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Why It's So Important to Have the Right Running Kit in Winter

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Having spent years glaring at all those fit and healthy people jogging around London and swamping my Facebook News Feed with stories of their marathons and their triathlons, I finally decided to take up outdoor running.

I could have timed it better - for instance by taking it up in March - but no, I chose to start running in October, just as the days were getting shorter and the weather much, much colder.

It was one of those days when the air is crisp, the woods flooded with sunlight and the sky so wide and blue, it seems criminal not to enjoy it in some way. The thought of jogging in an airless room on a treadmill could not have been less appealing.

The first day was hard, but I realised the trick was to not run full-pelt (which will only make you feel like your chest will explode and you want to run home crying to mummy) and to also map out a route. I hadn't realised it, but my key concern was about running too far, and then worrying about not be able to physically walk back because I was too knackered.

After the third time, the temperature really started to drop and so I piled on all my baggy, thick jogging bottoms and sweatshirts in the hope I'd stay warm. My dad, who is a seasoned runner warned me that I'd need special gear, but I ignored him.

What I found was that when the air is damp and you're sweating, it's a recipe for disaster to wear thick, bulky clothes. When the sweat makes the clothes damp, it just doesn't dry, and so when you're walking back home, you're increasing your likelihood of a cold as your clothes are wet and your core temperature is dropping.

I went to Nike Town in Oxford Circus to try and buy some kit, but what I found just made me so angry, I left without buying anything. If you haven't been, the first three floors in the store are dedicated to men, and the women's section is right at the top (very chivalrous, guys) with a fraction of the choice. Baffling considering that Nike is so pro-women with its fitness app.

I turned to Zaggora, who specialise in women's fitness clothing (but also do men's) which meant that not only was the clothing likely to have been tested by women (which is really important as our bodies are shaped differently) but there would actually be some decent designs.

In 2014 they'll be bringing out a range that fits various shapes such as apple and pear shapes to make sure the fit is even better.

To get me through the winter though, I needed their hot range - the clothing that heats up as you do your workout. When it arrived, as sleek as it looked though, I was very sceptical as to whether it would do the job.

I pulled on the flares - they look like leggings - the halterneck and the most crucial piece of outerwear, the blazer that has a zip-up collar to protect the neck. I alternated one day with the capri pants but I wasn't quite a fan of how they fitted around the bottom.

As I was about to set off, my husband commented that I looked like a superhero, and yes indeed, that's what I felt like. But with everything so tight-fitting, I just didn't see how it would work.

Oh ye of little faith I said to myself while 10 minutes into my jog. I was quite literally steaming but not unpleasantly - it just felt like I had a heat pack in the centre of my chest that was radiating down. It made the rest of the jog bearable and pleasant, and, it meant that when I started my cool down 10 minutes before I reached my house, I wasn't freezing cold.

I also appreciated the attention to detail in the design. The hot tops for instance have a panel around the breasts that doesn't heat up because women like to lose weight on their tums, not their boobs. There are also little zips in the blazer for your house keys and iPhone so you can run with your hands free.

As you may expect, the kit doesn't come cheap. The blazer retails around £80 while the tops are around £50. But I tend to view it as the same as investing in good walking boots. Most of the time, you may not need the extra advantages of using good kit but as most people know, it's the times you really need it - whether it's due to the weather or the terrain - that counts.

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