Running a half or full marathon is a challenging psychological endeavour. You’ll want to bring the right tools with you to help get you to the finish line. If you’ve never run a race before, it can be hard to know exactly what you’ll need. Here are six of the most important pieces of gear you should consider bringing along on your first long-distance race.
For any type of race or long-distance run you will need some running shoes to support your feet, avoid blisters, and provide the best results. If you have an old, worn-out pair, it’s probably a good idea to get yourself some new running kicks! The last thing you want is to get injured when it could have been avoided…
PHONE, KEY, AND ID HOLDER
If you’re bringing your phone with you, don’t plan on holding it in your hand. You might drop it, throw off your running form, or wear out your forearm. Invest in an armband, running belt, or waist pouch. Look for a model that also has space for a car key and your ID. That’s especially important if the race features a beer garden at the end.
It is proven that graduated compression increases blood flow back to the heart to reduce fatigue and muscle damage. It also helps the removal of lactate from the blood to assist athletes in performing and recovering faster. Compression wear is critical in reducing the risk of injury during the race by minimising muscle oscillation and micro-tearing.
Longer distances mean more opportunities for chafing. Body Glide, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), or similar products, keep your skin safe. You can smear some on your thighs, feet, or other sensitive areas to prevent painful sores after your race.
If you don’t want to carry around your phone, that’s fine. You’ll need a watch instead. For your first long race, you need a way to check your timing, especially if you’re a newer runner and don’t have the experience to pace yourself. A GPS watch that can calculate your pace is ideal, but anything with a stopwatch feature will work. Large marathons and half-marathons will have markers at each kilometre so you can figure out your pace on your own. Use your watch during training runs to get used to how it works. Run-on a track or other area with clearly marked miles at least once so you can practice pacing yourself.
Bigger races will have fueling stations at certain checkpoints. Several of these will have running gel or beans for you to eat. Your muscles will need this fuel, but you might prefer to bring your own. Many runners prefer to bring the same snacks they used during training. If you ate running blocks on every long run and the race only offers gel, you’ll need to bring your own blocks.
As you run more races, you’ll develop your own unique gear list. For your first race, let this list be your guide.
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