One of the subjects that I’m most frequently asked about is running: what to wear, what to eat and how to get out there and do it in the first place!
Well luckily, the issue of how to get out there in the first place (and hopefully quite a few other things besides) is addressed in this post here which I wrote back in October. I’ve written several running posts over the years, which you can also read here and here (there may be a little overlap. Sorry!)
But as to what to wear? Well that seems to be something that causes much discussion if not a little distress. So I’m going to identify some of the things that you might want to think about and then have a chat about them. Oooh but first, I should just say that I’m not able to include images from GAP and M&S for some reason. I’ve tried for hours but I’m just going to have to get on and post, or else abandon the whole thing!
So here goes….
- Hat and gloves
Layers are, if you like, the holy grail of getting it bang on temperature wise. Layers of fairly well fitting pieces made from sporting fabrics that are of similar thickness and which can be taken off and on again as needed, are essential. Anything heavy, such as a sweatshirt (non breathable) or with feathers in it such as a puffa (too hot) will leave you feeling uncomfortable and heading for home before you’ve finished your first km.
And the point of the layers being fitted as opposed to baggy is that they will fit underneath each other without getting ruched up and becoming uncomfortable.
Even on the coldest of days, such as today when it was snowing, I’m only in 3 layers – and I’m an utter wimp. I always wear a fitted no sleeved vest as a basic. Then when it gets colder I’ll add a long sleeved top and from about mid October onwards, a jacket. The only thing that changes during the winter is the weight of my jacket. I have one heavier one that I wear when it’s really cold and rest of the time (if a jacket is needed at all) it’s a lighter weight one. And apart from your first layer of a vest top, in my humble opinion, all of them should have long sleeves so that they can be tied around your waist.
Irrespective of your bust size, I would absolutely say that a sports bra or cropped sports top is necessary. They are made for comfort and offer the best support possible. They can be padded or not, underwired or not. They can have racer backs, wide straps, narrow straps – anything that you like really but I would say that the right underwear is key. We’ve all seen those women running in the wrong bras and I’m not sure that any of us wants to go there.
Personally I love the M&S ones but I think that I’m inherently lazy and I just can’t be bothered to try other brands. Plus I guess if they work, there’s no need to look anywhere else. They have great prints, colours and styles, all of which you can take a look at here.
There are special pants that you can buy to run in but I’ve never ventured into those. My everyday pants have always served me just fine but if they’re your thing by all means give them a try (and let me know what you think.)
This sounds dramatic but the thought of running in “normal” socks fills me with horror. I don’t know why – maybe it’s a security thing. I like nice, soft, well padded, sports socks. Some of the best are, for my money, in Primark. I like them cut quite low too – they’re just more flattering around the ankles, especially if you’re wearing capri leggings.
Oooh now there’s a subject with legs. Capri or full length? Low rise or high rise? Fabric composition? Thermal or not and how about compression?
I would say that I’ve probably tried most of them and my favourites are high rise capris. Full length thermal tights are great for when it’s really cold and compression tights do feel lovely on a very long run but both of those are pricey. So on the whole, if you’re just starting out and don’t plan on over investing in them, capris seem to do the trick 90% of the time.
Some of my favourite capris are the high rise sculp capris from GAP (£62.95) I have to say that I’ve never paid anywhere near anything like that for a pair of Gap capris. Usually I pay no more than £25 in the sale or with a 40% friends and family discount. But see the high rise and the wide waistband? That’s what I really like about them.
Or for a legging, there’s the high rise Winterbrush print leggings from GAP (£59.95).
There’s even a 7/8th legging which is longer than a capri but shorter than a full length legging. There’s so much choice, so I’ve linked to them all here
I’ve also had great leggings from Victoria’s Secret as well as these Body Glove Active Wear leggings (£69.99) that were gifted to me by Cocobay this time last year.
Oh and on a really, really cold day, full length tights with shorts over the top can stop you from getting a chilly bum on a long run.
I’ve already mentioned vest tops. This is the kind of fitted vest top that I like but it all comes down to personal preference. If it’s a really hot day I might wear a slightly looser vest as I won’t be putting another layer over the top. Otherwise it’s fitted all the way.
H&M sports vest top (£8.99)
This top is fab. It comes in 8 colours and whilst they’re not necessarily very “shouty” that’s fine if you don’t want to stand out too much. If you do, then there are brighter ones at H&M or Primark again is good for running vests.
As to long sleeved tops, again I prefer them to be fitted but it’s all a question of taste and what works for you. I also like them to have a thumb hole in them so that I can cover my hands on colder days.
Seamless sports top H&M (£17.99)
This is a great top in four different colours. I love that there are bright printed pieces out there at places like Sweaty Betty and Lululemon but I think that it can be too easy to get sucked into the mindset of thinking that it all has to look super cool. If you’re trying to impress in a central London yoga class then maybe – if you’re running along the canals in the urban hinterland of Birmingham – not so much!
This is my absolute favourite lighterweight jacket. It’s the Seafolly Flower Festival windbreaker jacket from Cocobay and it’s now in the sale, reduced from £82 to £49.20.
The best thing about this jacket is that it’s cropped, so it offers all of the warmth that I need over my arms and upper torso but there’s not too much flapping around, should I need to take it off and tie it around my waist. I love the print too and the fact that I can put my keys in my pocket.
Hat and gloves and bits and bobs
Hats can be a real love, or a real hate item. One of my friends goes a bit woozy if ever she wears a hat, however cold it is. Others get earache – in which case a hat can be essential. A head band (not Bjorn Borg style I hasten to add) can be a great idea and if you’ve got long hair and they can also look fab.
One of my favourite places for those extra bits and bobs is Sports Direct. They have all manner of things from the obvious hats and gloves, to reflective strips, head torches, and armbands for your phone. I’ve gone through many armbands over the years and this neoprene Karrimor X-lite reflect armband, which comes in four colours, is my favourite by far.
Karrimor armband (£8.75 instead of £19.99)
It’s great because first, it doesn’t come undone, secondly there’s room for a key and some money in it and thirdly, unlike the plastic ones, it doesn’t chaff if it’s against bare skin in the summer.
Running Like a Girl (£6.99)
And I still think that this is a great place to start if you want to know the ins and outs about running. I get it out every time I’m about to run a race, returning to my favourite pages for the hints and tips.
I hope that this post helps but if you have any questions or queries, you know where to find me!