When I first had this crazy notion to have a go at running, I was not at all certain that I would take to it, so I was reluctant to put much money into it. I made the most critical mistake of not getting a decent pair of shoes. Jump ahead to where I am now (week 7) and with the longer runs in this part of the course, the folly of my ways has been made clear to me. My feet were not at all happy with the shoes I had been running in, and I was growing concerned that I was just asking for an injury.
Yesterday after work I took the plunge and went along to my local sports shop, presented myself to the guy at the counter and explained that I had recently started running, but that I wanted help to find the right shoes. He was extremely professional about the whole process, inspecting my feet, my stance, my gait when walking, he even had a clever box with a plate of glass over a mirror for me to stand on barefoot, so that he could see the pattern of contact between my foot and the glass. All very clever. He found a selection of shoes to try, in a range of sizes and styles. He had me jog around the shop, which felt very peculiar as I was in my work clothes, and I tried my best to run as I might when I'm 10 minutes into a half hour run. He also asked about my running routine, how far, how often, when I started, what sort of progression I was following, whether I had been feeling any precursors to injury and so on. It really felt like he was giving me a full running MOT.
In the end I bought the shoes we agreed on and a couple of pairs of fancy running socks (I've never owned "handed" socks before). I had a look online, and of course I could have bought the same shoes for a fair amount less than I paid for them, but then I wasn't paying for the shoes alone, I was also paying for the full service.
When the rain stopped this afternoon, I went out for a proper go round in the new kit. The weather has returned to cold and miserable after a nice warm spell, and I was still not feeling 100% after a little too much thank god it's friday beer drinking. Even so, I ran the 5 km circuit that I've been following all week, managed to knock half a minute off my personal best and my feet feel as unbothered as if they had been up on the sofa all day.
I'm sure it's been said a thousand times before, but it deserves to be repeated. Get proper shoes from a proper shop, fitted by someone who knows what he's doing.