Category Archives: fashion

Run Wild!

I am a big fan of animal print. Not in a really obvious Bet from Coronation Street way (I hope) but in that a little touch of animal print can really help an outfit to pop a bit. I have a muted grey leopard print cardigan, three pairs of animal print shoes in different styles and a couple of tops (ok I do sound like Bet).

However I’m very pleased to say that some of the running retailers seem to agree with me regarding animal prints. I’m a huge fan of something a little bit different on my bottom half and it turns out that this post has ended up with a slight lean towards the well dressed legs department. Here’s some of the really wild gear that I’m coveting (just coveting, I’m trying to be good!).

Adidas have a number items in animal print, including their higher end Stella McCartney range but I think the less expensive items are just as nice. They’ve brought out their ‘perfect fit’ three quarter length tights in new prints and shades. I have two pairs of these capris from a previous range and I vouch for them. They are possibly the most comfortable capris I’ve ever trained/run in. Here are a couple of my favourites.

Ok, I don’t think these are strictly ‘animal print’ but the graphic print from a distance and in this grey hue looks a little bit like snake print

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Check out these capris. Zebra print. ZEBRA PRINT! You can pretend you’re galloping across the savannah in Africa during your runs.

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Women’s Techfit Perfect Fit Three-Quarter Tights available £25.00 at http://www.adidas.co.uk.

Nike are always in there with the trends and they have a splash of animal print in their running collection.

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I have these tempo printed boyshorts (£22 from http://www.store.nike.com) and I love them. I bought them in a small but I think if I had them again I would buy them in extra small (actually I did, but the courier company lost the package and Nike were EXCELLENT in dealing with the problem and giving me a refund). The fit came up a bit big on me round the waist band and it gaped, so I would suggest trying them on and committing to fitted and then some. I have to admit the shape of the shorts and the print did make me feel a bit hot stuff. Perfect for a speed session.

Puma have a wild cat as their logo so why not some wild cat themed gear. They have a few items in animal print including these sweat pants (£40 from http://www.shop.puma.com), perfect for cooling down after a hard session…..I guess. Not entirely sure I could go for strolling down the street in these but lounging about at home in them I could possibly manage. Their lifestyle shoe collection of trainers and high tops also have splashes of animal print. And to celebrate Usain Bolt’s World Championships win, Puma have an offer on: buy 2 items and get 50% off the second item with the code bolt100. 

Animal print does tend to have it’s negative associations style wise but I think these pieces are fun and not too in your face. And let’s face it, a splash of animal print in the middle of a tough run will just make us ladies look all the tougher. Like Tarzan’s Jane if she took up marathon running. I definitely fancy saving up for the zebra print capris but I may have to start a one in, one out policy with the running gear like I do with my shoes. Why do the running gear giants do this to me? (I love it really).

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My Unhealthy Kit Obsession

This is just part of my running wardrobe. Lately I have probably spent a small fortune on running kit and work out gear. Last year I was sat in a store having a make up trial and the girl noticed my Nike carrier. ‘Workout gear? Not very exciting is it?’ But yes it is I nearly screamed at her. I get a buzz every time I buy a new piece of kit and then even more of a buzz when I think about when I’m going to wear it. Running gear has replaced my shoe obsession. However when I bought the bright pink running capris last week I was starting to wonder if I had issues.

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This is probably only a third of what is in my running drawer.

Over the whole of my injury period I continued to buy kit. Every time a shop or brand newsletter popped into my email account I was on there, browsing for more neon t-shirts and patterned capris. I was bordering on shopaholic. I kept telling myself these were my post injury presents. I deserved them for all the pain and heartache of not being able to run. Months of injury later I have a huge drawer of kit bulging with sports bras, singlets, socks, shorts and more. But the fact is you can’t wear it all at once and you will have the old favourites that are comfortable and reassuring like a favourite pair of jeans or shoes.

When I was a youth athlete I wasn’t ever kit obsessed. Almost every training session I would wear the same pair of purple shorts and the same, mud stain spattered white/greying Reebok t-shirt. My mum probably despaired of that t-shirt and may even have tried to get me to bin it. But I couldn’t care less. I wore it nearly every track session, spattering more and more mud up the back of it, ruining it further. But I felt safe, happy and confident in it.

Back then I didn’t have all the running clothes that I have now but I was just as happy in my training. I think it’s time to curb the kit splurging habit and get back to basics. Concentrate on getting fit again and being healthy. Focus on my goals and training for those goals. Kit buying obviously became a distraction which swiftly became a habit. These sports brands have cottoned on to the running market and in particular the female running market. I’ve been well and truly sucked in but no more I say. I will no doubt buy something now if I need it or if something has worn out but not just for the sake of it. Looking smart in new running kit can make you feel good but getting fit again and running well will make me feel even better and if I’m really honest? I’d swap all that gear for my old Reebok t-shirt and purple shorts if it meant I could get the last six months back.

Hills: Get Over ‘Em.

