It's a lesson many newbies learn the hard way: Running sucks if you're wearing the wrong shoes. Before you lose toenails and faith in yourself, head over to the good folks at A Runner's Circle. The employees are all avid runners themselves, and whether you are entering your first 5K or your seventh marathon, they'll get you in the right shoe to cross the finish line. You can get a shoe recommended for you based on your individual stride and gait — and you can even take sneaks for a test spin around the block before deciding. (Once you've settled on a pair, they'll accept your old ones, which are sent as donations to needy runners in Africa.) More seasoned running addicts will love this place for its assortment of gels, Garmins and other gear. The stores also organize free fun runs through Griffith Park for folks at all paces every Thursday night at 6 p.m.
Credit: Drew Tewksbury