New Balance Beacon jacket
For those who have to run before sunrise or after sunset, staying visible is absolutely crucial. As its name suggests, the Beacon Jacket is nothing if not eye-catching. The glow-in-the-dark fabric, which you can charge up under direct light, is also wind- and water-resistant, making it the ideal winter running companion. Like most of New Balance’s kit, the Beacon Jacket has a stylish look and an athletic fit. It doesn’t come cheap, granted, but it is a top-quality product.
Odlo Raptor Running Shirt
Not the cheapest but, when it comes to running tops, you undoubtedly get what you pay for. Odlo utilises supremely fast-drying material that wicks sweat away in an instant, keeping you cool and running light. The fit is also perfect: not too big as to be noticeable, but equally not so small that you feel restricted or
in need of a trip to the gym beforehand. For the fashionistas among you, it looks pretty good too.
The North Face split shorts
These shorts, from The North Face’s ‘Better Than Naked’ range (probably best to take them on their word), are lightweight, ultra breathable and – unlike many racing shorts – come equipped with a useful zipped pocket, plus a larger mesh compartment for easy access to mid-run pick-me-ups. A quick-drying inner liner also prevents excess sweat and reflective details shine bright in low light. A solid option for a springtime marathon.
Feetures Elite Max Cushion
Socks might not be at the top of your kit wishlist, but while a good pair should go unnoticed, a bad sock can be run-wrecking. Feetures’ trademark Sock-Lock support system provides targeted compression to eliminate the blister risk, while offering extra cushioning to the areas of the foot that need it most. Technicalities aside, however, the Elite Max Cushion is as comfy as socks come and, really, what more do you want?
TomTom Runner 2
TomTom manages to combine simplicity with top-of-the-range technology. Underneath the face of the watch is a four-way cursor on the strap, where most of the input is done. Click on the right to activate the ‘Run’ feature; click down for ‘Options’, ‘Profile’ and other settings, such as pairing with an iPhone. The wrist-based heart-rate monitor allows you to train in different intensity zones and the pacing is as accurate as any watch we’ve tested.
Black Diamond bbee 11
When you take your running off road, or plan on going further thana half-marathon, a backpack can become an invaluable companion. Black Diamond’s bbee 11 is just 360g (the weight of a typical trail shoe), but boasts an impressive 11-litre capacity – more than enough space for water, food, clothes, etc. The contoured straps sit comfortably on your shoulders and the back panel is breathable enough so as to avoid an excessive build-up of sweat.
Ultimate Performance Kielder Handheld Bottle Holder
In an ever-evolving running world of technological ‘must-haves’, sometimes you need to step back and assess what you really need. Ultimate Performance’s bottle holder doesn’t claim to be anything spectacular, but its beauty is in its practicality. Despite its simplicity, no details have been spared: from the padded, moisture-wicking handstrap, to the zipped pocket and hi-vis reflective trim. This is a product ideal for the middle-ground between 10K and marathon.
Aptonia 33 Recovery Kit
An effective warm-up and warm-down routine increases blood flow and releases muscle tightness. For such injury-preventing processes, the foam roller is hard to beat. Do it right and you’ve got your very own sports masseuse in the comfort of your own home. This recovery kit from Decathlon is more than that, though: for half the price of most foam rollers, you get a massage ball for smaller areas, such as your calf, and a stick for larger muscles, such as your quads.