I've been a runner for years, running for fun, running in 5Ks and running with local clubs. I've never done a marathon myself but something I saw two years ago at the Buffalo Marathon has really stuck with me.

I had emceed the award ceremony and everyone else was mostly packed up when the last runner finished 5 hours after the start of the race. She was wearing older shoes and sweat pants.

She had to walk the last part of the race but she still made it across the finish line within the race's allotted time. It was really inspiring to see her give it her all outside the limelight that shines on early finishers. She didn't give up!

Running is like that, though: Even if you run with a group, most of the time, you're competing with yourself and pushing yourself to become stronger or faster or better. No matter where you are on that journey, I can tell you my friends at Runner's Roost will be able to help you.

Clay Moden

I started running with Rob and Michelle years ago (after I gave up smoking), and now they own this store and run their own running group. They definitely are the type of owners who take the time to talk with everyone who comes in and to find solutions for their problems, whether it be blisters or shoes that aren't providing the right support.

Gear is really important, especially if you're training for a half marathon or full marathon. Here are some items that are absolute must-haves if you're going to go longer distances. (And, you can get them all at Runner's Roost, which is at 4190 N. Buffalo Road in Orchard Park.)

1) You need moisture-wicking socks and clothing, as cotton retains moisture that can cause blisters and all sorts of ickiness. I struggle with moisture on my feet, and the best socks I've found are made by Balega.

2) You need tools to hydrate, such as a CamelBak or another pouch you can take with you. You'll probably need to consider when and where you typically run to determine what product is best for you (check out this list), but here's some general advice from Active.com on proper hydration.

3) You need compression sleeves and socks. Research is mixed on whether compression helps during running but definitely shows it helps recover after long runs, according to Runner's World.

Runner's World states: "Companies that sell compression garments—any variety of compression pant, sock, tight, or calf sleeve for men and women—claim they have the ability to assist in blood circulation, reduce blood lactate concentration during running, and control the amount of muscle oscillation that results from pounding during running—or any sport."

4) You need carb and electrolyte replenishment. For longer runs, you should look to consume 30 to 60 grams of sugar each hour, making adjustments for your body size and running intensity, according to Runner's World. Runner's Roost has a variety of products that can help with this.

5) You need proper shoes. Runner's Roost suggests getting new shoes at least two weeks before your marathon and at least a week before a half-marathon to make sure they are in top condition on race day.

If you're not looking at longer distances, it's still important to use the proper equipment to prevent injury; even something as simple as a blister can sideline you when you're just hitting your stride. Runner's Roost can help you make sure you have what you need for your fitness goals, including friends to run with!

Learn all about their Thursday night running group here.