Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

A Marathon Education; the good, the bad and the indifferent!

So this is my 4th marathon training cycle. And, to make it a little different, I’m doing 2 in 2 weeks – Brighton on 12th April and London on 26th April.

Every time I go through this cycle I learn A LOT along the way, so here are a few things I’ve learnt and how I’ve changed or worked with them this time.

Club sessions – last year I ditched most of the club sessions as they didn’t fit with my training plan. This year I’m coaching the sessions, so I’m always there! And keeping up with the front runners (OK, occasionally getting close enough to inhale some of their dust!) has really helped with my speed and endurance. I feel quicker and my times have come right down.

a good 

Long runs – the structure of these have stayed the same, and the way I built them up week by week. But, again, I’ve managed to get together with the club on a couple of occasions to knock out 16+ miles. It has made it a heck of a lot less lonely and soul destroying, and has helped drag me through some of the dark miles. I’ve done a lot of my long runs on my own too, I think finding your own pace is key and learning to tune in to your own body. I’ve even ducked out of a couple of long runs early when things didn’t feel right. I’d have never done this before, but now I know my body a bit better I feel like I can do this. Also, I’ve done 3 solid 20+ milers this time, more than before, and I started the higher mileage earlier. This was more of a mental thing than anything else, so I knew in my own head that I could do it.


a good 

Intensity – I’ve done a similar amount of hills, sprints, threshold and progressive sessions, but I’ve based it around a) my club schedule and b) how I’m feeling. The mixture of fast and slower paced stuff always worked for me before so I’ve kept it the same. The only thing now is that fast is faster! But I’ve had to make sure that I do the slower sessions too and have had a few people comment on how my slow sessions don’t seem very slow, so have tried to control it even further!


a indifferent 

Frequency – I’m still running 5-6 days a week, as I have been in previous marathon cycles, but less double days than before. My mileage has increased to 52 miles per week, at its peak, which is similar to last year, but I’ve been having a few more lie-ins or doing some other activities instead.


a indifferent 

Cross training – Despite the fact I claimed to have cross trained last time, I only really went swimming when I was injured. I couldn’t fit anything else in when I was running 8 times a week. So this time I have done a BIT more, still nowhere near what I wanted. I have my bike on the turbo trainer and sometimes do that early instead of running, and I am doing a yoga routine 2-3 times per week. I think this has helped but I still want to be fitting in more cross training, even if it means substituting a run here or there.

 a good

Stretching – I learnt a great stretching routine for London last year, and this hasn’t changed much since. If anything I have been a little worse at stretching, spending less time after runs stretching. No excuses. It’s not a good idea. But then I do yoga the following morning instead. OK, I’m looking for excuses. I should do more stretching like I did last time.


a bad 

Nutrition – Thanks to a lot of research and good advice about nutrition over the last couple of years, I’m quite good at knowing what I SHOULD be eating to fuel, recover etc. Despite that I have used previously used the fact that I’m running a marathon as an excuse to eat what I wanted. This year I focused on an intelligent running diet, whilst trying to lose the weight I piled on after Berlin Marathon (Sept 2014) making sure that I have the right about of carbs, protein and fats depending on my runs and recovery. It has worked out well. I don’t weigh myself, so I’ve no idea how much weight I’ve lost, but I’m back to what I would consider a better running shape and weight for me. And because I’ve been really thinking about what I eat I’ve used the correct things to feed my muscles at the right times, which I’m convinced has helped with recovery and injury prevention.


a good 

 As a separate note on nutrition, I tried a carb depletion, carb loading strategy the week before Berlin Marathon which I think worked well, so I’ll be doing this before Brighton Marathon. 

