We’ve all heard the saying ‘all the gear and no idea’ – and it’s certainly not the reputation you want when you first take up running.
So, if you’re looking to put your best foot forward and unlock the physical and mental benefits of running, what do you actually need to get started?
Contrary to popular belief, you really don’t need to go wild in the shops if you’re just looking to kickstart your new pastime. You can actually get yourself out the door and started with a few essentials – plus a big dollop of motivation, of course.
Here’s a handy guide to five of the key things to consider before you lace up and hit tarmac.
First things first…
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but before you even consider spending a penny on flashy trainers or a trendy running kit, there are a couple of necessities that you just can’t skip.
First up, you need to make sure you’re medically sound to be taking up running. So, if you’re aware of any underlying medical conditions, you’d be well advised to talk to the doctor and check out the opinion of a professional in case you have any obvious health barriers to your new hobby.
After this, you need a plan, otherwise you’ll soon feel like you’re going nowhere. You’d not set off on a car journey without an end destination, so you shouldn’t do this with running either. It doesn’t matter what your mates are doing – make the goal relevant to you and set yourself up to succeed.
Look after you most precious running tool
Running purists out there will probably quite flippantly tell you that all you need to start running is a pair of shoes – and not even a pair of running shoes at that.
South African runner Zola Budd built a career on training and racing barefoot and broke world records along the way. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Make no mistake, a quality pair of running shoes are an absolute must. It’s imperative that you look after your feet when running, but you don’t need to go super high end to get away from the line.
Everyone seems to want the latest carbon plate running shoes these days, but before you know it you could end up with a tasty bill for £250. You really don’t need these, but what is essential is a good pair that cushion your feet to give you stability. You’re looking for something lightweight which is robust enough to protect your feet and joints as you’ll be pounding them with every single step.
We think this Cloudvista running shoe is ideal to get started with.
Time to pull your socks up
There’s nothing worse than investing in ill-fitting running shoes, but the key to avoid blisters is investing in running socks.
Yet again, cushioning is the most important thing to remember here and is universally required across whatever type of terrain, or distance you’ll be covering.
Go for a simple option like these Hilly Marathon socklets that will give you adequate comfort in the main pressure zones on your feet.
If you’re running off road, you might want to consider a higher sock for added protection, but in general avoid the full calf socks unless you have a history of these types of injuries.
Personalise your look
Now we can move onto the fun bit as you get to pick the running apparel which you’ll get plenty of pleasure wearing.
Here we are talking about shorts, t-shirts, underlayers, and even leggings. The great thing about this is that none of this is absolutely essential. Your decisions here are about your own personal comfort and should be selected based on the type of running you’ll be doing.
If you’re going to be out at night, look at the hi-vis options and if you’re going to be trekking across corn fields, leggings will be a must.
You’ll be able to build out your running kit over time but go wild and pick the items you like the look of and give you practicality in equal measure.
Why not find a buddy…
You’re nearly all set, but it’s best to remember that running can be a lonely game at times – especially if you’ve been used to playing team sports.
Some people obviously enjoy the solitary feeling that running brings and are happy to pop in a pair of headphones and crank up the miles, but we don’t think you can go far wrong by finding a running buddy.
At worst, it will help you to make running a commitment and keep you on track. You’ll be less likely to miss a session and you’ll find it provides a great source of encouragement and motivation. At best, you might even start enjoying running as a new social activity, and then watch you fly!