20 June 2014

Running Kit: Must-haves and Nice-to-haves

I recently wrote about how I started running. For those of you who are thinking of taking up running, or who have just started running, here are a few things you need, and a few things you want.


Running Shoes
It is vital that you wear the right shoes when you're running, to avoid injury. Any decent running shop will do a gait analysis and recommend specific shoes for you. This will either be on a treadmill or they will watch you jogging around the shop. If you're not happy on a treadmill, tell them. Try on all the shoes they bring out for you, run around the shop in them. If they don't feel as comfortable as slippers they are the wrong shoes for you.  You will probably need a half size bigger than your normal shoes. Decent running shoes are expensive, but they are worth it. My running shoes are by Saucony. They were £80 and they have been excellent, right from the first step. I ran 16 miles in them this week. I love them.

Buy proper running socks when you buy your running shoes. Try them on together. Running socks are padded and designed to fit beautifully. The last thing you want is a blister. With my combination of shoes and socks I haven't had a single blister in over 150 miles of running. 

A Sports Bra
You need to minimise bounce when you're running to avoid damaging your breasts, and to stop jokes about giving yourself two black eyes. I like Shock Absorber bras, they are brilliant for (my) large breasts. They have to be tight, but comfortable. I use also mine to store my inhaler, phone, a tissue and my door key. I'm sure they're not designed for all that,but it works for me.

Getting them on can be tricky sometimes. Here is a photograph of me with a fat lip. I was putting on a sports bra and managed to punch myself in the face. Oops.


Specialist Clothing
Yes, yes, I know clothes are a 'must-have'. No one wants to see a naked runner. You can start running in leggings or jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, but once you start sweating cotton is too heavy. This is the time to invest in some Lycra. Material that wicks the sweat from your body will keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I wear vests in the summer, with cropped tights, and long-sleeved tops in the winter, with full-length tights. Supermarkets all carry their own sports ranges. I like Karrimor from Sports Direct. Look out for their frequent 90% off sales.

A light-weight jacket is a must for running in the rain. When it's cold you'll need an extra layer to start with, but make sure it'll be comfortable tied around your waist

Baseball Cap
I wear a baseball cap if there's any chance of rain, as it keeps my specs dry. It is also useful to keep the sun off your head, and it keeps my hair out of my face.

GPS Running Watch 
You will probably want to start recording your runs, to see how you're pacing yourself and to keep track of all those personal records. I have a Garmin Forerunner 10. It's the entry level Garmin and I bought it in an Amazon flash sale for £60. I'm very pleased with it. I love looking at my stats on my laptop when I get home from a run. You can see your pace go down as you go uphill and follow your route on the map.

Run Planner
If I'm planning a new route I like to know the distance I'll be running. I use the G-Map Pedomter. It's free and super simple to use. I used it to plan my first 10k.

Heart Rate Monitor
My husband uses his heart rate monitor all the time. For him it is the best indicator of his efforts. I used mine a few times, to make sure I wasn't killing myself. I wasn't. 

Unless it's super hot, or you're running over 10k, you don't really need to carry water. There are plenty of lightweight running water bottles. I have a small one from High5 that is easy to carry.

Gym Membership
I joined a gym last December when the footpaths were too icy for safe running. The treadmill is great for pacing yourself, but I find it pretty boring. If I go to the gym I usually go on the treadmill, cross trainer, bike and rower, and use the weights. This way I am working other parts of my body. The gym was a life-saver when I had a painful knee and couldn't run for a couple of weeks. I was able to keep my fitness levels up. Choose a gym that is near to your home or work, otherwise you won't go. I'm lucky that my local leisure centre has a small cheap gym. It's five minutes from my house and rarely busy.

Arm band
I have an arm band that holds my iPhone.

Have I missed anything?


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