5 Must-Have Exercise Gear All First-Timer Runners Should Get
With the renewed focus on staying fit during this season and shaking off the work-from-home, many Singaporeans are taking to the outdoors and embarking on the healthy sport of running. While running requires the least amount of investment, a proper set of running equipment will serve you greatly when it comes to improving performance, recovery, and comfort; while reducing your fatigue and risk of injury. Here are 6 pieces of must-have exercise gear for newcomers to running, that you can easily pick up at running shops in Singapore.
- Running Shoes
Arguably the most essential piece of running equipment, a proper pair of running shoes in Singapore goes a long way in enhancing your performance. There are three key types of running: trail, track, and road running. Trail running involves running off-road on changing terrain, while track running is usually done on proper stadium and sports tracks, and road running is generally for long distances on a pre-set path.
A major decision to make is choosing between cushioning or weight. Shoes with heavier cushioning may feel heavier but offer greater support, making them better for new runners or those with heavier gaits. Lightweight shoes are preferred by performance athletes for their enhanced motion, but tend to be suited more to track and road running. Another thing to consider is your foot type, which can be either a neutral, flat, or high arch. This impacts your degree of pronation, and is an important consideration for the right pair of running shoes.
It is essential to pick a pair of running shoes that is a perfect fit for your feet, so as to reduce chafing. Many shops that sell running shoes in Singapore have experienced staff to help evaluate your feet and running style. They will analyse your gait as you run on a treadmill, before helping you to choose the most ideal pair of shoes for your running needs. A simple rule of thumb is that a good pair of running shoes should last from 500 to 750km, dependent on your degree of usage.
- Running Shorts
In addition to running shoes, running shorts provide a major boost to both performance and comfort when running. Properly designed running shorts are meant to complement your running style, be it allowing for greater range of motion, reducing recovery time and injury through greater support, or simply greater convenience and protection through ample pocket space and protection from the elements.
Running shorts come in three general designs: V-notch, split, and compression. V-notch shorts have a V-shaped cutout on the shorts’ exterior leg seams, allowing a versatile range of motion and flexibility and being suited to a variety of running styles. Split shorts have a cut seam and overlapping fabric on the side, offering the greatest range of motion of legs, making them perfect for performance-focused athletes. Compression shorts are tight-fitting and hug one’s legs, offering superior stretching and effectively preventing chafing, making them ideal for long-distance runners.
Running shorts can also be measured by length as well: short (3-inch), medium (5-inch), and long (7-inch). Ideally, short-length shorts are best for performance and short-distance running, medium-length shorts offer versatility and all around flexibility for running, and long-length shorts are ideal for trail running due to extra protection, as well as the space for pockets to carry essential items.
- Running Tops
Just as a good pair of running shorts makes your runs a comfortable affair, a good and comfortable running top from a running shop in Singapore can greatly improve your running experience. Running tops come in three types: tank tops, short sleeved, and long sleeved. In our hot and humid conditions, tank tops and short sleeved tops are the most popular, due to their flexibility and enhanced cooling.
Running tops are usually made from synthetic fibres or a mix of synthetic-cotton blends. This helps them to be more breathable and offer improved moisture management instead of soaking up sweat like regular cotton clothing. This is particularly important for long-distance runners, who can often get hampered by sweaty clothing and reduce their performance. Choosing a top that has a good fit also helps to reduce chafing and improve general comfort.
If running in low-light conditions or along the sides of roads, you may also want to consider tops with high visibility, such as reflective strips or brighter colours to allow motorists to notice your presence earlier and reduce risk of accidents.
- Running Socks
While less obvious, running socks go hand-in-hand with a good pair of running shoes in Singapore to complement your running performance. Similar to running shorts and tops, running socks are often made from synthetic materials such as polyester and acrylic. Picking the right type of running socks helps to improve moisture control and reduce friction, which leads to less painful blisters, chafing, as well as improving comfort.
Running socks also vary in length, ranging from no-show to knee-highs. They also can be either thin or thick; with thin socks offering a better road feel while thicker socks offer extra cushioning and better blister protection. Many running socks also feature a tighter weave in the midfoot area, preventing them from slipping while you are running. Above all, it is crucial to pick a pair of running socks that are a good fit to your shoes, preventing blisters while ensuring maximal comfort.
- Running Watches
More than just a way to track your steps, running watches are packed with a myriad of features to help runners monitor their performance, and can be easily found at many running shops in Singapore. They range from simple fitness trackers to GPS watches and heart rate monitors, and come in a variety of colours and designs to suit runners’ tastes and preferences.
Do consider your budget and your immediate needs for running. Amateur runners may prefer to start off with a fitness tracker that measures steps, distance, and calories; while long-distance runners may prefer GPS watches to analyse pace, cadence, and elevation, particularly for trail runners. Lastly, heart-rate monitors help to track your pulse throughout your run, allowing you to measure statistics such as VO2 max, oxygen consumption, and recovery rate to push your performance.