19 January 2016

My running essentials

So recently I wrote this post and I have declared my intention here to complete a challenge of running 350 miles in 2016. I adore running, I love that I have found my ideal workout (besides biking which is FAR too fun to be considered purely exercise!).  I really want to include more running related posts in my blog this year...

I love that with running you don't need anything, strap on a pair of trainers and an old t-shirt and shorts and get out there.  You truly don't need any 'stuff' or expensive gym memberships and gear. However when you have been running for a number of years like me you begin to gather a few bits and bobs that make the running experience that bit more pleasurable... Here's my list...


Obviously my iPhone is my main essential, but it is what is on my iPhone specifically for running that I will be talking about here.

I cannot run without music, I hate it, I hate hearing my breathing... so music helps with that plus makes the whole experience much more pleasurable.

If you get some good tunes on there it can really motivate you. A good beat can really push you and lift you when you are flagging.  I choose a mix of poppy stuff, dance stuff and some rock. I try to change my music regularly so I don't get bored.

I find Spotify is fab, if you pay for the full subscription of around £10 a month you can have any song you like on your playlist and can play them offline with no ads.

Nike Plus

This app is seriously my best running pal! You switch it on just as you head out the door, after programming in whether you want to focus on a distance or timed run. The app speaks to you, you can choose how often this happens. I like to know where I am after every quarter mile, it tells you the time and average pace so you can go a little faster if you wish.

Halfway through you get a little person speaking to you then the app starts to count down to tell you how long left. Then at the end you get a good 'well done' voice from famous american sports people (I presume they are I've never heard of them!) You can then log how you felt about the run with a little emoticon and what terrain you ran on.

The app logs all your runs and it is such a motivator to see the miles add up. I believe you can link to your friends etc and challenge each other but I'm not interested in this.  My Nike plus is linked to nobody else it is a record for me only.

Ankle exercises

Before each run I focus on loosening up my ankles. I get stiff sore ankles if I run a lot and it frustrates me. I guess I feel the strain of runs the most here so I make sure I do some targeted exercises before each run and it really helps.

Without shoes on I point my toes and spin my ankle round in a clockwise rotation for 15 turns on my big toe, then 15 anti clockwise and repeat on the other foot.

I then sort of jog on the spot without letting my feet leave the ground, so just lifting my heels up one at a time. I do 30 reps of this exercise too.  I then repeat the exercises both through a second time.
Following my run I always make sure I stretch each leg muscle carefully and a little stretch for my arms.

Wrist wallet

A new little purchase from here. Like what do you do with your door key when running? This is a question that has concerned me for ages... I used to either hold it, which annoys me or put it in a pocket on my coat or running tights and hear it jingle jangle for the whole run.

I love this little wrist wallet, perfect size just for my key and a little bit of money should you be popping to the shops on the way back.  My keys do not jingle around and I am confident they are safe in here zipped up and secure on my arm.

Sports bras

The amount of ladies I see running along with mega bouncy boobs (you can't fail to notice!) ugh, if I can feel my boobs bouncing around it is so uncomfortable and I can just imagine them being round my ankles the next time I take off my clothes... lol!

If you are blessed with big boobs get a decent bra, but my TOP tip is wear three! Seriously best running tip ever! I would never have thought to do this but read it somewhere... strap em in good and tight and they don't bounce.  I wear good bras, either the M&S extra high impact, I bought this one recently or Berlei Shock Absorbers, I adore this one yes they are pricey but so worth it! 

Recovery juice

Mark and I call this stuff  'recovery juice' but its not really! It's just a vitamin tablet really that you dissolve in water. You can buy the more expensive Berroca brand ones but I don't love the taste, I prefer these Sainsburys own ones.

I look forward to a large cold glass of this stuff all the way round. To be honest at this point this stuff is probably a placebo and I am getting what I need from the water on its own.   But I feel like this stuff gives me a little boost after my run and it just works for me.

