Still, there are a few essentials that every runner—even those who prefer to hit the trail unencumbered—need to stay safe and protected from the environment. If you're new to the sport, or just want to freshen up your gear, check out these must-have items.
Polar FT7 Running Watch$119.95 1 of 8
Compared to other watches, the Polar FT7 is affordable and small. The simple-to-use buttons make it easy to use while running. The watch tracks heart rate, training zones, calories burned, speed and distance. You can upgrade the watch with a few additional features from Polar's website and download workouts and training programs.
Shoe ID$19.99 2 of 8
As a beginner, running outside can be a little intimidating. It's a good idea to carry identification with you on the off-chance that an accident occurs. But where will you hold it? That problem is solved with the Shoe ID, a lightweight, Velcro ID that attaches to your running shoe. It includes a 3M reflective strip for high visibility and personalized text.
App for training/loggingFree 3 of 8
C25K app, Nike+ and My Asics are excellent apps for the newbie who wants to track distance, pace, elapsed time and running routes. You can sync your music to your runs and never have to tap out of the app. You can log how you felt each run and include any additional notes about the workout. Extra bonus: Set your goal and a coach will help you throughout your run.
PureGear Sports Armband$39.99 4 of 8
This armband for your iPhone or iPod comes with a sturdy case that fits your phone without having to remove its cover. The armband has a compartment (behind your phone) for you to place ID, credit card, money or a key. It also comes with a cord holder to keep your headphone wires from flopping around as you run. The armband is machine washable, doesn't move when running and remains odor free after more than a dozen runs.
Monster iSport Bluetooth Headphones$249.95 5 of 8
Don't get distracted with wires from your headphones. These wireless earbuds are sweat-proof, stay in place, and feature Pure Monster Sound to provide clear, uninterrupted tunes through your toughest runs. Make sure to use the right size earbuds for a correct fit. After a couple of hours, your ear may feel a bit tender from wearing them, but they stay in place while running. The buds comes in a few color options and have a long-lasting battery life—you can go about a week without charging if you don't use them all day. It also has Apple control talk and a 30-foot wireless range from your phone.
ASICS Thermopolis LT 1/2 Zip$75 6 of 8
It's always a good idea to layer when the weather is a bit chilly. The ASICS Thermopolis LT 1/2 Zip is lightweight and warm. The 92 percent polyester/8 percent Spandex sueded jersey includes a zippered mock neck with protective wind panel and 360-degree reflectivity for safety. The thumbholes keep your hands warm and the sleeves from scrunching up. There's also a storage pocket for your phone, keys, money or ID.
SpiBelt$19.99 7 of 8
The SpiBelt expands to hold anything you may need on your runs—a smartphone, keys, cash, credit cards and even a passport for those international workouts. The belt is easy to adjust, washable and has a sturdy buckle that glides for even the most active users. The comfortable, soft elastic prevents chafing. The SPiBelt comes in a variety of colors.