*This post contains gifted items. There are marked (*)
If you follow my Instagram you’ll see that I’m often sharing snaps of me out and about running. Whilst I don’t claim to be an amazing runner, there are a few things I’ve learnt over the years about the sort of gear that really makes a difference if you’re going to do more than a short jog here and there. Like any sport, there’s all manner of products aimed at runners, but here I am going to share the ones that I think really make the difference.
Feet – getting the right shoes
I can’t tell you what a difference the right shoes make when you start doing longer runs on a more regular basis. When I first really got into running I had my gait analysis done and I thought it was all a bit of a gimmick to get me to buy more expensive shoes. The shoes that were recommended to me were Nike Lunarglides and they were amazing. I had my gait analysis redone a few years later and switched to another set of Nike running shoes. They are so much better for me to run in. I have other trainers that I use for just everyday use, and a pair I use for the gym. There is no way I could run any reasonable distance in them as they’re not suited at all for me running. I love the Nike ones so much I have just snapped up a pair I saw super cheap on eBay as my current ones are well past their best now.
Also, take account of the terrain you’re running on. If you’re doing trail runs then it really is worth investing in some trail run specific shoes. I’ve been trying out the Salomon Sense Ride 2(*) and they really do make a difference on the trail runs I’ve been doing. I’ve not yet tried them in wet weather but I am sure they’ll perform well. I’ll be writing more about them soon when I’ve covered a few more miles.
Invest in running socks
Running socks are, I think, one of the best things I have spent money on in recent years – and it was something I did on a whim. I’d been upping my miles but was starting to get some blisters. I think I’d been chatting on Twitter with some other runners and someone suggested getting some of the double layered 1000 mile socks. They have managed to keep my feet blissfully blister free and have been a fantastic purchase. I have 4/5 pairs of the socks and, truth be told, I probably need a few more pairs now. They made such a difference to my running and I won’t wear any other type of sock now when I am running.
For a long time, I used Map My Fitness to log my runs, but after a few years, I decided to make the investment in a GPS watch. I have an old Garmin Forerunner watch and, whilst there are much newer models on the market, I love my watch and It does the job brilliantly. I like that it links to other apps like strava and Map My Fitness which means I can have all my fitness stuff together in one place and log my progress across the weeks and months. I like looking at the data it gives me about my pace (or lack of it!) and seeing what my fastest achievements are. It’s super easy to operate and the screen is clear to read when I am running when I want to check distance or time.
Understand what you enjoy wearing when you run
This one has taken me a while to work out if I am honest. It’s taken me a long time to understand what I am most comfortable in when I am out running. I used to always just put on any pair of leggings and a t-shirt and set off. Now I have two pairs of leggings that I alternate between and two 2 styles of t-shirt I wear, depending on how warm it is. I like the Love Leggings (*) running leggings and my Lucy Locket Loves leggings and generally prefer 3/4 length cuts but have just bought a full-length pair to give those a try.
I also always wear a Hygge band. This started as a way to keep my ears warm when running in the cooler weather but they also help stop my glasses bouncing around and keeps my hair in one place which stops distractions when I am running.
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Life is about balance. and Sunday evening is my time to run – I usually do a longer run Sundays as it's my time to plan the week ahead but to do that I need a clear mind. I do enjoy getting up into the hills and looking across the city. It clears my mind and gives me time to reflect on the week ahead. How do you spend your Sunday?
Finally, investing in a running jacket has been a game changer for me for the cooler weather. I thought I’d get too hot but actually, it keeps me the right temp in the colder days – mine was from Decathlon and its an area of running apparel I’m sure I’ll investigate more in due course. I initially bought my jacket as a gamble to see if it was something that might work for me.
Hydration & Waist Packs
My final tip is to understand your hydration needs. I know that I can run about 8-9 miles without needing to take on water, as long as I have stayed hydrated during the day. So on a general run, I don’t take anything with me. That said, as I push myself towards half-marathon distances I will need to start taking fluid with me. I find that the Lucozade body fuel range (*) really helps me on longer runs. I’ve yet to determine if I’m best drinking it pre, post or during a run, but it certainly makes a difference either way! When I take the drink with me I use a waist pack that holds a drinks bottle – I like to keep my hands free when running. I’ve got a thin one I picked up on eBay which holds my phone and another one, the Ribble II hydration belt (*) which fits my keys and the drinks bottle in (it would probably hold a phone too but my phone is huge (Pixel 2XL)). I have filled the bottle with the Lucozade and drank that whilst running and it does seem to keep me going for a little longer.
So – whilst running can be a really cheap and accessible form of exercise as you get more into it there are defintiely things that help aid the running experience. Are there any more experience runners out there who think I’ve missed anything from my essentials list? Do let me know with a comment below or message me on my social media pages.