I don’t claim to be an expert runner, or a fast runner for that matter. What I am is a smart runner that wants to avoid injury and keep this a fun and healthy habit! I figure there are a lot more newbie runners out there than elite ones, so I am putting my two cents in… take it or leave it! Like any sport, there are always a lot of really great accessories, tools and gear, but I wanted to outline my top 5 recommendations for new runners based on my own experience
Good Running Shoes
How do you know what good running shoes are? Good running shoes do not have to cost a ton of money, they just need to fit your feet well and support you as you run! Did you know there are 3 basic categories of shoes? The category of shoe you need depends on a lot of different factors. I found this infographic that has great information on choosing the best shoe. However, my recommendation is to go to a running store where they analyze your stride, arch and can help you select shoes with the right fit. During the analysis they will ask you to run on a treadmill for about 10 seconds while they record your feet. They will then watch the video in slow motion to see how your feet strike when you run to determine the best category of shoes for you! I shop at Performance Running Outfitters in Brookfield, WI. They do an excellent job at the running analysis and have a nice variety of shoes to choose from!
OK, THIS was my biggest hurdle to jump to starting my fitness routine after baby #1. As a breastfeeding mom, I had a lot more size and bounce to control! I am fairly certain I tried on every single bra in Waukesha County… not really, but you know what I mean! I put in a lot of legwork into finding the right fit for me, and I was surprised I didn’t find the best running bra, in my opinion, at a running or sporting goods store. I ended up finding mine at my favorite store, Target! Their Champion line carries a very supportive bra for us bustier gals, and in a variety of colors! Fairly reasonably priced as well. Update: Champion now has a bra that zips in the front! This is awesome for breastfeeding! Not so much for modesty while doing it, but easy access for your little one!
There is almost nothing more annoying to me, while running, than a pair of socks that keeps sliding off of your heel! My all-time favorite running socks are Feetures Brand. They offer a variety of cushion levels and height. My personal preference is their Elite Merino Wool Ultra light with a no show tab. The merino wool is great for wicking sweat and preventing odor. I have very sweaty feet! The ultra light cushion is really snug on your feet and is probably the closest you could get to running without socks. Plus, these socks have a lifetime warranty! If you wear them out, you can send them back to the company for a free replacement! TIP: I usually wait until I have worn out a few pairs so I can send them in at the same time and save a bit on the shipping costs.
You can pick up a foam roller at any running store, sporting goods store or Amazon! They are relatively inexpensive, but have been a lifesaver for me in injury prevention. I roll out before every run. I do a dynamic warmup to wake up my muscles a bit and then roll out my calves, quads, hamstrings, IT bands hips and back. I used to have a lot of issues with knee pain and haven’t had any issues since using a foam roller (knock on wood!)
Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and/or protective clothing. My favorite sunscreen is the same that I use for my toddler, Thinkbaby SPF 50 . It is rated a 1 on the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database for safety aannnd it smells really good! If you haven’t visited EWG’s site, I highly recommend checking out all of the products you put on your skin and especially what you are using on your babies! There is a surprising amount of toxic stuff in many name brand baby products. OK, off my soapbox. I also usually run in a hat, because my dermatologist tells me that sunscreen is not enough. I don’t want to be out there doing something so healthy for me, but doing something so harmful to my skin at the same time.
So, that’s my top 5, quick and dirty! With these basics covered, the rest should be a breeze right? Well, you still have to do the work, but the hard is what makes it good.