Gels – I have a tried and tested gel strategy that will never ever change! Perfected before London last year, I’ve stuck with it throughout my long runs on this training cycle and it’s still as perfect as it has always been. High 5 gels, every 30 minutes. Easy.


a good 

Recovery – I’ve been better with my nutrition, worse with my stretching and better with my sports massages! I feel a lot more in tune with my body now so I know what I need to eat after a run or when I need a massage or some treatment. I give myself recovery time if I need it and I skip a run or do some recovery cross training instead. But I still need to do more stretching! 

a indifferent 

Injury – Now I don’t want to speak too soon, but *whispers* I’ve not had any injuries during this cycle. So all of the above must be working!


a good 

So, here we go, not long now until the most challenging 14 days of my running “career” to date. Writing it all down shows me how much I’ve learnt in the last 12 months. Now….let’s get to the start line! 


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A Quick Coaching Update

coachI’m regularly coaching the Tuesday night interval sessions at our running club now, and absolutely loving it.

After I’d got over the initial eeeeek! of telling people what to do, where to go, hoping what I was trying to explain was coming across (always check for understanding!) and ensuring no-one got run over or lost, I started really really enjoying it and now I can’t get enough!

Things I’ve learnt so far:

  • I can’t tell my clockwise from my anticlockwise when explaining things.
  • Rabbit warren housing estates are easy to lose people in.
  • I don’t like blowing a whistle – feels a bit school playground.
  • Blowing the whistle to signal the beginning and end of a sprint during a Fartlek is hard when you’re taking part in the session too and out of breath.
  • Explaining the next part of an interval session when you’re taking part in the session and out of breath is even harder.
  • I actually know some stuff about running. And other runners find this interesting and educational.


I’ve been really surprised and humbled by the feedback from the club. Apart from “Little Miss Hitler” (in jest, referring to a particularly difficult hill session) and a few comments about the lack of rest periods (“if you’ve enough breath to complain, you’ve enough to start the next interval” being my response!) everyone is always very grateful, thanks me and, even better, COMES BACK!

So far so good!


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Race Review: The Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon

I’ve taken part in a number of different half marathons now, but this was my first time at The Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon. When planning my race diary this year I was totally gutted at the date clash with this and Reading Half Marathon, as Reading was my first race and I always try to go back for it. But I’d heard great things about Fleet and I had friends and family taking part, so decided thought I’d give it a go.

The race is in its 34th year, making it one of the longest running half marathons in the country, the course it pretty flat and closed or semi-closed road, and has around 2500 runners. It’s run by Fleet & Crookham Athletic Club, one of the big local ones, so it’s by the runners, for the runners.

A massive plus point was that the race started at 10:30am. Now, I understand why these closed road races start so early, but for us runners an 8:30am start gun means another 6:something alarm and there goes the weekend.

Anyway, before the blissful 10:30am starting stampede, there’s the parking and event village. The town centre parking was great. Easy and well communicated. I know the town well, so that helps, but the maps etc. were good if you didn’t. The event village was busy by the time I arrived, but I managed to navigate to the well ‘manned’ bag drop easily and back out to the start area, which had the various ‘corral’ finish times displayed. No pacers at this event but I wanted to take it by feel anyway, what with 2 marathons coming up!


Wishing friends a good race, we headed off at various paces. The support on the route is great and the double lap of the town over the first 5 miles was great, as I got to see my family and friends twice before we headed out of the town, where the support became a little less.

FHM Route

I caught up with a few friends at various points and had a nice chat. I tried not to focus on my Garmin and just run to feel. 3 weeks out from Brighton and burnt before with a pre mara half that almost cost me my marathon, I wanted to be cautious. Obviously in my head I had various targets. I was averaging a good pace, but just wanted it to feel OK. 5 miles soon became 8 miles, I didn’t even notice them passing, it was great.

The closed roads were well ‘manned’ and the water stations were superb. There were very few supporters between 6 and 9, so the guys and girls at the aid stations were the main source of cheering.

