The Diary of a Running Mum: What to Wear
At the beginning of 2016, Fitbitch runner and mum of four, Tanya Taylor took on the challenge of running every day. Perhaps not surprisingly, she’s become an expert at what to wear.
I want to take you back to the year 2007. This was the year I first started to run. I had given birth to my fourth child six months before, and had recently stopped breastfeeding. I was horrendously self-conscious of my body and felt at a total loss with my identity. I was worn out and could hardly string a sentence together without punctuating it with “I’m SO tired” every other second. I felt dull and unattractive. Having four children under the age 9 was all consuming. The frustrations of not being able to fit into the clothes I wanted to wear, in order to feel like the person I knew I was, had found me, in a roundabout way, standing at my local park about to attempt to run for the first time since school. I had signed up for a 10k race in Bournemouth with some of my friends, and training was about to begin.
Now at this point, I need to tell you that clothes and fashion have always played a huge part in my life. For every significant moment in my past, I can tell you EXACTLY what I was wearing and probably where I bought it. My grandmother used to style Princesses and movie stars back in the 1950’s, it’s in my blood. So when I think back to this day, I don’t remember how the run went, or how I felt afterwards. I do rememb
er the ridiculously inappropriate ‘Leroy from Kids from Fame’ running ensemble though – men’s cotton Carhartt tracksuit bottoms, vintage Nike Windjammer and an old pair of vintage Nike trainers that I had bought in NYC ten years before. NOT an outfit I can recommend!
Nine years on and I officially suffer from running kit OCD. I can now browse endless rails of lux-sportswear and know exactly what will work and what won’t. I can touch a fabric and know whether it will be gentle on my weather beaten skin or cause multiple unsightly chaffing sores. I can assess a neck line at the blink of an eye and know if I’ll look more Jeff Capes than Jessica Ennis. I need my kit to look good, feel comfortable and to ‘perform’.
More and more high street stores are now meeting the demand for women’s technical sportswear, and if you shop wisely, you can get some bargains. H&M have a great range (which my daughter also loves), and Topshop’s collaboration with Beyonce, Ivy Park, has some great pieces which I’m desperate to sample. Sweaty Betty and Lululemon always drop great prints in their collections, and their products perform well if your budget allows their above average price tag. TKMaxx is brilliant for a bargain, and is pretty well organised, so don’t be put off by the volume of stock.
Wearing good kit really does enhance your running, if you feel good from the off, then your run will start (and hopefully end) well – trust me!
Here’s my guide to the perfect capsule running kit for Autumn
Nike Epic Lux, £70
- The best running leggings I’ve found so far. You can buy them cropped or in full length, and although I prefer the basic black, they are also available in seasonal colours and patterns. The waistband is high (and VERY comfortable) so there is no danger of the dreaded muffin top spoiling your instagram snaps. Try not to baulk at the price, they last for ages, I promise.
Zoot Women’s West Coast Singlet, from £30
- Light, breathable, well fitted and stylish, my favourite new find. Feels great on and has reflective details for night running. It also has UPF 50+ sun protection so great for hotter runs, holidays or the Girls Run the World trips. Available online from The Triathlon Shop.
Nike Dri-Fit Knit long-sleeve, from £41
- A brilliant layering piece for cooler days, I’ve had mine for two years now and it’s still going strong. The Dri-FIT fabric keeps you dry and comfortable, whilst the knit-in mesh fabric allows breathability. Thumbholes help to keep your hands warm, and the seamless construction gives enhanced comfort. These tops nearly always get reduced in Net-a-Porter’s end of season sales by half price.
OMM Kameleika Race Jacket, from £128
- A favourite amongst Fitbitch runners, although it doesn’t come cheap. The jacket is waterproof, breathable and has a 4-way stretch making it perfect for running without restriction. It is superlight and has taped seams and lovely big pockets. The price tag reflects the technical detail of this running jacket, and it is an investment piece. Worth it if you run a lot or are thinking of taking up adventure races.
- If you have long hair that needs tying back, you will understand the frustrations of running with your hair falling out of your topknot and into your eyes. I have used these hairbands for many years. They are THE BEST. You will thank me for this nugget.
Balega Enduro Low Cut Sock, from £10.56
Great colours, well cushioned without over heating your feet, and the top of the sock doesn’t dig into your ankles to give you ‘cankles’. I love these socks! Available from Wiggle.
- Hmm…this is my biggest struggle as I have quite a broad back (swimming), but smallish boobs (breastfeeding four children.) I find the ease of an overhead bra with no fastenings preferable. Try Sweaty Betty for this style. Lots of my more well endowed running buddies swear by Shock Absorber. Be aware that when you run your ribs expand with your breathing, so you don’t want the band to feel too tight.
Flip belt, £25
- This tubular running belt fits snuggly on your hips without budging and you can choose between small, medium and large. The slits are perfect for your iphone, keys (there is a key attatchment for extra security) and gels. Although they now do one with zips, the one without is perfect – it’s comfortable and there are no buckles to rub. Available in a choice of colours and machine washable.
My top tracks to get you running this month
Arctic Monkeys – Do me a Favour
LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous
Britney Spears –Womanizer
Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way
Fujiya & Miyagi – Ankle Injuries
Don’t miss Tanya’s next report coming in September.