Running gear that every marathoner needs

Essential_Running_Gear_for_Marathoners Don’t make the same mistake that I did.  We were working off a pile of grad school debt and avoiding expenses.  So, I started marathon training wearing all cotton: socks, shorts, tanks and college-era sport bras (and college was NOT recent for me).  It took exactly 2 long runs and a bad case of boob chafe to determine that I needed better gear.  Thanks to Dave Ramsey and eating a lot of beans and rice, our debt is now gone; and those running clothes are too! Along the way, I discovered a few items that I wouldn’t do another long run without…


I’ll hit the highlights today.  A series of posts on gear will soon follow and will include details on: options, technical names and why each item is needed.  So here goes.  My list of the minimum running gear needed for marathon training:


#1 – Running Shirt

Discovery:  Not the same as a regular work-out shirt.  The right running top made the difference between feeling like I was running in a sweat-suit in a sauna and feeling comfortable.

#2 – Anti-Chafing balm

DiscoveryThat can chafe?  It can, and it did…if I ran far enough.  Admittedly, I have sensitive skin, so anti-chafing balm is a god-sent for me.  Put it on, and goodbye chafe!

#3 – Nipple chafing guards 

Discovery:  Nipples can bleed?  Yikes!  Fortunately, I was forewarned, as was my husband.  For me, the running bra alone did the trick.  However lots of men and women suffer from chafed nipples.  For men (and ladies who want extra security), I highly recommend nipple guards.



#4 – Running bra (Gals)

Discovery:  Must be industrial strength.  If not, OUCH!

Marathoners_in_training_running_shorts#5 – Running Short

Discovery:  The piece of running gear that gave me the most trouble.  After three marathons, I finally figured out what worked for me.  Voila!  No more painful chafed thighs (or walking around like a bowlegged cowboy!).  You want to get this one right.


marathoners_in_training_need_running_socks#6 – Running socks

DiscoveryWant blisters?  Run in regular cotton athletic socks.  Want to feel like you’re wearing clouds on your feet?  Run in socks for distance running.  My mom bought me 3 pairs as stocking stuffers after my first marathon – I was the happiest girl ever!


Running_shoes_marathoner_training#7 - Running shoes

DiscoveryBrand name didn’t guarantee anything.  Neither did what model I last had.  Each model felt different from the last (hence I have developed a stockpiling habit when I find a shoe that I like).  Comfort (and not fashion) is king!

running_gear_essentials_include_running_bottle#8 – Running water bottles

Discovery I didn’t know I needed this piece of running gear at all.  So let me underscore this one.  You must run with fluids – ALWAYS.  I hated running with anything extra.  In fact, I avoided running with any fluids until I hit about 8 mile runs in Texas summer heat, and then I caved.  When I did, I discovered the lovely perks of running with a bottle – extra storage galore!

#9 – Energy drink and carbohydrate gel

DiscoveryThose little gel packets aren’t just for professional athletes!  It turns out that water alone isn’t enough to keep you going on longer runs.  Lots of scientific talk about this one.  In a nutshell, your body sweats out a ton of fluids and minerals when you run.  It also uses up a lot of energy.   If you want to have the energy and physical ability to keep going, you have to try to replace what has been lost/used.  Gels and energy drinks did the trick for me.

You’re probably sensing a trend.  Gear specifically for running (and distance running at that) generally works best.  But if you’re just starting out, don’t spend a fortune on running gear.  These nine foundational items helped me comfortably and safely train on my own.  You can always add to your stash as you go.  Disagree or have something to add to the list?  Leave a comment, so we can all benefit from it!

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One Response to “Running gear that every marathoner needs”

  1. Rodrigo June 16, 2012 at 7:15 pm #

    Awesome, Katy. that’s exactly how I got started in this wacky sport. I was a spectator when my older sister ran the Green Bay Marathon several years ago, and the energy of the whole event was just contagious. She challenged me to run it with her the following year. I had never run before either, but I determined to try. It took me an entire year to prepare, but in the process I dropped 45 pounds and gained a measure of self-confidence that I’d never had before. There’s nothing special about me physically. I’m slow and I run like a penguin. What I learned, though, is that physical ability isn’t what matters. Almost anyone is physically capable of completing a marathon with the proper training. However, not everyone has the guts and determination to undergo that training. I hope you all choose to try. you’ll discover things about yourself that you never knew. Just believe that you can do it.

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