At mile 10 I saw some more supporting family, which helped spur me on. 11, and a glance down at the watch. As with every race, the elongated mental arithmetic (maths whilst running suddenly becomes 100 times harder than drinking out of that paper cup I’ve just picked up at the aid station!) and I eventually manage to work out that if I can keep the pace up for 2 more miles (the .1 mile would just run itself right?!) I would just scrape in under the ‘in my head Plan A’ time.

11 became 12 and it was uphill for the final mile, but I’d bought myself some time on the last mile. And, it turns out, some gumption, from somewhere! Mile 12-13 was my fastest of the race, I really wanted that Plan A time after all (of course!). Into the finish area I whacked out that sprint finish and flew passed a huge number of others, heard my mum cheering, and over the finish line….1:44:29 on the Garmin, 31 seconds under Plan A and a whopping 9 minutes 24 seconds off my PB. I took another 20 minutes to get out of the finishing funnel, I stopped to speak to so many people. I was overjoyed. I still felt so strong. Exactly how I wanted to finish.


You know how you’re always a bit worried until the official time comes through, in case your Garmin has been in some sort of time warp or something nuts, well it wasn’t long before the text pinged through…

FHM Time

How efficient!

Now it obviously helped that I had a good run, and the weather was damn near perfect, but I’m glad in every single way that I picked Fleet Half Marathon to run as my pre-London warm up race.

They’ve clearly had 34 years practice, and have perfected the art of staging a seamless race. Every single volunteer was fantastic, the route was ideal, the support was spot on and the medal is great. My performance was an added bonus.

Sunday 20th March is the race day for 2016, so get it in your diary now. I’ll be there!


NB: I decided to enter this race and paid full price for my entry. I have no links to the event organisers or sponsors, and have not been asked to write this review. 


Why ‘normal’ is inspiring

If you follow a lot of the running, cycling, or tri fraternity on Twitter you’re likely to be following one of us folk who were lucky enough to be invited to the ashmei Ambassador Day this weekend. You’ll have seen the beautiful clothes, the fantastic HQ (an amazing barn in the gorgeous countryside), AirshopPhoenix the Airstream, our smiling faces on the run and ride and our top notch ashmei socks which have only had a 6 mile test run so far, but it was like they weren’t there, like an extension of my skin.

If you’ve not heard all about it there are some fab accounts, pictures and videos of the day from the fab people I met on the day, genuinely they were all lovely, just search for #ashmeiambassadors on Twitter.

ashmei 2 

I wanted to tell you about how I felt about it all and what I took away from the day. 

Firstly, if you ever feel intimidated by what some of the people you follow on social media do, or achieve, then don’t! I arrived on Saturday wondering what the heck I was doing with such a bunch of, what I would class as, professionals. I’d seen their achievements and read their blogs, I was obviously the token ‘normal’ person…whatever that means! Within seconds it was clear that we all felt the same. We were all in awe of each other. And for good reason. Whatever it was that we’d done, however big or small, it was inspirational to others. On top of that, they were all bloody lovely people and we could have been there all weekend chatting, comparing race diaries and listening to a lot of stories that involved people forgetting their swimwear!

ashmei 1

Secondly, that Merino sheep is a lucky little bugger! So we learnt all about the science behind the clothing. They had some work to do on me as I’m not the biggest fan of wool full stop, let alone running in it…visions of a marathon in a Christmas jumper, right?! Turns out this Merino chap has it sorted. The wool regulates temperature, keeping you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s warm. All of this while keeping you dry but it doesn’t get wet or sweaty. And because it’s naturally antibacterial, you don’t stink. I can’t guarantee that for EVERY Merino sheep out there, but it works for the clothing. They mix the finest Merino wool with carbon to give it the properties that ensure outstanding performance in sport and looking downright snazzy down the pub! You, not the sheep. Although if you want to take your snazzy sheep to the pub then that’s your business.


