It is just one week until Snowdon now, and I’m pretty excited. I’ve worked hard, run A LOT and have managed to stay near on completely healthy and injury free throughout the past 17 weeks. I am looking forward to Saturday. It’s not going to be a PB, despite training as if I might achieve one, but I know it’s going to be a great experience with good friends and in a beautiful part of the world.
Throughout the past 17 weeks of training, I’ve run the same routes over and over. I have also been using the same products over and over to make my training easier and more enjoyable. With spring marathon training just around the corner, here are some of my ideas for what might make your next marathon cycle that bit better!
I was super excited to be sent a Flipbelt to try, as I’d heard great things about them, and was going to buy one anyway. And I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve had it for about a month now, and it’s honestly one of the most useful things I own. I’ve run miles and miles with it, and it comfortably holds gels for two (Mark, of course, gets me to carry his), keys, a phone, money, lipsalve, money off Homebase vouchers… it’s great.
I’ve brought it with me to Seoul, and it’s been carrying a hotel room keycard, my phone, a gel, thousands of won, the pen I bought, the key to the padlock I put on the North Seoul Towers, two credit cards and a map. It’s discreet, feels really safe and I couldn’t be without it now.
So until women’s activewear starts putting pockets in everything as standard, I suggest you try the Flipbelt. And even when they do, they’re never going to quite be big enough to fit in your mega phone. As in, big phone. Not mega-phone. Why would you go running with a mega-phone?!
Lululemon running rucksack
I bought this last year in Australia, and it’s incredible. I can literally fit my life in it. It fits me and Mark really well, and has held up to our constant adjusting and readjusting of the strap as we’re rather different sizes…
The side pockets are deep enough for a water bottle to sit securely inside and cope with a bumpy ride into work. I can fit breakfast and lunch Tupperware in it, as well as a towel and clothes for the day – and shoes if they’re fairly compact. And, of course, an undergraduate prospectus. It looks great too walking about – as rucksacks go, you don’t feel too much like a European summer exchange student with it on.
You can buy it here…
It’s not a cheap bag, but it’s so great it’s entirely worth it.
I was thrilled when SiS contacted me at the end of August asking if I’d like to be a brand ambassador. I had got into a bit of a rut with my nutrition, and with The Bastion on the horizon, it was pretty awesome to be offered the support of SiS. I’ve loved using their products over the past couple of months with marathon training.
Gels – no one likes gels, not really but they’re a bit of a necessary evil for marathon running. SiS gels are light and easy to stomach on a long run, and for the lighter flavours, I don’t find I have to take any water with them, although I usually do. My favourite flavour is lemon and lime, and I’ll be using it right around the mountain. I don’t take gels as often as recommended… normally one every 6 miles, which I know isn’t enough, probably, but it works for me. I find I get a churning tummy otherwise.
REGO recovery – I LOVE this stuff. I’m lactose intolerant and so I’ve found it really hard to find recovery products that I can have. This is brilliant and a great addition to breakfast after a tempo or speed session. It’s super tasty, but I also think it works (which is good!) and I have noticed I’ve felt better more quickly during the day since I started using this.
Hydro tablets – apparently I was training during the summer for this marathon. In all fairness to the South East, it did get warmish at times. The lemon flavour hydration tablets are the best – I use them pretty much every day, as I have a tendency to wear ever so many clothes and then sweating buckets. I’ve been using them whilst I’ve been traveling for work: I tend to feel really sicky after a long haul flight and not enough sleep and they’re good for taking away the nausea.
*as a brand ambassador for SiS, I can help you lot save some money on their products. If you type in “10SISIP10” at the checkout, you’ll get 10% off what you’ve bought, on top of any other discount they’ve got going on – winner*
Decathlon trainers – a guest review from Mark!
Some of you may or may not be aware I am running the Snowdonia Marathon this year. The reason? I signed up on the 1st of January – take from that what you like – and Cathy beat my previous time so I have to try and set a new marker for her to aim for!
As Cathy is regular blogger, she occasionally gets some kit to try out, whilst I sulk at the freebies she gets. Luckily for me, Decathlon sent through a pair of trainers – Kalenji SD neutral – for me to try.
I got these shoes trainers in August and have given them a thorough test running over the downs, chalky trails, flat pavements and treadmills. They are comfy trainers, and I don’t feel the stones through my soles as I do with my minimalist trainers (to be expected, perhaps?). They have stood up to my running style well, the sole of the trainer has not worn away (I over pronate far too much!) like my previous trainers. From extensive trials in the rain, I can promise you they dry pretty well, especially if you stuff them with newspaper!
I have tried several makes of trainers over the years, struggling to find ones I feel comfortable in: with my mega feet, I struggle to find trainers that are wide enough. Others offer very limited stability and others are too expensive. I’ve found these are really great though, and have even bought another pair I like them so much!
Wide feet? Dodgy running style? Man? Try them out too! http://www.decathlon.co.uk/kiprun-sd-m-blue-yellow-id_8326242.html
Garnier hair oil – The Sleek Restorer
Marathon training is tough on your hair. I’ve got really thick mega hair, the kind that breaks hair bobbles, even those bendy springy ones. You will be aware that I am not very into hair and beauty and all that stuff, although I do enjoy a bright lipstick. I’ve recently discover something, however, that has changed my life for the better. Hair oil. I was in Tesco, and Garnier had buy 3 get one free, so I thought I’d go wild and try something new! And seriously, it’s make my hair so different. I’ve been putting it in after washing my hair, which I do sometimes, and every day in between these washes too. It makes even my lion hair quite tame, and much easier to brush – I’ve been known to spend longer brushing the knots out my hair than running. Honestly, if you’re yet to try hair oil, it’ll change your life for the better!
Mizuno Wave Connect shoes
I’m a Mizuno girl: I bought my first pair for my first marathon 4 years ago and have never looked back. I find they are supportive but not constricting, light but not too bendy and they always look great too. I have a great many different types of Mizuno trainers, and have tried all sorts, but I’ve think I may have found my very favourites (so far. I could be swayed…) In June I bought the Wave Connect, and I love them. I have had real problems with my ankles in the past, so use superfeet in all my trainers to aid stability, but even when I run without them in (I have two pairs and sometimes forget to swap the insoles out – sorry, Leah) they feel secure. They’re perfect, no matter what speed I’m running, which has made them a perfect marathon training shoe. As any runner who also likes normally clothes knows, you must buy the last season’s edition of the trainer you like – so I’ve got the bright blue and pink ones, which co-ordinate with nothing but cheer me up every morning.
You can buy the SS14 ones on Amazon, and the new ones on Wiggle: http://www.wiggle.com/mizuno-womens-wave-connect-2-shoes-ss15/