Everything starts with that first step, especially running. Now, this little post is going to list out what a beginner runner needs to have, or even take along with them as they start creeping into the 10-mile run and over. After all, when your 15 or so miles away from your starting point, it’s a little late to realize that you should have packed that extra 20 oz bottle of water, right?

Well, I don’t mean to downplay anything, but the very first thing you need to have is a good pair of running shoes. Not walking shoes, running shoes. And if you don’t have a shoe store that you frequent, find one. Go online and check out some that are local to you but don’t be afraid to travel 25-50 miles away to find a shoe store that offers the kind of customer service that puts you and especially your feet first! After all, your feet and the soles of those shoes are all that stands between you having a good run or you are coming home after a few excursions with sore, bruised feet.

Know Where Your Going And Track Your Stats: If your serious about taking up the sport of long-distance running, then you’re going to want to keep track of your performance/progress on a weekly basis. To do this you need to know just how well your body’s performing and if from time to time you want to take an unfamiliar trail or road to change things up a bit, then you need to know where you are as well and how far away you are from your starting and finishing point. To do this you can use a good reliable GPS enabled sports watch like the Garmin Forerunner 235 GPS Running Watch With its built-in GPS and Strapless Heart Rate, the Garmin Forerunner 235, not only will tell you where you’re at using its GPS in correlation with the GLONASS satellites to pinpoint your position quickly and precisely, whether your running deep in the woods or mountains, or near tall buildings in a city.

Hydrate–Hydrate: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the importance of hydration. You know that water is vital not only to keep you feeling fresh on your runs but also for maintaining energy and bodily functions during your daily life. No matter what distance you’re running, as the summer months approach and the weather heats up you’re going to want water available on your runs. And the distance you plan on going can determine which type of hydration device you should be packing along with you. For anywhere between 5-10 miles, you can probably get by with a handy, insulated water bottle. The Camelbak Delaney 21oz Podium Insulated Bottle is my go-to water container. And the adjustable belt allows me to move freely as I run so I’m not holding on to something, strapped to my wrist as I’m going down the road. The only issue with this bottle is that you need to know where you’re going in order to refill it as necessary at various stops along the way. But for a 5-10-mile run, it does the trick without the need to refill.

For longer distances, which are usually my weekend runs I take along a Camelbak 16X Hydration Pack 100oz  The ability to have 100 ounces of fluid with me on a long run and still be able to pack some energy snacks is a pretty confidence booster if you’re running alone!

See and Be Seen!! It’s not uncommon to hear stories of friends or see on the news that yet another runner or biker has been hit by a car during their routine workout. If you’re ever going to be running at dawn, dusk, or in the darker hours it is essential that you have reflective gear and lights to protect yourself and others out on the road or trail. Reflective vests, bands, and clothes will all help to alert others that you’re coming and are a great reminder to those sleepy drivers that you need some extra space. Lights will alert other pedestrians of your approach to helping you avoid collisions because let’s face it, no one wants to return home with battle scars from their early morning, or after work run, right?

Comfortable But Correct Size Running Garb: If you’ve been running even a little bit, you may have encountered some irritating little rashes under your arms, mid-thigh and some other places I’m not going to be naming here right now, but you know what I mean. Chafing is a common irritant among runners and everyone encounters it from time to time. Wearing proper fitting attire while your running can cut down on this bane to a runner.

Some outfits allow the seams and high friction zones in your clothes can start to rub and cause irritation which makes it rather uncomfortable to walk, much less run. Rule of Thumb: AVOID COTTON, as it will absorb and hold on to your sweat, making the fabric heavier and more likely to cause chafing and blistering. Do yourself a favor and look into purchasing an outfit made with compression fabric.

Compression Gear is typically made of spandex, nylon, and Lycra to compress legs in order to support muscles and aid blood circulation. But compression shorts can also act as a barrier between your skin and the friction that causes chafing. Look for compression shorts that have flat seams to prevent thigh chafing and built-in padding in place of underwear.

Wearing conventional underwear during long or intense workouts can cause chafing. Also, make sure the shorts fit snugly on the skin, but not too tight. Shorts that are too loose or too tight can actually cause chafing. Some compression shorts even include anti-microbial technology to help prevent body odor and moisture-wicking properties to remove wetness from the skin (which can cause chafing). When your miles from home, wearing the right clothes can mean all the difference to a successful training run. And don’t forget, chaffing can keep you away from your running routine until the problem heals itself!

The Right Socks: As important as the right shoes you pick to hit the road and trails with, wearing the right socks can mean the difference between ending your runs with your feet in good shape or having them blister up because the socks you wore, caused your feet to sweat and cause a problem for you. Imagine yourself on a run on a hot day and your feet start feeling gross and sweaty, soon you can feel a blister forming, you’re overheating, and you’re still 3 miles from home. Now, picture that same run but your feet are a comfortable temperature, they don’t feel soggy in your shoes, and there aren’t any “hot spots” rubbing against your shoes. Can you guess which run involved cotton socks vs. synthetic?

While your cotton socks are holding onto your sweat, falling down on your heels, and causing blisters, your synthetic sock will fit your foot better, stay in place, help you avoid blisters, and get the moisture away from your foot. We said it before with the outfits you should wear when running, just plain stay AWAY from cotton products. Cotton is great for most occasions but running or really anything physical where your skin comes in contact with the fabric seams can cause an irritating issue and discomfort and or pain is sure to follow.

So, there you have it. The above are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking to begin a fitness program, or sport really like running. The only thing I didn’t mention above is to make sure you enjoy yourself as you hit the trails or scenic roads in your area.

Who knows? Maybe we’ll pass each other out there on the road. Happy Running!