DEREK DEXHEIMER: Choosing gear to begin running used to be a simple process. There wasn't much gear available and the process consisted mainly of picking out a pair of shoes. However, times have changed. There is a wide variety of equipment available to today's runner.
New runners often have questions about what is truly essential and what is "optional."
In my opinion, there are two "musts" for the beginning runner. The first is a technical running shoe. You will see popular brand name (Nike, New Balance, etc.) at department stores marketed as running shoes. These are not technical running shoes. Technical running shoes have a cushioning system in addition to an EVA midsole and range in price from $75 to $180. These shoes can be purchased from a variety of sources, but it is best to find a store with a wide selection that can provide fit advice. Running shoes are a very individualistic purchase, just because Adidas works for your friend does not mean that they will work for you.
The second must-have item for the new runner is moisture wicking socks. These socks help pull the moisture away from your feet. This serves two purposes. It will help prevent blisters and it will help keep your feet cool and dry, thus making your runs more productive and enjoyable.
Many new runners ask what apparel they should wear when they begin running. My advice is to wear whatever makes you comfortable. If a pair of baggy shorts and t-shirt from college are what makes you comfortable then I say wear that.
Beginning a running program is already an awkward process for most; if you are not comfortable with what you are wearing then your chances of continuing with the program are less likely. This is not to say that you won't eventually want to move on to some true running apparel.
(Checkout next week's column on moisture wicking apparel.)
Derek Dexheimer is the co-owner of the Springfield Running Center at 2943 West White Oaks Dr., Suite 1, and a Springfield Road Runners Club member. For more information one can go to www.runningcenter.com.
ABOUT.COM: When to replace running shoes? AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PODIATRIC SPORT MEDICINE: Running shoes RUNNER'S WORLD: Running shoe basics ABOUT.COM: What type of socks should I run In? RUNNER'S WORLD: Running sock reviews
ABOUT.COM: When to replace running shoes?
AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PODIATRIC SPORT MEDICINE: Running shoes
RUNNER'S WORLD: Running shoe basics
ABOUT.COM: What type of socks should I run In?
RUNNER'S WORLD: Running sock reviews