Posted by: fitartist | December 15, 2015

Christmas Gifts for Winter Running

I know, it’s not been especially cold around these parts so far and I still sometimes find myself running and cycling without my gloves, in December! It is, however, very dark and I’m more and more aware of how we, as runners, need to make ourselves seen. When I’m cycling in the dark, I’m often taken by surprise as a runner suddenly turns a corner and I have to skid to a stop. I was recently sent this lovely little bundle of products to test, with some super hi-visibility items to make me stand out a little more on my evening runs.

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One item that is really neat and nifty is the Nathan Light Spur (available from Wiggle for £19.99). It’s so easy to use, slipping quickly onto the back of your shoe and giving you a highly visible, moving light. It has a replaceable watch battery but, with 40+ hours of illumination, you won’t have to replace it very soon. This pairs really well with the Nathan Bandolier at £18.99, also on Wiggle. It has a really nice shape to it, giving minimum disruption to movement (I didn’t really notice it at all) and giving 360-degree reflectivity. There’s also a little pocket for keys and maybe some coins, so no need to wear a bum-bag as well.

Another Nathan Sports item I really like is the Sonic Mount at £27.99. This universal smart phone armband is reassuringly grippy – I’m always a little paranoid about dropping my phone, but this has thick rubber grippers that you can wrap around your phone really quickly with no bounce at all. I prefer not to run with music, so have been using mine on the turbo-trainer, but Edward has snaffled it for his weekly run-commute…I might have to prise it back out of his sweaty hands sometime…

A particular favourite of mine are these funky socks. I’m not really that fussy about running socks, usually just going for something quite thin and cheap! I might have been converted by these though; they’re really good. Feetures performance socks are seam-free and use compression technology to give high-density support in all the right spots. I just love the feel, the lack of rub (they have a no-blister guarantee), the little tabs that peek over your shoe tops and, of course, the superb colours (if anyone is thinking about my Christmas present… 🙂 ). The Elite Light Cushion sock is £13.99 and also available on Wiggle.

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I do love a running gadget and can be seen studying my stats over on Strava after every run or ride. I don’t normally work with a heart rate monitor though – I do have one, but it has a chest strap and I find it so uncomfortable that I just don’t bother. Now the Mio Fuse solves this problem AND counts my steps and keeps track of calories expended. Result! I had a few teething problems with the device, finding it tricky to pair with the app on my phone. The support team at Mio were great though and got back to me promptly with some tips on how to make it work. Personally, I’m never that blown away by step-counters, since I do a lot of cycling and swimming so, on paper, I could look quite inactive…I do really enjoy using the HRM though and find the ability to set and work in different zones very helpful. I use it mostly on the turbo-trainer, but was interested to see some stats from a recent track run, where my maximum heart rate peaked on the 200s! This is the perfect option for those of us who want to keep an eye on our heart rate in training, but don’t want the discomfort of a chest-strap. I could see it being useful too, to someone new to being active, offering an incentive to keep going and seeing an improvement over time. If you are feeling generous this Christmas, the Mio Fuse is available from Amazon for £129.96.

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