Kit Essentials for Beginner Runners

Many people think of running as a “pick up and go” activity, but any seasoned athlete will tell you that it’s not that easy! Just as you would need a good tennis racket to pick up tennis or rock-climbing shoes to pick up rock climbing, there are certain pieces of gear that will help you ease into your running journey and set you up for success. We call this collection of gear your “runner’s kit” - the stuff that you simply can’t (or at least shouldn’t!) do without. We asked our BlackToe Running staff and community members what they consider to be kit essentials for any beginner runner - here’s what they had to say!

New-to-Running Must Have Gear

  1. Running Shoes. We can’t say this enough: running shoes are different from everyday walking shoes! There is a lot going on under the laces, including support structures, different levels of cushioning, unique types of foam, stability features... we could go on and on! Before you start hitting the pavement in a pair of old trainers, visit us for a professional assessment. Our experienced staff will analyze your stride, alignment, arch and foot shape, chat about your injury history and running goals, and fit you for the perfect pair of running shoes.
  2. Training Plan. While it’s true that virtually anyone can just start running, hitting the streets of Toronto without any type of training plan is often a source of discouragement and injury for many new runners. Running is a challenging (yet rewarding!) sport, and many people are surprised by how their bodies respond to those first few runs. You’ll have a significantly better chance of reaching your goals and avoiding injury by following a training plan. Visit us at the store to chat, or check out our BlackToe Run Club, which comes with all of the training and support you need to start your journey on the right foot.
  3. Sports Bra. When it comes to comfort and health, a good sports bra is equally as important as a good pair of running shoes for women. A typical yoga-style sports bra does not offer the same type of support as a running-specific sports bra. Athletics companies like New Balance & Nike have put years of research and innovation into their products, making real changes to the way women experience sports. Not sure about your size? No problem - come by the store for an expert fitting!
  4. Technical Clothing. What you need will change depending on the season, but you’ll want a few pieces of technical gear to start. Cotton tees and socks can get soaked in sweat, causing chafing, blisters and uncomfortable runs. Opt for a few pieces that feature sweat-wicking technology, and are made from fibres designed to support the body during high-impact activities. In the summer, a pair of bounce-proof polarized sunglasses and a breathable hat will help shield you from the sun’s harsh rays. If you’re taking on winter running (it’s fun - you should!), come chat with our staff about dressing in layers and picking pieces designed to keep you warm and dry during Canada’s toughest months.
  5. Hydration. You’re going to sweat while you run - a lot. Even in cool weather, runners tend to lose a lot of water over just short distances, leading to fatigue, upset stomach and headaches. Set out for every run with a running-specific bottle or hydration system. Compared to a basic plastic bottle, hydration flasks are easy to hold, offer extra pockets to store keys or your ID, and will help keep you hydrated during your workouts so that you can perform your best.

Bonus: Fun-to-Have Gear!

We’re not going to lie: there is a lot of fun gear out there in the world of running! Though these items didn’t make our “kit essentials” list, they are still things that can certainly elevate your running experience - especially as you start logging more mileage:

  • GPA training watch - Garmin & Coros are absolute favourites among runners!
  • Recovery gear for sore muscles, like the incredibly popular R8 by Roll Recovery (exclusively available in the GTA at BlackToe Running) and Oofos, Birkenstock and Hoka recovery sandals.
  • Nutrition - when you start hitting 60-minutes of continuous running, come chat with us about sports nutrition options for fuelling your workouts, like GU and Maurten.

Visit us at BlackToe Running for all of Your Kit Essentials

We know there is a lot to think about, but that’s why the BlackToe Running team is here to help. We love to talk about all things running, and have years of experience helping runners of all levels reach their goals as safely and pain-free as possible. Whether you need our expertise for your first running shoe assessment or simply want to talk about how your first few weeks have been progressing, we’d love to meet you. Give us a call, or stop by either of our the stores to stock up on your kit essentials!