Having essential running gear on hand is key to getting the most out of your running. The right running gear will make your runs more comfortable and enjoyable, can boost motivation, and even help improve your training and performance.
Whether you are training for a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon or ultra marathon, we've put together a list of 5 running essentials you'll need to get the most out of every mile.
Essential running gear
1. Running shoes
First on our list of essential running gear: running shoes. Before you start clocking up the miles on the road, trails, treadmill or track, it’s wise to invest in a good pair of running shoes, to minimise your chances of injury and get more from every step.
In-store at Run4It, we offer a free gait analysis service, called +runlab and can recommend shoes with the right level of support and cushioning for you.
Every person runs in a slightly different way, so running shoes are designed with different levels of support to accommodate varying ranges of motion in our feet and legs.
The way we run may also vary from day to day, depending on how tired we are, the time of day and what type of run we’re doing. Runners will benefit from using different types of cushioning for different lengths and intensities of runs.
So, running brands make shoes with different levels of cushioning and support, from very soft to very firm, and neutral to stability.
Interested in knowing more about the different types of running shoes? Read our article: Choosing the right running shoe: Neutral or Stability?
We strive to offer the best possible range of running shoes from the best brands in the industry such as Asics, Brooks, Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Adidas, On Running, Salomon, Hoka, Inov-8, Altra, and New Balance. If you need trainers for road running, trail running, fell and hill running, cross country running, or track running, you’ll find them at Run4It.
2. Running socks
Next on our list of essential running gear: non cotton running socks. Proper socks will prevent all sorts of nasties including blisters, bruises and black toenails! Cotton holds moisture against the skin and increases friction – so always go for synthetic socks.
At Run4It we have a wide variety of brands including Balega, Feetures and Hilly, so we have got all bases covered. Balega use Mohair in their socks so that they feel very cushioned and soft against the skin. Feetures use branded Lycra to support the arch of each foot and come in 3 thicknesses from max cushion to ultra-light. Hilly are best known for their Twin Skin, a double layer design to help provide extra protection against friction on the feet. We also stock their Marathon Fresh sock, which due the anti-bacterial treatment Polygiene, does not need to be washed after every run. All of our socks come with warranties so you can be confident that the socks you buy will last the distance.
3. Technical running clothing
If the feet are comfortable, you need the kit to match. Wearing clothes made of technical ‘sweat wicking’ fabrics will help you stay dry and comfortable and prevent chafing over longer distances.
Materials matter. You should avoid cotton at all costs, all year round. Cotton soaks up moisture, takes time to dry, and will make you feel cold and weigh you down.
We stock a wide range of running clothing at Run4It, from breathable t-shirts for less than £20; to twin shorts that prevent chafing and allow you to carry gels; to tights that offer great support, stretch and flex.
For cold weather, opt for technical, breathable fabrics and layer your clothing in what’s known as the ‘layering system’ to trap body heat in, whilst allowing sweat to escape. Read our Layering guide for winter running article to learn more.
4. A proper sports bra
This one’s for the Ladies. Did you know that 80% of women wear the wrong size sports bra? Not good given that not wearing the correct sports bra profoundly affects your running gait and posture. It can cause up to 4cm of movement in the breast tissue and cause irreversible damage. It can also be seriously uncomfortable over the course of your run. This is why we consider sports bras an essential piece of kit.
No matter your cup size, band size, or preference on bra style, we can help you find a sports bra that works for you! We stock sports bras from brands including Shock Absorber, Brooks and Nike and our team members can offer guidance to help you choose the right style and size.
If you'd prefer to do your own research online, Brooks have a handy Running Bra Finder tool on their website to help you find the perfect match. Through asking what you like – and don't like, Brooks will narrow down the selection to bra styles that are best suited for you.
5. Game-changing accessories
Small accessories make a big difference.
Running Belts & Waistpacks
Having the right waistpack will make a long run a lot more enjoyable because you will not waste energy holding on to something or be irritated by a poorly fitting belt. We stock a range of different sized and shaped waist-packs with our most popular being FlipBelt. A FlipBelt allows you to store all your event essentials, including race nutrition, card and keys, and will not bounce around due to its unique design.
GPS Running Watches
Getting a dedicated running watch can be the key to getting the most out of your training. At Run4It we stock Garmin as the popular Forerunner range features a watch for every type of runner! Running watches can provide pace, distance and timing information and some will allow you to download detailed training plans to the watch and work out your VO₂ max.
Need further advice to determine the best Garmin running watch for you? Read our Choose the right Garmin running watch for you article.
For those of you braving longer distances (half marathon distance and above) it’s worth having a race day nutrition plan to bolster your performance. Practice your nutrition strategy beforehand during your long training runs, to get it spot on on event day. We stock wide range of nutrition from energy gels and bars, to jelly shot blocks and sports beans. It’s best to try out different types and brands to know what best works for you and your stomach. Experiment with caffeinated versus non-caffeinated options. And for the ultra-distance runners among you, munching serious miles, wholefoods are a brilliant alternative to energy supplements. Small flapjack squares for slow release energy and jelly babies can be the perfect addition to your training nutrition plan.