One of my best buds when I was training for the half-marathon was my iPod shuffle. Tiny little silver matchbox, with a huge capacity for storing music, able to skip, pause, and control volume from the control on the lead. I’d had it for years – only replaced the headphones for the first time about 4 weeks ago. And they no longer make this model – the newer shuffle is a small square shape which has all its controls actually on eh device, not the leads.
I would carry it with me in a little black velvet bag. I usually took it when travelling, or even on daily commutes if going by train. So I took it with me to Paris last month. And now I can’t find it. It may well turn up in some forgotten corner of a suitcase, but meanwhile I’m using the music on my iPhone. To do this more comfortably, I bought some new bits and bobs.
Flexible Arm-holder/ reflective armband
Unless you want to run carrying your phone in your hand, some sort of holder is essential. I was previously using a pocket that clipped around my waist, but it was awkward to get the phone in and out, and consequently not great for making any adjustment en route. I chose the black stretchy version as it would be easier to keep clean than the white leather one. It was £7.99 in TKMaxx. It’s hard to get the fit just right – my arm muscles aren’t very bulky, and the holder is inclined to slide down the arm and under my triceps after a while. I also had to make an additional hole for the headphone socket on my iPhone 4. But it’s pretty simple to operate through the plastic screen, which will speed up the time it takes me to get my music running, find MapMyRun and press Start, which usually costs me a few seconds at the start of Park Runs. And feeding the wires out the side of my top rather than down my front seems to prevent some tugging and pulling. It also has a reflective strip, which isn’t so important in this sunshine, but will be a bonus on gloomy winter mornings. I’d give it 3/5 for looks, and the same for performance.
Sharper Image Ear-clip Headphones
I loved the look of these, with the very sleek green/gold and black. I was seduced by the word “sport” on the packaging, and intrigued by the shape, promising a better fit in my darned odd-shaped ears. At £5.99 from TKMaxx, they were worth a trial.
I found it surprisingly easy to get these to fit snugly into my ears, and I admired them in the mirror before setting out on a run. Sadly, about 2 miles in, they were slipping out of place, and I spent the rest of my run fiddling and adjusting them. So, 5/5 for looks, but only 2/5 for performance.
Gummy Plus headphones, in white
As my husband pointed out, these were the only items on the rail in the shop with security tags, and indication that they must be attractive to shoplifters. I’d also seen them recommended on MyFitnessPal and other running forums. At £9.99 they weren’t the cheapest headphones by any means, but I liked the fact that they came with different sizes of ear-bud covers. On a hot morning run, they stayed in place brilliantly with the smallest covers on, and they have the same pause/ next track functionality that I find essential. 3/5 for looks – boring white headphones – but 4.5/5 for performance.
Running in warm weather, this is one bit of kit I wont leave home without. It’s very easy to wipe sweaty brows and upper lips while moving, and it also has a handy hidden inner for keys/poo bags/ emergency jelly beans.
This claims to be a great rehydrator, as well as containing essential electrolytes. It’s quite pricey, but tastes good, not too sweet, and only 25 calories for a 330 ml carton. I would buy this again, especially if the hot weather looks set to continue.
Sadly, I managed to get badly sunburned at the weekend sitting in a friend’s garden. I HAD put sun cream on the back of my neck, but obviously couldn’t reach down far enough (obvious now….). So I now take no chances, and make sure I have factor 50 slathered over my bare shoulders.
What are your best tips for running in the heat? And what are your favourite gadgets?