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The Essential Running Kit: Common Mistakes to Avoid

Posted Nov 07 2012 12:00am

Runners today will find a fantastic range of products designed specifically for the sport. We really are spoilt for choice when it comes to products that offer increased comfort and protection, no matter what our budget. But with increased choice comes the potential to choose the wrong thing. If you’re looking to get into running for the first time, or want to upgrade your existing kit, check out my guide below. I’ve detailed the most common mistakes runners make when it comes to buying kit. These tips will help you avoid following in their footsteps...

 Trainers and running shoes
65 per cent of runners suffer an injury each year in the UK, but many runners also choose the wrong shoes. The right running shoes can help you avoid this. Don’t choose a brand just because you like the look of them like Asics , make sure you take a wet test and examine the wear pattern on the soles of your shoes before you shop. This will help you determine whether you need trainers to support neutral, over- and under-pronation. Make sure you can fit a thumb’s width between the tip of your longest toe and the tip of the shoe too, as your feet will swell when you run – too-tight trainers will only lead to friction blisters.

Avoid cotton fabrics
You’ll find plenty of running kit available that uses cotton, but while cotton may be comfortable when you are dry, when you sweat or you’re running in the rain, it absorbs liquid. Cotton fabrics only become heavier as they get wet, leaving you weighed down and uncomfortable. Loose-fitting cotton can also cause uncomfortable chaffing over the course of a session, so stick to fabrics designed for running, that wick away sweat, keeping you dry and comfortable.

Visibility is important for runners taking to city roads, so invest in kit that ensures you will be seen by passing motorists. During winter, when the days are shorter, a fluorescent bib, or running kit that features reflective strips is essential. Running bibs are inexpensive, ultra lightweight, and could mean the difference between staying safe and encountering an accident.

Running socks
Any discomfort felt by your feet is only exacerbated over the course of a run, when the feet swell. Even the smallest trace of a seam in your sock can lead to discomfort and friction blisters once you’ve racked up a few miles. To avoid discomfort, blisters, and the day or two spent off the roads to recover from blisters, it’s well worth investing in a few pairs of good quality seam-free running socks, leaving you free to concentrate on your run and not your foot pain.

Hats and gloves
When runners are choosing kit, they invariably focus on the feet, and getting those running shoes right. But your feet shouldn’t be your only concern. In cold weather, you can lose up to 30 per cent of your body heat through your head – you’ll have a more comfortable run and retain far more body heat by including a simple woollen hat in your kit. Running also causes large volumes of blood to be diverted from the fingers and hands to the working muscles. As a result, your hands can get very cold when you run, especially during cold weather. A lightweight pair of running gloves won’t cost much, but they will make a big difference to your level of comfort.
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