Top 10 Marathon Must-Haves
When I started running, I thought I could just wear the same kit I wear to train in. It’s all the same thing, right?
Wrong. Massively wrong.
Although, obviously, running in any kind of trainer is easier and more sensible than running in heels/flip-flops/wellies, there’s still a huge difference in performance, recovery time and risk of pain and injury depending on your footwear. Trust me, I love my Reebok Nanos but they weren’t loving me after 15 miles of non-stop impact. Suddenly I found myself needing GPS and pace trackers, clothes with pockets in to stash my phone and keys...basically, things you don't need for CrossFit.
This sparked a new research project to find the kit I really needed to run safely and with a smile on my face (mile 17 'face of pain' aside). I’ve scoured and discarded products from top names and tiny brands to bring you my Top 10 Marathon Must Haves...stock up on these, then get running!
Adidas Ultra Boost Shoes, £130
These are some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever run in. The first time I wore them was for an 18-miler, and they just work. One thing I really like is the knitted top section, which gives your toes a little more wriggle room (literally) and stops that aching sensation you often get with a lot of miles. Worth every penny, the Ultra Boost make you feel as though you're running on air.
Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Tights, £90
These leggings are incredible. They hug your figure, make your bum look peachy, have a pocket for your phone and house key, reflective stripes, mesh inserts for ventilation and slight compression reducing the risk of cramp and shin splints. The only problem with older versions of these leggings was the heat-sealed seam around the back pocket: this has been replaced by secure stitching so you can wear these every day and they will take all the wear and tear in their stride. Buy these and thank me later!
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Shoes, £115
I had such a tough time choosing between these and the Adidas Ultra Boost, that I'm putting them both in. I love these shoes for the support they give and for their superior cushioning. I've also been able to use these for some running-based CrossFit sessions (400m run, 400m row, 5 pull ups - as many rounds as possible in 25 minutes) whereas the Ultra Boost don't cope particularly well with being strapped into a rowing machine. I wouldn’t be without either pair and still haven't decided which ones to wear for Race Day!
Garmin Forerunner 230, £169
I used to train with Runkeeper but found it didn't deal with tunnels very well, and actually it was giving me inaccurate pace readings. I tried Strava too but as a standalone app it couldn't give me the on-the-go feedback I needed...so I tried out the new Garmin. It's really easy to use, has a clear display and a really good battery life. I can keep an eye on my pace, its GPS is spot on even through tunnels. If it had storage capability for music it'd be perfect.
Reebok CrossFit PWR6 Sports Bra, £65
Sports bras are obviously very personal things to choose, but my favourite are the medium-support bras in Reebok’s CrossFit range. The fit is always good, the seams don’t chafe, and I can use it for my CrossFit classes as well - win win!
New Balance Mixed Media Hybrid Tank, £30
I usually run in last season’s Sweaty Betty running t shirts, which have a useful pocket at the back, or an older New Balance tank top. As neither are available online any longer, I’d recommend this New Balance top instead. I love the perforations which increase air flow, and the slightly looser fit around the base.
Activbod Turn Up The Heat, £12
This is a natural version of Deep Heat, which uses rosemary, arnica and ginger to warm your muscles before or after exercise. I still remember using it with a client after a sunny session in 35 degree heat at La Manga...let’s just say if your skin is damp with sweat or from the shower, the heating effect of this roll-on are vastly increased! I love it though and use it after every run. It’s great after a tough CrossFit class, too.
Kalme Chameleon Concealer, £19.95
I adore this product! Although it’s called a concealer it’s really more of a tinted moisturiser, and with SPF20 it’s great for running outdoors in all weather. Don’t be scared when it comes out green - it’s a colour-corrector that matches to your skin tone, so unless you’re green-skinned, it will change!
Lucozade Sport carbo gel
These have been incredibly useful during my long training runs. A little injection of sugar at the right time can keep you on pace and feeling strong, and mentally it helps because you know you’ve done something proactive to keep your speed up!
Monster iSport SuperSlim Wireless Headphones
If you run, cycle, commute, travel, or ever listen to music/films/podcasts, get these headphones. Great sound quality, good battery life, and the smugness induced by the lack of wires is substantial. Read the full review here then go and grab yourself a pair.
It's officially spring, the sun's out (sometimes - don't bank on that though) and now you have everything you need to get outdoors and get running! Comment below with your favourite running products or to let us know how you get on with these recommendations!