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The most important thing you will need are good running shoes. There are many brands on the market with a range of prices. You may be tempted to go for the cheapest pair but bear in mind that this is the only investment you will be making.
It is best to get running shoes that provide good support. Most running injuries are caused by wearing old shoes or ill-fitting shoes that are on the verge of falling apart. There is a lot of impact in running and this impact needs to be cushioned by shoes that were designed for running.
The best thing you can do is to visit a running speciality store where the staff can evaluate what type of shoes are best suited for you. Different types of feet will require different types of support. For example, someone who is flat footed may require a higher arch. Get shoes that work for you and that’s half the battle won.
A good practice would be to note down the day you buy your running shoes. You will need to replace your shoes after about 400 miles or about 640km. Do not judge the condition of a shoe by its outer appearance. Sometimes the shoe may still look good but the inner cushioning may be all worn out.
A sign of poor cushioning would be pain in your knees, muscle fatigue, shin splints, etc.
If you’re feeling a nagging pain that has appeared out of the blue, chances are it’s time to get a new pair.
If your budget allows for it, get 2 pairs and alternate them. The shoes will last longer since the cushioning has more time to dry and decompress. In the long run, you’ll actually save money on shoes by using this method.
About halfway through the life of your running shoes, you might want to buy another pair of running shoes to rotate into your runs. Your shoes will last longer when you allow them to decompress and dry out between workouts. Also, having a fresh pair of shoes as a reference will help you notice when your old ones are ready to be replaced.
Although you should replace your shoes every 300 to 400 miles, there are ways to make sure they last until the higher end of that range. Follow these tips for making your running shoes last longer. Once you've bought a new pair of running shoes, you can donate your old ones to one of these organizations that collect used running shoes.
Comfortable Running Attire
One man’s meat is another man’s poison. This is true with running attire.
There are all kinds of attire being sold for running. Some people like tight fitting sportswear, others like loose fitting t-shirts and some men don’t even like wearing a shirt when they run. Your best bet is to wear what you are comfortable in and run
That being said, women will need to get a good sports bra. Both sexes will have to get socks that are made for sports. These are usually a synthetic blend of materials because 100% cotton socks tend to cause blisters.
As you become a more avid runner you may decide to invest in clothing specifically designed for running. These clothing often have unique features such as removing moisture from your skin fast so that you feel cooler and they also do not chafe your skin, especially during long runs.
Having a stopwatch is essential to tracking your progress. You will want to reduce your timings and strive for improvement. You can only do that if you’re keeping track of your runs. Most digital watches including the inexpensive ones come with a stopwatch feature. Get one and use it. Record your distance and timings in a journal religiously.
This is not essential if you hydrate well prior to your run. However, some people may feel breathless and thirsty while running if they are not used to it. If you get thirsty easily, get a water bottle. The only issue is that you will have to carry it with you and run or you could leave it on a bench nearby and get to it whenever you need to.
If you’re getting water bottles, it’s best to get a BPA water bottle that is made out of hard plastic. It is safer for you.
After a while, as your stamina improves, you may wish to add ankle weights to your legs. This will make your runs more challenging and force your body to adapt. Your stamina and strength will improve by leaps and bounds.
Some people may experience chafing since they run often. You may get an anti-chafe balm from a sports store or you could just order one online from Amazon.
Other than the items mentioned above, runners may prefer other items such as headphones to blast their favourite music, running armbands to slot in their smart phones, heart rate monitors, sunglasses, running tape, headbands, head lights, etc.
Quite frankly, all these are luxuries and totally up to you. If buying these motivates you to run, then by all means get them and run. If you don’t have the budget, you don’t need them and it doesn’t make you uncool. What really matters is how good a runner you are.
What else do I need to know?
Besides getting equipment, there are 2 essential things you need to do.
Always stretch after your body is warmed up a little. Do not stretch cold. You can warm up by doing jumping jacks for a minute. Other exercises that are good would be skipping, mountain climbers and burpees.
Once your heart is pumping and your blood is circulating, then you should engage in a series of stretches. Ideally, you should aim for a total body stretch. Focus on the knees, calves, ankles, waist and hamstrings. You should also rotate your head and shoulders. Just get limber and mobile.
The whole stretching session could be about 3 to 5 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a drawn out yoga stretch that lasts 45 minutes. In fact, you do not want to stretch too long. Your body will warm up during the run. This initial stretch is just to prep you up for the run.
As for hydration, make sure you are consuming the recommended amounts of water daily. Since you’re a runner now, you will need to consume as much water as required. Constant sips throughout the day is ideal. Don’t overdo the water consumption but don’t neglect it either.