This is a guest post by Paul Montes from Ezcompression.com.
Specialized running gear is not necessary. Right now, some military recruit is running miles in combat boots, cotton socks and fatigues. While it is not a prerequisite, some essential running accessories can noticeably improve performance, drastically increase comfort and significantly boost progress.
Shoes are the most important piece of equipment for any runner, and choosing the right ones is critical. No one shoe will work for all runners, and the wrong ones can cause injuries.
Athletes should take care to ensure that they are getting shoes designed specifically for their typical surface or the type of running they will do. Running shoe categories include road, trail, cross training, minimalist and maximalist, among others.
Running shoes in each category are generally divided into two categories, based on the amount of support they offer: stability and neutral. The type of shoe that runners should use depends largely on their arches and gait.
Stability shoes have denser foam support in certain areas of the foot bed, and runners choose them depending on which way the foot rolls while in motion.
Neutral shoes utilize a uniform foam foot bed. Some manufacturers and retailers may use different terms for these groups of shoes, but the same rules generally apply.
Athletes should take the utmost care to ensure they are purchasing shoes that work for their running style and the peculiarities of their own gaits and arches.
Read : Tips to Select Running Shoes
There are no rules that say a person must wear certain clothes to run — there’s no uniform. Certain lightweight fabrics do make running more comfortable, however. Also, there are some modern clothing options that have added benefits beyond weight savings.
Cotton athletic socks may be fine for other sports, but the rigors of running expose their weaknesses, specifically a tendency to cause blisters in hot weather and providing no warmth in cold weather. Synthetic socks offer benefits like moisture wicking and seamless designs that prevent blisters.
Most running socks also wrap tightly around the foot’s arch, keeping them securely in place, providing a second form of protection from blisters. And, zones of varying thickness can provide cushioning where needed with breathability where possible.
Runners often wear loose-fitting shorts and shirts for comfort, but modern compression garments offer a performance edge over low-tech textiles. Compression has long been used in the medical field to improve blood flow to help injuries heal, and it offers the same benefits to runners. The improved flow of blood compression socks cause reduces the calf swelling that plagues many long-distance runners.
Many of these modern fabrics boast moisture wicking properties that pull sweat away from the skin and speeds evaporation. Best compression shirts and shorts keep muscles in place, and may also increase a runner’s VO2max. Compression shirts also offer a light second layer for cooler seasons when temperatures start to drop.
For runners who keep their distances on the short side, pre-hydrating before a workout and replenishing fluid afterward should be sufficient.
However, running long distances, especially in hot weather, necessitates a hydration plan. On the lighter side, there are handheld bottles with straps for the hand to keep fluid at the ready. These bottles place more weight to one side of the body, though, causing compensatory motion that may lead to fatigue.
Another option is a hydration belt, which typically holds two water bottles, one on each side of the body. Adding slightly more weight — and expense — are the myriad hydration vests on the market. Some of these vests hold water bottles, like belts do, while others contain water bladders with tubes for hands-free, stride-retaining drinking.
Gone are the days when the best runners could do was hit a stopwatch as they set out. These days, the modern runner is able to do things like keep track of routes with GPS and monitor heart rate, all on a single device.
Cadence watches can track your foot strikes, monitor your heart rate and track your progress with GPS, all on the same contraption. Activity trackers can monitor your vitals and the quality of your sleep patterns, as well as communicating with apps on your smartphone.
The beauty in these running devices is in how they enable the modern runner to dial in adjustments while monitoring progress. A few years ago, doing all these things would have required a plethora of gadgets, all wired and all in the way.
A generation ago none of this was possible. Now, a runner can wear one lightweight device on the wrist to monitor metrics that were once only in the realm of professional athletes — or science fiction.
Hope you enjoyed reading the article.
Which is your most essential piece of running accessory?