So you’ve finally resolved that this time, you really are, 100 percent, guaranteed, going to start running. Good for you if that’s the case, but be aware that you need to have the right kit before you head out and pound the pavement.
Not having the right shoes and clothing can make running uncomfortable and can even cause injury; considering you may have a battle on your hands to keep up with this new fitness regime anyway, you don’t want to be discouraged by aches and sprains.
The right shoes are very important for running – and unfortunately your favourite pair of comfortable trainers probably won’t cut it.
When you run, a process called pronation takes place. Your heel hits the ground first, and as the outer edge of your foot makes contact, the foot is supposed to roll inwards 15 degrees to spread the weight evenly across the foot.
However, due to the shape of your foot or your stride technique, your foot might not roll in enough, or might do so too much. Running shoe specialists like Up & Running can ensure you get a pair of trainers that will correct your pronation.
Why should you bother? Well incorrect weight distribution puts excess pressure on a particular part of the foot, causing pain. Since the running stride is a series of connected parts working in unison, other areas will have to work harder to take the strain. This can cause pain further up the leg, including the knee and ankle joints, muscles and ligaments. Even your hip or back may be affected.
When you’re lounging around the house, you probably feel most comfortable in thick cotton clothing, and many first-time runners will wear similar things when they go out for a jog. Comfort is key, right?
Unfortunately, cotton doesn’t stay comfortable for long when you’re exercising; it soaks up sweat – and rainfall, for that matter – and holds it close to the skin, thus becoming heavy and irritating. Man-made fibers found in specialist running gear do the opposite, wicking sweat away from the skin and allowing it to evaporate into the air.
You should look out for specialist running socks too – these allow your foot to breathe, while providing extra cushioning in the heel and under the ball of your foot – your feet will thank you!
As a final thought, you need to make sure you know how to prepare your body for a run. Jogging uses muscles you might not even know you had, but they will make themselves known with a sharp jab of pain if you don’t warm them up correctly.
As you gain experience you’ll begin to learn which stretches are the most important for your own body.