Gadgets and other accessories for runners
What running tools are useful to you
Your running shoes and socks are going to be your most important purchases as a runner, but there are plenty of additional items and gadgets which you should consider adding to your gear.
Naturally these are the most important piece of equipment to any runner. When starting out, it is crucial to find a good pair of shoes that fit well and stabilise the foot as you run. What you don't need is expensive gear that looks good but performs poorly. Avoid general sports superstores, and instead find a specialist running shop who will be able to advise you well.
To prevent blisters, try out some of the running specific socks. They are more expensive than standard cotton sports socks, but functionally achieve far better results. Trying to scrimp by using ordinary cotton socks will be a flase economy.
There are three main concerns for a functional pair of glasses+:
- Comfort - a well-fitted pair that won't fall off easily or bounce around when the going gets rough.
- Ventilation - if the glasses fit too closely it makes it hard for the hot air between the lens and your face to clear, thus steaming up in cooler temperatures.
- Safety - avoid glass lenses, if you trip or have something hit you in the face the likelihood is that glass will smash, a polycarbonate or composite lens won't.
Another option worth thinking about is a polarising; a polarised lens cuts glare and offers superior vision in low light which will be paramount at dusk. What should be avoided is the heavy metal frames usually associated with high-street shopping.
Although it may seem like an overstatement , a good water bottle can make a world of difference. Put aesthetics aside and pick one that is ergonomically sound (i.e. one that suits the size of your hand). The common one is the bottle shaped like a ring so you can hold it quite comfortably. If a greater amount of fluid is required you could consider a fuel belt (see below).
Heart rate monitors (HRMs)
Heart rate monitors are a good purchase for runners who want to keep on top of their training programme and progress. Heart rate monitors can come with a chest strap to wear, but an increasing number of watches now come with the ability to track your heart rate through a sensor built into the watch.
Fuel belt for running
The fuel belt is an innovative hydration system that replaces traditional water bottle carriers, providing athletes with a more technical and streamlined product. The fuel belt is made of a special knit elastic that flexes with the athlete's every movement. While the Velcro fastener allows for a customised fit, the fuel belt can be purchased in different shapes and sizes, the bottles are strategically positioned around the waist. Each flask is flat and curved to follow the natural shape of the body. Also if you’re going to carry something to play music while you run this can be the place to put it.
If you find boredom becoming an issue on those long runs you need something to keep you entertained. There are plenty of options to carry some music with you these days, from an iPod to smartphone or even a smartwatch. If you are able to pair some of these devices with some bluetooth headphones then this will remove the need for a troublesome headphone wire to get in your way.
GPS tracking device
If you have the choice, a GPS is a must-have for any athlete who likes to know accurately where and how fast they are running. GPS capabilities are readily available on most smartphones these days so you don't even need to splash out on a specific tracking device such as a Garmin. Several smartwatches also contain GPS capability and can often double as your tracker as well as your music device.