On your marks, get set…RUN
Want to start running? Whether you've set your sights on a 5K or the full 26.2 miles, we've got all the gear and expert advice to get you going.
Every year, for a nanosecond, I consider if I could run the London Marathon (as I dip my digestive into my cuppa). I clearly come to my senses. That said, I do want to start running again. Who’s with me?
If nothing else, it’s the perfect excuse to invest in some new kit. Threadbare leggings and and an old T shirt don’t exactly scream confidence or enthusiasm. So, I’ve downloaded the Couch To 5K, will be slinging on a robust sports bra (a must if you have big knockers like me), decent trainers and new stylish activewear that’s fashionable, functional and begging to be worn.
There are three labels fitness fans are gagging for right now – all known for functionality, sustainability and versatility: British brand HPE and American brands Koral and Lanston Sport. They all have a top notch reputation for high impact technical fabrics, that smooth and sculpt your body to perfection and they’re all stocked by Berkshire-based luxury activewear biz, Beau Britches. Wanna take a look?
HPE (Human Performance Engineering) is the activewear brand of the moment and uses silver technology to prevent bacterial build-up. The brand is founded by Nick Harris, a Human Performance Specialist, who has been working with sports stars and musicians to help them get the most out of their performance. Millie Mackintosh is a big fan.
Initially a t-shirt brand from LA, designer Ann Tan expanded into luxury activewear and Lanston Sport was born. The quality fabrics, superior fit and the ‘downtown cool’ style has won an army of famous fans including Jessica Alba, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Taylor Swift. Totally obsessed with these black and blue lightening bolt leggings.
You may not have heard of Koral but you will have seen the likes of Olivia Palermo and Jaime King wearing it. LA-based Brazilian-born designer Ilana Kugel uses her native Latin flair to create fancy fitness gear that’s known for its bold design and posh fabrics equipped with the latest compression technology to reduce lactic acid build-up in your muscles and deter muscle fatigue. So it’s actually helping you run further. Genius.
As for the extras, aside from a water bottle, I prefer to wear a running belt to an arm strap, it’s a bit easier to access and you’re less likely to get weird tan lines in the summer. Cotton is not your friend, so wear running socks made with sweat-wicking, breathable techy fabric, like these Sweaty Betty ones, £15 (cheaper versions are available from Primark but might not last as long). On my wish list is a pair of wireless headphones, because I clearly run like Phoebe from Friends and end up tangled mess, so I’ve got my eye on these Bose PowerBeats3 Earphones in a colour my boys wouldn’t be seen dead in.
NOW THE RUNNING BIT
Now we don’t want to fall into the category of ‘All the gear and no idea’ so I have picked the brains of Anna Cousins – owner of My Fit Zone – an online fitness hub offering exercise classes, PT and nutrition that you can access anytime, anywhere. Her keys advice is:
1/ Form a habit: Forget about hitting a pace or distance, instead, focus on a time goal. Set yourself a target of 20 minutes, three days a week. Eventually, build up to four days, and then you can increase your time from 20 to 25 minutes, and so on.
2/ Invest in a good pair of trainers: Running shoes not only provide substantial midsole foot cushioning, they also offer arch support, aid in the prevention of injuries and can promote improved athletic performance
3/ It’s essential to warm up and cool down: Critical for injury prevention and increased performance, a good warm-up makes it much easier to get going and keep going (Check out Anna’s basic warm up and an advanced warm up). Cooling down, while less critical, allows your body to gradually adjust back to a resting state. Just a few minutes of walking is all you need.
4/ Cross Train: Increasing strength and flexibility – especially with glutes, core and hip flexors will increase your performance and prevent injury. Good runners condition their whole bodies.
5/ Plan you routes: use an app such as Strava to help plan your runs – this will help with tracking progress.
6/ Drink plenty of water: Lack of water can have a huge impact on your energy levels. Aim to drink throughout the day, with a pint of water (or a sports drink) an hour before you run, and half a pint for every 30 minutes of running.
7/ Mr or Ms Motivator: Being accountable to someone will help you achieve your goals more efficiently. A PT will together a training and nutrition plan and alternatively, join a running club. It can often be much more motivating running with others – and a lot more fun.