Running is a relatively egalitarian sport, with a very easy entry level. You don’t need to muster up a team of people, and you don’t need loads of expensive equipment to get started. When I first started running, I lived in mum’s hand-me-downs for literally everything, but if you’re not blessed with a bonkers-mother-runner like mine, here is my guide for the kit you’ll need.
There is one non-negotiable bit of kit for everybody – some decent trainers. Without them, even a light jog is going to put huge pressure on your knees, hips and back and your running career will be short lived. It may seem expensive, but I cannot implore you enough:
Go and get your gait analysed at a running shop.
You’ll run for a few strides on a treadmill, and they’ll take some slow-motion video and see how your foot falls. Based on this they’ll recommend several pairs of shoes based on your foot strike and you’ll try the treadmill with them. They even had me running with two different types of shoe – one on each foot at one point! You don’t have to buy the most expensive of the ones they suggest, just whichever feels right to you. As a plus, when you’ve just dropped a bunch of cash on a new pair of running shoes, you’re going to be more inclined to go out running to get your money’s worth. Motivation comes in lots of forms.
If you’re a lady, you’re going to need a sports bra, even if you’re not that large in the chest. A proper sports bra. They’re a real pain to try on, so go to a sports shop on a day when you’ve got plenty of time, are not feeling ragged and it’s not too warm. Try a good few on and don’t forget ‘The Bounce Test” – give it a good jump in front of the mirror and make sure everything’s staying put. I have had success with both Nike and Adidas bras, and lots of people speak highly of Shock Absorbers, but try lots and see what works for you.
Clothes-wise there are two schools of thought: 1) Just wear what you have at hand. At first you’re probably not going to be out for hours and hours, nor will you work up too much of a sweat. So, ultra-wicking fabrics and seamless tech tops aren’t really necessary at this point. Clothes-wise, jogging bottoms (the clue is in the name) and that t-shirt will be fine. The one from that band that you saw, the t-shirt that’s not quite nice enough to wear out normally but still a bit too good to be a sleep t-shirt. That one will do.
or, 2) Any excuse for a new outfit! A commenter on my last “Getting Started Running” post recommends getting new gear – “Don’t skimp on running clothing. It’ll be more comfortable while making you look and feel like a serious runner. If I ever lack motivation I like to go out and buy myself a new shirt and I’ll have to go on a run to show it off!” I still don’t like spending lots of money on sports gear (Getting it free from mum for so long spoiled me!), so here are my picks for styley pieces at reasonable prices.
So there you have it, my running kit guide for beginners – some trainers, possibly a bra, and don’t be naked on your body.
What kit would you recommend for new runners? What could you not live without?