I go running once or twice a week. It’s the best exercise to improve fitness, burn some calories, and ensure I am in shape for snowboarding, mountain biking, and other adventure sports I enjoy. In this guide to running gear I’ll look at what you need to start jogging.
Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution, doctors orders, a desire to get in shape and lose weight or you just want to get active, running is the most accessible of sports. You don’t need to pay for membership, go to classes, compete in a team or buy expensive equipment.
You can do it in your own time and run at your own pace. Start with short runs and slowly build up distance and pace. If you are not very fit try alternating running with walking, to build up you fitness.
Apart from motivation, all you need to start jogging is a pair of running trainers.
You can of course run in any trainers, or indeed sandals, hiking boots or high heels if you want (and are crazy!). However, you will be much more likely to injure yourself or be uncomfortable without trainers that are specifically made for running.
So in this guide to running gear my first tip is to get proper running shoes. Running trainers do not have a flat sole, instead it curves up slightly towards the toe. Many running shoes also have a bridge between the heal and toe that adds support and stiffness to avoid excessive twisting of the foot.
If you are getting seriously into running, training for a marathon or covering a lot of miles it is worth getting running shoes properly fitted by an expert. This is because different shoes will suit different feet, e.g. if you have pronation issues (feet pointing out or in), supination (more pressure on outside of shoe), high or low arches etc.
Running shoe fitting is not something to worry about when you start out running a few kilometres once or twice a week. But as your distance and running frequency increases it is well worth it.
For example, when I began running over 10 km twice a week I started to get knee pain. I went to a physio who blamed my trainers and sent me to RUN in Hove. The owner filmed me jogging to see how my foot lands. He then got me to test trainers that should counteract the problem by running around the block. And it worked!
In addition to running trainers, using a high impact sports bra is essential for women. In the UK the average breast size is 34D which means the average woman carries 1 kg of extra weight. Breast tissue has no muscles and is only connected by the skin and some rather weak ligaments.
Running without adequate support can lead to breast pain and irreversible damage to the supporting skin and ligaments. Also research shows that a supportive sports bra will improve your performance compared to a normal bra, as breast movement increases the work your upper body does and it can affect your breathing.
OK so now we have answered ‘what do you need to start jogging?’ it’s time to consider other kit you might want. None of this is essential, however you’ll find yourself more comfortable and able to run further, and more likely to jog more frequently with the right gear.
I almost included socks in the essential section of this guide to running gear. The only reason that I didn’t is because any sports socks will do the job. You should look for socks that wick moisture away from your skin as sweaty feet lead to blisters. So avoid cotton socks like the plague. Compression socks are good to help avoid calf injuries.
You can of course run in any underwear, but like socks avoid cotton because they will become sweaty. However specific sports underwear is much better. For guys in particular it provides support around the crown jewels. But good sports underwear also helps avoid chafing which can be very uncomfortable.
Any sports shorts will do. Get some with fitted underpants to avoid buying separate underwear. Avoid swim shorts as the mesh style fitted undies cause terrible chafing! I found these Helly Hansen Pace 2-in-1 shorts to be very comfortable. Look for shorts with pockets that have a zip so you don’t lose your phone or keys.
Any sports top works. For many years I ran in cotton t-shirts and was very wet and sweaty by the time I returned home. A sports t-shirt is more breathable and wicks the sweat away keeping you dry and regulating your body temperature. So you are more comfy and won’t get cold due to a wet t-shirt.
A guide to running gear would not be complete without talking about headwear. In the list of things you need to start jogging it’s fairly low down, but I always wear something on my head mainly to avoid getting sweat in my eyes. In the summer I usually wear a headband or cap and in winter a woolie hat for warmth.
In the winter you will want to put on an extra layer or two. In the past I have worn a fleece and joggers, this works but I found it less comfy. Baselayers work well for me, they are skin tight and even in winter I just wear my shorts and a long sleeve t-shirt over the top.
There are many types of baselayers offering compression, infrared technologies and more. I invested in some Kymira baselayers that not only keep me warm but provide compression and infrared benefits, all of which improves performance, helps you avoid injuries and aids recovery.
If you are just starting you probably won’t run in the rain. However, a running jacket doesn’t just protect you from moisture but also from the wind. Look for a lightweight and breathable jacket, mine is only really shower proof as I don’t run if its raining hard.
Some runners take a little backpack or bumbag to take some water and snacks with them. Many people like to listen to music to have an arm pouch to hold a media player or phone and headphones of course.
It’s also possible to invest in technology such as heart monitors or trackers. The only tech I take with me is my phone, that way I can call my wife if I need picking up! The phone is also useful for tracking using running apps such as Strava which is very good.
You don’t need very much gear to get started with running. Buy some running shoes, and ladies invest in a sports bra and you are good to go in any sports wear. Just avoid cotton clothing and double up on your socks if you are prone to blisters and you can get running.
I hope you found this guide to running gear useful. Please check out our other running articles.