I turned myself into a runner, one step at a time, but learned the hard way that the wrong sneakers and bra hurt more than helped. Likewise, skimping on water is a running roadblock that’s impossible to get past until it’s corrected. Now that I’m properly outfitted and hydrated, I’m well past the 5k point and happily training for my first half marathon.
Here are the three must-have items at the top of my new runners list:
Don’t underestimate the value of a good pair of sneakers. I thought I’d be fine in my old walking sneakers, but learned I was not. The support seemed okay, however when my mileage started to creep up towards the 3-mile point, I was ending each run with bleeding blisters on my feet.
To figure out which shoes are best for you, The Running Advisor recommends you determine how your foot strikes the ground. Do this by looking at an old pair of sneakers to see the wear patterns. Does your foot roll to the inside or outside? You should also consider your arch type. Do you have a high arch, a normal arch or a low arch?
Once you’re armed with that knowledge, go to a sporting goods store and speak to an experienced shoe salesman. Go late in the day when your feet are at their biggest, bring your old sneakers and be prepared to have your feet measured.
A Supportive Sports Bra
Nothing causes as much discomfort as a running bra that doesn’t give enough support. It may surprise some new runners to know that an ill-fitting sports bra can cause chafing and blisters on shoulders and breasts.
Self magazine suggests that moisture-wicking fabrics cut down on chafing issues. A proper fit will help prevent blisters from bra straps that rub.
It’s a good idea to get measured by a professional. Ask in the lingerie department of a large department store for a professional bra fitting. From there, you can decide if you prefer an encapsulation bra, with two cups, or a compression bra, which pushes your breasts together. You’ll want to try on any bra that you’re considering.
Just like sneakers, bras will wear out and won’t be as supportive as they were when new. It’s advised that runners replace their bras every year.
Plenty of Water
I was a couple of months into my running program when I started to get fatigued in the middle my runs. I had several bad runs in a row where I was struggling to make it home. It turns out, I wasn’t drinking enough water.
Owen Barder at the Running for Fitness blog says that athletic performance drops off significantly when dehydrated. Once I upped my water intake, both before a run and in general throughout the day, the spring was back in my step. I soon left three miles in the dust and am now comfortably running seven.
It’s been several months since I’ve committed to a running program. Having the appropriate running gear has gone a long way towards keeping me on the running path.
The Running Advisor, How to Choose Running Shoes
Self Magazine on-line, How to Pick the Right Sports Bra for Your Figure, Bari Lieberman, November 29, 2012
Running for Fitness, Drinking While Running, Owen Barder