In this case it's the shoes, not the clothes, that make the man/woman. We understand the need to look fashionable out on the track, but the most important thing you should invest your time and money in is a good pair of running shoes. Trust us - you will regret buying those expensive attention-grabbing neon shorts when you're wheezing and gasping for air and trying your best to be invisible.

Good sneakers (or "trainers" for you Brits) are essential. So essential, in fact, that we've devoted another entire article to buying the right pair. In case you don't feel like reading it (pretty lazy for a would-be marathoner, eh?), at least read the following tips:

  • Don't even think about using anything other than shoes that are made specifically for running. And while we're dishing out the advice, don't think about using your running shoes merely to walk around town in. Have some respect! You will only wear them out more quickly and in places that could adversely affect your runs.

  • Visit a couple of stores that specialize in running and talk with someone who can help you make the best choice. Even though the sales will be enticing at larger sporting goods stores, the staff (though probably very cool to hang out with) are often somewhat uninformed. If you go to a smaller specialty store, chances are you will find someone who really knows their stuff about running. And shoes.

  • A lot will depend on the shape of your foot and how you land when you run. If you do have an old pair of running shoes, it is helpful to bring them in - an examination of the worn areas will be able to convey a lot about what type of shoe you need.

  • Try to shop after you've been walking around for a while, as your feet will have swollen to a similar size as that when you run. Also, make sure that you try on shoes with your own socks. Not only will wearing socks of your usual thickness help you get a better-fitting shoe, but it's just plain nasty to wear someone else's socks.

As for the rest of your gorgeous ensemble, just make sure you are comfortable:

  • In cold weather, wear layers. A t-shirt under a zip-up sweatshirt and a simple pair of running pants should be sufficient. Usually you'll need less clothing than you think when it comes to running. You might feel chilly at first, but remember that you will warm up once you get moving.

  • In hot weather, wear light colored clothing and a light colored hat to protect you from the sun. Also, don't forget the sunscreen. The general rule of thumb is that shorts and a tee shirt are OK if it is above 50 degrees or so.

  • Last but not least, buy a performance-quality watch you can get sweaty in. Make sure it has a stopwatch function so you can keep track of your time.