Five essentials to get you into your running stride

With the London Marathon coming up, you may have been inspired to take up running. Whether you’re training for next years marathon or long-distance run, or simply want to get a bit fitter, here are a few things you might need along the way…

1. A decent pair of running shoes.
Okay, so I’m starting with the basics here, but before you head sprinting out the door, make sure you’re got a pair of shoes that are going to support your feet properly on your run. Many people, even people who already run, underestimate the importance of a good pair of running shoes. A decent pair of running trainers can help ensure your run is safe, your feet and joints are supported, and most importantly, that you’re comfortable – after all, getting a blister on your first run isn’t the best way to start your running journey.

You can easily spend hundreds on a designer pair of running shoes, but it’s not really necessary – head to your local sports shop and you should be able to pick up a pretty decent pair for anywhere between £30 – £60. Or if you want something more tailored, some sports shops will actually video how your feet move when running (do your feet face inward when you run, do you have a high arch, or flat feet) and will find a pair that are specifically designed to support your feet.

running legs socks trainers2. Water bottle

When we become dehydrated, it can really impact our performance and stamina, so staying hydrated when running is essential. But it’s also pretty annoying trying to hold on to a normal water bottle as you run – having your water bottle slip out of your hands and fling itself at a stranger can be just a bit embarrassing (not that I’ve done this or anything!). Luckily most sports shops sell water bottles with handles designed to make them easy to carry with you on your run, and they’re pretty cheap too – you can pick up the one above for just £3.50 at Cotswold Outdoor.

3. Hands-free gear

When you’re out running, there’s nothing worse than having to worry about dropping your phone or keys, or constantly having to stop to readjust your headphones that keep falling out of your ears. There are tons of bits of gear that you can buy designed to make your run a bit easier – some more useful than others! But there are a few that, in my experience, really are worth investing in if you’re planning on becoming a frequent runner: clips to keep your headphones in, an armstrap for your phone or ipod, and running trousers with a zip pocket at the back for your keys are all must-haves for me.

4. A running playlist

I know some people prefer to run in silence, but personally I find a decent running playlist, full of my favourite upbeat songs can help me to run harder, and for longer. You can find running playlist albums on iTunes or Spotify, or, if you have the time, you could try putting together a playlist full of songs that you know will keep you feeling motivated on your run. Not only will a good playlist keep you feeling pumped on your run, but it should also distract you so that you keep going without noticing how long you’ve been running – great if, like me, you tend to get easily bored when out running.

5. A Tracker App

So this one isn’t necessarily an ‘essential’, but in my opinion, it’s a really great way to keep you feeling motivated and will help you push yourself further. There are loads of tracker apps that you can get – the one that I use is MapMyRun which is free in the App store. It measures how far you’ve run, your average speed, how many calories you’ve burnt and maps your route for you. I’d definitely recommend giving it a go.