What Running Kit Do You Actually Need?

Running. All you need is a pair of trainers and some determination – ultimate freedom at no cost, no equipment required. You might want a tech t-shirt and some good shorts too. Oh and some tights in case it’s a bit cold. Right? Oh and some calf compression in case it’s too warm for tights. But that’s it! Oh and a GPS watch to monitor your progress. And then you need a high-tech pedometer to check total steps for the day and analyse your data on your ipad (which you also need). Better throw in a heart rate monitor and chest strap. That’s all though, that’s all you need. Anti blister socks are nice though and you might want a book with advice on how to run better or faster.

That’s it, you’re ready to go.

Get some runners headphones though first – you probably have a phone to store the music on, but if not just get an MP3 player. Okay, now you’re ready to hit the road. Just pick up some gels and recovery drinks first. Oh, hang on there, you can’t go anywhere without a belt to hold those gels and water bott….WATER BOTTLES! Holy hell, you weren’t going to head out without them were you? Dear me! GLOVES – do you hate your hands or something?! You cannot go running without gloves and you’re definitely not a runner unless you have a running hat. That’s just a given.

 Now, £1,000 lighter and looking like Robocop, you’re ready for your 15 minute jog.

Actually, you look more like Robocop reluctantly heading on a beach holiday in 1987 with all that colourful, horrible clothing and electronic gadgets.

All this stuff – and it really is just stuff isn’t it? Does any of it actually make you run faster of further, or with fewer injuries? I’m completely guilty of buying running gear I don’t need and have all of those items that I listed above but rarely use half of them. You really do just need trainers, a basic t-shirt and some shorts. In the winter just throw on a hoodie, get some basic gloves if it’s really cold. You’ll soon warm up whilst you’re out there.

When I bought my first GPS watch I was training for a marathon, prior to buying the watch I’d carefully plan my runs on a map (and then a really good mapping website) to calculate distance. This worked absolutely fine and the mapping websites are so easy to use. If you’ve got spare money then the GPS watch will save you some time and give you more accurate measurements, but that’s it, it’s certainly not vital and unless you’re really pushing yourself to save a few minutes in a race it’s completely worthless – just map a route online and get a cheap stopwatch or set your phone to time you.

The best selling product in the Running category of Amazon is actually the FitBit Zip pedometer. It’s actually something that I rate very highly for anyone remotely interested in their health because it encourages you to get up throughout the day and can certainly make you move more and more frequently than you otherwise would, but it’s not really a running product and you certainly don’t need one as a runner at any level. In fact, I have included all the Amazon best sellers from their running category below, I’d argue that you don’t need a single one of them, see what you think:

My point is, there’s no need to own or be intimidated by all this running gear that advertisers will thrust in your face as if it’s the one thing holding you back from that world record marathon time. Running can be a joy with just a pair of trainers and some determination (although please don’t blame me if you take that literally and get arrested for streaking).

About Simon 126 Articles
Avid runner, cyclist and judoka.