The definition of a runner is quite straightforward. Anyone who runs is, essentially, a runner.
The funny thing is that I’d never considered myself a runner before last year. I still sometimes have a difficult time classifying myself as one even though running has now become one of my main forms of exercise. Perhaps it’s because in high school I considered myself a swimmer, and somehow, being a swimmer and runner were mutually exclusive.
There’s also that sense of vulnerability whenever you state that you are something. It feels like there are these expectations of you having to be good at what you are, which is, one hundred percent untrue. If you run, and if you love to run, you are a runner.
I am a runner. *I just felt my heart skip a beat stating that to the world!* But yes, I am a runner. I am a runner. I am a runner. I am a distance runner…kind of. Last year I completed my first half marathon and full marathon. Tomorrow I will be running my second half marathon. So, I suppose I am a distance runner.
Most distance runners have a certain set of ‘tools’ that they have to prevent injuries and make running more enjoyable. I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve found fairly necessary to have as a distance runner.
- Proper Running Shoes
I cannot emphasize enough about how important it is to get properly fitted running shoes. The best way to get proper running shoes for yourself is to go to a shoe store that sells shoes specifically for runners. Oftentimes their employees can do gait checks and then suggest types of shoes that are best for you.
Notice that not all shoes they suggest for you will work. When I go shoe shopping, it’s difficult to tell if a pair of shoes will be comfortable to run in after a few minutes of walking around the store in them. This is why it’s important to make sure you buy shoes from a store that has a 2 week return policy.
Last year I bought a very nice looking pair of Brooks, but my feet and hips hurt after 1 or 2 runs. I was able to go back and return them to buy another pair that would feel better. That pair has carried me through hundreds of miles pain free!
If you run frequently, it’s important to get the right type of shoes so that you have the adequate amount of support for your feet and other parts of your legs. It’s not worth getting injured over the wrong pair of shoes. Even if the shoes seem expensive, they’re worth it if you can avoid a visit to the doctor’s office.
Note: You shouldn’t buy insoles if the employees are trying to persuade you to buy them. Only get insoles if they were recommended by your doctor.
2. Tiger Tail
Keeping your muscles loose and fresh are key to having successful long runs and preventing injuries.
Tiger Tails are portable muscle rollers that are great for loosening your muscles before long runs and relieving sore muscles post runs. You can easily bring your tiger tail anywhere with you and quickly massage any part of your body with it. I tend to use the tiger tail in conjunction with my foam Roller because the tiger tail is able to target very specific parts of my body and dig deep into my muscles. It can also get rid of nasty knots that form around my shoulders and calves.
I’ve used the tiger tail to help with loosening my calves before and after runs, in turn, my ankles have felt much better after runs.
You can buy one off Amazon here: SPRI Special Edition Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager, 18-Inch
I prefer a Foam Roller, which essentially does the same thing as a Tiger Tail. It doesn’t dig as deep into your smaller muscle groups, but it’s better at targeting larger muscles such as your quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors. You can put all of your weight on those muscles and really massage them. Foam rollers are also cheaper! The only cons are that they aren’t as effective on your calves and aren’t as portable.
3. Running Socks
I never understood the purpose of running socks until I ran everyday for miles at a time. The blisters that formed on my feet were gnarly and painful. Blech.
That was when running socks came in. Running socks are expensive, and I tend to have one specific pair for race day so that it stays nice and cushiony, and a few others for my longer runs. The most expensive socks are for race days, and the cheaper ones are for my more casual runs.
My favorite pair are Thorlos: Thorlos Womens Running Socks | JMX
Some people don’t like them because they are very thick, but I love the cushion they provide when I’m running over 10 miles. I have not gotten any blisters with them yet. My Thorlos are my race day socks, especially since they are so pricey! (Yet so worth it.)
Other sock recommendations:
Balega Hidden Comfort Socks
These socks are a bit thinner than Thorlos, and so you may prefer them if you don’t want your feet to get super hot. I only have one pair of these and save them for long run days. Again, I’ve been blister free!
Puma Women’s Low Cut Athletic Running Sock
These are the pairs you can probably find in Costco. You can get multiple pairs of socks for the same price as one pair of Balega socks. Crazy, right? These are preferred for shorter distances, casual runs and walks, etc. When I run distances of 5 miles or less, I stick with these guys. They’re cheaper and more wallet friendly; therefore, I’m not as afraid of wearing them down.
4. Running Belt
How many of you are tired of holding your phone in your hand when running? I sure am.
I love having a running belt where I can stuff my phone, key, and gels in. It fits snugly above my waist, and I don’t have to worry about holding anything during my run. This is especially useful during races. I often struggle with finding my family after my races. Now we can easily reach each other after the race without having to have held our phones in our hands for the entire 13 plus miles.
A running belt you can buy is this one: SPIbelt Sports
There are others that you can choose from off Amazon, running stores, or race expos.
5. Running Clothes
Comfortable clothes play an important role in making running more enjoyable. I prefer having as little clothing as possible only because I always overheat during my runs. A light pair of shorts and exercise tank top are my preference. I wouldn’t recommend wearing anything cotton for running since they get heavy once they’re soaked with sweat. There’s also less airflow in cotton clothing.
For training in distances longer than 15 miles, I’d suggest having gels or GU to eat. Your body burns up a ton of energy during these long distance runs, and it needs an efficient source of energy. That source should be glucose in its purest form. Your body loves glucose best. If it runs out of glucose, it’ll start dipping into your fat and muscle storage to transform into glucose and you’ll just feel extra, extra tired during your run.
Basically, if you’re just starting to get into distance running, these are some items you may want to consider investing into for yourself. The most important ones in my opinion are shoes, foam roller, and socks. Go visit a local athletic store if you’re unsure about where to begin and need more advice. You can also shoot me an e-mail.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Amazon Associates. I earn a small commission from purchases made through Amazon when you click on the links. No products are marked up, they are priced as seen on Amazon.