While your genetics and your general levels of fitness will have a big impact on how well you perform during a run, having the right gear can also go a long way to determining whether you set a PB or fall to the back of the pack. With that in mind, here are some quick tips to take onboard if you are choosing some new running gear and want to make sure that the products you buy are beneficial.
While they might not be ideal for year-round use, the best running shorts can help boost your performance by keeping your legs cool over long distances and also providing some compression to support your muscles and limit the likelihood of injury and chaffing. Sizing is also important with shorts, since you want to get the right fit for your body type and ensure they are snug without being restrictive, as any minor issues will only be amplified the more you wear them.
Shoes & Socks
The one area you should never skimp on is footwear, since your feet will take a pounding if you are running regularly and comfort should be a top concern. Be aware that you should choose running shoes which are not only of the highest quality that your budget can accommodate, but also that are suited to the type of surfaces you will be travelling over. Sturdier running shoes built with additional tread to tackle muddy tracks and trails will suit cross country runners, while anyone setting out to take on tarmac routes will be better off with well cushioned yet light weight counterparts. Running socks should also be on your list of must-have gear, since these specialised products can help to stop sweat from sitting against your skin and help you stay fresh and comfortable for longer. Compression socks can also be a good investment, particularly if you are looking for support.
Your ability to perform optimally is intrinsically linked to being well hydrated. Replenishing any liquids that you have lost during a run is therefore vital, and a good water bottle will help you with this. The design of the bottle will alter not just its look and feel, but also its functionality. Plastic bottles are lightweight and therefore less of a burden, but they lack the ability to keep your water cool, which is something that metal bottles with layers of insulation offer. Size matters here as well; smaller more portable bottles with around 200ml of volume might seem inadequate, but they will not weigh you down and can be refilled.
When the colder months arrive, wearing more than one layer while out running will be crucial if you do not want your performance to be impacted by the temperature or any adverse weather conditions. Vests made from synthetic fabrics are the most affordable and effective base layer option, but you might also want to consider a costlier equivalent made of wool if warmth is important.
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