Running has to be one of the oldest and least expensive sports out there, and by my book one of the most fun. Before you get out there and run, there are a few basic items that you need to keep you running day in and day out.
With technology, the way that it is, knowledge about proper running shoes has come a long way. It use to be that sneakers were good enough, but runners got better, and the shoe had to keep up. I recommend going to a specialty store to have your gate (the way that you walk), and the way that your foot reacts in your stride tested. They will also measure your arch and foot pressure to give you the shoe that fits you.
In doing these test they will give you the categories of shoes that you should choose from; Cushioned, Stability. Performance, Motion control, Trail. Different companies may call the categories by different names, but they all mean the same.
Cushioned: These are your shoes if you have a moderate or a high arch.
Stability: These are shoes that support and durability to your foot.
Performance: These are light weight and well balanced shoes intended for the avid trainer
Motion Control: These provide assistance to runners with low arches, or those who are heavy runners.
Trail: Just as the name implies, these are intended for trail conditions offering better traction and water resistance.
I love my cotton towel. I am picky on a few things that I buy, and getting a high quality towel is one of them. The reason that they use cotton for towels is because of it's incredible absorbency capabilities. This is the exact reason why you do not want to wear cotton when you run.
Sorry, but one of the side effects of running, sweat. This is your bodies way of staying cool. As the sweat is removed from your body, your body is able to cool down. If you hold that sweat against your body in a cotton shirt or socks, you are making it more difficult for your body to regulate your temperature. There have been many warm summer days where I have been freezing on my run because I wore cotton.
On the flip side there have been many runs where my cotton has been too hot. That is another point of cotton, to insulate. At the start of my runs, before my shirt gets too cold from my sweat, it is keeping in the heat that my body is letting off, getting me hot, making me sweat more.
Finally, when cotton gets wet, it gets heavy. I do not want to be running with any extra weight, but that is up to you of course.
Personally, I prefer polyester. Polyester has sweat wicking capabilities, it allows your skin to breath, and it is a light material. Perfect for running.
This is just the basics to start your run, we have not talked about sun glasses, watches, or what I call utility belts, but one day, you will get past the basics, and you will be a runner.
That is why I run.