Eco-Conscious Running

July 26, 2013 at 7:22
Posted by Rachael Woolston

According to US company, UltarAspire, a marathon with 5,000 runners uses 55,000 paper cups during an event. We are not sure how many plastic bottles or cups this might equate to in the UK but judging by the  number we’ve had to wade through during races it’s a lot.

UA solution is this soft plastic cup, which can be folded away into a pocket and weighs around 0.3oz.

Of course, this would mean runners would have to stop at water stations to fill up which would not work for you if you are going for a Personal Best. But then on longer races, stopping and drinking before starting again – particularly in an ultra distance race or for beginners doing half and full marathons, this could be an ideal solution.

Currently only available in the US, we can’t help but wonder why no one here has yet come up with an environmentally aware solution to race water station wastage?




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Winter running: What to wear

October 23, 2012 at 4:08
Posted by Rachael Woolston

As the cold draws in, the wind carries the icy breath of Siberia and puddles deepen, Victoria Del Federico shares her hard earned tips on essential winter running kit


Trail shoes

I used to think these were only for gazelle-like runners, not for mere ordinary mortals like myself.  But as I began running more off-road, slithering down muddy tracks with my legs turned to jelly from the monster hill I’d just come up, I soon began to realise that trail shoes are  a godsend in the winter.

A word to the wise though, don’t just buy any old pair like I did. Try out a few pairs and treat your purchase as importanty as you do when you are buying your usual running shoes.

Can’t afford trail shoes and your normal running shoes? Don’t worry, trail shoes are not essential but they can make you feel more comfortable up on the trails in winter.

Our Fitbitch winter pick for 2012 are Salamon Speedcross, £95



Wave goodbye to cold hands

Hands are the first thing to feel the cold when you are running in the winter, and there is nothing more miserable than icy fingers.

Not only does it feel horrible, gripping your hands can tighten shoulders, lungs and result in headaches.

Opt for water resistant,windproof gloves with pads on the fingers so you can use your IPhone or music without having to take them off.

Don’t try getting away with every day gloves – I started out running a year ago wearing heavy duty fluoroscent ones. They not only made me look like a bin man, but were far too hot and heavy.

Try Brooks Adapt Glove, £17.99 (, with a water resistant windshield when it turns misty, a thumb pad for IPhone use, and even a magnet that keeps the gloves together when not in use.


You can lose up to 75% of your body’s heat through your head so running with a hat during winter is a must, particularly if you want to keep that windy chill from freezing the tips of your ears.

Go for a high tech, lightweight fabric that wicks away sweat and if you have long hair, one with a hole for your ponytail is essential. Otherwise your hat just rides up your head leaving you looking like a Smurf.

Alternatively, if like me, you get too hot running with a hat, try a fleece headband like Ronhill Run Headband, £9.95 ( You may risk looking some Eighties throwback but believe me, you won’t care.

Keep your ears warm

Running jacket

Photos of me running last winter show me swathed in high viz commuter cycling gear. High spec it might have been, but designed for running? It certainly wasn’t.

If you can only afford to invest in one piece of kit for your winter running wardrobe, make it a decent running jacket. It makes a huge difference to your running comfort and enjoyment.

Whatever you do though, don’t waste your money on shower proof or water resistant jackets, as they just don’t cut it. It should be lightweight, so you can carry it without even noticing the extra weight if you need to take it off, as well as being water proof, wind proof and also breathable.

Most running jackets fall down when it comes to sweat-wicking, which just means you just get cold and wet from the inside.

Of course, all that technology comes at a price but get the right one and it will last. My money’s on the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) Kamleika jacket, £150 (worn by Fitbitch coach, Rachael who has had her’s for three years). It really is the business.

Don’t go cheap


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Mizuno Be: a shoe to help prevent running injuries?

August 19, 2012 at 1:05
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Mizuno Be

Barefoot running is now big business for sports footwear manufacturers, with most major running shoe brands launching their own ‘barefoot’ or minimalist running shoe.

Mizuno are due to launch their minimalist range in Spring 2013, but first they have released the Mizuno Be.

Based on the design of a rope sandal, called the Waraji worn in feudal Japan, the shoe is intended to be worn while walking as an aid to encourage muscle
activation in the lower leg. It is believed that this can help prevent common runners injuries including Achilles tendinitis and Plantar Fasciitis.

How do they work? The Waraji sandal was peculiar in its design as the toes hung over the edge of a short sole. The Be sandal has replicated this by
creating an indent in the inner sole.

Studies conducted by Mizuno (although interestingly, Mizuno would not release details of the study when asked) found that this allows the toes to curl and grip, improving muscle activation particularly the two main muscles across the base of the foot, providing wearers with more propulsion or toe off.

Purists would argue that doing a few short (one to two minutes) barefoot runs could accomplish this without call for a training shoe. But as a new runner, or someone that heel strikes, the Be could be a useful training tool and help prevent you spending hundreds of pounds in massage fees.

Of course, without long term studies, it is impossible to know how useful these shoes really are as a training tool but they are  incredibly comfortable to walk in and look good.

Our one gripe about the style? The women’s shoe is pink and grey compared to the men’s version in red and grey.

When will sports wear companies understand that most women are fed up with pink?



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Be inspired to get in shape

June 12, 2012 at 11:11
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Olympic shape up challenge

Nothing helps to motivate you to get fit and in shape than being inspired by other women (well, aside from a shockingly unflatteringly  holiday snap perhaps).

Which is why this year’s Olympics, starting in less than 45 days, should hopefully see thousands of us getting off the sofa and into our trainers and becoming athletes ourselves.

Whether it’s simply taking up walking, attempting your first 5k, or returning to fitness be inspired by athletes like Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton to become a FitBitch yourself.

And if your motivation is also weight loss, then keep track of how you are doing over the weeks of the greatest sports show on earth with these Union Jack inspired Salter scales, Best of British,£24.99.

On your marks, ready, set…GO!!!

Salter’s range of scales is available from department stores and high street shops nationwide. For further information see or contact Salter on +44 1732 360 783.         


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Foam Rollers for Running

August 5, 2011 at 3:52
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Foam rollers: opt for the full size

Ask most people whether they do enough stretching  after exericising and the answer is invariably no. Yet flexibility is a vital element of fitness and you neglect it at your peril.

If you only focus on strength and cardiovascular fitness, you are effectively building a good looking facade but on shaky foundations. And eventually, the cracks and strains will show.

Think this doesn’t apply to you. Do you suffer from aching knees after running? Pain at the side of the knee or behind? Sore thigh muscles? This is all down to a lack of flexibility which can easily be avoided.
But what do you do if you don’t have the time to spend hours doing yoga, and you can’t afford a regular sports massage? The solution is a simple, inexpensive piece of kit called a foam roller, which does the same work as a sport massage therapist but at a fraction of the cost.

So, what is a foam roller? It’s a small,  cylindrical piece of hard foam which  helps to lengthen and release muscle fibres, increase blood flow and circulation to the soft tissues and  myofascia.

This is the soft connective tissue that wraps and connects muscles, bones and blood vessels. When we exercise regularly without sufficient stretching, this tissue can get stuck together, a bit like a wad of chewing gum. This results in restricted movement and reduced range of movement in joints.
Moreover, if one muscle is affected, another will start overworking to compensate. The result is a dominio affect which severely affect’s the body’s natural movement pattern invariably resulting in injury.

When all this can be avoided with a simple piece of equipment costing £15, why would you not use it?

Foam rollers are available on or to buy in Brighton and Hove at Nick Rivett Sport and SweatShop on Queen’s Road, Brighton. Please quote FitBitch for a discount.



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