Running Tips: Gear

Recently, a lot of friends have contacted me asking for half marathon training advice and running tips. With the popularity of my last running post, I figured you guys might enjoy a series on running tips!

Gear

While you might just throw on a pair of shorts and whatever tennis shoes you have and go, there’s actually a lot that goes into your gear to make sure you’re not injuring yourself! But before I go further, I want to say that all of these are just suggestions that I’ve found to work for me. Everyone’s body and running needs are different, so make sure you explore a lot of gear options and find what works for you!

Shoes

If you are playing tennis, you want to make sure you have a proper racket that works for you. Likewise, in running, you want shoes that are properly fitted for your feet and your body! Before I was properly fitted for shoes, I chose shoes based on looks and brand recognition. However, wearing properly fitted shoes helps you run better and prevents injury.

Find a local running store and ask for professional advice. They will look at your feet and see if you need more arch support or less, the degree of pronation in your foot and ask you what type of activity you need the shoes for. You’ll be able to try on the shoes, walk around in them and go for a short run on a treadmill to see how they feel. I buy all of my shoes at Naperville Running Company. If you’re in the Chicago suburbs, I would highly recommend going there. If you’re in the city, Fleet Feet has 10 different locations between the city and other suburbs.

I’ve switched my shoes a lot, but my current shoes that I LOVE are the Adidas Ultraboosts. I seriously feel like I’m running on a cloud. Previous shoes include: Adidas AdizeroNike LunarGlide and Brooks Adrenaline. There’s also advice out there to switch out your shoes as you train for high mileage races, but since this post is geared to more beginner runners, I’ll save that for later.

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Adidas Ultraboosts- sometimes you need a break after a long run!

Outfit

Shorts or leggings? Personally, I’m a leggings girl, but that’s because my legs chafe (TMI but it’s a real issue!). I also like the compression. You want to make sure that you find some that have the right compression and fit so you’re not pulling them up every 5 minutes. Good running leggings are expensive, but worth it. I own a pair of Lululemon Inspire Tight II’s that I wear for every race. I did have a pair of Lululemon Pace Rival Crops, but they got to be a little big (good thing for me! sad thing for my wallet). For shorter runs, I wear Under Armour UA Base crops. Athleta is also a great brand for high quality fitness leggings. I’ve worn running skorts for races which are fun, too! If I wear shorts, I usually wear some sort of compression short underneath (Nike makes great compression shorts).

When it comes to tops, I’m a tank top girl. I have a few t-shirts, but I feel better running in tanks (in the summer, obviously). I’m on spring mode right now, so I’ll wait until fall to do a cold-weather gear overview. My favorite tank top I’ve found is the Under Armour UA Fly-By. I have it in two colors!

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North Shore Half Marathon, 2016 – This is my current go-to running outfit (color-coordinated, of course): UA Fly-By tank, Lululemon Inspire Tight II’s, Adidas Ultraboost shoes, Sweaty Bands headband

As with all of these suggestions, you need to figure out what’s best for you and for your budget. I honestly wear the same 2-3 outfits when I run just because I wanted to invest money in products that would be high quality and last me a while. I don’t care if I’m wearing the same thing each time, because I know they fit me and work properly for my body. Try new cuts and brands, and you’ll eventually find something that works for you!

Compression Sleeves & Socks

For a while, I had a lot of issues with shin splints. When I wear shorts or skorts, I wear Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves. These turned out to be a great solution to the issue! The compression in my leggings is enough, so I don’t wear them with leggings.

You can buy the Zensahs in a complete socks and calf sleeve variety, as well. I personally love Feetures socks because of the fun colors and more importantly, the right compression to cushion ratio.

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Chicago 13.1, 2012 – Lululemon tank, Lululemon skort (with built-in compression shorts), Zensah compression leg sleeves, Adidas Adizero shoes, Nike visor

Headwear

As a chick with curly, sometimes often unruly hair, it’s a struggle to find properly fitting headwear that keeps my hair in place! Sweaty Bands are seriously the best headbands I’ve ever tried. With velvet on one side, and cute patterns on the other, you can color-coordinate your outfit with a really functional, yet cute, headband. Some of my friends wear visors and hats, and while I’ve worn a visor before, I am more in the headband-camp.

Sports Bras

MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ONE THAT FITS. For real. Nothing’s worse than running without the girls secured. This really depends on the person and how much support you need, so look at sporting goods stores and try a bunch on! Personally, I like the Brooks Running UpRise Crossback.

Fun Runs

Most of this post has been geared to longer runs and races, but fun runs have a very important accessory….

TUTUS!

For real, every fun run I’ve done, I’ve worn a tutu. They are easy (and cheap) to make! Go to your local craft store and buy elastic and 3-4 rolls of tulle (they come in rolls which is easier than buying yards of it). Measure the elastic to your waist and tie it. Secure the elastic around a chair or something to keep it in place. Start cutting strips of tulle and tie them around the elastic and voila! Here is a great tutorial.

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We had a tutu-making party the night before the Jingle Bell Run. We tied jingle bells to our shoes and tutus, too!

I hope these suggestions are helpful. I’ll be back soon with another Running Tips post. Until then, I want to hear from you!

What are your favorite brands?

What running gear can you not live without?

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Just another 20-something trying to figure out this whole adulting thing.

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