So let's start with the shoes. I think the biggest necessity when running is a good pair of shoes. Lots of running shoe stores tend to tell you that you'll need new running shoes every 500 miles or so. To some extent, this feels like a license to print money. But on the other hand, with each stride you take on a run you're pressing the equivalent of twice your body weight into the ground, so that's bound to wear on your shoes and your joints.
|via, Brooks Running|
Next up? A good sports bra. Seriously, this is a must-have item for lady runners. It is a pet peeve of mine to see women out running in their regular 18-hour, thick strap, lacy, padded cup bras. That is not what those bras are for! And the good people of the sporting equipment industry have made many a stride in the field to provide you with enough support that you don't do yourself an injury swinging those bad boys around on a 5K.
|via, Shock Absorber|
Now, especially when you're running in the extreme heat or cold, or are prone to warming up quickly, or you just get super sweaty (this girl right here!), my next suggestion is for some good moisture-wicking clothing. And it doesn't hurt if you can find cute things, either.
On the purely functional (and cost-effective) end of the spectrum, there's Karrimor. I snagged these leggings a few weeks ago and they wore wonderfully on the Grim and ever since. Even in all the freezing water and mud that the Grim track had to offer, these never felt baggy or heavy. The back pocket is pretty handy, too: I can stash my phone and keys in it without a problem. And just as a safety measure, I always have my phone with me on runs...I also make sure that the Husband knows I'm gone and about how far I'm planning to go so he can expect me back.
|Run: Speed Shorts|
|Run: Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve|
Other odds and ends it might be useful to have? Well, those doughnut water bottles are always a good bet. And I'm a personal fan of running with music, so I'd suggest either an iPod nano, or - if you're like me and already have a non-clip-on-able huge iPod (the old 60GB model) - an iPod armband. My current one is about 4 years old and has been dying a slow death for ages now...there's practically no velcro left on it.
Basically, anything that makes running more of something you want to do and enjoy while you're doing it is a good investment to me. If it helps you get off your butt and on the pavement: go for it! Whether it's something purely functional, or something a bit more fun: get your gear and go running!