Kit bag essentials - 10 must have items for women runners

All the gear female runners will need

One of the joys of running is the variety of events you can train for and the vast array of kit items you can invest in. That said there are some essentials that all runners should think about buying, so here are some of the items which are more, but not entirely, specific to women.  

Sports Bra

This is an item of fitness kit that is very hard to get right and super easy to get wrong. Indeed, according to researchers around 80 per cent of women wear the wrong kind of sports bra. You need to think carefully about a good level of support whilst picking a bra, and choose one that doesn’t chafe or rub your breasts. You’re looking for a snug fit, but not so tight that it’s difficult to breathe. A good sports bra should reduce breast movement by around 60 per cent and you will need that support. You don’t want to stretch the ligaments of the breasts too much or sagging will become an issue at a later date. And remember that the elasticity will start to depreciate after 60-75 washes, which is when you’ll need to replace it. You could also think of that in terms of every 6-12 months.

Iron supplement

Women are more prone to an iron deficiency than men simply because of biology. Menstruation is a key factor, as is a diet either lacking in adequate iron or full of foods that inhibit iron absorption. Studies have revealed that between 1 in 10 and 4 in 10 female runners are susceptible to the deficiency, but the good news is that there is a solution. It is possible to compensate with a healthy iron rich diet and a supplement will also do the trick.

Sports watch

For anyone looking to improve their running or stick to a regimented training plan, a watch is essential. No one is suggesting you need to run your running life with military precision, but a watch, which could also feature GPS, will certainly help you pace specific sessions and count calories and monitor fat burn. Plus, you won’t get lost and you can track your distances too.

Sunglasses

This is a vital piece of kit all year round. Whether it’s to block harmful and dazzling UV rays during the summer, or to protect you from a chilly winter wind, sunglasses make a difference to your running comfort and performance.

Drinks carrier/belt

Longer distance runners should never leave home without this! If you’re heading out the door for a 20 mile run (32 km), you will need to rehydrate on the go. A water bottle or a sports drink container will do the trick and a belt is ideal, especially one that has a little pouch to pop a snack or two inside.

Appropriate footwear

No matter what level you’re running at or what your targets might be, a good pair of running shoes is simply non-negotiable. Ideally you should buy them at a specialist running shop and have someone there analyse your running gait on a treadmill, before selecting some shoes that are right for you. It makes all the difference. Without them injury and discomfort are inevitable, especially as you increase your mileage. For added comfort and to help your fight against blisters, you should also think about grabbing yourself a pair of quality running socks.

Vaseline/lip salve

As anyone who has made the mistake of tackling a long run on a bitter winter’s day without lip salve will testify,sore lips are not fun. Always make sure you have some with you, or apply it generously before a run. And Vaseline is always handy if you need to deal with any sudden, uncomfortable chafing.

Arm band

This is great if you like to listen to music on the go. You can place an iPod, phone or MP3 Player inside and the world is your musical oyster. It certainly beats carrying it around with you in your hands, which is no fun by mile 15 (24 km).

Hair bands/scrunchies

Running a long distance with your hair billowing loosely at your side sounds like something out of a romantic novel. The reality though is a little different. Hair matted with sweat which clings stubbornly to the back of your head and neck is anything but enjoyable. So remember those hair bands and scrunchies for a super sleek ponytail and hair that won’t cause a problem.

Sun block

Even when the weather is less than scorchio, any prolonged period spent outside means you will be exposed to potentially harmful UV rays. Applying sun cream before you head out the door on a long run will protect you from skin damage.

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