Running shoes will set you back about $50 to $150 or more, but they're worth every penny because they're essential for injury prevention. If you take good care of them and rotate two or three pairs at a time, your running shoes should last 300 to 500 miles.

Don't be a miser when outfitting your feet, but at the same time you should remember that expensive doesn't automatically mean better. For example, Scottish researchers in 2007 compared three price categories of running shoes: $80-$90, $120-$130 and $140-$150. They used high-tech sensors to assess shock absorption and asked runners to evaluate comfort. The study found no significant differences among the categories of shoes, though it didn't compare how long they lasted.

Experts agree that fit matters more than cost. You should also take into consideration things like how many miles you plan on running each week, your body weight and your injury patterns. When shopping, see if you can try several pairs on a treadmill or by running up and down the store to see which works best for you. Shop after a workout or late in the day because your feet are larger then than in the morning.

 

As for bras, there are two types:

  • Compression. Compression bras fit like a tube. They're usually made of strong, stretchy supportive material that help press your breasts together and lock them down into place. They're ideal for smaller breasted women.
  • Encapsulation (or separation). Encapsulation bras lift and separate like a regular bra but they're made from stronger, more supportive materials. They're best for larger breasted runners. Some larger breasted women feel most comfortable wearing a compression bra over an encapsulation bra to completely eliminate the bounce.

Okay, but what about clothes?

In warmer weather, most people do well with nylon shorts and a light-colored tee or tank made from a synthetic that does not hold onto moisture. Add a pair of sweats and a long-sleeved tee for crisp, autumn weather and up to three layers plus hat and gloves whenever the thermometer flirts with temperatures below freezing. Always carry a water bottle or one of those hydration units worn over the back or strapped to the waist, and use sunscreen. Dehydration and sunburn are issues even in cooler weather.

How many miles should I run to start?

Actually, if your butt hasn't been off the couch in a while, you may have to walk for the first few weeks of your running program. Once you've built up enough stamina to walk for at least 20 continuous minutes, alternate one minute of running with one minute of walking. Gradually increase the length of time you run until you can run for the entire 20 minutes.

If you want to run more than that, increase your mileage slowly; never increase your distances by more than 10 percent a week. Start with three days a week and alternate with one or two days of other fitness activities. Don't worry about speed in the beginning, and don't worry if you aren't a track or treadmill star from the get-go. The first eight to 12 weeks of your running program are about building strength and stamina. That may seem slow, but it greatly lessens your chance of feeling sore or getting sidelined by injury.

Can I run if I have a history of knee or other joint pain?

It's always a good idea to check in with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program, but this is especially important if you have a history of joint or foot problems. Chances are, if you've selected the right pair of running shoes and you carefully listen to your body, you will probably be able to enjoy running to at least some extent.

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