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Running gear for beginners

Embarking on the road to running? Here’s our round-up of the best running gear for beginners.

If, like me, you’ve decided to undertake some form of running challenge this year, despite the fact that you can’t actually run very well (yet), you’re in the right place. Back in December, I blindly said yes to a half-marathon spot at the Reading Half-Marathon in March, despite only having a handful of red-faced 5Ks under my belt. While my running is no doubt improving thanks to a bit of determination and an encouraging running playlist, the importance of good kit has never been more obvious. Forget confusing terms such as ‘wicking’, ‘pronation’ and ‘cadence’ – if you’re just getting started, you need the essentials and little more. Here’s what you need.

The right trainers

Why? We’re hoping this one won’t come as much of a surprise, but many fail to grasp the importance of having trainers that are both right for running and right for you. Sure, your Nike Air Max might go better with your outfit, but in order to be supported correctly a specialised running shoe is a must. Don’t run in a shoe designed for any other support (it won’t provide the cushioning and stability that the repetitive action of running requires) and make sure you head down to a specialist running shop to get fitted. Here they will be able to assess your feet and the way you run – which differs for everyone – and find the perfect running shoe for you.

We love: Adidas PureBoost X, £89.95, adidas.co.uk

Wireless headphones

Why? A good set of wireless headphones change the running game. Gone are the days of tangled wires holding you up or annoying you as you run, wireless headphones are easier and way more stylish to use. If you’re skeptical of their ability to stay in your ears while you run, don’t be. All makes feature adjustable ear-hooks, and being sweat- and water-resistant, they’re actually a lot more durable than you probably think. And with unrivalled sound quality, they’re sure to help you on your way to your next PB. They’re a true running essential.

We love: Powerbeats3 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones by Beats By Dre, £169.95, currys.co.uk

A high-visibility jacket

Why? Or, indeed, high-vis anything. Whether you’re half-marathon or marathon training (or maybe just running for the hell of it), chances are at this time of year you’ll be doing a large percentage of it in the dark. Regardless of whether you’re running on main roads, back roads or country paths, you’ll need some high-vis kit to keep you seen and safe (yes, Mum). These days, being sensible doesn’t mean ruining your running outfit, either. High-vis technology is now woven effortlessly into tops, jackets, leggings and trainers for a seamless transition from day to night.
We love: Reflect360 Running Jacket by Proviz, £84.99, provizsports.com

A form of tracking

Why? Even if you’re not training for a particular event, tracking your runs is both useful and encouraging. Knowing your times, observing when you’ve improved or declined, and logging your general experience will give you a greater understanding of how you run, which is crucial for half-marathon or marathon training. While phone apps now do a great job of emulating a wearable (we love Nike+ Run Club and Strava), for a completely accurate and comprehensive overview, alongside other data tracking such as sleep and steps, a fitness watch or wearable is a no-brainer.

We love: Garmin Forerunner 630, £309.99, buy.garmin.com

A high-impact sports bra

Why? Listen up, ladies, a high-impact sports bra is a straight-up must for running. We’re sure you don’t need us to tell you that running will almost certainly result in some bounce in that area, but a slightly uncomfortable run won’t be the only downside of running free. Such movement can stretch the ligaments around the breasts – damage irreversible once done. Regardless of your size – even if you don’t wear one the rest of the day – a good sports bra is needed to combat against the irreversible effects of gravity. Normal bras reduce breast movement by around 35 per cent; a good sports bra achieves closer to 60 per cent. Depending on your size, you might want to opt for compression styles or moulded cups – either way, ensure it’s designed for high-impact activities.

We love: Incredible by Victoria Sport Bra, £33.18, victoriasecret.com