Basic Training Gear
- Socks made for running
- Racing shoes
- Water Bottle
- A watch
Bring these items with you to every practice!
Clothing: Our sport is all about maximizing performance, so your clothes, especially your shorts, should never take away from your efforts. If your shorts are so baggy that they restrict your motion or you have to adjust them each time you move, you’re wearing the wrong shorts. Serious athletes wear runner’s length shorts when they train and compete. Be serious. (That said, if you do train in shorter shorts, you might want to wear another longer pair over them when you do auxiliary work). It also helps to have several shirts made of synthetic material that “wicks” away perspiration – this keeps you cooler when it’s hot and warmer when it’s cold.
Socks: are surprisingly important. Runners socks are thin and made from synthetic fibers that don’t absorb sweat, and are either the no-show or just over the ankle style. If you want, these socks can be very expensive, but you can get good runners socks for about $3-4 each, and you’ll be well off with several pair. The key here is to not wear thick athletic socks, or socks made of cotton.
Trainers: Every athlete needs a good pair of trainers or running shoes. (And for clarity’s sake: tennis shoes, skate shoes and basketball shoes are not trainers). The right trainers can be the difference between a great year and injury – so you should get fitted, at least for your first pair, at a specialty running store, like Top Speed Running in La Verne – which offers a discount to GHS athletes. Another, larger option is A Snail’s Pace Running Shop, which has stores in Brea and Pasadena. The people at the store will look at how you run, and recommend the best shoes for you. The reason they do this is that many runners over-pronate when they run, meaning their ankles move excessively inward as they push off. These athletes should wear what are called “stability” trainers. Try on lots of shoes from several brands and do not assume just because you’ve liked your Nike basketball shoes or adidas soccer boots that those brands will be best for you. Be loyal to your feet, not to a brand.
Important Point: Your trainers will wear out after 300-400 miles of running. This often happens before they look worn out. After 300-400 miles, a shoe’s midsole loses it cushioning ability , and when that happens, your shoes will begin to hurt you. This means you should keep careful track of how many miles you’ve run in your shoes. Beginners running relatively few miles might make it through the cross country season with just one pair, but most runners should count on needing two pairs per season, and our top, high mileage runners may go through four pairs.
Other Shoes: In addition to your first pair of trainers, you should also look at buying a second pair of trainers, racing flats, and performance trainers.
A Second Pair of Trainers is good for your feet and your checkbook. The midsoles of running shoes take 24-36 hours to regain their full cushioning ability after a workout, which makes alternating two pairs of trainers a good idea. This also gives your shoes longer to dry if they get wet. Additionally, the shoes will last a little longer if they’re rotated like this, which saves you money. So the ideal scenario would be to buy two pairs of shoes each time you buy, and wear them collectively for 800 miles.
Racing Flats are lightweight shoes (about half the weight of trainers) meant only for racing and very fast training. They’re called “flats” because they lack spikes like the shoes we use for track racing. All of our faster runners will use these, but many of our beginning runners will not. As a general rule, you probably don’t need racers until you’re ready to run faster than 20 minutes for three miles for boys and 23 minutes for girls.
Performance Trainers/Road Racing Flats are kind of a hybrid of regular trainers and XC racing flats, lighter than the former but more cushioned than the latter. Our best runners might want a pair of these for threshold/tempo runs and repeat runs. Some of these shoes are made with stability elements, so runners who over-pronate a lot might want to race in these rather than XC flats.
Buying Options: As noted above, it’s a good idea to get your first pair of trainers at a specialty store, and then decide if you want to keep going back after that. Locally, the big sporting goods stores like Dick’s and Sports Chalet carry trainers and racing flats, but their staff are not always knowledgeable and their selection can be limited, and slanted toward “fashion” trainers not meant for serious runners. Once you know what shoes work for you, buying online or through a catalog is another good option. Eastbay, First to the Finish, VS Athletics and Dick Pond Athletics, Running Warehouse and Road Runner Sports are all major sources for running gear, and they often have deep discounts on the previous year’s models. The online shops all have liberal and cheap (or free) return policies, so it’s a good idea when you’re shopping to order several kinds of shoes and sizes and simply send back the one’s you don’t keep.