I won’t run without….

Today I’m linking up with April from Run the great wide somewhere, Patty from My No-Guilt Life and Erika from MCM Mama Runs for their Tuesdays on the Run link up and the topic is ‘I won’t run without….

So what won’t I run without?

  • my flipbelt. Absolutely love it and feel lost without it. It securely holds any little bits I need to take with me and doesn’t move, rub or get in my way. And, when it regularly gets thrown in the washing machine, it comes out as fresh and sparkling as it first arrived.
  • my phone. I didn’t used to run with my phone but often worried about what I’d do if I rolled my ankle. Or, more likely, had run too far and couldn’t be bothered running home. It fits neatly into my flipbelt and is also frequently popped out for pictures of the gorgeousness where I run.
  • my iPod shuffle, yurbuds headphones & awesome playlist. I need music when I run, mostly to mask the gasps and gulps that pass for breathing when I exert myself. My shuffle is perfect because it’s light and unobtrusive and my yurbuds are the best headphones I’ve found so far – they really don’t fall out.
  • my Garmin. There’s a phrase often quoted in my running group – ‘If it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen’ so my Garmin is a necessary item for me to keep track of when/where/how long I’ve run. And I do love a little statistical analysis while recovering on the couch back at home.

If I’m heading out to parkrun on a Saturday morning I also make sure I’ve got my barcode #dfyb

And that’s it. I’ve got it down to a fine art – all the bits are kept in the same spot so I can grab them on my way out the door.

What won’t you run without?

keeping track

I’m joining in with the Tuesdays on the run linkup party with April from Run The Great Wide Somewhere, MCM Mama and Patty from My No Guilt Life. Today’s topic – running apps.

I love being out on a run and, for most of the time, am lost in the moment. Thinking of whatever gorgeous place I’m running through, thinking of my breathing or thinking of how good/bad/tired/energized I’m feeling. However, towards the end of a run, I will admit that my thoughts sneak toward that moment I really enjoy – downloading my data from my Garmin to my various trackers of choice.

Garmin connect
This one is a means to an end – I only use it because I have a Garmin and this (along with Garmin Express) is how I get the information off my watch and into a useable form. The upload is temperamental but I can’t give up my Garmin because the watch itself is fabulous. So I persist. But I’ve never actually explored the features of Garmin Connect so can’t really comment on it.

I’m a recent convert to Smashrun, thanks to reading about it on a fellow parkrunner’s fabulous blog. While it has many features that are the same as all the other running tracking tools out there, I just feel like it does it better. And cooler.

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It panders to my inner collector/competitor gene with a range of badges to earn, complete with quirky descriptions and prizes of new backgrounds. It also has all the usual bells and whistles, allowing you to review individual runs, track progress over time and set monthly or annual goals.

I first started using Strava as it was necessary last year to participate in Run Down Under – a program allowing you to track your kilometres on a virtual run around the country.

It’s another one with a slick interface and simple design, yet enough details to track your runs and monitor your progress over time. I am a particular fan of the trophies that it awards you for achieving your best time of defined distances or marked segments (see, I told you I like collecting!).

The only quirk that sometimes annoys me is that it uses your ‘moving time’ rather than your actual time in a run to calculate average pace, etc, which then tends to conflict with official race statistics and every other program I track on.

I downloaded this to my Mac years ago and still like it as my catch all tracker – I tend to log runs, bike rides and swims on this so I can get a more complete picture of my exercise.

It also panders to my inner neat freak who likes things to be beautifully organised and set up (although I don’t always achieve that!) – sessions can be sorted, tagged and generally arranged how you like. Very flexible.

Best of all, it syncs with my Garmin connect account with one click so it’s easy to get the information in there.

What are your favourite apps?

runner’s gift list (aka what I want for christmas)

I’ve been inspired to join the Tuesdays on the run link up, hosted by Patty from My No-Guilt Life, Erika from MCM Mama Runs and April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere. The topic this week is ‘Runner’s gift list’. And what a marvellous chance to put out there in the universe what I’d really like for Christmas. I hope Santa is reading….

A subscription to Runner’s World magazine
I’ve had the trial issues sent to me recently and absolutely loved them, devouring every printed centimetre and re-reading frequently. Definitely at the top of my list.

A sub-30 minute 5km time
I had to put this down as it’s definitely in the top things I’d like, although I’m fairly sure even Santa would be struggling to get me there. I’ve definitely seen improvement this year but this one is still tantalisingly out of reach. For now.

A Garmin vivo-fit
This is clearly an excessive thing to add to the list but it wouldn’t be much of a ‘wishlist’ without big wishes. I already have a Garmin watch which I love and think this would be a hugely fun and motivating way to work towards my fitness goals.

A water bottle
Ok, this one is a little ‘out there’ as well. This isn’t something I intend to take running with me – I have a tendency to not drink enough during the day and need something inviting to drink from to give me an incentive. I currently have a dodgy bright orange plastic bottle on my desk at school which I don’t love and tend to fill and ignore. This one looks much more appealing.

Additions to my running book library
I think this deserves a blog post of it’s own. I’ve bought a few fabulous running books to inspire me through my injury woes but there are so many more on my list:

Brooks shoes
I’m an absolute sucker for Brooks shoes. Maybe it’s because they were my first pair of ‘serious’ shoes. And they felt sooooo good every time I put them on. Either way, I always try on others but end up with Brooks again. I’m running in Trance 12s at the moment and would really love to try the Transcend. Shall definitely be saving up my pennies in the New Year 🙂

A massage stick
Yep, I get that this one’s a bit weird but I keep hearing how good they are. And I do love my foam roller, especially on my pesky calves that are always tight. This one looks good 🙂

So there’s my wishlist (the short version!). Perhaps there is something on there to inspire other runners in your life this Christmas?

brown paper packages tied up with string

I know lots of people say that running is so good because it requires very little special equipment. But that’s not how I run. I do love a good gadget and my husband steers me away from running shops for fear of losing me for hours amidst the colourful shoe collections. Here are 3 things I absolutely, positively can’t run without…

my shoes – currently Brooks Trance 12: Love them. I leave them near the front door because just looking at them makes me want to go running, just so I can wear them.

That would be my shoes….underneath my cat 🙂 He’s quite fond of them too

my watch – Garmin forerunner 405: This was an expensive piece of kit when I bought it but has been such a good motivational tool to get me out the door. And I love lining up at the start line to a race and joining in with the synchronised ‘beep’ of gps watches. Its battery life isn’t great and time seems to go in slow motion while I wait for it to acquire satellites but it’s worth it for the quick and easy data on the run (literally!) that I get. And I have been known to run past my house several times in quick succession, just to get the extra metres required to hit a round km figure.


my tunes – iPod shuffle: It’s little and I barely know I’m wearing it but is invaluable. The eclectic mix of music I have on there means that, just when I need it, I can guarantee I’ll be rewarded with a quirky tune to keep me smiling. And my latest find, my beloved yurbuds, are the perfect headphones for running. They do just what it says on the box – never falling out, regardless of how much I sweat and wriggle or how far I run.

What are your running essentials?