The Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon & 5K is just a few weeks away, and you’re probably in serious preparation mode at this point, squeezing in runs whenever you can. If you haven’t done a race before or haven’t participated in this one, you’re probably wondering (and maybe worrying a bit!) about what you’ll need. Here’s a rundown of my personal gear tips, both general and race-specific.
Keep It Simple
I don’t run in fancy or expensive clothing, but I do like it to be fitted. You don’t have to spend much on running clothing: I have a couple of pairs of shorts for the summer, pants for the winter, and I usually wear tees I’ve gotten from racing events. When it’s cold I wear a lightweight pullover and a light running hat which I’ll pull down over my ears if they’re chilly (I don’t like to wear ear muffs). On my hands I usually wear the glove inserts from my ski gloves, or just pull down my sleeves. Sports Basement is where I do all my shopping, because it’s a wonderful organization that supports our community. It’s a center for meetings, classes, group exercise starting points, and even emergency bathroom breaks. And the staff is very friendly.
Take Care of Your Feet
I do spend money on good shoes; that’s very important to me and my feet. If you’re a beginner runner or haven’t run in years, don’t dig up your old gym shoes or Converses. Go to a running specialty store and get your foot and running style evaluated so you can purchase shoes that are right for your feet. It’s a great investment! I also wear a good pair of snug running socks. It’s very irritating if they’re loose and you have to constantly pull them up during the run.
Gearing up for the Half, I like to wear light clothing because I find that I get warm pretty quickly. I wear shorts and a short sleeved tee or tank top. If it’s cold or looks like rain, I’ll wear tight-fitting running pants and a light zip-up jacket over my shirt; light enough to take off and tie around my waste without it feeling heavy. I don’t suggest wearing a sweatshirt or sweatpants; they’re too bulky and may weigh you down. (You may not feel it the first couple miles, but by mile five or six, you’ll feel like chucking it!) I choose running shorts or pants that have a zipper for a phone and ID. You should always have your ID when you’re out running, and carrying a phone is a really good idea as well.
Choose Your Water Strategy
Personally, I don’t wear a water belt because I don’t like the bulkiness of a belt, and I stop at every water station. However, I’ve worn one at some races and the advantage to wearing a belt is that you have water available whenever you’re thirsty and you don’t have to stop at the stations with everyone else. It’s a personal preference, so do whatever is easiest for you.
Good luck, have fun, and see you out there!