Your Guide for Running Essentials
Proper footwear is obviously of utmost importance to any runner. You'll want to look beyond just aesthetic appeal when shopping for a good pair of running shoes, as different runners may have very different footwear needs depending on foot structure, running motion, fitness level, and other factors. Consider the different types of running shoes:
- Offers the softest midsoles, providing extra shock absorption, which allows for lasting comfort during long runs.
- Lacks medial support
- Appropriate for runners with a high to normal arch who do not overpronate.
- Will generally have a medial post or dual density midsole, providing support under the arch.
- Appropriate for runners with a moderately flat to normal arch who tend to overpronate.
- Less cushioning than a normal running shoe creating a lighter and more responsive option.
- Allows the experience of barefoot running while providing light cushioning and protection from the road.
- Women's shoes weigh 10 oz and below
- Men's Shoes weigh 12.2 oz and below
- Offer minimal cushion on the bottom of the shoe and there is very little room between your foot and the ground.
- Minimal motion control allows the muscles in the foot to strengthen.
- If you want to start barefoot running, do it gradually. If the runner starts off by doing too much in the beginning, injuries can occur in your feet, calves, and hamstrings.
Heart Rate Monitors
A heart rate monitor is an electronic device used to check a person's heart rate during exercise. Heart rate monitors are available in two different styles:
A wireless heart rate monitor gives a continuous read that is displayed as beats per minute (BPM), and has a chest strap/belt that fits just below the chest and includes a wrist unit. The strap has a series of electrodes that detect ECG, the electric signal produced by the heart. This signal is sent to the wrist unit where the user can view it. General features and characteristics of wireless heart rate monitors include:
- Good for any level of intensity
- Give more detailed information and feedback than wrist-only monitors
- Provide accurate measurement of calories burned
- Provide continuously accurate heart rate, taken directly from the heart
- Transmitters can be either water resistant or waterproof
- Most transmitters come with coded signals, meaning no interference from other monitors that may be nearby
Note: Some users may find the chest strap uncomfortable.
Wrist-only heart rate monitor systems include a unit that is worn on the wrist and has an electrode sensor. To check heart rate, the user places a finger on the wrist unit sensor and it reads and displays the current heart rate. Some key features and benefits of wrist-only heart rate monitors:
- Accuracy and ease in monitoring workout sessions
- Monitors the user's fitness and offers a tailored workout
- Prevents under and over training
- Gives user the ability to pace himself/herself during a race
- Eliminates need for a chest strap
- Good for walking and weight training
- Ease of use
Some disadvantages of wrist-only monitors:
- User may have to change cadence and rhythm, or stop exercising, in order to check heart rate
- Heart rate reading is "on demand"; user must press fingers against watch face
- Does not show a continuous display
- May not be ideal for cardio workouts
What heart rate monitor is right for you?
You should choose a heart rate monitor based on your exercise activities and needs. Consider which of the two basic activity groups you fit into:
- People who workout in a gym setting
- People who are looking to lose weight
- People who are looking to get healthier
If you fall into this group, you should pick a heart rate monitor that: 1) has target zones (BPM and %BPM), 2) calculates and displays calories burned during exercise, and 3) is easy to use and understand.
Running and Multi-sport group
- People who run, indoors or out
- People who are training for an event
- People who participate in more than one sport and/or activity (running, biking, swimming)
If you fall into this group, you should pick a heart rate monitor that: 1) has multiple target zones, 2) has a stopwatch that displays laps and splits, 3) has an interval trainer, and 4) has downloading capabilities.