Running shoes or a heart rate monitor?

I've never kept up any exercise for more than a week before, but much to my surprise, have found myself jogging every other day for nearly 4 weeks now!?!

Because of my previous (terrible) track record (no pun intended) with exercise, I promised myself not to go out and buy "all the best kit" before I even got started. Now that it's 4 weeks down the line, I want to reward myself but still want to be good with money (a bit of a shop-a-holic in the past!) so I've decided to buy ONE item towards my running in another 2 weeks if I'm still going (which I'm sure I will).

The question is: -

On a budget for a gadget-a-holic who REALLY, REALLY , REALLY wants a cool, 'incredibly useful', motivating, "I'll love and nurture", precious heart rate monitor or do I buy a pair of running shoes that are REALLY BORING to buy and "What do I need those for since I'm fine running in the old pair of trainers I found lying in a cupboard collecting dust after only being worn once 2 years ago?".

I already know the answer deep down(calls of "You daft loony!" from my wife she walks past me, telling me to get a pair of running shoes) but I'm clinging on to the small chance that someone will say to me, "Go get the heart rate monitor - it's better for you!".

Seriously speaking, what do you think is the wisest thing to buy for a beginner?


  • Dear Sir,
    You've opened the floodgates here I reckon. You started off with a simple choice between A & B, and then ended up asking us "what do you think is the wisest thing to buy for a beginner?"

    BTW while you're out running & enjoying your 'proper' running shoes, spare a thought for those of us who have a HRM & feel extreeeeemly frustrated each time they go near telephone cables & the reading is about 30 points higher than expected (I could go on).
  • 1: Shoes

    2: HRM

    3: GPS thingy

    4: wicky clothing

    5: 1000 mile sox

    There's a shopping list to keep you going for a while!

  • Shoes defnitely. The most important piece of equipment. My HRM comes in and out of use as I feel it necessary. I'd prefer a GPS thingy that worked (so not the Nike one).

    1000 mile socks quite important.
  • Sir Sammy (if that's not too personal for titled folk)

    Buy the shoes and look on the HRM as a perk still to be won. Think also good quality top/shorts essential for comfort.

    That said I got HRm after 2 months (but was a present (big hint to Lady Vimes)
  • It has to be shoes - unless you're quite lucky you need these to prevent getting injuries as you increase mileage, you don't need a HRM until you want to do some quite advanced sessions. There's even quite a lot of experienced runners who don't use them.
  • shoes for sure, hrm when you have some more money...hrm will not help with dodgy back , bad knees, upset hips..the list goes on.
    (personal order of purchase was shoes. socks ..thorlos...bad weather kit, hrm and gps

    fergal k
  • Okay... shoes it is... but I have to inform you that the shop for HRM's is closer than any sports shoe shop and I'm not sure I can run further than the first shop yet.... Only kidding.

    Thanks for all the advice. Honestly.

    I've dropped the "Sir" from my nickname as I've been demoted by her Ladyship. I live to serve she who must be obeyed. :o)

    Rubberman, Lady Vimes said she'd consider a request for a HRM - but I'm sure I heard distinct laughter as she closed the door!
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Sam - nothing running related, but a certain Mr Pratchett is visiting our local bookshop today to sign his latest.

    Can't wait.
  • That wouldn't be ex-Captain Vimes, would it?
  • Nessie - AWESOME! I haven't got a signed copy of any of his books yet. Have fun if you're going.

    Froggy Jo - It would be ex-Captain Vimes if you mean the character from Disc World. If there has been a Captain Vimes logged on this site (I'm sure there must have been at some time) then I'm sorry, it wasn't me. I'm new to all this running malarky.
  • RDIM would be envious.

    As for me two stints on stage as the librarian were enough...Oook!
  • Hello everyone - going back to the original topic.


    I paid £8 for 1000 Mile socks and they are rubbish - they are too bulky. 5 for £10 M&S socks do it for me and much cheaper
  • Actually, I did mean to ask someone but could someone tell me what on earth 1000 mile socks are please? Some of the kind responses have also mentioned GPS. Is that the Global Positioning System or is it something else when running? Sorry for the naivity. :o)

    Joanna - Oook!
  • Definately shoes.

    You can always take your own pulse as long as you have a watch with a second hand. Not as convenient as a HRM as you have to stop and wander round for 10 or fifteen seconds with your hand on your neck, but good enough to give a reasonable idea what zone youre in.

