Fall is a great time to get out and run. For those new to running, entering a sporting-goods store can result in a high-priced swipe of the credit card upon exiting. If you do not know the difference between your running apparel needs and wants before you go shopping, you are likely to end up in this situation.
Let’s talk about what I consider to be the top three most important purchase categories that you will need when starting a running program.
Proper Running Shoes
The most important thing that you will need before starting a running program is a good pair of shoes. This is the single best investment you can make upfront to start a training program on the right foot. I highly suggest purchasing your first pair of running shoes from a running apparel store such as the Runner’s Forum. They have staff on hand that have been trained to determine which type of shoe is best for you to train in based on your running mechanics. They will watch you run, analyze your mechanics, and ensure that you are getting into a shoe that is right for your stride, which can prevent injuries that result from wearing improper shoes.
You should expect to spend between $70 and $130 on a good pair of running shoes. This is the one area that I truly believe is a critical investment.
Proper Running Clothing
It goes without saying that having clothing for running is a must, but you do not necessarily need to spend a ton of money to get what you need. Companies such as Nike and Under Armour put out excellent running apparel that is high quality, functional, and stylish, but with the big-name brands generally comes a high price. On the other hand, stores such as Target carry similar items for about half of the price and these products will do just fine for your training if you are not willing to pay top dollar.
Be sure you are equipped with the right clothing for the season you are training in. For warm-weather training you will want light, loose-fitting, moisture-wicking, and breathable clothing. Sunscreen and hats are also recommended to avoid sun damage. When it is cold, you will want to wear a few layers:
- The first layer should wick moisture away from the body.
- The second should insulate to keep you warm.
- A third water-resistant layer can be added to keep your first two layers dry when needed.
Winter hats and gloves should also be a part of your winter wardrobe to avoid frostbite. Additionally, women should be sure to purchase a sports bra that they feel comfortable in and that provides them with adequate support.
A Runner's Watch
Having a watch is very important; however, the brand is not as important. You can spend anywhere between $10 and hundreds of dollars based on all of the bells and whistles that it has. Personally, I prefer the Timex Ironman Triathlon watch because I can store various workout splits on it and keep track of my intervals during a workout. This watch costs around $40, but it does not give you distances or current running pace like the GPS Garmin watches do. I will say that the GPS watches can be an excellent tool for the beginner who does not have a gauge on their pacing, but these watches tend to be very pricy.
When gearing up, be sensible with your spending based on your budget and your needs, but be sure to consider the tips I've discussed. The roads are always open and they do not discriminate based on who you are or what you are wearing. You can walk out your door onto the road wearing upwards of $500 invested in your shoes, clothing, and watch, but that is not going to determine how successful you will be in reaching your running and fitness goals. You are responsible for that!
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This blog was written by Stephanie Kaiser, NIFS Certified Health Fitness Specialist. Meet our bloggers.