The well documented enthusiasm behind running during the lockdown has brought with it a plethora of its’ own challenges. The ‘Run 5 Share 5’ trend that took off during lockdown 1 in the UK saw people look to challenge themselves and their friends to running over a set distance.
Naturally, the competitor inside begins to question; just how much faster can I go?
We’re going to take a look at some of the bare essentials required to reduce your time on the road by increasing your performance.
The most important thing when it comes to running equipment is that of your shoes. As we discussed in a previous article, the sizing of these shoes is paramount to performance and do not expect shoes to all fit in the same way. The Nike Vaporfly fits differently to the Adidas UltraBoost and even the Nike Pegasus. The Salomon SpikeCross for the trail runners has a different mould to that of the Inov-8 Roadclaw.
Finding the right mould for you, your feet size, shape and running style will be crucial to you shaving off those all-important seconds. A serious consideration is the amount of running you will be doing during your training. Having shoes that can take the impact that comes with the repetitive nature of running will be vital to ensuring that you get value for money with your purchase but also to avoid the dreaded injury threat that looms over runners.
Ensuring you have socks that fit well to the shape of your foot and do not slip during exercise will also be crucial to avoiding painful blisters. Whilst the traditional sporting companies have a wealth of options to choose from, the Lululemon range or the Runderwear range, official partner of England Athletics, offer great entrance level socks for runners.
Especially during the winter months, safety is paramount when out on the roads and visibility becomes the number one priority. Sporting powerhouses Adidas, Nike and Under Armour have a plethora of running attire options whilst specialist running company Asics have a comprehensive range of running clothing to suit all ages, sizes and abilities.
The most prominent feature of any runners’ wardrobe is that of lycra and world-renowned specialists in compression 2XU provide a wealth of options for both men and women of all ages, sizes and abilities. Compression clothing has long been proven to aid physical performance as well as recovery options. With a number of products to maintain warmth, provide reflective safety equipment and increase the speed at which muscles can recover, compression equipment, whether upper or lower body, is a must-buy for all runners serious about their time on the roads.
With the size of smartphones appearing to be on an increasingly large ascending scale over recent years, running with it in hand can often be frustrating and uncomfortable. A smartphone holder with easy and comfortable access can often be a crucial addition to a runners’ arsenal and the Freetrain running harness provides a great alternative to gripping your phone tightly throughout your runs. A one-size-fits-all harness that allows for a holder for phones, cards and keys, along with a reflective banner for additional safety provides an ideal hands-free solution to running. An alternative essentials purchase from MyProtein provides an armband in which your one can securely fit for just £10. Whilst you cannot see the screen as clearly as with the Freetrain harness, it provides a fantastic and secure method of running hands-free whilst not breaking the bank. Not all additional running accessories however are necessary to purchase individually as a number of alternative products provide additional benefits such as running tights with specific key or card holders factored in.
Now, if we’re going to be competitive with ourselves, the timing is everything. There can be no more frustrating feeling than finishing a great run to see your stopwatch never started or your smartwatch has tracked your run incorrectly.
Nowadays, apps can integrate seamlessly with each other, providing you with a wide range of options for recording your run accurately. If utilising your phone, Strava, MapMyRun and Nike Running Club provide detailed and accurate recordings whilst offering local leaderboards, suggested routes and average splits.
Smart devices such as the Apple Watch, Garmin, FitBit Sense and more all help to log runs and record changes over time to allow you to monitor your speed changes and kilometres run, as well as vital health information such as your heart rate and recovery rate immediately after exercise. Opportunities to be competitive amongst friends can help provide you with the motivation to push yourself further and harder than you have before. Most smart watches and apps provide the option for goals throughout a certain time-period. This could be in the format of the number of km run, the amount of time exercising in a given day or the amount of calories you are looking to burn. Looking to see a consistent element of growth or success in any given period will translate to an overall healthier lifestyle, higher level of basic fitness and subsequently a better chance at decreasing your running times. Keep your eyes peeled for our article specifically focusing on sports tracking apps.
Whilst there can be no substitute for a detailed and regimented training plan, there can be no denying that supporting your goals with the specific equipment required to succeed can aid your performance. Buying all of the latest equipment and gadgets will absolutely not guarantee you a quicker time on your runs but it may just set you on the right path.
As with all fitness challenges, moderation is key and maintaining a consistent effort throughout is vital to seeing those times decrease. Investing a small amount of time in researching the best-suited equipment ranges for you and your running style however can go a long way towards setting you up for success!