If you’re a keen runner there’s a vast array of kit out there. You’ll need trainers, running clothes, nutrition, hydration, gadgets, accessories…. It’s all a bit bewildering. So we caught up with two fitness experts and asked them: what are your six really essential items of running kit?
We talked to Robbie Britton, who in four years went from running his first marathon to competing for GB in the World Ultra Marathon Championships and is now ranked #17 in the world as well as being the UK’s Ultra Runner of the Year. He says that apart from the painful, addictive, ridiculous sport he’s in, he’s a pretty normal bloke really….
And we talked to Rebecca Cox, who swapped a career in advertising to become a Reps Level 3 personal trainer. She has run 12 marathons, including that amazing feat of endurance the Marathon des Sables, 156 miles across the Sahara. When she’s not out running or training, Rebecca can be found drinking red wine and eating cakes.
Rebecca’s six essential city running kit items
1) TomTom GPS Sport Watch: I use the Multi-Sport as I often cycle or run between clients. Most important for my own training is the heart rate monitor. You can’t slack off if your heart rate is saying you can work harder. It’s also great to see if you’ve been over-training and need a rest.
2) SPF BB Cream: Even in the winter I’m conscious that I’m outside all day, getting hit with those rays… and I’m not getting any younger. I put factor 50 on my face before I leave the house… one with a little colour is always welcome.
3) adidas Boost: these claim to have the highest energy return – that’s the bouncy bit. I don’t favour a particular trainer but I’ve found these have more bounce than other running shoes. It feels like endless energy. OK, maybe not endless, but it helps me maintain speedwork for longer.
4) ipod: I need music. I know a lot of runners shun music. I’m not one of them. Music gives me something to set my pace, something to lose myself in, something to distract me when it gets painful.
5) Shock Absorber RUN Sports bra: given the miles I cover I need to reduce the bounce/stretch or I’ll end up picking my boobs off the pavement. A sports bra can reduce breast bounce by as much as 78%, which is twice as much as a normal bra.
6) Protein bar: I’m focusing on getting my speed up this year, meaning more intense and short bursts. I’m building more muscle to my running and to maximise this growth I’ve increased protein in my diet, so I keep a protein bar or shake close by to have within an hour of training.
Robbie’s six essential trail running kit items
1) Inov-8 X-Talon 190 trail shoes: lightweight racing shoes with great underfoot protection. An elite, minimalist shoe with well-placed studs that avoid clogging so deliver good grip for muddy trails. Plus the new ones are bright orange and real pretty.
2) Sunnies: optimistic for the UK maybe, but I have a pair of Julbo Dust sunnies and they me look faster! They’re an instant snug fit with a wide field of vision and good venting. Plus they’re shock-absorbent. You need to care for your eyes on a long day hitting the trails.
3) Water bottle: handheld bottles are the way forward for ultras. The Inov-8 Race Ultra I’ve got is a lightweight and stripped-back hand strap that latches onto any bottle I need it to. It also has space for food, gels or other small items. Tidy.
4) Wrag: a versatile bit of kit that can keep your head and neck warm in the cold, keep your face clear of sweat in the heat and great for soaking in water to keep your body temperature down as well. Bright and colourful so it’s easy for your Mum to spot you running past in a crowd.
5) Food: lots of it. Be it flapjacks, gels, Fruit Gums, Shot Bloks or whatever’s on offer down the shops. No olive oil though, that’s silly. Post Run food is key for recovery, and keeping a gluten & dairy free diet means I have a Trek protein flapjack or Ilumi food pouch at the ready.
6) GPS watch: I use the TomTom Runner to keep a log of what I get up to each week, check I’m hitting the right pace and to set my interval sessions. The intervals option buzzes on your wrist like a coach with a whistle on the side of the track, but doesn’t complain if it’s raining!