Given that most of my days include either running or cycling, I've come to know and trust a few products that I now exclusively rely on. I'm fairly lazy to try things out for the sake of it and I'm very non-tech so these things provide me with everything I need. If you fancy becoming a slightly hippy-ish low-tech barefoot runner who turns up to marathons with the wrong bra, then grab yourself some of the things mentioned here.
1. Brightly coloured running clothes from Reebok
Now I wouldn't want to give anyone the impression that I'm a spokeswoman for big companies like Reebok as I'm certainly not. But the 'lazy' thing I mentioned earlier? Yeh, the Reebok shop is five minutes' walk from my front door. I pass it constantly and have got to the point where if I need anything, I just go there without looking anywhere else. It's so easy. It is more than that though, their brightly coloured leggings are fabulous. Running is almost the only time I wear loud fun clothing and I really like to indulge in some lizardy green or look-at-me orange. They also did this whole range designed by Les Mills which had the initials LM on them. Obviously I got a few of their t-shirts and told everyone Reebok had designed them for me. I think they believed me.
2. Karrimor water bottle
It's one of those water bottles with a hole through the middle for your hand and I love it. I've got a dark coloured one so that when I take crazy chia seed and spirulina concoctions out with me, people can't see that my drinking water is actually a worrying green. Although I'm not massively reliant on water during a run, I do like to have it in case of a suddenly dry throat. It was invaluable for my mental wellbeing on my Wellington Run to know I had water if I needed it.
3. Vibram minimalist shoes
These dinky little sock-shoe things have had a bad press. People love to hate the Vibrams. I'm not sure why as they protect my precious little feet and I'm so grateful for them. If I didn't have them, as a barefoot runner, I'd have no skin left, in some of the places I run. Give me a Royal Park and I'm sailing. Bare feet out, off I go. If, however, if I'm hill-running at Primrose Hill, the floor there is grimy. Very very grimy. If I didn't have some protection, I'd have bleeding cigarette-butt-covered feet. Vibrams have enabled me to be the runner I want to be. I love them.
4. Look Mate socks
Now I'm a girl who loves a subscription with a passion. I currently receive a chocolate subscription, a breakfast cereal subscription, a vintage book subscription, a different-independent-magazine-every-month subscription and now I have discovered a company which sends a sock subscription! The socks themselves are clever designs such as a yellow one which has a squiggly blue line working its way around the sock which, when you look properly, you realise is the line of the Thames. Whenever I point that out to someone, they realise how clever it is and suddenly want a pair! I'm currently wearing my two pairs to death as they're so soft and comfy and great for days on the bike.
I'm not one for listening to music while running. I worry about becoming too reliant on it and feeling utterly stranded if my battery dies one day mid-run. I prefer to listen to the sounds of life itself or an audiobook. I can't explain how much I've learned through audiobooks while running. My latest favourite title was Chanel: An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney but I've listened to a fair amount by the Australian novelist Lianne Moriarty and she's excellent. I look for something that I can get stuck into, that makes me care about the characters. That way, if I want to know what's going to happen next, I have to go for a run as it's the only time I allow myself to listen. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and The Teahouse Fire by Ellis Avery were particularly good for forcing me outside on lazy days because I was so invested in the story. Listening to Scott Jurek's Eat and Run changed a lot about how I view running and my life and I loved that I was listening to him talk about running whilst out on my own runs.