Christmas has a good way of sneaking up on me every year. This year, having been elbow-deep in nappies (as opposed to the usual roasted chestnuts and mulled wine) and operating on minimal sleep since giving birth in August, the approach of the festive season has been sneakier than ever! Even having got my head around the imminent approach of the 25th, my focus has been very much on what to buy for family and friends, and it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I considered what my dream Christmas list would look like. Assuming that Santa can’t find a full night’s sleep in his sack (!!), the following would be top of my festive fit list:
Before having my daughter, I tended to do the majority of my runs in the morning or at lunchtime. Given the time of day and the routes I took (predominantly around central London: along the river and around the Royal Parks), I have to admit to being pretty blasé about my safety. Post-baby, I’m forced to run in the evenings when my husband is back from work and can take over childcare responsibilities, and at this time of year that means running in the dark. I am also conscious that now there is another human who is reliant on me, my safety is more important than before and that’s why, when I heard about Run Angel I wanted to add it to my Christmas wish list. Run Angel is a personal safety wearable that emits a high-pitched alarm when activated and pairs with your phone to send an alert to up to three of your contacts to let them know where you are and that you are in distress. At €90 it’s not cheap, but then I suppose you can’t put a price on safety.
There is very little more annoying than your socks slipping down under the arch of your foot as you run, or as uncomfortable as them rubbing when you’re working out. With marathon training season just around the corner I want to make sure that I’m not plagued by troublesome socks on my long runs, which is why I’ve added Bombas socks to my list. I heard about Bombas socks through two of my favourite running podcasts and am keen to try them out. Engineered for extra comfort and support, I also love the ethics behind the company, which donates a pair of socks to a homeless shelter for every pair sold. Win win!
Pre-baby I could get away with wearing any old sports bra, but those days are long gone. Now I not only need additional support as my boobs have trebled in size (!!), but it’s also great to have a sports bra that allows me to breastfeed easily, as by the time I get back from a run the baby hunger situation is often at point critical. I love these front zipping sports bras from M&S, which hug me really tightly preventing any bounce when I run and also allow super speedy boob access! With my training schedule for the New Year in mind, a couple more of these sports bras would be great to support me through the miles.
Waterproof running jacket
Now the rainy season has hit the UK I’m on the hunt for the perfect waterproof running jacket. I want something breathable, windproof, light, bright and stylish (not too much to ask right?!). The internet is full of options at a range of prices, but I want to make sure that I get something that is high performance so that I’m dry from the rain and not super sweaty at the end of my long runs. Suggestions welcome!
I am a big fan of Alex Hutchinson, having enjoyed his book ‘Which comes first, cardio or weights’ a couple of years ago. Earlier this year I enjoyed his interview the Running for Real podcast talking about his latest book, ‘Endure’, and subsequently added this book to my ‘to buy’ list. The book poses the questions how high, far, or fast can humans go and what defines our limits? It explores the extremes of human endurance and both the physiological and psychological factors that can limit us or that can allow us to go the extra mile.
Marathon training alone can take its toll on your body, but when combined with sleepless nights and breastfeeding, I’m worried about my body taking a real hammering once I significantly up my mileage in the coming months. Perfect Amino are a product that came recommended via the Running for Real podcast and one I’d love to try. They are a vegan source of the eight essential amino acids that the body needs to support and maintain its muscular, skeletal and hormonal systems, and promise speedier recovery after hard workouts and long runs. Who wouldn’t want the gift of faster recovery?
High on my list of challenges for 2019 is an open water swimming race, which my sister happened to win this year and which I am now determined to beat her in! The only problem is that the extent of my wild swimming experience is limited to Hampstead ladies pond and I don’t even own a wetsuit! A friend of mine who is a seasoned triathlete mentioned that she uses a HUUB wetsuit, and the HUUB Axiom suit is designed for beginners, coming in at just under £200 while still promising high performance and comfort. Perfect!
I’m currently doing more of my training in the gym, not least as it has a crèche, so I can sneak in an hours workout during the day while baby F gets in some practice of being away from mummy (something she is neither used to or good at!). Now that I’m spending more time sweating over weight machines I’m in the market for a new gym towel and I love the look of these funky mini towels from Lululemon, and at £20 they’d make a good stocking filler!
While I used to do yoga every morning, which kept me supple and injury free, and I once had time for regular foam rolling, in a post-baby world this just isn’t viable. What’s more, when you combine training with carrying a baby around in a sling, the rounded shoulders that come from breastfeeding and lots of picking up and putting down of your (not so little) darling, your back and shoulders really take a hammering. If there is one luxury that I’d love to add to my list it’s a full body sports massage to really work out all of the knots and get me back to feeling like my stretchy self again!
Looking for more gift inspiration? Check out the rest of the Christmas wish lists