Whether I’m running 5k, 10k, 16k, half or full marathon, I always made sure I am ready with the right outfit and running gears. So here is my list of must haves whenever I join a running event:
- Running shoes
Always, the first thing that comes to our mind when we finally decide to take on running is getting a new pair of running shoes. Choosing good running shoes is important. It’s the most used running gear you’ll have. You can wear any running clothes you want, but you can’t just wear any shoes in a run and feel good about it.
When I started running, I have a new pair of Nike shoes. How I chose the shoes, I just tried to fit them in store and check which one’s feel good on my feet. And of course, which one looks good as well. Then I became a fan of barefoot stride shoes. I have small feet and bigger shoes with full support feels heavy on me. Wearing barefoot stride shoes did helped lessen the pain of wearing shoes that prevents me from moving my feet naturally while running. I guess I learned that from reading “Born to Run” by Chris Mcdougall. But it did worked for me. Running swiftly on these shoes is not an overnight thing though. I have to train my feet to adapt to it until every inch of my legs and feet are strong enough to handle the minimalist hang. And it goes with any other shoes that you plan to run with. Always remember to never use a new shoe or one you have not trained with before on the race day.
- Running clothes
I usually decide the clothes I wear based on the event distance and the weather during the race. On shorter distances like 5k or 10k, I chose to have shorts or tights and any singlet or dri-fit shirt I feel like wearing that day. On longer distances, I usually have my compression tights. I prefer to use it because it helps prevent injuries and lessen pain during and after a run.
I have experienced running under the heat of the sun in Manila where temperature averages 90°F (32°C) during summer even in the early morning and in the cold winter months of St. Louis at around 40°F (4°C). I always go for the lightest piece of top I have during hot weather. I will wear only sports bra as top if I have the confidence though. But I won’t, so let’s leave it at that. During the cold weather, it’s kind of tricky though. There will be mornings where the temperature remains almost the same and some days it goes up eventually. On those times, it will be cold at the start line but eventually during the run, your body will develop a natural heat and you won’t need another layer to protect you from cold. On my first run during the cold, I have 2 layers of dri-fit long sleeves and I put on some gloves. In the middle of my 15k run, I gave up the gloves. On my second attempt to run in the cold, I didn’t bring my gloves but I waited inside the car before the race starts. I put on some sunblock on my face and hands just to feel that my skin are not bare against the cold air. Maybe I should buy a heat cream next time.
When choosing the quality of clothes to wear, go for dri-fit and those that won’t cause chafing. Train with your clothes just so you know it won’t get you into trouble especially during long runs.
- Head and face gears
A couple of things I usually bring during a run, a cap or visor and sunglasses. Races happen rain or shine so I make sure I’m prepared. Weather changes even every hour of the day. During hot season, I prefer visors so my head can breadth out the heat. Sometimes when the heat is a little intolerable, I would stop on hydration stations and just pour water on my head directly. Sunglasses have multiple purposes as well. It helps my eyes against the bright light of the sun and also gives me the illusion that it’s not so hot and I can keep up with the heat. It also prevents sweat and water pouring on my eyes.
- Food and hydration
On short runs like 5k or 10k, I don’t really bring food or hydration. But I make sure that there are enough hydration stations during the course and intervals between stations are fine. In Manila, hydrations are placed every 1.5 kilometers. While in the US, hydrations are every 2 miles so I did train myself to run longer without hydrating.
Food is essential during long distance run. It makes up for the lost calories burned and provides quick energy boost for you to keep up with the activity. I don’t go for solid food except for banana, and only when it’s available. On long runs, my usual companion are GU gels. When doing vigorous workout, taking in hard food such as energy bars waste some of the energy due to digestion and I worry it might upset my stomach in some way.
Aside from the must haves above, I also bring a running belt where I put on all my stuff such as my phone, GU gels, running bib and my hydration bottle. Whenever I buy a running belt, I made sure that it fits appropriately and can hold as much of my things. I have tried belts before that loosens in the middle of the run and it can be bothering. So selecting a good one can help your running performance.
Another item I wear during long runs are my rocktapes. It works like compression which lessens pain and injury during and after workouts. I put them on my feet before my run. To apply them, I just look for sites that provides step by step guide on how to put them depending on my needs. Since my foot bottom is the part that usually hurts, I uses the instructions for the same.
After everything I’ve listed here, the most important must have is training. So keep on running guys. 🙂