The Gear You Need for Track Season

Two girls run around an outdoor track.

Pre-meet pasta dinners, rowdy team bus rides, squeezing in homework wherever possible and running in what seems like an endless amount of circles can only mean one thing – it’s track season!

Whether you run track to stay in shape for your favorite sport or you’re a bonafide track enthusiast, you’ll need to gear up for the practices, meets and long bus rides ahead. Here’s a breakdown of all the gear you’ll need to have your best track season yet.

A team of girls run around an outdoor track during practice.

1. A comfortable pair of running shoes.

Track season is about more than just racing. You’ll need a pair of trainers to wear during practice, warm-ups and cool-downs. The right pair of shoes will depend on the shape of your foot and the way you move. We recommend getting fit at your local Fleet Feet to determine the best pair for you.

When you’re training for track, you may want to consider more than one pair of shoes to rotate throughout your workouts. Some runners prefer a lightweight pair of shoes for speed workouts as opposed to more cushioned shoes for recovery runs and long runs. Check out our list of the best running shoes of 2022.

2. Track spikes.

While your training shoes are best used for practices and warm-ups, your track spikes will be saved for the main event – racing. Track spikes are light enough to help you reach top speed and grippy enough to help you navigate the rubberized track. They’re designed to be as minimalist as possible – providing you with just enough cushion and support to run your race but not enough to feel bulky or cumbersome. With so many options to choose from, we compiled a list of the best track spikes in 2022.

A runner puts her socks on in the bleachers of the track complex.

3. Running socks.

Not all socks are created equally, which is why it’s important to have a pair of well-fitting, moisture-wicking running socks. Socks are the only thing standing in between your feet and a big old blister. Most running socks are made with wool, polyester or mohair, which wicks sweat away from your feet to keep them cool and dry. Steer clear of cotton socks, which hold moisture in to create a wet, warm environment.

Some socks can even help you perform better. Compression socks improve oxygen flow to muscles and tissues to reduce inflammation and swelling, so you can recover faster and get back to hard training.

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4. Recovery slides.

After your race, you’ll want to slip into something comfortable. Slides and sandals, like OOFOS recovery footwear, support your arches and cradle your feet for immediate relief and comfort. You can give your feet a chance to breathe while recovering from your hard effort. In the winter months, opt for clogs or slides with socks to keep your feet toasty in the stands or on the bus ride home.

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5. Warm-up clothes.

You’ll want to keep your muscles warm while you wait for your race, which is where warm-up clothes come in. A pair of sweatpants or joggers and a sweatshirt will keep you cozy as you warm up and prepare for the start line. Plus, you can slip back into your warm-up clothes after your race if it’s chilly out.

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A boy and girl sit on the bleachers before track practice.

6. Snacks and a water bottle.

With plenty of time between lunch, track practice and dinner, you’ll want something to snack on in between. Aim for easily digestible carbs to keep you going during your workout or race. You can chow down on a granola bar or sip on a sports drink in between classes or on the bus. Don’t forget to hydrate, too. Even if the weather is chilly, as it typically is during indoor track and the beginning of spring season, you still need plenty of water to keep your muscles working optimally.

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7. Sunscreen.

Sunscreen is essential during outdoor track season, as you’ll be spending hours each week outside under the sun during practices and meets. Most sport sunscreens are long-lasting and able to withstand sweat, rain and other elements. Be sure to apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours.

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Two girls high-five at the track during practice.

8. Foam roller or massage stick.

You’ll suddenly be everyone’s best friend when you show up to the track meet with a foam roller or massage stick. Foam rollers and massage sticks allow you to recover from tough practices and prepare for hard racing by breaking up muscle adhesions, increasing blood flow and improving mobility. You can even stow a small, portable massage tool in your bag, like the Theragun mini or the Hyperice Hypervolt GO.

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9. Gym bag.

From after-school practices to away meets, you’ll be lugging around plenty of gear during track season. You’ll need a trusty bag to hold all of the essentials listed above. Ideally, your bag should be roomy enough to hold a change of clothes, a pair of shoes, a snack, a water bottle and a massage tool.

Keep in mind that, because your bag will likely hold sweaty running clothes, it may start to smell funky. Wash your bag regularly and use a deodorizer like Remodeez to absorb and neutralize odor.

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