Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Choosing The Right Running Gear

There are many things to enjoy about running. Running improves your heart and lung health. It boosts your metabolism and burns calories. It also helps clear your mind and improve your sense of well being. However, having the right gear and attire can definitely improve (and help you make the most of) the experience. Let’s look at the basics and then explore some of the fun and useful extras.

Running Gear Basics
Running shoes
Running shoes (Photo credit: Shopping Diva)
The only item you really need to have to run are a pair of good shoes. Your feet do a lot of work when you run. Wearing good running shoes helps you minimize impact, improve your form, and feel better during and after a run. Consider visiting a running specialty store to get a shoe fit and a gait analysis. They can recommend the best shoes for your foot, running style, and body mechanics.

Support Wear
Women need to run with a sports bra. It reduces friction on the breasts and keeps them in place so gravity doesn’t damage the tissue. Men may want to wear supportive compression briefs as well. These help keep the bits and pieces in place so they don’t bounce around - guys, you know what I'm talking about!

If you’re a barefoot runner or you don’t like running with socks then socks may not be a requirement for you. However, many runners do run with socks and it can be tricky to find the right socks. You want a pair that doesn’t bunch. You want them to wick away moisture and not cause friction and blisters or hot spots. Try different types of socks to find the ones that work best for you.

Women have the benefit of being able to choose between running shorts, skirts, and tights. Running skirts are fun to wear, they’re colorful and comfortable. Regardless of what you choose make sure there are no issues with friction. You want your body to be able to move freely without getting chafed by your clothing. Compression tights and shorts may offer additional support and faster muscle recovery.

Comfort is key here. Look for tops that wick away moisture and fit well without chafing. Sleeveless, short sleeve and long sleeve options are available. Find a style and fit that works for you. Cotton is usually a poor choice because it gets wet and stays wet. It can be uncomfortable. Women can also find tops that offer built in sports bras.

Team Cycling Kit - Leg Warmers
Leg Warmers (Photo credit: Team Traveller)
Fun Extras

Arm and leg warmers – arm and leg warmers serve a purpose. They keep your arms and legs warm. They’re wonderful on those days when it’s too warm to wear a coat but too cold to have bare skin. When you warm up, you can push the warmers up or down and stay the ideal temperature.

Hats – sun visors, baseball hats and winter hats are all useful and they can be a fun way to add style and personality to your running attire. In the summer look for lightweight hats with a visor and built in sweat band.

Remember you can start small. Buy a few foundation pieces and see how it goes. You may find that you prefer one style or material over another. As you add miles you can add to your running wardrobe too.

A Few Examples of Running Gear:
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