What running gear do I need?

They say one of the best things about running is that you don’t need much gear. Which is true – you really only need running shoes and (maybe) a watch. But most runners will tell you that once you start picking up gear, it’s a whole new world out there.

As far as what you actually “need,” there really isn’t much beyond a decent pair of running shoes, clothing suited for running or exercising, and a watch. But if you want a little extra, here are some recommendations:

  • Technical clothing. If at all possible, do not wear cotton. Cotton absorbs moisture and holds on to it. Technical clothing absorbs moisture and then dries quickly. Clothing made with 37.5 Technology actually pulls the moisture before you start forming sweat, keeping you even drier.
  • GPS Watch. If you are just running for time, a regular watch will do the trick. But if you want a little help tracking distance or pace, pick up a GPS watch. Popular brands include Suunto and Garmin, as well as the Apple watch.
  • Headphones or earbuds. Lots of people listen to music while they run. You can download music onto your phone, use Pandora or Spotify, or stick with an iPod, but you’ll need something to listen to it with.
  • Hydration and Fuel. If you are running for more than an hour or it’s really hot outside, you might want to get something like a water bottle or hydration pack to carry water and/or fuel (gels, blocks, and chews).
  • RoadID. It’s not technically gear, but no runner should ever leave the house without one of these. It’s a small metal ID that goes on your shoelace or you can wear as a bracelet and has all the pertinent info (emergency contact, allergies, etc.) in the event that something happened to you.

Depending on what time of day you run, you may also want to pick up: sunglasses, a hat or visor, a headlamp or light.

What gear would you add to this list?