5 Running Gear Picks for Spring

3. Running Socks

The one thing runners want from a pair of socks is comfort. The Drymax Maximum Protection Running Sock provides the most comfortable ride of any pair of socks I've tried. It's made with Teflon-like fabrics that help keep blisters at bay by reducing friction and getting rid of moisture.

The Drymax Maximum Protection socks are very well-padded and provide an extra bit of cushioning which makes long runs more comfortable. At approximately $25, they are a bit on the pricey side. But a little extra comfort can go a long way, especially if you're in the midst of marathon or half marathon training.

More: How to Improve Your Half Marathon Training

4. Hydration Systems

With the warmer spring weather comes an increased need to stay properly hydrated. On long runs in particular, the most convenient option is to wear a the running hydration belt, giving you access to fluids as you go. Ideally, a hydration system should allow room for a few other things as well, such as gel packs, your car keys and some emergency cash. Above all, it has to be relatively lightweight and comfortable to wear, especially for longer runs.

There are a few hydrations belts to choose from.  Those manufactured by Nathan and FuelBelt seem to be the most popular brands.  I own a FuelBelt and it is exceptionally comfortable.  After trying out a few systems, I chose this one because it doesn't bounce. Also, the breathable thermafoam belt wicks moisture away and allows more air movement to prevent chafing and minimize discomfort.

Another important feature to look for in a hydration belt is a zipper or velcro pocket.  A pocket is great for carrying your gel packs, keys, some emergency cash or even a cell phone. This makes it an ideal companion for long runs. I never have to worry about being stranded without fuel or a way to get home.

5. Music Players

Listening to music while you run helps the time go by faster, keeps you motivated, and even helps you run faster. Just remember to keep the volume low enough so that you can hear the sounds of traffic and the world around you as well.

More: Can Music Make You a Better Runner?

The Sony S2 Sports Walkman is perhaps the lightest and most runner-friendly music player on the market. The best feature that I've found is the Music Pacer, which automatically matches the music selection to your running speed. Very cool.

The S2 also uses your height and weight to track your number of calories burned. It also comes with a built-in pedometer, which, while it's not as useful for serious runners, is a nice feature for walkers and beginners.     

The cylindrical design is about the same size and shape as a marker, making it a very lightweight addition to your running apparel which is great for faster runs when you don't want to be carrying any more weight than necessary.

Armed with this new gear, you'll be ready to face the spring running season with a fresh outlook and renewed determination. The added comfort and safety might be just the boost you're looking for as you shed the winter gear and get ready for something new. 

More: Breathing Tips for New Runners

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