    I swear by rather than at my 1000 mile socks, 5for £10 always give my delicate little feet blisters.
  • Sam
    1000 mile sock are a running sock, you find it in specialist socks. They have a website at
    Are more expensive than other pairs but some runners (including me) find they elp prevent blisters. If you dont have a problem with blisters then you dont need them. Posh socks like 1000 mile or Thorlo or Hilly cost about £7-£10 per pair.

    See how your new shoes go and then decide whether you need the posh socks.
  • Timex do an SDM watch (Speed and Distance measurement) which uses GPS. You dont have to measure your route on a map, just go out and run and it measures how far youve run, time and then can calculate pace avg speed etc. They retail at about £220 in the UK, but you can buy from ebay in US for about £110.
    I think Nike also do a watch but some forumites have had problems.
    There are lots of threads in the gear section on SDMs

    The Timex SDM does not incorporate a HRM yet.
  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    Oh, I'm going alright Sam. I have all the books, apart from the last one and the one he is promoting today, and am on my third reading of the set.

  • I'll shut up now
  • I am lucky I tend to avoid blisters didn't even get a sniff of one in the FLM where incidently I was wearing odd socks randomly picked from the draw :o)

    talking to a girl in the local running shop suggested the same as briano - wait first to see if you're suceptible.

    P.S. I love my heart rate monitor
  • Fundamentally:
    - proper shoes stop injuries (experience)
    - HRM is a toy (but good fun)
    - good socks only if you need them.

    On a side issue
    Anyone read "The Science of Discworld" and not struggled? :-)

  • NessieNessie ✭✭✭
    I do need good socks as my feet blister at the drop of a hat, so why do I always just wear the first pair out of the drawer. Must look out the 1000mile pair for tonight.

    Haven't tried the "Science" book yet. I do have the "Unseen University Challenge" quizbook though - its amazing how much actually sticks!
  • Nessie
    simple, dont drop your hat

    sorry, couldnt resist it
  • Shoes-1000milers-good qaulity clothing- HRM. Sorry pobble, but the hrm is definately not a toy, but an essential piece of equipment if used properly and can even give a reasonable idea of the distance you have run, as well as being very accurate in measuring your fitness level.
  • Scotjim
    maybe you are right about the hrm. I don't run as often as I should (or would like to)and certainly don't run consistently. Hence my fitness level is fairly static (and low!). I also have to say that I absolutely hate running without my hrm, but have done so.

    I suppose in my flippant way I was trying to get across that for "me" the hrm is in no way comparable to proper shoes in terms of necessity. When I first started running (18months ago) I used my badminton shoes (which are very good and more expensive than many a running shoe!). After the injuries had healed.........
    I bought proper shoes and an hrm!
  • You run on your feet, so it makes sense to make your feet your number one priority. As for you heart rate, thats the next step. There are other indicators that you are getting things right eg the talk-the-talk test which are suitable for beginners.
  • Has the first message on this thread disappeared for everyone or just for me?

    Shoes are THE most important thing. HRM is one of those things you get later on when you decide you are actually dedicated enough to keep on running to justify paying for one. If you give up running, you can always use the running shoes as a very comfy pair of general walking shoes.

    Socks - I don't recommend the 1000 mile ones - Falke socks for me. Socks become more important as you increase your miles, because what doesn't blister at 5 miles might always blister at 13 (that is of course, before wearing Falke socks and applying vaseline)!
  • Cpt Vimes (retd),
    No, as far as I know, you are unique. How are the dragons, by the way? No unexpected explosions, I assume ;-)
  • Shoes shoes shoes

    But I did buy myself one of those flashy GPS things and it defintely makes me run further, without cheating. Would be great if it combined with HRM though. But as soon as I run, my heart rate goes through the roof so I only use it on the treadmill for long slow fat burning sessions.

    I work for the esteemed Mr P's publisher... my office used to belong to his former editor and I'm surrounded by his books...*sigh* I love my job :-)

    My brother also loves the fact that he gets a copy of the hardcover as soon as it's available.
  • i have various pairs of running socks, dont' think any of them are 1000mile though. But I do have a pair of thick socks and they're the least favourite of the lot. I prefer the really thin running socks, single or double layer are good for me.
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