One of the advantages of running is that you don't need to spend a great deal before you can get going.
The most important piece of training equipment is your running shoes. Many people think that because they are novices, any old shoes will do; and they dig out a 10-year-old pair of takkies that really deserve to be turfed.
The problem with shoes like this is that they can make your initial running experience negative and painful and you might find that you give up on running before you have given it a fair chance.
Run in something reasonable
Your best bet is to go to a running shoe store where the staff is well trained to give you advice about footwear. They should:
- Check your old training shoes to see wearing patterns
- Assess your footstrike (how your foot lands when you run)
- Chat to you about your running plans (i.e. do you only ever want to run 5km fun runs or would you consider running half-marathons for example?)
- Give you a few options of suitable running shoes
- Let you try out the running shoes in the shop.
You might find that the cheapest of the range is the best fitting and most comfortable. Or maybe not. But either way, in the long run a good shoe is going to save you many hours and lots of money nursing an injury.
Other equipment you might need:
- Comfortable running socks (perhaps with a cushioned heel)
- Running shorts and a T-shirt. Some novices run in tracksuit pants, but your body temperature rises so quickly when you run that shorts or some form of Lycra leggings are a better option. A long-sleeved T-shirt is a better option when temperatures are low
- A stopwatch. Many runners like to time their runs
- A waterproof running top. Most sports stores have inexpensive, brightly coloured options
- A reflector belt is essential if you plan to run at dawn, dusk or at night
- A pair of 100% UV-protected sunglasses to protect your eyes
- A lightweight tracksuit or sweatshirt to put on as soon as you have stopped running.
What other expenses might you be in for?
If you decide to join a running club, you will need to pay for:
- The annual membership fee which usually includes your running license, the running club kit (shorts and a running vest)
- If you decide to enter a road race, you will pay an entry fee dependent on the distance. For the shorter distances, you can enter as a non-club runner, but you will not need to purchase a temporary license.
Kathleen Mc Quaide (exercise physiologist and educationalist): Health Promotions Manager at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) and OptiFit Walk and Run Health Programme Director. For more information about the health, wellness and fitness services offered at SSISA, visit our website http//:www.ssisa.co.za or phone 021 659 5600.