If you take a look in any local sports shop, or the specialist running stores that have cropped up all over the country, you could be forgiven for thinking that running was an expensive sport. The high-tech t-shirts, socks, shoes and electronic gadgets that have been released recently carry intimidating price tags. Fortunately, you don’t really need all that gear to get started. For a beginner runner, or someone doing the “Couch to 5K” training program, a normal t-shirt, some jogging pants and a pair of running shoes is all you need.
Choosing the Right Shoes for Running
Running shoes do not have to be expensive, but they do have to be designed for running in. Tennis shoes, weight training shoes, or plimsolls will not work for running because they lack the cushioning required to protect your feet. In fact, the wedge in the heel of weight training shoes could make you lose your balance when you run, potentially injuring you.
Your running shoes should be relatively new, well cushioned and a good fit. If you can, test the shoes in the store on a treadmill many sports stores offer a gait analysis service and will help you find the best shoes for your running style.
Don’t buy incredibly expensive shoes unless you really like them and will be able to afford to replace them. It’s better to spend a small amount on new mid-range shoes every couple of months than it is to buy one expensive pair and continue using them even when they’ve lost their cushioning effect.
There is a good chance that you already have the other gear you need in your wardrobe. If you’re running during the summer, all you need is some shorts or tracksuit bottoms and a loose t-shirt. In the winter, you may want to wear a long-sleeved t-shirt or a sweatshirt.
It’s common for beginners to over-dress for the weather, especially in the spring and autumn. Yes, during the winter you will need to wrap up well, but for the rest of the year, a light sweater or a gortex shell should be more than enough to keep you warm. Once you get moving, your own body heat will stop you from feeling the cold.
If you fall in love with running, you may want to buy a heart-rate monitor, stopwatch, or GPS to help you track your workouts. Before you spend a fortune on specialist equipment, consider checking the app store for your mobile phone. Software such as RunKeeper and Zombies, Run! are relatively inexpensive and can be used to track the distance you have covered in your workout. Some phones support software that can turn the camera into a makeshift heart rate monitor, too. There is no need to spend a fortune on sophisticated gadgets, unless you really want to.