Essential Gear for Serious Runners
Some runners plan their entire year around a spring marathon -- which means their mileage is put in during the coldest months of winter and their taper begins as the temperatures warm. For most people, however, the coming of spring signifies the time to get outside and put down some big miles on the roads and trails. Following are this year's most essential gear for all your running adventures.
Shoes for Road Running
The trend in running shoes is certainly moving towards more and more minimal designs. As a result, there are dozens of new minimal and ultra-minimal models on the market this spring as companies race to fill the niche. One company, however, has taken a bold move in the opposite direction. Hoka One One offers a truly innovative line of shoes that emphasize maximal cushioning and protection. The amazing thing about these unusual-looking shoes is that they manage to balance weight as well. A men's size 9 Bondi B -- seen above -- weighs only 11 ounces, making it a great choice for long road running and non-technical trails.
Shoes for Trail Running
The Bondi B may be great for some gentle trails but more technical terrain demands a more aggressive shoe. This season, a Utah-based company called Altra has released a zero-drop mountain shoe with ultra-runners in mind. The Altra Lone Peak is a light-weight, low-profile, zero-drop trail shoe that still offers substantial protection and the cushioning ultra-distance trail races demand.
Ultimate Trail Socks
After shoes, socks may be the most important consideration for runners. After all, if our feet aren't happy, we can't keep moving. The Drymax Trail Socks form a protective, fast-drying layer between sensitive skin and the tough trail. Their popularity among ultra-running's elite really says it all.
Shorts for the Long Haul
For lots of runners, spring and summer weekends are dominated by long runs. Whether that means 50 miles in the mountains or a few hours around town before grabbing coffee, one thing is always the same: Runners need a place to keep their stuff. Dorky as they may look, the RaceReady LD V-Notch Shorts have all the functional carrying capacity a runner could want -- and then some.
Spring Running Jacket
If there is one inevitability of spring running it's rain. This season, Nike has an ultra-light running jacket, the Hurricane Vapor Jacket, that repels water and blocks wind, too. It can get the job done on rainy morning jogs and is light enough to tie around the waist as insurance during fast forays into the mountains.
When it comes to drinking on the move, there is nothing as fast or versatile as a handheld bottle. Quick to sip from and very fast to refill, these bottles are ideal in long races. This season, give an old classic -- the Ultimate Direction FastDraw Plus -- a try.
Running Packs for Really Long Adventures
As great as handhelds are, long unsupported journeys require more gear than a single bottle and pair of pocket shorts can handle. For these trips, a running pack is essential. The Ultraspire Surge was designed in cooperation with elite athletes and is guaranteed to keep up no matter how fast the pace gets.
Gels, sports drinks, and vitamins are all great -- and subject to personal preferences -- but there is one thing that is essential for hot-weather running: electrolytes. The reigning favorite are the classic Succeed S!Caps. These powerful pills help with preparation, performance, and recovery in the heat like nothing else. So there you have it -- this season's essential running kit. Now it's time to gear up, tighten those laces, and get after it!
See More Spring Gear Guides from Discovery.com:
Spring Gear Guide: 8 Essentials for Runners Spring Gear Guide: Best Camera Backpacks Spring Gear Guide: Essential Hiking Tools and Gadgets Spring Gear Guide: 10 Essential Gadgets And Tools For Cycling
Check out all of our Spring Gear Guides here!