Updated: Sep 30, 2019
Every runner has certain items that they just cannot run without. Having the right layers on, wearing the right length of pants, wearing the right socks... ALL those factors play into whether your run will be joyful or just very uncomfortable. Many people are very unaware of what materials they should be buying because at the end of the day it is the fibres that make up your clothing that determines their quick-drying rate and absorption.
When I first started running I would go for very generic, 'non-running' materials, such as cotton or very thick Lycra. Oh, how wrong I was! Nobody has time for chafing, smelly vibes or pants that need to be adjusted with every step.
Here are the five (fashion) tips which I live by :)
I once hiked through Sweden for 7 days with my friend Olivia. We had a lot of fun. What we didn't have was running water, so you were stuck with what you could carry on your back. While some people might pack 7 different shirts, with the beautiful merino wool you only need one. Designed to wick away moisture and sweat, the soft wool of the Merino sheep makes for a fantastic material that can be worn for ages without washing. It might sound very gross, but on my world trip I have gone 14 days without washing a shirt once - that is because it simply does not stink.
This is, of course, a dream for any runner. You certainly don't like doing your laundry, right? So please, please invest in as much merino wool as you can get your hands on!
If you go on a website like Icebreaker, you might think: 'Holy crap, I could never afford even a single sock!' Merino wool can be extremely pricey.
I, on the other hand, have never paid more than £15 for a MW item. I usually find fabulous bargains at charity shops, TKMaxx or Amazon!
I seriously cannot recommend it enough, I live in these shirts for long runs.
(Some people even buy merino underwear, but I have never tried it... I won't reuse that!)
2. My Kalenji Trail Running Shorts, £14.99
I discovered these invaluable shorts last March when planning to run my first trail race in Keswick. They are specified as 'trail' shorts but are also fantastic for urban running. They are equipped with 6 pockets, which will comfortably hold snacks, your phone and your house keys. This is a massive advantage because holding all of those things just limits you in your mobility. Also, Decathlon is incredibly affordable if you are trying to get a bang for your buck.
My legs tend to be very warm and running in any type of long legging makes me overheat way too quickly, which is one of the major downfalls of new runners! Even if its 5 degrees outside, I would rather have my legs exposed simply because it makes me feel freer. It can be very hard for women to find the right shorts because mainstream brands make them out of incredibly thick material or the practicality (pockets, length) is non-existent.
3. A Runner's Best Friend - The Buff, £1-£20
If you sign up for any respectable race, these customised babies will be in your goodie bag. Buffs are the most diverse and practical things you can bring on your run. With the weather getting colder you can wear these to stop the cold air entering your lungs. They can also act as hoods for a small rain shower or a headband if your ears tend to get cold (mine do). You can also wrap them onto your wrist and use them as a sweat-wipe if you are running in hotter conditions. I own 4 of these and love them all. They come in such fun varieties too - colourful, fluffy, simplistic, soft or MERINO (wink, wink). Do give them a try because a warm neck can be quite pleasant, believe it or not.
4. Do Not Over-Layer!
I often see people running in the Aberdonian Summer with a full tracksuit and gloves on. Either those people are just unnaturally freezing or they are not enjoying themselves. During a run of over 5 minutes your body generates so much natural body heat that that vapour needs to escape somewhere. If you just bottle it into a thick cotton jacket you will not get very far. While in winter you should be wearing a mid-layer and a fleece, there is barely ever a time where you will be cold while pumping so much blood through your veins. It is better to bring one of these super thin, lightweight jackets that Nike or many others make. I would never pay for a full-price Nike jacket, but found mine for £4 at my local charity shop! Once you have reached a good pace and are feeling a bit hot, simply tie the thin jacket around your waist and continue your run. I think no one wants to carry a big, clunky coat with them for the remaining miles!
5. Don't Let Those Boobies Bounce!
8/10 women do not wear the right size of bras! That is a huge number! You might be one of the 2 lucky women who run without pain upon impact or prickly metal bits pressing into your sides, but many bras in the leading clothing brands are not designed at all for high-intensity exercise. You should be looking for:
no exposed metal rods
adjustable straps so someone can fit you for your body type
I live and breathe in the Bonds 'High Impact Non-Contour Bra' because it doesn't just squish your boobs together, but gives them the space they deserve. It also never rubs on your shoulders and is super comfy while also supporting you through your whole run. It isn't that pricey, only £16! I have worn mine for over 3 years now and it will be time for a new addition to the family soon.
The bras above are from brands such as Shock Absorber or Berlei Sport - brands that focus on really making sure that even bigger boobs will enjoy their run!
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