Finally, inspiration is everywhere. From the location, the apparel, the people that work at ashmei & freestak, the athletes I met and, most of all for me, the current ashmei Ambassadors. The things that they’ve done and are doing absolutely astounded me. Marathons in the desert and the mountains, barefoot running, representing your country. But they’re ‘normal’ people too, just doing what they’re passionate about. That’s inspirational in itself. They have office jobs, families, and the determination to do achieve all these things……they’re like me, like us….lightbulb moment! 

And some of the things they’ve done ARE going on my race list! 

Very last but not least, one thing that Simon Freeman of freestak said during the presentation, is that we all have highs and lows when training. Some things go right, others don’t. It’s the same for us all. And we all nodded! In case we needed any more proof that we’re all ‘normal’! 

What Stuart Brooke, ashmei founder, and the team have created is a mindset. An inspirational vision that normal people do inspiring things, and their products allow them to do those things to the best of their ability. 

Off to find a snazzy sheep for the quiz down the Rose & Thistle tonight! 



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Just say NO!

I’ve been stressing out. It happens to me every so often, normally when I get sick and everything catches up with me and I realise I’ve not looked after myself enough and I need to slow down, but how can I with all the things I’ve got going on? How could I possibly miss a run when there are marathons looming? How can I let down the club and the cross country team? How am I going to fit in 3 birthday parties in a week? That kind of thing. It only leads me to feeling worse and forces me to gather my thoughts (mentally slap myself silly for a while) and re-evaluate a bit.

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I went back and read an old blog post of mine “Not Enough Hours” reminding me to gain a bit of perspective. But it also made me look at how my life has changed since writing this (15 months ago) and what I’ve learnt about dealing with these moments in that time. After various marathon training cycles, becoming a coach at my running club, moving house,  and countless other races, runs, events and leagues, as well as life in general, I’ve learnt one big lesson to deal with my stress.

Just say no.


Not all of the time, obviously, but to the things that you can’t do, you don’t want to do, can’t accommodate, or are going to leave you resenting them.

Learning to be a bit selfish isn’t the easiest thing to do. As we grow up and there are more and more pressures on our life, we inevitably compromise on a lot of things, or ‘find time’ to squeeze things in, and some of that is just part and parcel of life. You can’t say no to visiting the family every time they ask! But on occasion it’s OK to say “no, I wont make it then” and maybe find a time that does suit you.


Saying ‘no’ doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you human. Being a bit selfish isn’t a bad thing, it can make for a happier, nicer you. After all, the only person you’ve got to stick with you up until the very end is yourself, so try and make that a happy, stress free, well looked after version of you.

Phew! Feeling a lot calmer already!



#MixUpYourRun with Asics

I’ve been am extremely lucky girl and am one of a few runners who’ve been selected by The Running Bug & Asics to get involved in their #MixUpYourRun campaign.

“The key behind this philosophy is in order to get the best out of your training you have to mix up the types of run”

This is important in my training. As is often the case with me, I’m currently spring marathon training, so weekly I’ve got hills, speed (threshold), easy and long runs planned.  Picking up the pace, building the stamina and teaching those legs some cold, hard facts about fatigue, can only be done by mixing up your runs.

Today, the kit arrived. We all know that feeling when a new kit lands! And this was a big surprise as I didn’t actually know what they’d be sending me.



Now I’ve only had a chance to take a sneaky peak while I’ve been sat in the office (and in my car at lunch!) so here are my very first impressions of the gear:

Asics GEL-Glorify


I’m a sucker for bright kit, so that was an instant winner. I do like to get technical about my long run shoes too, as I’m going to be running marathons in them. I like the support that these seem to offer under the arches (silver bits). I don’t over pronate massively but I am used to that support and due value it. The gel part of the shoes looks good, not something I’ve had before. Seems to make it very squishy so we’ll see how that helps. Nothing I dislike about the shoe at first glance.

