By: Mizuno Athlete Lindsay Flanagan
Last week, as I was exploring my new hometown in DC, I came across a local running store and decided to pop in and browse; how could I pass up a shop with the Mizuno logo printed on the door? Upon entering, I was immediately bombarded with huge displays of GPS watches, heart rate monitors, fuel belts, and just about every other running gadget on the market. As I stood there, of course playing with all of these different devices, I got to thinking, are any of these really necessary, especially for new runners? After some contemplation, I came to one simple conclusion, NO.
I can still remember the first run I ever went on; I had no GPS watch, actually I had no watch at all, no iPod arm band, etc. yet I still loved it. Okay-I didn’t love all of the blisters and achy muscles that resulted from my lack of preparation, but, all in all, I really enjoyed the simplicity of running. That being said, I believe, when it comes to buying gear, new runners should forget about all of the fancy gadgets/accessories out there and focus on the essentials; “a pair of shoes that fits just right”, as Zac Brown would say, anti-moisture socks/apparel, and a foam roller-yep, that’s it!
As runners, our most important piece of equipment is our shoes. These bad boys are what assist us in logging miles and chasing goals. New runners should visit a local running store to have an employee analyze their gait/strike to see what shoe will work best for them. Runners with normal or flat arches usually find support shoes most comfortable, such as the Mizuno Wave Paradox or Wave Inspires, while those with higher arches generally find Neutral shoes most fitting, such as the Mizuno Wave Rider, Sayonara, Prophecy, and Creation. However, every runner is built different, so what works for one runner might not work for another- your local running store can guide you best.
Proper fitting shoes help prevent injury and keep legs feeling fresh.
The next piece of gear every new runner should have is anti-moisture socks. While I know socks are not as glamorous as a GPS watch, they certainly are important; the last thing a new runner wants is to be sidelined by a blister. When shopping for socks, fight the urge to buy that 20 pack of cheap, colorful, cotton socks at Costco and invest in some light, anti-moisture ones, such as the Mizuno DL Comfort series. Made with polypropylene instead of sweat absorbing cotton, these socks wick away moisture and keep feet dry, happy, and blister free.
The final piece of gear every new runner needs is a foam roller. Muscle soreness is inevitable when you start running; heck, ten years later I am still sore just about every day. Foam rolling is a great way to loosen up sore legs, increase flexibility/range of motion, and keep the body feeling strong. No need to fork over $100 for a weekly massage, just spend 10-15 minutes rolling out after each run and reap the benefits.
While these essentials may not seem glamorous or fancy, your body will thank you for investing in them. Don’t worry about pace or distance when starting out; just enjoy the peace of mind and sense of freedom running brings. Happy Running!
Lindsay is a native of Arlington Heights, Ill., where she was a four time prep All-American in cross country and track and field while attending Lake Park High School. After high school Lindsay attended the University of Washington where she majored in Nutrition and Public Health. During her time at UW, Lindsay was an All-American at 10,000m, a four time NCAA XC Nationals participant and ran a 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifying time of 1:13:56 in the Big Sur Half-Marathon. Lindsay trains with Jennifer Bergman, Serena Burla and Sheree Shea in Washington, DC under the guidance of Isaya Okwiya.