Monday, 9 March 2015

Best Kit For A Half Marathon

Best Kit For A Half Marathon
The big temptation when you decide to take this on is to go out and buy the big brand names for your kit. After all those big names like Nike, Reebok and Adidas are pretty good at convincing us they have the best kit available.

The reality is you do not need to break the bank to get some simple pieces of kit. If we could say one thing to people it would be this, buy a really good pair of running shoes.
The rest of the kit is not that important to be honest, but getting the right shoes is essential.

Buy Good Running Shoes

Our strong advice would be to avoid cheap trainers or anything like that. You will need comfort and you will need ankle and leg support. You will be putting in a lot of road miles and you will need durability and comfort.

Allow us to pose this question. Do you think everyone has the same running style?

Know Your Running Style

It is an excellent question and when you give it some thought hopefully you have come up with the same answer as us. All runners will have different styles. Have you ever watched a race? Not only do they have different arm movements, hold their shoulders a certain way but their running gait is also quite different.

When some people run they can be quite flat on their feet, whereas others are quite pointed on their toes. The reason we are pointing all of this out is that you need to get the proper running shoes that match your actual running style.

The way your feet contact the ground and how your feet roll when they touch the ground can also contribute to different types of injuries. Therefore you need to get the right shoes for your foot type and running style. There is a very good saying that not all running shoes are created equally.

Picking The Right Shoes - The Gait Test

We had never actually heard of this until me met a mutual friend who runs for an athletic club. He told us about this "gait test" and it uses what is called "Pronation." That is how the foot naturally rolls inwards as your foot hits the ground. When this happens and you heel hits he ground it acts like a shock absorber.

You need shoes that will distribute the force of that impact as you run. Until then we had never heard of this and certainly never realised it was so important. As you can imagine some people suffer from over-pronation when the feet roll inwards too much and under-pronation where they don't roll inwards enough.

Good running shoes are designed with the best support that can deal with either over or under pronation. As a result you will be less injury prone, more comfortable and actually improve your running methods and times.

Good sport's shops and stores will do this gait test for free. Make sure you get this done and we know you will be amazed when you discover the difference. Once you have that done then also make enquiries about the best running shoes for the distance you plan on running.

ASICS GEL Venture 4
The top manufacturers have already done the research on this and have designed running shoes for different running distances. In your case you will want shoes designed for marathon running which would be quite different from spiked sprinting shoes.

The highest selling running shoes comes from a brand called ASICS. That is the same for both men and women. One particular shoe type appears to be the most popular. Personally I do wear shoes from Nike as I have a high instep and they suit me.

The best selling ones are however this ASICS Gel Venture shoe. There are almost 3,000 buyer reviews on these over at Amazon and they have maintained a high average rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars.
That should tell you that these are very good indeed.
Click Here To Read More Amazon Reviews

ASICS Womens Gel Running Shoe
The ladies version of these has sold even more and close to 4,000 women have taken the time to leave a review on these. They have an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars so again a high selling shoe with tremendous reviews.

They come in some pretty amazing colours as you can see. In the main these were made for ladies who have an interest in triathlons, but many ladies use these for general road running and for other fitness activities.

There is little question that these look great, but it is the way they are constructed that is of course the most important thing.

They are easy to get on and take off, are breathable and according to the many buyers are the most comfortable shoes that they have ever worn.
Rather than me talk about these, and as I have never worn them, then check out the reviews for yourself by clicking here.

Running Socks

When trying on running shoes always wear your running socks. This will help you identify the correct size and in the longer term reduce the chances of getting blisters. Another thing we discovered is that your feet swell a little more as they day goes on. The ideal time to try on running shoes is therefore the afternoon.

Don't forget that when you run, your feet will naturally get warmer and expand. You will want to get running shoes that allow for this slight expansion and make you feet as comfortable as they can be.

You should expect a good quality pair of running shoes to last for about 500 miles. This of course will depend on the environment and how well you look after them, but it is a good average guide. Most people will realise that if there are rips, the soles are worn or the stitching is starting to come apart that it is time for a new set.

We don't want to recommend a particular brand as that is personal choice. The important issue here is to have supportive running shoes that are good quality. When you enter the half-marathon and arrive at the start, then you will see every brand under the sun. As long as the shoes you have are the proper ones for you that is all that really matters.

We would recommend not scrimping on cost for this most important piece of running kit. That said you don't have to spend a crazy amount of money. They will get a lot of use so make sure that you get the best that you can afford.

We have spent quite a lot of time on shoes so let's move on to the other parts of your running kit. There are not that many and some of them are optional. In many cases the kit required will come down to the weather conditions of when you are training and plan to run your half marathon. Just a quick reminder that you do not need to go crazy and buy a lot of expensive kit.

Running Socks

We have discussed the shoes so let's deal with the socks. There are a few different types available including ones that come just above the ankles and other ones that draw up to just below the knees. These longer types are referred to as compression socks, and their main purpose is to improve blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue in the calf muscles.

We would usually go for the ankle type socks, but if you have known muscular problems in the calf area, then compression socks are a very good idea. Please don't worry about what other people may wear. You should only ever be concerned about which type of socks work best for you.

Avoid cotton socks as they absorb any type of moisture. Something as simple as running through a puddle, sweating or even rain will be absorbed by a cotton material. That does a couple of things, namely, makes your socks wet and heavy and also tends to make them bunch up. Neither of these are what you want when running for long periods of time.

Check out the labels on any socks you plan to buy and mixed fabrics are best. Don't be frightened to ask for advice as good sport's shops will know and understand what you are talking about. One thing we always look out for is the position of seams or stitching.

By their nature these will cause rubbing, and fif they are in a place where there is going to be a lot of movement, then these will over time irritate the skin. You want socks that will avoid blisters or any form of chaffing.

Best Running Socks for Men

According to all the reviews that I have read these performance "no show" socks from a brand known as Saucony tend to get the best reviews.
You get 6 pairs for around $18-20 which given their quality is pretty decent value for money.

They get good ratings with an average 4.6 out of 5 stars

Best Running Socks for Women

For ladies the most popular are these low cut socks from the brand ASICS.

There are plenty of great reviews about these and they enjoy an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars.

They cost on average about $4 a pair and around $12 for the three pack, and you can buy them in different colors.

You can read more buyer reviews by clicking here

Other Running Kit

Wet Weather - Running Jacket
All Weather - shorts, t-shirt, base layer, socks, vests
Cold Weather - hat gloves tights
Bags and Belts - store water, store gel packs, store energy bars, store keys and phone.

Just remember, there is no need to splash out a fortune on expensive running gear. Your main focus should be on getting good quality shoes and socks. After that the rest of your kit is basically to have the look that you want. If your feet and legs are well supported that is the key thing to focus on.