I've recently become slightly obsessed with running. Not in the Jessica Ennis sense now, more recreational, but for all intents and purposes, to be healthier and fitter. And in fitter, I mean, like hot. I used to be toned and lean thanks to years of yoga, but as I approached my thirties, work became more demanding and exercise went into Room 101 along with eating greens. But the sad reality is, without exercising I put on a few pounds and my favourite pair of skinny jeans no longer fit. Urgh. So a change was a' comin'.
I needed to get healthy, stop eating bars of Green and Blacks for dinner, and treat my body as the temple it should be. So, I started running. But the exercise bit is one thing. As a fashion professional, looking good while engaging in such an activity became a priority, as well as ensuring my footwear protects a dodgy ankle I fractured in school playing World Cup standard hockey. Now as I perfect my running style (yes, literally) I've some guidelines to share. The dos and don'ts of fitness attire, if you will. There goes my credibility..
1. Sports brands love neon. As do I, but avoid looking like a jogging highlighter, and stay away from co-ordinating trainers, leggings, running jacket for fear of channeling too much Mr. Motivater.
2. Staying with the Mr. Motivater thing for a second, your running pants don't have to be skin-tight. I don't need to explain this further.
3. A non-fashion point to note is that music is a necessity but manage your imagination somewhat to avoid your "I am Beyoncé in concert" moment. Breaking into song is disturbing for other pedestrians. Soz.
4. On colder days, I understand you need to keep warm. But there is no need dress like you should be in Aspen with your neck warmer, gilet, hat and running gloves. You'll feel like a mobile sauna. Generating steam is not a good look.
5. With your Garmin watch, phone in its arm-holder, extra long headphone cable as well as your house keys shoved in a pocket, you may look like you are about to do a moon walk. Gadget management is incredibly necessary.
6. The lovely lady on the Map My Run app tells you when you hit each kilometer as well as your split time; she should be altered to give you motivational speeches. In the absence of this genius app improvement suggestion, talk to yourself. "Come on, you're doing great, that biting pain in your side is just the pain of success. You are still in the running to becoming America's Next Top Model". No one will stare at you I promise. They are admiring your chic neon running gear.
7. Wearing hi-tech running shades is a must for tropical climates and places where the sun likes to take up residence. This does not apply to places with constant low hanging clouds such as the British Isles most of the year.
8. Waterproof clothing is a staple wardrobe item; I have learned this the hard way. Wearing a white Under Armour base layer top as the rain decided to descend was not the brightest moment in my amateur running expeditions. Passers-by got a good view.
9. Wear a sports bra and avoid the clasps on a regular bra breaking and having to hide in a nearby hedge to take it off. Then you have the small problem of carrying it for the rest of your run. Cringe.
10. And finally, if you are like me and have a running style similar to Phoebe in that episode of Friends, flexible fabric in your tops is required to facilitate gesticulating arm movements. This kind of running style can also assist in your overall fitness levels. Beware causing injury to fellow runners.
And this is just running outside. Don't get me started on the gym. That's for 2016.