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Six must-haves for the rookie marathon runner

The marathon season is officially in high gear with the Kaveri trail marathon in September and the Bengaluru marathon in October. If you’ve been running for a while, you’ll probably own a version of most of these items, but if you’re a beginner, this list should get you on the right track and help you enjoy years of safe and rewarding running.

Although experienced runners prefer thin-soled shoes, trainers recommend cushioned running shoes for beginners. A good running shoe that cushions your foot and enhances your running technique is possibly the most important thing a runner needs. Try on a range of shoes across different brands, styles and sizes and zero in on one that you feel most comfortable in. Avoid running in shoes that aren’t specifically designed for running.

Moisture wicking apparel moves sweat away from your skin to the outer surface of the fabric, where it evaporates. Unlike cotton, which gets heavy and damp when you sweat, these feel light, cool and comfortable against the skin. Do keep in mind, moisture wicking clothing poses a challenge when it comes to cleaning. We suggest you soak it in water before actually washing it.

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If you have started a training programme, a specialised sports watch will be of great use. Being able to see patterns in your training can help identify mistakes — such as, do you set off too fast and tire easily? Structured, timed laps will allow you to evaluate yourself and get the most out of your session.

Unless you’re a man, there is no reason for not wearing a sports bra while running. Once the breast tissue is stretched, it is impossible for it to go back to its original shape. Opt for a bra that has been designed for high-impact activities and pick ones that have a moulded cup. Men can use band-aid to avoid the common problem of nipple chafing.

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A quality running waist pack is among the most important gear choices a runner can make — the right belt will allow you to carry essentials such as your mobile phone, a bottle of water and first-aid on long runs while evenly distributing weight and causing minimal disturbance.

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Whether they are training programs, running and fitness trackers or even calorie counters, running apps will keep you motivated and track your sessions, your diet and the number of kilometres you run during training. We suggest Mytracks, C25K, Strava, Nike+ and Runkeeper to get into marathon-ready shape.

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