ONE OF THE GREAT JOYS of real fitness-training is that it needn’t cost very much money; in fact, you’ve probably already got most, if not all, the kit that you need. If what you have is too clapped out, and you want to stock up, this is what you will need:
A good pair of running shoes is essential in order to prevent blisters, callouses, bunions and other more serious injuries to your feet and legs. The best shoes will keep your feet stable as’you run, provide enough cushioning for even the heaviest runner and have gripping soles which will prevent you from falling on most surfaces. I have used shoes by Nike, New Balance and Hi-Tec which are all excellent, but many other makes are equally as good. The best place to buy running shoes is in a specialist running store rather than a general sports or shoe store, as the sales staff will usually know more about what they are selling.
The best sort of socks are made from loop-stitched wool/nylon mix: These feel a little like towelling and are very comfortable on the feet. You can get them just about anywhere where socks are sold.
An ideal running top should keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s warm and not interfere with your move- ment at all. Unfortunately a top like this has yet to be invented, so make do with a T-shirt or vest instead and a sweatshirt for when the weather is cold. Among the SAS and Paras, Helly-Hansen Ufa’ thermal vests have become very popular and they do stay quite warm when wet.
At present, running shorts can be found in two distinct styles: traditional shorts or the skin-tight ‘cyclist’ type. I prefer the traditional shorts because I don’t much like the idea of innocent passers-by being able to count every wrinkle on my package as I jog towards them. Even so, cycling shorts do help to prevent chafing on your thighs which can be eyewateringly painful.
I’m reliably informed that sports bras make life considerably more comfortable for women taking exercise. The ‘Minimal Bounce’ brand is highly recommended. Who am I to argue? Basic Extras
There are a few little extras which don’t cost much but can be useful. A jar of petroleum jelly is essential to help prevent chafing, blisters on toes and ‘jogger’s nipple’. If you’ve got long hair then wear a headband to keep it out of your eyes, and sweatbands on your wrists are also useful.
Finally, if you’ve got enough money, consider investing in a sports Walkman. These are water-resistant, they can play while you’re running and they are great for staving off boredom — whether you listen to the B-52s, Bach or a teachyourself-Burmese tape.