. Garmin and Polar both have some great GPS options, and some can even be programmed with intervals if you are doing specific training, or if you are on a run/walk plan. While I know some people use phone apps like RunKeeper to track their distance, it’s easy to have it on your wrist and then you don’t have to take your phone if you don’t want to. The GPS watches are also more accurate that your phone app.

4. Sunglasses

A good pair of sunglasses can make a huge difference. Look for a lightweight pair that stays in place and has polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are great for summer or winter running!

5. Hat or Visor

This one is far from a requirement, but many runners swear by them. Some even have a moisture-wicking band along the inside!

6. Headphones or Earbuds

Almost everyone I know listens to music when they run, and you have a couple options here. There are headphones that go over your head, earbuds that go in your ears, or wireless headphones/earbuds. There is even a company out there called Aftershokz using bone conduction technology with wireless headphones so you don’t have to put them on your ears. Headphones and earbuds range from pretty cheap ($10-20) all the way up to $150+. Make sure you try them out first, if possible. They might feel okay for a few minutes, but you want something that will feel comfortable for your entire run.

7. Hydration

For me personally, I bring something with me for a run that is an hour or more, but I know other people who bring hydration for a 30 minute run if it’s hot enough, and others who don’t take anything out unless they are running double digit miles. It’s completely up to you, but at some point in your running “career” you are going to get thirsty out there. There are backpack type options with a water bottle or a bladder, waist options with a couple bottles (like a Spibelt or FuelBelt), or a handheld bottle.

You can fill your hydration pack with water, or something with electrolytes like nuun.

8. Fuel

Again, this is a personal preference, and includes gels, blocks, shots, “waffles“, or even a bar like a ProBar or Simple Squares. It’s just a little something extra to keep you going on those longer adventures.

9. Compression Socks or Sleeves

Compression socks are designed to move the blood through your legs, increase oxygen delivery, decrease lactic acid, and reducing overall recovery time. Some people love ’em and others never use them, so experiment with them to see if they work for you. You can try them during a long run, or putting them on to help with recovery for after a long run.

10. Headlamp or light

This is more for safety than necessity. If you are running in the early morning, dusk, or even at night, you need to make yourself visible. Even if you don’t go all out and get a headlamp, at least consider a little safety light.

11. RoadID

Also for safety more than anything else. A RoadID is something that can either be a little tag on your shoe, or a bracelet that has your basic emergency info. – who to call and any medical conditions/allergies. They don’t cost that much, and are worth it should anything happen!

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6 Ways to Find a Running Partner

Even those of us who love the solitude of running by yourself can benefit from running with a buddy or a group every once in awhile. Running with a friend can challenge you to get past a plateau, be a great way to knock out a workout and a catch-up chat at the same time, and most of all, give you some accountability on those days when lacing up might feel especially tough. But what if you aren’t one of those lucky people who have a significant other or good friend who is already into running as much as you are? Don’t worry, we put together a list of places where you can find a running partner in no time!

1. Running Store

The best place to start is at your local running store. Most, if not all, offer group runs at least once a week. Sometimes they offer discounts for the run club or have local races/companies sponsor the run and giveaway some good stuff!

2. Training Teams

Not just for professional athletes, getting a coach or joining a training team near you is a great way to meet new people who will challenge you and push your limits. There are usually a couple different kinds of workouts each week (usually including a long run and a track workout), and you can get form or pacing tips from a coach at the same time. Typically, there is a fee for this kind of running group, but you can always make friends and run on your own as well.

3. Facebook Groups

There is a Facebook group for just about everything, and running groups are no exception. Try searching your city or even state and running and see what comes up. This is more hit or miss, depending on the activity of the members of the groups, but is worth checking out.


Much like Facebook, there is a Meetup group for just about anything you can think of, and you can look for trail runners, road runners, ultra runners, or anyone in between. Many groups try to have at least a mid-week and a weekend run, but it depends on the particular group.

5. Local Running Club

You can search by state on and find a list of all the RRCA-affiliated running clubs in your state, or search by state, too. You can also just do a quick Google search and see what comes up!

6. Register for a race

Some of the bigger national races and even some local races coordinate training groups tailored to that specific distance. Sometimes, local gyms will put together training groups for a specific race, too, so ask at your gym.

Feature Photo Credit: i heart running