It might seem as if running requires nothing but your body, but in reality if you want to stay healthy and injury-free, there’s some necessary long distance running gear you’ll need to invest in. Although running is a very natural activity, it can still result in sports injury, so make sure you’re prepared for training and racing with these important items.

1. Long distance running shoes. If you’ll be getting serious about running at all, don’t assume that the sneakers you already have will work for you on your run. Running shoes are specially designed to provide the right stability and support you need while the miles add up. Visit a specialty running store for help and recommendations. It’s also a good idea to consider a shoe insert for additional support, especially if you have flat feet or plantar fasciitis.

2. Comfortable, moisture-wicking clothes. A major problem for long distance runners is chafing. Clothes that are comfortable under ordinary circumstances can cause pain and rawness when running for extended periods of time. Avoid cotton, which can become saturated with sweat – instead opt for moisture-wicking materials like polyester, nylon and Lycra. This goes for underwear and socks too. You should consider a lubricant such as BodyGlide as well, for application on thighs, underarms, around straps on sports bras and any other places you notice chafing.

3. Fuel – and a way to store it. On runs of about an hour or less, just bringing a bottle of water along is fine, but for anything longer, you need to replenish your electrolytes with appropriate sports drinks. You’ll also need to eat – things like runners’ gels, raisins, bananas or pretzels. In order to carry all these important nutrients with you, a backpack or waist pack are great long distance running accessories that allow you to stay hands-free and still have everything you need.

4. Sun protection. You’ll be out in the elements for quite a while, and you’ll need to protect your skin and eyes. Choose a pair of lightweight sunglasses to keep the harsh light out of your eyes and apply sunscreen before your run. Try a specifically formulated sport sunscreen if you don’t like the feel of lotion while you run, and pack a small amount for reapplying as needed. You might also try cooling sleeves for your arms.

With this important long distance running gear, you’re set up for success. Every time you run, pay attention to what works for you as an individual and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly until you find your perfect balance and hit your stride.