The single most important decision you have to make is which shoes to run in. The wrong shorts may leave you with a bit of chaffing; the wrong drink mix may upset your tummy for an hour or so; the wrong shoes can cause serious and long lasting injuries.
A good pair of shoes is not cheap, so be prepared to bite the bullet and get the plastic out. So how do we know what the ‘best’ shoe is? In the long-term, trial and error. In the short term, call into your local running shop and get some advice.
Look for a dedicated running shop with staff who are runners themselves. They should ask you lots of questions and ask to look at your old shoes (so take them with you!) They should encourage you to run on a treadmill in the shop or on the pavement outside the shop (so take shorts with you!) They should make you feel welcome and understand the need to get the right shoe for you. They will only feel that they have done their job right when you have tried on every pair in the shop and then go back to one of the first pairs you tried as your final choice.
Don’t be offended if the sales assistant puts you in a shoe that is bigger than your ‘normal’ size. When running the feet swell slightly and the toes need room to shift around and do their work. And don’t be offended if they refer to you as a ‘heavier’ runner who needs ‘extra support’ – men over 145 lbs. and women over 105 lbs. are ‘heavy’ in the world of elite running and the extra support refers to your feet, nothing else!
Oh yeah, one last thing, colour doesn’t matter!
Also, don’t be sucked in by the need for extra support for pronation and supination – essentially unless you have a prescription for orthotics you just want shoes that are comfortable.