Every sport has its equipment, every participant his uniform. Thankfully, of all the sports out there, running has to be the easiest of sports for which to get equipped.
A shirt, some shorts, a pair of socks, and sneakers and you are ready to head out the door. Of course, then there is the watch, or GPS, or heart monitor, or a combo of the three. Try not to forget your iPod and sunglasses too. Don’t forget water and gels.
Have a baby? Better grab that jogging stroller. Running at night? Better have reflective gear. Running in the cold, make sure to have layers … but not too many or you will over heat, and not too little or you will freeze.
A hat, gloves, earmuffs … feeling overwhelmed yet? You don’t have to be. Let me explain why.
When you become a runner, you are becoming a member of a world-wide family. As with any family, there are members that you reach out to for different things.
Need your car fixed? Take it to Uncle Tony’s car shop. Have a plumbing issue? Cousin Jack owns a plumbing business. Computer won’t start up? There’s probably a teenage nephew or niece that can help with that.
Thankfully, our running family has members who own … you guessed it … running stores. Yes, stores dedicated to running: running clothes, running shoes, running watches, sports gels … even running laundry detergent.
These stores, whether local or national chains (though you should always try to support your local family members), are owned and staffed by runners. Their entire job is to help you find the right clothing and equipment for you to succeed at running.
The best part about it? They are family, and they love what they do. They want you to visit, they want you to ask questions, they want you to succeed.
Here are some tips to help make your trip successful:
- Try to find a local shop first. While both local and national stores carry the same products, you will likely get more personal attention at a local shop. Plus, you can build a relationship with the store, as they are likely the local hub for group runs, races, and more.
- Be sure to get a gait analysis. Most running stores will provide a free gait analysis, complete with an overview of your running style and foot type. This will help ensure you get the correct type of running shoes.
- Ask questions. Ask questions. Ask questions. Sure, you can head out the door and just run, but don’t you want to be the best runner you can be? Feel free to ask questions about running, clothing, nutrition, and gear. The more you ask, the more you will learn. Plus, runners love talking about running, so you are helping your family members feel like they aren’t at work but just hanging out with some friends.
- Do not be afraid or embarrassed. As a runner myself for over 18 years, I have heard and seen it all: bloody nipples, stomach issues, blackened toenails, blisters, the works. It is safe to say that if you are experiencing it, others have also experienced it. We were all new runners at some point, and as family we are happy to answer questions and share our experiences; it helps us grow closer.
So this weekend, why not go visit some family? They will be happy to see you, and you will leave better equipped than when you arrived.
Just remember to tell cousin Ryan I said hi!