10 Running Must Haves
Running is pretty straightforward - figuratively and literally. The goal is always forward motion. In the world of running, a few things are essential, some are highly recommended and a good handful are best classified as luxurious and just plain fun.
After a few years of running - and a lot of miles on my resume - I have rounded out a list of personal recommendations to help you keep a smile for miles. So, if you’re having trouble finding motivation for your next turn around the block, take some inspiration from my must have list below.
Heart & Grit: Listen, at some point running gets hard — for everyone, even the most experienced runner. We all know it takes more than your favorite pair of shoes to get you out of bed on a cold dark morning. So, you must have heart and grit. When your legs get tired and your head isn’t quite in it, you must know how to dig deep, rely on heart and embrace the suck. On the flipside, there is something pretty great about overcoming the hard moments when you learn to embrace them well. Dig deep- you’ve got this.
A Why: If you’re one of those animals who can push through a run of any distance without a strong why, I salute you. For the rest of us, you must have a why to do what you do. Take some time and figure out why every footstep counts and why you must keep going— even when you REALLY, I mean really, don’t want to.
Be Flexible: It’s great to have a training plan, but you must have flexibility built in. You may go through plan A, B and C. Plan with flexibility so that you don’t lose momentum. Remember what I told you? The goal is forward motion - just keep moving forward.
Shoes: Confession: I spent plenty of my early running days choosing a shoe based on looks. Don’t do this. You must have the right shoe for you. A local running store is a great place to have your foot and foot fall analyzed and help you make an informed decision about your next pair of kicks. My motto: Happy feet = happy running.
Good Gear: You must have gear that works for you. Find the clothes that don’t bunch, wear out or cause chaffing in all the wrong places; and maybe pick up a fitness tracker watch. Get what’s best for you and fits your budget. Pro tip: dress for the elements, stay away from all cotton, and watch how quickly your running wardrobe takes over the closet.
Reflection & Visibility: You must have visibility. Period. If you are running in the dark or at dusk be aware of your surroundings and make yourself as visible as possible. Headlamps, running lights and reflective vests are all great options to help you see and be seen.
Laundry Detergent: Let’s talk dirty laundry. You must have laundry detergent that actually works. If you are a runner, you’re going to have a lot of stinky laundry; especially during the hot and humid summer months. Pro Tip: Don’t let the dirty clothes sit for days; keep them separate from other laundry and put them in the washer STAT! My go to laundry detergent for stinky running clothes is Persil- you’ll thank me later.
Hydration: We all know it’s important to drink water, but, once you start running long distances, you must have extra electrolytes. Why? Electrolytes help maintain fluid balance. When imbalance occurs runners tend to experience fatigue and cramping. This makes a run not so fun. So, keep sodium and potassium in check and stay hydrated.
Skin Protection: You must have skin protection. Take it from me, running can be less than glamorous. A little proactive skin care goes a long way. Lube up the points of friction with anti-chafing products - and I mean all the places - never underestimate the power of your clothing to make your skin very unhappy. And, even when it isn’t sunny, wear good quality SPF. That’s just common sense.
Maintenance: If you want to keep running and stay injury free, you must have time for maintenance - this includes foam rolling and dynamic stretching, strength work that focuses on the little muscles [hint: hips don’t lie], and rest. Maybe it seems tedious and boring, but, at the end of the day, the goal is a little nearer and you’re a little stronger. That means making the maintenance - core strength, mobility and even rest- a priority.
I’m sure you’ll agree, some of my musts are essentials, others are definitely helpful and there are others that are just plain fun. But maybe there is something on this list that can help get you back on the road and keep you motivated. Maybe you need to take a few minutes to connect with your “why” and reawaken your grit. Maybe you need permission for a new pair of shoes that don’t give you blisters on mile 12 or shin splints on your first turn around the block. Maybe you need to understand the value of rest in staying injury free.
Whatever it is take care of yourself, get ahold of what you need and get back out there.
Here's to many more miles and smiles.
fitness trainer. adventurer. rookie blogger.
Crystal is a fitness trainer by trade and community connector by passion. She loves sunrise chasing, a good coffee shop vibe, and mountain adventures. As a home body, she calls Charlotte, NC home but, her heart for frequent flying often places her around the world. Her every day is filled with work, family, dog walks and sweat sessions. You can find her on Instagram [@crystalseaver] and www.crystalaseaver.com sharing stories of fitness, wellness and real life.