I will start off by saying, that every individual's preference for running gear may vary. But the most important thing, by far, when starting towards a goal of a long-distance race, is having a plan. I started with a 12 week guide from Hal Higdon for my first races. I mapped out what I needed to do each day for 12 weeks on my calendar, and I did my best to stick to it. Of course things happen like bad weather, important events, and overall just life that can get in the way. At the beginning of each week I would look at the radar and try to flex my longer distance runs around what was going to work best for me that upcoming week. I also listened to my body and as the training amped up, I made sure I was nourishing myself, staying hydrated, and getting in plenty of stretching.
Aside from planning, here's a list of my favorite gear:
Airpods (+ a reliable music source that doesn't require internet)
Brooks Running Shoes
The North Face Vest
Old Navy Powersoft Leggings
ROAD ID Phone App
Now you might question if Airpods are worth the hype. For me, 100% yes. I struggled with finding headphones that would stay in my ears, and there's nothing more distracting than having your headphones falling out while you're in the middle of a race. Additionally, make sure you have music available that is already loaded to your phone. It's quite unfortunate to be standing at the starting line, unable to get your playlist going because you're surrounded by so many people that you don't have service. Next up is some type of a distance tracker. I have had a Garmin watch for over 5 years and that bad boy is so durable, accurate, and has a long battery life! I just recently upgraded to a newer Garmin with more technology features and a little bit of a sleeker look, but I still continue to use both.
As for shoes, I am a loyal Brooks customer. I have had many pairs of The Revel, but I recently tried out The Adrenaline GTS and I am also a fan of these. Shoes are definitely going to vary depending on the shape of your foot. I recommend finding out what type of an arch you have and looking at the shoe description on the website for what suites your needs. Pro-tip: if you're really not sure where to start, try on the shoes in a store, but then order online! I keep an eye out for when the newest lines have dropped and then the previous season's shoes are usually discounted. Good socks go hand in hand with good shoes. I have come to love Bombas socks. They are incredibly comfortable, they have the tab that protects my ankles from blisters, and they give a pair of socks to those in need for every pair purchased!
My use of the next three items on the list somewhat varies with the weather. I've tried out numerous other options and these are what have stuck for me. I've had my North Face vest for a few years, and it's still one of my favorite items. It's great for blocking the wind and helping you stay warm, but doesn't overheat you as your body warms up. I also grab this often because then I can put items like my phone or keys in the zipper pockets. If it's too warm for a vest, I grab my old running armband to keep my phone on me. Again, if it's too warm for my North Face vest, I tend to grab my Old Navy Powersoft leggings or bike shorts with side pockets. These come in handy for holding my car keys! I've tried out many brands of leggings - the expensive ones, the Amazon ones. I still grab the Powersofts for runs. I love the high waist, they don't fall down, and the fabric just feels good.
Last, but not least. I will never go for a run without having my phone on me. I downloaded the ROAD ID app as a precaution for safety, a few years ago. I would also recommend some other type of protection that you are comfortable with, such as pepper spray, a taser, a whistle, etc.
I hope you are all enjoying the spring weather as much as I am! Let me know what your favorite gear is or any recommendations you have for me to try! Here's a link to see the items I've talked about: https://www.amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/2FOOBZS4QL0OC