Every athlete needs to support their hard work and training with a decent kit, an essential list of staples that help them to reach their goals. So, we’ve put together a few of our must-haves to give you some pointers.
This is absolutely the most important thing to get right, and it’s worth taking the time over. Visit a dedicated running shop and the staff will usually have you jogging on a treadmill in the store so that they can analyse your gait and recommend trainers that will work with you. They may also suggest moulded insoles that will be shaped specifically to your feet, and can be worn in many of your shoes. You can expect to pay upwards of around £80-£105 for a pair of good quality running shoes but trust us, they can make all the difference. They should be replaced roughly every six months too, but never wear brand new shoes to a big race, always wear them in for a few weeks first!
This is largely dependent on season and what you actually like to wear while running. However, a good pair of compression support tights are a really worthwhile investment. Optimised compression aids recovery, minimises muscle soreness and, by boosting oxygenation and circulation, may also improve your performance during exercise.
A foam roller is basically a robust plastic hollow tube, covered in hard foam, which is scored into a grid pattern with different zones. It’s kind of like a DIY sports massage, designed to work into areas of muscle tightness and soreness by rolling the affected area over the zones. Foam rolling after exercise stimulates circulation and promotes muscle healing and tissue repair, so it’s a great bit of kit to have. We love the Trigger Point range of rollers, and we’ve found you can’t go wrong with this classic.
You’ll quickly find out what works for you in terms of pre, during and post race food and drink. This is exactly what training is for, as not everyone will have the same tastes and nutritional requirements. We really like these Bounce Balls, which are high in protein, so they’re great to nibble on the morning of the race.
You’ll definitely need something on those sore legs, either when your training is ramping up or after the big race itself. We like good old Deep Heat for its menthol scent and fiery sensation, but there are lots of other ibuprofen-based gels that you rub directly into the affected area to soothe and heal the muscle tissue.
Toe, thigh and nipple chafing is sadly not a myth! Especially when running in warmer weather, any sort of friction of clothing on sensitive skin can quickly make any athlete very uncomfortable. This could potentially through you off your stride, which would be catastrophic after all that training! Apply some Vaseline or other non-absorbing jelly to any delicate points before the start line. We like this Limited Edition LuLu Guiness version!
You may not think this is important, but many athletes have been caught out by arriving to a race and realise they’ve got nothing to fix their race number onto their clothing with. Some marshals and race directors may carry spares but it’s just not worth it, so stock up on this sewing box staple and ideally, pin your number on before you leave for the race. You’ll soon know if you’ve positioned it too high or low on your race top, and you’ll have plenty of time to make adjustments.
When working at maximum capacity, an athlete can easily sweat out a couple of litres of fluid when training, so it’s important to stay hydrated before, during and after working out. Runners often favour bottles with a cutaway centre so that they can hold the bottle easily over long distances. For a pre or post exercise hydration boost, try our Sport bottle and add in some lovely zingy citrus fruits and berries to deliver a burst of antioxidants and vitamin C.