One of the things I love most about running (and, be honest, probably one of the things you love most about running) is all the gear.

Retailers have really upped the game when it comes to outfitting athletes to hit the road. Whether you’re running for distance, speed, fun or fury, there is gear for you. Below is a round up of some great gear you need to get your hands on.

Shoes

There are as many running shoes available as there are feet on runners. The best thing to do when you decide you’re ready to really run, is to visit a local running store (not a large chain sporting goods store) and speak with an expert. They will likely have you walk a bit, check your gait and foot type and width and have you try on a couple dozen pairs of shoes. Make an afternoon of it because it’s totally worth it. Once you’ve found your shoe, it’s super easy to shop and replace. I keep about three pairs at all times and try to mentally track the mileage on them (some apps will help you do this). When they get to have about 300 running miles, I retire them to become regular everyday tennis or gym shoes. I try not to wear the same running shoes in back to back runs either. It’s good to let them rest.

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Socks

A good pair of compression socks is key to helping with recovery after a long run. Good moisture-wicking socks are great for every run. Experimenting with heights and weights is a good idea, too. As the seasons (and weather) change, so will your needs.

Visibility Belt

You won’t always be able to run mid-day or broad daylight. When the time changes, it gets dark almost immediately after work...or takes forever to get light in the morning. Even on overcast, rainy or foggy days, it’s a good idea to have some sort of reflective gear on. A lot of clothing options have reflective elements, but I say don’t mess around. Get yourself a BoldBrite running belt. It’s incredibly well made and super durable. It’s adjustable and even has a “waist extender” portion too. (Side note: we also sell a great headlamp to provide a little extra light to guide your run).

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Other Safety

The newest iphone update allows you to set up emergency contacts on your phone. To do so, you just go into health and add several emergency contacts. In settings, you turn on the feature and when your phone is locked, you can punch the side button several times to alert your emergency contacts. This is super convenient if you’re running with your phone in an armband, so some other cool products include TigerLady Self Defense Claw, which will literally turn you into Wolverine. Mace is another good option to carry, but anytime you try to mace someone, you are at risk of also macing yourself. An expandable baton is another option. Of course, the more self defense items your carry, the more weighted down you’ll be. The best idea is to run with a partner in a well-lit, well-trafficked area so that you’re likely to have help should danger befall you.

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Water Belt

There are a lot of options for water, waist belt or handheld. I have a Nathan two canister water belt. It has a small fanny pack in the middle to hold my keys and phone and some Gu tubes and chapstick. It also holds two 10 ounce water bottles. It’s adjustable and fits perfectly around my hips. Great for long practice runs, short runs on super hot days or half marathon races. If I plan well, I can fit all my nutrients into it and have water through most of the race, supplementing with race-given water.

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RunninGluv

This may seem like a strange one, but when I run, my nose runs (especially when it’s cold). My nose gets so raw when I’m constantly wiping it on my sleeve and then on my arm when I roll my sleeves up. RunningGluv is a glove (or wrist band) with a towel attached. There are some YouTube videos to show you how to actually wear it, but I have one and love it.

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Lace Replacement

A company called Hickies (minds out of the gutters, people) has come up with a way for you to forego fooling with your laces during races (or regular runs). They are rubberized elastic shoelace replacements designed to turn your shoe into a slip on that fits comfortably and snug. They come in a variety of colors and sizes and the website offers plenty of tutorials to show you how to fit them best for your foot.

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Of course, all of this is pretty basic gear. There are limitless possibilities to gear up for a run. As it’s easy to get caught up in all the latest trends and tech, I tend to take the advice of Coco Chanel when I dress for a run...remove one thing before leaving the house...to keep from weighing myself down or getting to distracted from the task at hand: hitting the road.

What is your favorite running gear? Share in the comments below.

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