In which Niranjan discusses a few must-haves before you step out the door!
“The Road is Free. Just go out and Run”. Or so some people may tell you. If only it were so simple.
(this cartoon from Dave Granlund still remains the most hilarious thing ever, doesn’t it? The Wind Turbine Generator gets me every time! )
We have some true blue runners who run barefoot, often bare-chested, carrying nothing but a song on their lips. For the rest of us who are less hardy and are used to your creature comforts, these are some important gear you may need.
- Shoes – the first thing that comes to a beginner runner’s mind is, “what shoe should I buy?”. There are a whole range of shoes and brands for various budgets available out there. A brief analysis of your foot type (flat / medium arch / high arch) will help choose the right shoe. Fellow Runner Ashwin’s article explains this further : The Right Running Shoe
- Clothes – You are bound to sweat loads when you run, specially in Chennai, Mumbai, and so on. While cotton is great for casual summer wear, it isn’t ideal for running. A moisture-wicking fabric for ALL your clothes – tees, shorts/tracks, socks, inner wear, is recommended, so they don’t get heavier and flop around and start chafing. You also get fabrics with sun protection (look for a ‘UPF’ number on the label), which are great for our weather. Bright clothes with reflective accents are advisable – these provide more visibility when you run in the dark (besides giving us a break from our everyday dreary corporate colors). And, it’s best to carry a cap made of the same material. For women runners, a supportive sports bra made from moisture-wicking fabric is of prime importance. Do your homework online for good options!
- Hydration – Since you will be sweating a fair bit, you need to ensure you are well-hydrated when you run. On runs over 30 mins, it’s a good idea to carry some water or electrolytes on you as it’s not very convenient to stop and look around for a place to get a drink in the middle of a run. Various hydration systems, from the humble half litre used PET bottle to backpacks and hydration belts are available. These also double up as places to store your key, cash, ID, etc. An article on various options was featured in the June 2014 edition of Chennai Runners’ Rundown magazine. You can download a copy at : The Rundown June 2014
- Lubrication : As you pick up running distance and pace, you are likely to find chafing happening in various body parts which rub against fabric, or each other. It is best to lubricate these parts as chafing can be very painful. Thankfully this can be fixed easily and relatively cheaply by rubbing some ‘Bodyglide’ or ‘Vaseline’ on these areas.
- Run Tracking : This is optional, and you are free to run without worrying about how long or how fast you are running. However, most serious runners feel the need for some method to track their runs. Measuring your runs for goals and self-improvement is a great way to keep yourself motivated and on track. Chennai Runners’ co-founder Ram rounds up some of the options here : Tracking Your Run
- Music : Some people like to have quiet runs, enjoying the surroundings or lost in their own thoughts. Some like music. Some like to sing. If you don’t have a voice like M.S. (not our CSK caption) or TMS, and you don’t want to scare passers-by, you may consider carrying some music device with you. Any MP3 player or phone will usually do, but get a waterproof case or plastic cover so you don’t drench it (and kill it) with your sweat. Make sure you also get water resistant headphones which let some ambient noise in, so you can hear vehicles around you. And keep the volume low for the same reason.
- ID : Another essential is to carry some identification with you while you run, for any unforeseen situations. A laminated card with your details and emergency contacts is good. A wearable band like the RoadId, which has these details etched on it is even better. Either way, ensure you don’t go out for your run without carrying something which will help passersby/medical staff identify you and take appropriate action in case of any emergency.
Lastly, don’t get too scared about this extensive (and expensive!) list. Just go out and run, and you will figure out what you need and what you don’t soon enough.
Niranjan is a speedy, avid Chennai Runner and regular writer of running related articles and such. He blogs occasionally here and is well known for his penchant for running gear! Be sure to look out for him at the Chicago Marathon on Oct 12, 2014!