If you’re new to running, or contemplating taking up the sport, then you need to know the kind of gear you might need. We’ve put together a list of 10 essentials aimed primarily at male runners, who enjoy the detail of the sport and consider themselves more than just enthusiastic amateurs.
Finding shorts which are comfortable but don’t chafe can be a challenge. You need something that is made from a wickable material, so that it can remove sweat. But you are also looking for a softer, breathable fabric that offers support and comfort. Shorts can come as either a split leg or v-notch, which refers to the construction of the side seam. Elite runners tend to opt for split leg shorts, but it is very much a matter of personal choice. Maximum freedom of movement is essential, but comfort and practicality, as well as a windproof element, are also important considerations.
Injury and misery will be a constant companion if you don’t have the right running shoes. Everyone has a different running action so you really need to accommodate your style and foot plant with the right shoes. Visit a specialist running store to find exactly what you need and then you should be able to run free for around 400-500 miles (640-800 km) without too many problems.
Sunflower seeds/vitamin E supplement
A deficiency in vitamin E can be an issue for male runners, especially those over the age of 50. Vitamin E aids recovery from intense exercise and helps the body avoid soreness and stiffness. So pop a packet of sunflower seeds into your kit bag and it could be job done, because they offer a nice healthy dose of vitamin E. Alternatively you could opt for roast peanuts or almonds or even walnuts, which should also do the same job.
Nipple rub prevention
Men are more prone to runner’s nipple than women because women are protected by a sports bra. Some anti-chafe moisturiser applied in sensitive areas, is a kit bag essential. You could also try a nip guard, which does exactly what it says on the tin, or even some small plasters. Basically you’re looking for anything that forms a barrier between the nipples and a running top, which can cause a great deal of painful abrasive damage to a sweaty nipple over the course of a long run.
While we are on the subject of preventing soreness, it is also handy to carry some Vaseline in your bag. This is simply a must have to treat or prevent painful chafing or sore skin. Lip salve or Vaseline will do the trick for the lips too, for anyone contemplating a long run in either the sun or a cold easterly wind.
A running hat/cap
A bald head or thinning scalp will need protection from the sun, so find a comfortable running hat/cap and keep those UV rays off your head. In the winter a running hat or beanie will keep the heat in and prevent brain freeze. And you could also opt for a hat that has LED lights, so you can be seen in the dark.
Technology has marched on to such an extent that a good sports watch can incorporate everything from GPS and a calorie counter to a heart rate monitor. But whatever your taste in technology, at the very least a decent watch will help you time and track your runs and that’s important. Not only will it appeal to your inner geek, but it can also check a testosterone surge that might just encourage you to run further and faster than you really should.
For those men who feel a watch is too old school, how about an app for your phone that will track your sessions, count the calories burned, plan your routes and help synchronise your times and stats with other runners and friends? It is complete and utter genius... if you like that sort of thing.
If an app is the way to go for you, then you’ll need a little home for your phone or iPod when you run. There are so many different types of armband on the market that you will have fun choosing whichever you want.
Blisters can be one of the most painful injuries a runner can get. They’re caused by a build up of moisture that softens the skin and makes it vulnerable to rubbing inside the shoe. A good pair of synthetic socks will do the job of keeping your feet dry and removing any excess sweat. You need a breathable material so that your feet stay nice and dry.