Running gadgets

One of my best buds when I was training for the half-marathon was my iPod shuffle. Tiny little silver matchbox, with a huge capacity for storing music, able to skip, pause, and control volume from the control on the lead. I’d had it for years – only replaced the headphones for the first time about 4 weeks ago.  And they no longer make this model – the newer shuffle is a small square shape which has all its controls actually on eh device, not the leads.

I would carry it with me in a little black velvet bag.  I usually took it when travelling, or even on daily commutes if going by train.  So I took it with me to Paris last month.  And now I can’t find it.  It may well turn up in some forgotten corner of a suitcase, but meanwhile I’m using the music on my iPhone.  To do this more comfortably, I bought some new bits and bobs.

Flexible Arm-holder/ reflective armband

glossyboxjuly 012Unless you want to run carrying your phone in your hand, some sort of holder is essential.  I was previously using a pocket that clipped around my waist, but it was awkward to get the phone in and out, and consequently not great for making any adjustment en route.  I chose the black stretchy version as it would be easier to keep clean than the white leather one.  It was £7.99 in TKMaxx.  It’s hard to get the fit just right – my arm muscles aren’t very bulky, and the holder is inclined to slide down the arm and under my triceps after a while.  I also had to make an additional hole for the headphone socket on my iPhone 4.   But it’s pretty simple to operate through the plastic screen, which will speed up the time it takes me to get my music running, find MapMyRun and press Start, which usually costs me a few seconds at the start of Park Runs. And feeding the wires out the side of my top rather than down my front seems to prevent some tugging and pulling.   It also has a reflective strip, which isn’t so important in this sunshine, but will be a bonus on gloomy winter mornings.  I’d give it 3/5 for looks, and the same for performance.

Sharper Image Ear-clip Headphones

I loved the look of these, with the very sleek green/gold and black.  I was seduced by the word “sport” on the packaging, and intrigued by the shape, promising a better fit in my darned odd-shaped ears. At £5.99 from TKMaxx, they were worth a trial.

glossyboxjuly 010 I found it surprisingly easy to get these to fit snugly into my ears, and I admired them in the mirror before setting out on a run.  Sadly, about 2 miles in, they were slipping out of place, and I spent the rest of my run fiddling and adjusting them.  So, 5/5 for looks, but only 2/5 for performance.

Gummy Plus headphones, in white

As my husband pointed out, these were the only items on the rail in the shop with security tags, and indication that they must be attractive to shoplifters.  I’d also seen them recommended on MyFitnessPal and other running forums.  At £9.99 they weren’t the cheapest headphones by any means, but I liked the fact that they came with different sizes of ear-bud covers.  On a hot morning run, they stayed in place brilliantly with the smallest covers on, and they have the same pause/ next track functionality that I find essential. 3/5 for looks – boring white headphones – but 4.5/5 for performance.


Running in warm weather, this is one  bit of kit I wont leave home without.  It’s very easy to wipe sweaty brows and upper lips while moving, and it also has a handy hidden inner for keys/poo bags/ emergency jelly beans.

glossyboxjuly 011

Coconut Water

This claims to be a great rehydrator, as well as containing essential electrolytes.  It’s quite pricey, but tastes good, not too sweet, and only 25 calories for a 330 ml carton.  I would buy this again, especially if the hot weather looks set to continue.

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Sadly, I managed to get badly sunburned at the weekend sitting in a friend’s garden.  I HAD put sun cream on the back of my neck, but obviously couldn’t reach down far enough (obvious now….).  So I now take no chances, and make sure I have  factor 50 slathered over my bare shoulders.

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What are your best tips for running in the heat?  And what are your favourite gadgets?

Photohunt Play

My favourite waste of time of Facebook….
the opening screen of Bejwelled

I have to limit myself to 3 goes at breakfast time, and this has made me late for work on more than one occasion!

A Handbaaaaaaaag?????

Why are women’s handbags so badly designed? Its a great concept, a receptacle for all your bits and bobs, but I cant stand the ones that hook over your arm (like The Queen has, though goodness knows what she keeps in it), and over one shoulder is back for your posture, while a rucksack is a security risk. So I like one that goes across the body. Preferably with lots of zippy pockets. And that looks smart. Do you KNOW how hard it is to meet all those criteria? I did have a fake Kipling I’d bought in China last year, but recently the wee pull tags have been falling off so I needed a replacement. And here she is:
a taupe handbag on an orange sofa

Now it’s not perfect – I love the colour and the fancy material inside, but I could do with a few more pockets for keys, make up etc.

Surely there’s a market for this!

New phone, old phone

Having been distinctly unimpressed by Voadafone’s customer service last year (new handset, had problems, replaced with reconditioned handset, had different probelms, repeat several times until they refused to replace a non-functioning handset…) I’d vowed to wait out my contract with them and then treat myself to an iPhone!

And here it is.

An iPhone, its packaging, and an old fashioned dictaphone Now, I wouldn’t normally class myself as an early adopter, but I’m the first person in my office to have one!  OK, 2 of the guys have Blackberries so it’s not like we’re completely last millennium.

I’m a bit old skool at times – you can see an ancient dictaphone in the background, which I carry in the car with me.  I use it to make a note of any songs on the radio I like, so I can download them later.  I use it to record directions to somewhere I don’t know (I did have a SatNav but it got stolen out of the car).

And of course I used my old phone to take a photo of the new one!