Asics 33-DFA


Again, a nice girly design. Very very light and such a low drop, 4mm. Not something I’m used to as I tend to have a bit more 6mm or so on the bottom of a shoe. Although it’s only 2mm I could see the “flatness” of it straight away. A bit daunting but something I’m excited to try and hopefully get on with. No support bars or such like, but makes for a very light shoe. Sleek and fast. Let’s see if I can do them justice! These scare me the most out of the 2, but only because of what they represent, I think!

Asics Stripe Knee Tights


Nice simple design and length. The fabric feels good quality. Quite thin but they do say that these inspire “an extra burst of speed” so I guess less in more! Nice zip pocket of decent size and drawstring waist, both essential for me, as I always take a key and really can’t be doing with anything falling down, especially when they’re so light and with the added weight of the keys. Motion Dry technology is their wicking fabric, so we’ll put that to the test. I’ll give them a try on later, but not sure if I’m brave enough to take them out in the snow tonight!

Asics Stripe Top


Good colour. Light, bright and with the Motion Dry wicking technology. It looks and feels like a good technical tee. I like that it’s pretty plain and matches the tights. I’ll give it a try on later and might wear it out under the next item if temperatures permit!

Asics Woven Jacket


Again, light and bright, built for speed. I love the pink colour. I’m big on safety so the reflective detail on the front and back is a must for me, along with the bright colour. Zips look good quality and it has 2 full zipped pockets.  The back has ventilation and the fabric feels good. It doesn’t feel water proof, but doesn’t claim to be. It would probably withstand a small shower. Let’s see!

Asics Cumulus Socks


Much like other technical socks, the fabric feels good. They seem a bit thicker though, think it’s the cushioned sole. I haven’t owned cushioned ones before.  I’m not a massive fan of white as they always end up dirty! But will give these a go on the roads tonight.

So, here I go, off to mix up my run!

Are you a fan of Asics gear? Do you #MixUpYourRun training?

Let me know and interact with me on Twitter.

Updates to follow!


Review: Body Glide

January treat, guest blogger @JeNeSuisPasClem has been reviewing Body Glide, an anti chaffing solution for athletes. See how he fared on his hilly trail event.


I’ve never been asked to review anything before. Not even by Campari or Jaffa Cakes or Nike Running and I could provide a proper experienced review of all of their gear. When I agreed to write a review of a running product I thought about what my knowledge and experience would lend itself well to.

Here’s my review of lube.

Sports lube. The product is ‘Body glide’. It comes in a snazzy modern font plastic dispenser. The one I tested comes in blue, which I assumed through colour gender stereotyping was for men. I was wrong, it’s for everyone. However they have done a pink one which is just for women which has ‘extra moisturisers’. So there you go.

‘Body-glide’ are an American company set up by a Californian surfer, Steve.  I only tested the product on a dry day so take this as a ‘not used in rain’ review. It was developed originally for wet-suit rash so I’m guessing it must be good in wet conditions. Suppose it’s a bit difficult to teach Beagles to surf so must have been Steve and his surfer dude mates that tested it, which can’t be a bad thing for the Beagles.

I tested it out on the Longman 10 mile in Sussex. I normally lube up (for running purposes) for runs over 90 mins. Anything under that I’m usually okay. We’ve all seen the pictures of bleeding nipples and red raw chaffing so we all know that lube is a massive priority for runners.

I have a preference to begin preparation with two fingers full of Vaseline.

On my pasty, smooth, northern body I normally whack a bit on my nips, inside top of legs, under arms and toes. I once forgot to apply pre-race and had to go buy some from the supermarket. They only had ‘Early Bird petroleum jelly’ which was well watery. They let me wash my hands in the staff area after I’d applied it to my under carriage by the self-checkout area. Unexpected item in bagging area indeed.

This is why ‘Body glide’ is quite a good thing. It’s not oily or greasy at all. It comes in a 1980’s ‘Hai Karate’ style oval deodorant dispenser. It’s the same texture as deodorant however it is without any smell, it’s a neutral fragrance which is good.

