I’ve been running since 2010, and it’s one of the best hobbies I’ve ever picked up. Outside of some essential gear, it’s free to run so that’s even better! I love running when traveling as it allows me to see a new city. When I was in Chicago for Apple’s last education event, I even ran with some of the 9to5Mac crew. When you are starting a running hobby, there is some essential gear that makes it easier, so I wanted to list some of my favorites. Do you have anything to add? List them in the comments if so! Head below for more.

Run Tracking Apps |

I am a big believer in that what gets measured gets done. If you aren’t tracking your run, I don’t think you’ll be as motivated to keep moving when it gets tough. There are two ways that I recommend tracking your runs: a smartphone and/or Apple Watch.

If you are using a smartphone, I recommend Runkeeper. I’ve been using Runkeeper since 2010, and it has every run I’ve ever done. It’s easy to use and is continually updated to take advantage of the latest APIs from Apple and Google. When you launch the app, you can quickly start running with just a tap of a button. Outside of the actual running screen, the app offers access to all of your past running stats, your community running feed (what your friends are doing), and your goals/training plans.

 

If you want to use your Apple Watch to track your runs, I recommend Workouts++. It’s a free app, so you should try it. Workouts++ lives up to its name. It takes everything about the built-in Workout app and improves upon it. My most loved thing about this app is how you can build custom displays for your watch. You could have a “speed run” display along with a “distance run” display. On the speed run, for example, you might focus on current pace versus overall distance. One of the reasons I think Workouts++ is the best standalone running app is that it’s not trying to be an ecosystem. It wants to integrate nicely with the built-in watchOS and iOS activity information. Outside of having a different icon in the Activity app, you’d never know you were using a third-party app. You can use an app like HealthFit or RunGap to send Workouts++ / Activity app workouts into apps like Runkeeper, Strava, etc.

 

One of the key features of Workouts++ is podcast integration. In my use of the app, I don’t think of Workouts++ as an Overcast replacement, but I use it to catch up on a particular show while I am running.

If neither of those apps looks appealing, check out Zombies, Run!.

Only a few have survived the zombie epidemic. You are a Runner en-route to one of humanity’s last remaining outposts. They need your help to gather supplies, rescue survivors, and defend their home. And you have another mission — one they don’t know about…

As you run, you’ll pick up supplies, hear the story, and…avoid being bitten by zombies. There are 200+ missions, so you’ll have plenty to do!

Running Gear |

Shoes

The first thing you need to buy after setting up your apps is a good pair of shoes. Your regular tennis shoes may seem okay in the beginning, but as you start to ramp up your miles, you’ll feel why running shoes are a product category. Bottom line: runners need running shoes.

My favorite running shoes are the Hoka One One Conquests. A few years ago, the trend was moving towards minimalist running shoes. Now, the direction is swinging back the other way with extremely thick shoes. The midsole is around 2.5 times the volume of standard running shoes, and I can tell! It feels like I am running on pillows. If you want a more traditional shoe, the Nike Pegasus brand is always a safe bet.

Not a Fanny Pack

Especially in the summer, I never like to be without my runner’s pouch (not a fanny pack). I use it to keep water around my waist for hot summer runs, but also to store my iPhone and my keys. I prefer storing my iPhone in this over an armband because I can leave my case on. If you are planning on doing some very long runs, be sure to check out a runner’s backpack. The most important thing when running is to stay hydrated. Even not considering safety issues, you’ll have a better run if you are hydrated.

Night Running

If you enjoy at dawn or dusk to avoid the heat, be sure to wear a reflective vest so cars can easily see you. They are generally lightweight so you never even know they are on.

Wrap Up |

This list is my recommended essential gear. Summer is a great time to start a running program. Just make sure that you avoid the heat of the day. Don’t feel like you need to start off running five miles. Start slow and work your way up. If you can only run a half a mile, then do that. Slowly start running longer, and I promise you’ll eventually begin to enjoy it. Even after eight years of running, the first mile is still the worst. Lace up your sneakers and get moving!

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