Picking up running? 5 pieces you need.

It’s a new year and you’ve decided to run a 5k this year. Or maybe a half marathon.

Awesome decision. When I decided to run a marathon, I couldn’t even run more than two miles at once, so you’re in good company if you feel unsure how to get there. I accomplished that goal less than a year later, and I learned a few things along the way that might help you accomplish yours!

These initial pieces will help you get started with your journey, even if you’re on a budget.

1. Shoes.

Running shoes are an investment, so visit a local store near you to get fitted. You might not realize which shoes are right for your foot type, and you don’t want to spend a huge chunk of change online to find out you bought the wrong kicks. Local stores usually will allow you to exchange shoes if you run five to 10 miles and find out the shoes you brought home don’t work. You can also purchase older models if you are looking to save some money. In terms of brands, I’m partial to Brooks because they consistently last for 300 to 500 miles, and are less expensive than some flashier counterparts.

2. Good Socks.

You might be thinking “seriously, why do I need special socks?” A good pair of socks with targeted compression is a game-changer; you can start with just one pair. The socks provide extra cushioning and help the blood circulate in your feet, so you don’t feel as tired and recover faster. Case and point: before I started using Feetures socks, I my feet would start hurting four to five miles into a long run, and they would be sore the next day. When I ran with my first pair, I went without any pain for close 12 miles, and felt 100 percent immediately after, I kid you not.

3. Tracking Device.

Garmin has a variety of great options for every budget. The affordable Forerunner 25 (less than $100) includes basic GPS and activity tracking. If you want something that looks a little more like an activity band or standard watch, try the vívosport or the vívoactive 3. the benefit for these is that they have more robust activity tracking data, with the inclusion of GPS for outdoor workouts. I personally own the Forerunner 735 XT, which also has the ability to load workouts right into your watch, estimate your workout effort and recovery time, and track swimming and cycling activities (and a ton of other stuff).

4. Safety.

Get some runner’s mace. You never know what you might encounter (animals sometimes freak out)! And make sure any clothing you buy has something reflective on it.

5. Headphones.

Running is a bouncy activity, and a lot of headphones come loose easily. In a pinch, the Panasonic ErgoFit Earbuds are some of the best budget buds out there. If you’re willing to invest, the Bose Soundsport Bluetooth Headphones provide great sound quality, are comfortable as heck, and decent battery life.

That said, what goals have you set? I’d love to hear! Let me know in the comments.

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