Did you know that you can be a runner at pretty much any age, shape or size? Whatever your situation, if you want to run, there’s a way to make it happen for you. It’s just a matter of figuring out what works.
And having the right gear is one of the secret ingredients to making your new running practice a permanent habit.
When it comes to gear, there are quite a few products out there that can make your runs much more comfortable and fun, and help you take your fledgling running program to a full-blown practice. The good news? You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a lot of fancy gadgets (although that’s pretty fun to do). Here are my top five:
1. Motion control running bra
Arguably the most important thing you will wear. Your girls need support! Bouncing breasts might be great on Baywatch, but when you’re running they just plain hurt. I highly recommend the Enell Sport – it’s a serious motion control bra that completely eliminates bouncing while also supporting your back. The straps are wide enough so they don’t cut into your shoulders, and the material is very, very soft and comfy. And they last forever!
2. Quality Running Shoes
This is one place where you don’t want to skimp – while it may be tempting to buy a cute pair of running shoes on sale at DSW, if they’re not right for your feet, you’ll suffer. Shin splints, plantar fasciitis, blisters, and other painful injuries can result from wearing crappy shoes. Expect to spend at least $100. Keep them just for running, and change them out after you’ve run about 250 miles in them.
Since everyone’s feet are different, a proper shoe fitting is critical. This is particularly important for the heavier runner, as you might need extra support or cushioning for your ankles and feet. High quality running shoes are worth the investment, and they’ll help avoid the pain and suffering of getting sidelined by an injury. Go to a specialty running shop with an in-store treadmill and make sure they watch you running without shoes to determine what your biomechanics are. The staff should give you a few different options to try. A reputable store will also let you return the shoes after a trial run at home if they don’t work for you. Don’t be afraid to ask!
3. Chafing/blister protection
Everyone experiences chafing and blisters to some degree, but heavier runners tend to suffer more. When skin rubs against skin, or against seams, irritation (chafing) develops and when you sweat, it gets even worse. Fortunately, there are a couple of products out there that can reduce or eliminate this issue.
Bodyglide – This is a dry-feeling lubricant that comes in stick form, that can be rubbed on your skin wherever chafing occurs. It washes off easily in the shower. Great for feet, anywhere that seams rub against your skin, or where you have skin-to-skin contact.
Moleskin – A soft, felt-like material with an adhesive back, that provides a physical barrier against rubbing and chafing. It is best suited to areas where Bodyglide is not quite enough protection, or where you’re prone to blisters – for example,the back of your ankle where your shoe might rub. I carry little squares of this stuff with me on every run just in case.
4. Interval timer
When you’re just starting out as a runner, I highly recommend alternating running and walking at defined intervals. An inexpensive timer can help with this – you just set it to your desired ratio, hit start, and then switch between running and walking at the beep. My favorite is the Gymboss – it’s durable, reliable, comes in a lot of colors, and has a really loud beep. It also clips onto your clothes or watch, or you can even buy a wrist strap for it.
5. Compression gear
Compression material holds everything in, and keeps it from shaking all over like the proverbial bowl full of jelly. From a vanity perspective, this is great – but I recommend compression gear more for the comfort of keeping all your bits and pieces in place – especially your lower half. You can find affordable, extended-size compression tights and tops all over the internet now. Try Old Navy, Target, Team Estrogen, and Athleta for starters.
So there you go – my top five must-have pieces of gear to support the curvy runner! What about you? What’s your absolute, can’t-live-without running kit? Share in the comments!
Disclosure – all links to Amazon or Enell in this post are affiliate links to products I use regularly and can personally endorse.