Kit: Starting out

I suspect that if you've stumbled across Bland On The Run you're already interested in running and have more than likely begun putting one foot infront of the other and then doing it again a bit faster.

However, if you are looking to start out it can seem that there's an awful lot of kit that you  could  buy. The beauty of running is that it's simple, so don't be fooled. Here's what I used at the start and what I think you need.

I'll do another post on what I use now at a later date.

Good places for kit online are:

Wiggle, MandMDirect, Millets Sport, Start Fitness, Sweatshop, GoOutdoors,  SportsShoes

Shoes:

One reasonably priced pair will get you started nicely. Don't let the cost of trainers put you off. In the future I would say that it's worth thinking  about alternating between two (or more, it's a slippery slope) pairs as it helps guard against injury.

Which kind? My favourite workhorse trainers are Nike Pegasus. They are at the slightly less expensive end of the spectrum and you can pick up old colourways at good prices. They look pretty nice too. They're cushioned but not so cushioned that they'll get you into bad habits. I have two old pairs - a 30 and 31 (like the one above) which have done at least 400miles each and are still going strong.  I'd recommend the 30 over the 31 if you're getting an old model. 

It's also worth trying Karimoor and own brands. Just try them on and see how they feel.

I'm on the fence about gait analysis. I think sometimes it's just a way of selling expensive shoes. That said, I do have stability shoes now. Once you've started you can get advice from other runners and maybe find a good running shop to check you out. In London RunningWorks and RunandBecome have good reputations, though I've not been myself. For the record, I run in a mixture of Asics, Nike and Adidas at the moment but I've been impressed when trying some Saucony and Brookes.

Bottoms:

 

I would recommend  3/4 length Karimoor 'tights' (aka leggings to normal people) with some shorts over the top if you're not comfortable with the skin-tightness. They'll cost £10-£20. Gents -  I'm not sure what the lycra / short shorts etiquette is, sorry!

You could run in tracksuit bottoms but they'll be heavier so it's harder work and hotter. I'm also a big fan of 2-in-1 shorts where there's cycling shorts underneath loose shorts. They take a little of the fear away from the whole short-shorts thing.

Tops:

You can run in any old T-shirt or vest top, but a sports-specific wicking one will be more comfortable, is less likely to chafe and dry quicker. You should know that running ups your laundry load a LOT. Again, there's no need to spend a fortune. Most large supermarkets and Sports Direct do some great value ones. 

 

For colder weather I love the Helly Hansen base layer tops. This is one area where I splurged right from the start and I've not regretted it.

Socks:

Normal socks are fine but you'll wear through them quicker if you're running in them. Running specific socks will be comfier but not essential. I know I've got some Karimoor socks which have kept going and going and they are really comfy. I use some other ones as well now (ASICSSole and Stance) because they are prettier and still do a good job. 

Other:

Gloves - Buy cheap touch screen gloves from the pound store. Your chapped hands will thank you.

Sports Bra  - Ladies, don't miss this one out. You can't beat Shock Absorber's Run Sport bra (even if you're on the petite side like moi) but USA Pro and Forever 21 also do some great value ones.

 

Arm Band -  if you're starting running it's great idea to carry a phone with you in case of any problems. Be careful if you're running with headphones, but if you do then The Friendly Swede and Grantwood Technology armbands have served me well. They are especially good if you have scarecrow-esque arms - some of the other armbands are a bit loose. Top tip: wrap your phone in clingfilm if it's raining and the armband doesn't have a cover.

Watch  / Apps:

Run first, track later. Once you get into the habit of post-run analysis it's hard to get out of it. It's great to be able to see your progress but don't forget to just enjoy it too!

If tracking your progress and maps is a helpful thing  then there's loads of apps out there and of course lots of GPS watches. I'd say start off using an app on your phone and then buy a watch if you want more accuracy. I have only tried the following three:

Runkeeper is great for setting up interval sessions.

Strava is the king of running apps and full of people who will make you want to weep at their speeds. It's fun though.

Nike+ has a nice UX but it's hard to  move data across to other platforms if you change your mind

It's also worth checking out some of the rewards apps that link up with your activities to give you discounts and prizes e.g. Running Heroes, Endomondo, Earthmiles