Hills are a nemesis for many. It can be the undoing of so many runners and you can learn to fear them and seek to avoid them. The thing is that the only way to get better at hills is to train on them and run them regularly. After a while hills become no big deal. Yes, they are tough but I think I’ve learnt that the key is to show the hill no fear. Once you show the hill the slightest bit of weakness it will consume you and spit you out crying at the top.

Living in South Wales means that I can’t run very far without finding a hill in my run. They can vary from the obvious steep inclines that feel like you’re walking up a mountain or they can be creepers, the sort that gradually increase their incline without you really realising. Or they can be crafty hills, where you think you’ve reached the top and you’re on the flat and yet you turn a corner to discover you’re still going up.

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We are all bound to have a particular hill that we have on our regular routes that challenges us. You’ve just got to reconcile that as a runner you’ve got to deal with them. The more hills you learn to conquer the better and fitter you become. And then when you come to a race that has a hill you can be like ‘A hill? You call that a hill? That is a mere bump in the road. I laugh at your ‘hill’.  Or you can just run up it without stopping and keep going when you get to the top.

I came across this tee by Thoosa that sums up how I feel about hills. Get up ’em and Get over it!

Lorna Jane Active: Sports Bra Review

A little while ago I wrote about running mantras and how they can motivate you. Within that post I included an image of a sports bra by Lorna Jane Active, an Australian brand that is now available in the UK. A couple of weeks ago my back was feeling better enough for me to start a few short runs so in celebration I ordered the Determined Bra to try out.

Now I’m fairly fussy when it comes to sports bras. Some bras claim to be high impact and to absorb all the wobbles but when you try them on it’s like the bra can’t actually be bothered. And because my exercise is predominantly high impact I need a sports bra that’s going to work as hard as me. It’s not even that I’m particularly well endowed at a 32B (thanks kids). Even so when I wear a sports bra I like to feel like I’m a medieval woman who has bandaged her breasts down so tight that she could enter court and masquerade as a boy. My Shock Absorber bras have always done this for me so I never thought I would stray from my usual brand. If I’m honest I was a bit worried that the new bra would be a let down like others before it.

I had picked the Determined bra because yes, I had been impressed by the mantra by the same name along the rear band. The bra was £40 but at the time of purchase there was a special Valentine’s Day discount of 20% which brought the price to £32. This combined with free delivery for purchases over £30 left me an extremely happy customer. What can I say, I’m easily pleased. I ordered the bra on a Thursday and it was with me by the following Monday. Speedy delivery, what’s not to love?

I wasn’t able to get out for a run straight away but I dashed upstairs and put it on under my normal clothes. I think this is a nice test for sports bras to see if you can get away with wearing it doing your usual day to day activities. I had ordered an XS size by using the sizing scale on the Lorna Jane UK site and it tallied right with my bra size. It was easy to get on with no awkward contortionist manoeuvres or attempts to fiddle with fastenings. I was able to slip the bra over my head with ease. There were adjusters on the straps if required. I thought the extra padding might annoy me but it actually felt quite comfortable and under my t-shirt gave a nice silhouette.

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I left the bra on and carried on playing with my 3 year old and doing the school run. By the end of the afternoon I realised that I had forgotten I had the bra on. A sign of a good bra is one that you are not aware that you are wearing and I can definitely say this was the case with the Determined bra.

Crunch time came that evening when my husband came home and I got my first chance to go out for a run. As I’m just getting over injury it was a short one. I was concerned that I would become aware of this bra as soon as I started running or that the padding would make me overheat in that area and annoy me. But nothing. Nada. Good, firm support. No jiggling and no strap irritation. It as a cold evening and I think the extra padding may have helped!

So far so good but how would it come out in the wash? I followed the instructions according to the label but I did wonder if the pads would move or become misshapen  Again I was proved wrong in my scepticism. The bra washed really well, the bra maintained it’s shape and I was able to use it for a slightly longer run on the weekend. Again the bra was supportive and gave me no issues with rubbing or irritation.

Overall I think this bra is a really good buy. The price is what I’d expect to pay for a decent sports bra. The styling is flattering under clothes and I would wear this as a day to day bra if I needed to. The bra was comfortable during my steady runs and I was really happy with it. I’m not sure though if it would be suitable for someone with a larger chest size who needs more support than me. This probably highlights the need for a proper sports bra fitting if you’re not a seasoned runner and you’re not sure what your body shape requires in terms of fit and support.

I really liked this bra and it is a great addition to my running kit. Lorna Jane Active are still fairly new to the UK but if all their products are like this I think they’ll do well. Hopefully I ‘ll get to try some of their other products when I’m in the market for some new running tights or even the leopard print bra, because you can never have too many sports bras!

20130223_172514On another note, the running has been going ok. Coming back from injury is hard but I’m definitely Determined. If you don’t believe me read my bra!

For Lorna Jane’s full range of work out gear, which covers yoga, running, gym, dance and leisure, visit http://www.activeinstyle.co.uk.