Running or jogging should be a very simple process but having some of the right kit will make it easier and in some cases, less painful.
We tell all our members that the two most important pieces of kit when you first start are a decent supportive bra and a really good pair of trainers.
The running shoes that you purchase should be chosen to suit your running style and running surface. We recommend that you only use a specialist running shop to purchase your shoes. They should be able to analyse your gait by asking you to run on a gait analysis machine (a bit like a running machine) and advise on the best fit and style of shoes.
In most cases the shoes you run in will be half or even a full size bigger than your normal shoe size.
There are several different foot types that may be identified:
1. Normal foot (Natural pronation)
In this situation, the foot lands on the ground with the outside of the heel then the pressure moves forward up towards the outside of the foot, it then rolls inwards before finishing the movement, by pushing off with the big toe.
Shoe type needed for normal gait:
If you have this foot type it's just as important to get the correct shoe as with any other foot type. The type of shoe needed for the normal foot is commonly known as a 'stability' type.
2. Flat foot (overpronation)
This is sometimes known as being 'flat footed'. In this situation the foot usually rolls too far to the inside. If you stand with wet feet the imprint of the shape of the foot on the floor is complete, without any arch. As with the normal foot type the running form starts with the heel landing first but the foot lands more squarely and rolls inwards, which is known as 'overpronation'. This causes a lack of stability as the ankles and knees have to work to correct the problem.
Shoe type needed for flat feet/over pronation:
For this type of foot you need a shoe with an inner arch, also known as a motion control trainer, this supports the foot and spreads the pressure evenly.
3. High arch (underpronation)
This type of foot appears to be normal, but the main difference is that the arch is too high. While the movement of the foot starts at the heel in the same way as for a normal foot and progresses up the outside of the foot towards the toe, there is not the same amount of roll towards the inside of the foot so the runner pushes more from the smaller toes and is therefore less efficient.
Shoe type needed for high arch/under pronation:
You need a shoe that will provide support for your foot arch. The correct shoe type is often known as 'cushioned' and will help correct underpronation.
Buying your running shoes
The main makes of running shoe are Saucony, New Balance, Brooks, Asics and Mizuno. Relatively new to the running market is Innovate.
Please don't go to a fashion sports shop and buy shoes from someone who doesn't know about running and different surfaces, you will end up sore or even worse, injured plus out of pocket!!
Shops who Ladies Joggers recommend you might use
- Up and Running UK
- Bat and Ball Sports Sevenoaks
- Sweat Shop Maidstone
As a female runner you will surely be aware of the importance of a good running bra, but do you know why? Running causes your breasts to bounce and this movement creates stress on the Cooper’s ligaments which are the connective tissues which hold your breasts up.
With age these ligaments slacken and breasts begin to sag, however, running can accelerate this syndrome. A recent study undertaken by a team at Portsmouth University found that breasts moved in a 3D figure of eight and the study suggested as a woman runs a mile, her breasts bounced 135m.
The report found each breast moved independently of the body by an average of 9cm for every step taken! Sports bras have been specially designed to absorb the shock of bouncing and reduce stress on the ligaments which cause breast sag. As you begin to think about winter kit please do yourself a favour and treat yourself to a new running/sports bra.
When looking for a bra you need one which provides the support you need without restricting your movement or breathing. Therefore you need the perfect fit. To this end it's always better to go for one that comes in cup sizes. Small, medium or large isn't good enough, having actual sizes helps you pick the right one for you. Many favour larger or smaller women and are design specific to the breast shape.
The material will need to be one that draws moisture away from the body.
Most sports and jogging bras do this but it's always worth checking. Some have patented fabrics that draw moisture very well. When you've found your ideal jogging bra consider buying several. The average sports bra should be replaced after around 30 to 40 washes. Ensure your sports bra is washed at a low temperature and dried naturally to help it last longer. Overall having a good jogging bra will be a godsend and something that will really help you enjoy your jogging more.
Expect to pay somewhere in the region of £20 - £45 depending on the type you choose.
Look at Less Bounce, Wiggle, Bourne Sports, and Booby Doo. Many will let you order three or four and try the wobble test in the comfort of your bedroom and then send back those that don't fit.
John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and specialist underwear shops may all have something that suits you too.
Running Watches with GPS
You may notice that many of the ladies who run with us a GPS watch. They are an optional piece of kit but many people find them useful.
If you do decide you'd like one, expect to pay between £90 and £300 depending on which model you choose.
Running GPS watches use satellite technology to calculate your speed and distance. They can measure the speed you are running at, the overall distance travelled, and can contain many other features such as distance based alerts and details of average speed and aximum and minimum speed, not just over a session, but over individual laps within a session.
GPS is a very accurate method of recording this information, but can suffer near large objects or enclosed areas where satellite signals can be disrupted. Accelerometer foot pods are an alternative to running GPS pace Watches. They are not disrupted indoors or around objects, but do not measure altitude.
A GPS watch that measures distance can tell you precisely how far you have run as well as how fast you are running. Some running watch systems, like Polar, also feature a longer-term “odometer” that can log your distance over a much longer time-frame, the watch storing your cumulative distance over the course of weeks or months. These watches are often packaged with software that includes an electronic journal, so you can download your sessions directly onto your PC.
While each GPS timepiece has something unique to offer, if you’re looking for a watch with just about every major feature runners commonly need, you could do worse than to use the Garmin Forerunner watch line as a starting point. You may also want to have a look at Timex, Suunto and Polar GPS watches to compare the features they offer.
What if I've never run before?
We take women who are completely new to running or have not run for a long time.
Do you have any age restrictions?
We welcome any woman over the age of 16. The majority of our members are between 30 and 60 but we have many older and younger runners amongst our membership.
I suffer from asthma. Can I still run?
Several of our ladies have asthma. They simply carry an inhaler to be on the safe side. If in doubt, check with your doctor.
I’m overweight. Can I still run?
Yes. In fact, you’ll probably find that you will lose some weight when you start running, or certainly that you’ll feel and look trimmer. Running combined with dieting is an excellent way to lose weight but, if in doubt, or if you are very overweight, you should check with your doctor first.
What should I wear?
A sweatshirt or T-shirt and leggings, or track-suit bottoms, are fine. You’ll also find that you’ll need a sports bra. In the summer many women wear shorts or Capri length tights and a running vest but it’s up to you. You’ll want to buy some good running shoes eventually but just wear trainers or similar suitable shoes, at first.
Is it safe?
If anyone falls over or twists an ankle, there is always a companion available to call for help. We never leave anyone behind, and we all help and encourage each other. Our coaches are all first aid trained and are UK Athletics qualified, and will look after you.
How much is it to join?
The annual membership costs just £30 for a year. Coached runs cost £3.50 each, and you buy a strip of ten tickets which you can use at any time, on any of our runs, so that you only pay for the runs you attend.
Do you still run in the rain?
Very definitely yes! The weather rarely stops us, and then only if it would be actually unsafe to run.
Do I need to buy special running shoes?
No, a pair of ordinary trainers will do for a start, but after a while it may be worth getting some advice from a specialist running shop. You will want to buy a running bra as well.
Will it help me lose weight?
You'll burn around 100 calories per mile and running will also help to boost your metabolism. Of course, if you reward yourself for going out on a run by going home and eating a cream doughnut it may take slightly longer for you to shift those extra pounds!