Is it any better than Vaseline or other jelly lubes? Well I used it, had no issues and it was dead easy and clean to apply which I liked. Not sure how much more effective it is – it’s just miles more clean and convenient to use and has reportedly excellent waterproof abilities. It’s also easy to wash off unlike Vaseline which can take a good old handful of shower cream to remove.

It is more expensive though. On-line it’s currently retailing between £6 and £12. I’ll definitely use it again, it’s just much more convenient and you can take it with you, whack it on your nips near the start line and you don’t need to worry about washing greasy jelly off your hands.

Unless of course you already had greasy jelly on your nips, I know how weird you running boys and girls can be.

Happy lubing.


As mentioned by @JeNeSuisPasClem there is a “for her” version of the product, which I’ll be testing in my marathon training…hoping to rid myself of the bra burn I often end up with after much longer runs. The glamour eh?!!


Watch this space!


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Review: Brooks Cascadia 9 Trail Shoes

I’m one of those winter runners. One of those people that look forward to the dark nights, frosty mornings and, more importantly, the mud!

It might be because the first race I trained for was a trail marathon, and consequently I’ve spent hundreds of miles running through the local woodland with my cousin. Or that the Brutal off road races and the Thames Valley Cross Country league last winter were some of the best times I’ve had running so far. Whatever it is, I love an excuse to get out trail running. Sploshing in the puddles and coming back caked in mud is my kind of therapy.

Last winter I ran in Brooks Cascadia 8 trainers and found them to be perfect for my marathon, cross country and the road runs in between, so when I got the Cascadia 9 trainers for this winter I was hoping they’d be as good.

Firstly the newer version boasts a lower heel and flat laces. Apart from that, the design is pretty much the same to its predecessor.

The full spec of the shoe can be seen here

I’ve been out countless times in the shoes now, since receiving them a couple of months ago, so here’s what I think.


I’ve got the ‘Festival Fuchsia / Fiery Coral Pink / Midnight Blue’ pair – bit of a mouthful but they look good. Nice colour and everything coordinates. There are 2 other female colour options and 3 for the guys too. If you’re anything like me (I go looking for the mud & puddles) then they probably won’t look spotless for long, but that’s the idea right?!

I like the look of the soles, not too chunky but enough that they’ll keep you fixed the terrain. I probably would have made them one of the colours of the shoe, rather than white, but it’s no biggie.



As always, I get my trainers in a ½ size up, and these fit great. If anything, there’s a bit more room than I’m used to, in my road shoes, around the front of the foot. Not enough to rub though, it’s actually really comfortable. My feet are pretty average in width, so I’d think anyone with slightly wider feet would still feel comfortable in these. Otherwise it’s just more room for the dirt and water to slosh about in, in my case!


To me, the most important feature of a trail shoe is the sole and this one doesn’t disappoint. Great grip and stability, and doesn’t get too clogged up with the mud that you inevitably end up wading through on the trails. It’s as comfortable in the puddles as on the shingle. I can’t say that the flatter laces have made much of a difference to me, but they certainly do the job! They are nicely water resistant but not fully waterproof (and don’t claim to be) so you will end up with wet feet if you’re submerging them in water, but I’ve not had an rubbing from this so far.



Much like their predecessors, they’re getting me through Brutal, Grim, Cross Country and trail training very well this season. They’re great to run in, comfy, stable and no issues so far. They dry off and clean up nicely and continue to be a fast and reliable trail option.


Tried and tested at the Aldershot Grim 8 miler!

I’m really pleased I opted for these from Brooks, and I did CHOOSE these. They’ve lived up to the name and exceeded expectations. Looks like I’ll be investing in the same next season as well then!

Happy trail running!



My New Journey

Like many runners out there I’ve often wondered where it’s all going. I love running and everything that goes with it. I’m not going to be an Olympian, so how can I make an impact with it all?

