One of the principles of running well is being able to run regularly and stay injury free. Many factors can help with this; warming up before, and warming down after your runs, listening to your body if it needs a rest, but most importantly is having the right equipment and kit for you. The most important pieces of personal equipment for any runner are ... their shoes and socks.
The importance of the right shoes
The correct shoes will make any run easier and more comfortable and getting the right type of shoe if you're a pronator, supinator or neutral runner is essential. This will then provide the necessary support to your feet that will help align the ankles with your knees and ultimately your hips, reducing the forces and pressure on your joints and muscles. This will not only prevent injury but potentially improve your running mechanics as well, which in turn should improve your running economy enabling you to run faster.
Many specialist running shops now offer running technique assessments before you buy your shoes. www.northernrunningguide.com strongly recommends buying your running shoes from specialist running shops and getting the advice from the experienced running specialists in these shops (most of whom will be runners themselves and will speak from experience!).
... and finally, and just as importantly, do not forget the socks! Good quality running socks also make a huge difference and can provide the extra comfort and padding that many non-running specific socks do not have and help avoid blisters which can lead to missing those essential training days.
The importance of good socks
Good quality and proper fitting socks are essential to prevent rubbing on the feet, especially around the heel and balls of the feet. Many non-running socks are made of cotton and lose their shape quickly resulting in a poor fit. They also have seams where the socks have been made usually around the toes and heel. This along with the loss of the shape of the sock, if used for running can lead to blisters. Most specialist running socks are made of nylon and polyester and do not have those annoying seams around the toes that many normal socks have, making the sock fit tightly and retain its shape overtime. This then provides a comfortable and supported ride for the feet which along with the right shoe can make that running experience so much easier!