Wireless headphones

Another relatively recent purchase. These are fab! Regular wired headphones annoy me no end... the wire always seems to work itself into the wrong place or if I have it stuck down my top it drags down and pulls on my ears, or gets twisted... just aaaargh!

So I invested in these recently and they are just fab! I am surprised by the quality of the sound with no wires. They work on your phone's bluetooth and the battery lasts ages and ages. I would really recommend some wireless headphones, anything to get rid of those little niggly running frustrations.

Altura cruisers

Now these lovelies are not the most flattering of running pant! They are actually a cycling trouser and I bought them for such.  However I put them on one particular cold day during my 'run every day in December' challenge and I have not looked back.

As I say they are not the most flattering, they are tight but not skin tight so kind of give you a lumpy, dumpy look to the legs, but who cares when you are running! Oh my but they are warm! They are also superb quality thick material.

Best of all with these babies is they have a draw cord waist, just perfect really! My usual running tights are from Nike, I have a few pairs and they have a tie cord waist.  This Nike tie cord waist is super difficult to get off also super difficult to get to the desired tightness so tights slip down gradually as you run... oh what a helpful feeling that is! grr.. But my Altura lovelies stay in place where I want them, and feel ever so toasty warm.


How is it possible for one part of your body to be feezing and turning blue yet another part of your body is boiling and sweating like mad? Well get out there running in winter and you will soon experience this weird phenomenon! Usually my extremities, such as nose and hands are freezing cold yet my top half and my forehead are sweating when running in winter.  

Gloves are always a good way to go this time of year, and I love these they are light weight, but do keep your fingers toasty on those frosty runs.

Hair slides
Yes it just makes me super happy when stray bits of hair blow around my face when I'm running, you tuck them back up quickly as you bob along but they just come out again.  Should I stop to fix my hair? Oh but I'm getting on for a PB and I really don't want to stop... oh but stray hair is sooo frustrating... haha.  A familiar battle for any runners with long hair surely?

I wear about 7 hair slides when I run.  I have a shoulder length bob with layers, so most of it goes up into a ponytail but those annoying loose ends I clip into multiple hair slides just to keep my sanity.

So what have I missed? What do you consider a running essential, that you simply cannot get out there on the pavements without? 


  1. I loved reading this Jo! Mostly what i loved was how much your genuine love for running really shone through it all of the way from start to finish! Does that make me sound like a geek?!?

    I've had such a love/hate relationship with exercise over the years and it's taken me until now to find the exercise i love (Bike riding and pilates) and once you find your 'thing' it's just THE best feeling ever and even if the initial getting out of bed/getting motivated after work is hard, you just now how fab you'll feel afterwards and it makes it all worthwhile.

    Well done on the December running challenge - looking forward to seeing where running takes you this year. Did someone say marathon?!?!?!?!? Have you ever considered something like that?

    Sal x

    1. HI Sally, thanks SO much for your lovely comment, really made me smile. I think I prefer biking to running, but biking is SO fun it simply cannot be considered 'exercise' haha!
      I would like to set myself some challenges, I've done a couple of 5k runs, but me an any kind of competition don't go well together. I can easily run a 5k in a decent time but put me in a timed race with others and I panic and can't do it. I don't think I will ever get to marathon level but maybe one day the Cumbrian Run! we'll see... let's see if I can complete my 350 miles in 2016 challenge first. xxx

  2. I am creating myself a shopping list as I type with nearly all of these things on for me to go and buy after January pay day (I'm so skint right now), lets hope this helps me learn to love running, fingers crossed! :)

    1. Hi Caroline, thanks so much for your comment. As said above bits and bobs like this are not essential for running but they do make it a bit more bearable! I find if i've got a new gadget or some new clothes, trainers, or even a new playlist it makes me more excited to get out there running. x


Thank you so much for your comment, I read each and every one, and they mean a lot to me. I do always try my best to reply.