Well this blog started off for that reason. To help me, to help others, to support, inspire, ask questions and maybe find answers. With my Twitter presence and work on the UKRunChat team I have a great time interacting with other runners daily.

The next logical step was to be able to do this face to face with others.

In March I went on the England Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course, a great day taking a group of us through leading a group or club of runners through a training session. This included goal setting, warm ups, different session types, overcoming barriers, injuries, stretching, fitness and support. A really inspirational course, I was desperate to put it in to practice.

6 months and 2 more marathons later, I received a call from our club coach asking me if I fancied joining the coaching team. I didn’t even need to think about it, it was an honour to be asked. I love the club sessions and wanted to be able to give something back to a group that do so much for so many.

So, my first session came around and I was terrified! Leading a group of 40+ through a warm up, 400m sprints session and trying to keep their attention, collectively, in a busy housing estate, was a challenge! But after it was done I loved it. I learnt a lot, straight away, about what went well and what went not so well.

We decided to take the next session by splitting the group, as barking instructions at more than 40 people up and down the inhabited, quiet roads we work on was getting more and more difficult as the group got bigger. So hills with half the group was less daunting and easier to manage. I enjoyed it a lot more.

My next session was a fartlek style run within a 5 mile loop, so burst of 30 second sprints and 60 seconds recovery, all the way round. Luckily I’d thought ahead on this one and got the faster runners to loop back to me, as a back runner, so that I could keep the group together. That was pretty challenging but everyone loved it.

Last night we did 100, 200, 300 and 400m sprints and for the first time I was really looking forward to it. Everyone had a great session and worked really hard, and for the first time the love for it properly outweighed the fear.

Seeing everyone work hard, progress and enjoy it is massively rewarding, I can see why so many people do it.

Getting my head around what works and what I can play around with is part of the learning process, and I’m loving it. I welcome any session ideas you have, it would be great to hear what others enjoy.

Oh, and I bought a whistle!


I’ll keep you up to date on how it’s going.



Review: Kalenji Elioplay 3 in 1 Jacket

It’s that tricky time of year when you don’t know whether it’ll be cold or warm, wet or dry, and it’s mostly dark!

I run on my own, with the club, with friends and at parkrun, so I’m always considering safety, comfort, keeping warm or cool, and I like to stand out.

This jacket is 3 in 1 as it’s a full jacket, gilet (when you remove the magnetically attached arms and hood) and just the arms and hood section.



This jacket certainly stands out. The colours are bright, the reflective areas are well placed and the design is eye catching. I particularly like the different coloured sections and the wrap around look of the design. The reflection on the back and pockets is good, it would be great if there were more strips. I’m big on safety in the dark.



At first the magnetic arms felt strange to get used to, but only because I expected them to fling off…but they didn’t!! The jacket is a good fit. There’s nothing special about the cut of the body, but it has my favourite thumb holes on the sleeves.


Wearing the parts individually, the gilet is fantastic. It’s great to wear to keep me seen, and my body waterproof, while the weather is still warm. I’ve not had any reason to just wear the arms and hood yet. I’m not sure if I will. I’d probably wear the whole jacket if I wanted the arms.


I’ve been out loads in this jacket in the last few weeks. On the dark drizzly mornings I wear the full jacket and it’s great for keeping me dry and seen. I’ve been out in the evenings with the club and worn the gilet with a t shirt underneath, more for visibility and use of the pockets.


Out on the trails I’ve been wearing the full jacket out and then removing the sleeves when I get too warm. My only criticism is that there’s nowhere to put the sleeves when you’re out and about. It would be great to be able to chuck them in a pocket. I’ve had to tie them round my waist.


All in all a fantastically versatile jacket. For £44.99 you’ve got a light, bright, reflective, waterproof, jacket & gilet in one. With pockets and hood. And it looks good.

You can find it here on the Decathlon website.

Let Santa know you need it!