January 5, 2015 at 4:41
Posted by Rachael Woolston
As we enter the proper season of cold, frosty winter runs and rides, we LOVE this headband which stays put even in fierce winds
I’ve spent over three years training others and myself for marathons, along with MTB and orienteering events. And I’ve experienced cold like you wouldn’t believe.
No matter what I’ve tried, fleece headbands (they slip or fly off in the wind), wooly hats (good but almost too hot and sweaty), jacket hoods (turn right and you can’t see) and nothing has worked.
But over the last few months I’ve been trying out this headband and it is a brilliant, effective, functional piece of kit.
It is a wide headband with covers for your ears which, crucially, stays put, even in the headwind that I found myself running into one day. I’ve also tried it under a bike helmet and it works perfectly.
On the forehead part of the band, it has a ‘yellow seal’, which helps to redirect sweat away from dripping into your eyes. I must confess, it has been so cold that I haven’t even felt a drip of sweat but perhaps that is because it is so effective.
The only thing I DON’T like about this is a flaw that ALL headbands suffer…they’re just not that stylish when you wear them. Or certainly not on me anyway.
For a more stylish look – and a better range of colours, the Halo headband II, £12.95 comes in 11 lovely colours. But it won’t keep your ears warm!
I’ve long realised that in the toss up between warmth and looking cool when I’m out running or riding for three hours or more, warmth comes first. Hence the overshoes that I’m forced to wear on the bike which look like I have a rubber fetish.
If you’re training for a Spring marathon this year, all I can say is get one. Best headgear I’ve tried in years.
December 18, 2014 at 5:31
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Less than a week to go and if YOU’RE in a panic don’t worry. We’ve done the legwork (geddit?) for you and compiled a Xmas stocking filler guide for female runners. Order soon though to be sure they arrive in time to get under the tree
Reflective Headbands by Brooks
These hi-vis retroreflective headbands are the perfect solution to keeping your hair out of your face, even on the breeziest of days. Their retro-reflective material makes them great for the short winter days, maximising visibility on early morning and dark evening runs.
Best of all, they come in a multipack with a great selection of colours. One size fits all.
We have only had a few proper wintry cold days so far, but rest assured there will be more to come. These lightweight breathable gloves are made of a moisture-wicking fabric so they’ll keep you dry and warm. And they have a touchscreen-friendly pad which means that you can use your iPhone or other touchscreen device without taking them off.
Perfect for running fanatics and casual joggers alike, the runner’s journal is newly launched in the UK. A diary might not seem like an exciting gift, but this is much more than just a diary, it’s a journal and training log which is laid out using simple-yet-beautiful infographics. There is space to record training info, including distance covered, times, exercises and effort ratings – and even a shoe log!
What’s a girl to do with all those hard-earned medals? This simple medal hanges from Running Memories makes it easy to display them proudly and there are lots of different designs to choose from, in a variety of colours.
Handmade in Brighton, the macramé bracelets by ohsomeday on Etsy are bang on trend. It’s available in a range of colours and the lettering on brass is hand stamped. The macramé band itself measures roughly 5mm in width.
November 11, 2014 at 8:07
Posted by Rachael Woolston
What do you do when it’s pouring with rain and you’ve got to cycle to work or out on the town? There is a solution
You go to work or off to town and it pours with rain. What do you do? Usually, you pull on a baggy rain jacket and equally unattractive waterproof trousers.
Arriving at work or the pub, you then stand and drip and almost fall on the floor as you hop on one leg trying to take your foot out of your trousers. As for you rain jacket? You look like you’ve just come off Ben Nevis.
You’re dry, sure. But as for any attempt at looking nice, that’s out of the window.
Not now. At Fitbitch HQ, we’ve just come across the Water off a Duck’s Back range. Genius!
It looks great, it’s waterproof, AND you turn the belt inside out and put the collar up so you’re reflective.
It’s brilliant! Thanks to our model Jane, who works upstairs from Fitbitch HQ.
November 10, 2014 at 8:36
Posted by Rachael Woolston
The race jacket
We’ve said it before and now, with the rain pounding the streets and the thought of long training runs coming up, it seems a great time to say it again…but hands down the very best running jacket you can get is the race jacket by Original Mountain Marathon.
Developed by the organisers of Snowdonia’s Original Mountain Marathon, these jackets are not cheap but they are worth every penny.
I have had the good fortune (well, perhaps running outside in the pouring rain for hours may not be seen as good fortune by some) to try out a lot of performance kit. And nothing compares to the OMM.
Any rain, from a drizzle to a downright deluge, runs off this jacket like water off a duck’s back. But more importantly, you can run and even sprint wearing this and the inside of the jacket remains bone dry rather than getting sweaty.
And that is a very, very rare property in a running jacket.
As you might expect of a company that puts on a race in the variable conditions of Snowdonia, where the elements can suddenly change in seconds, every little detail of this jacket has been brilliantly thought out.
With velcro fastenings at the cuffs to keep out the cold on the arms, a drawstring at the bottom, as well as a two way zip which means you can udo the jacket from the bottom for air circulation.
It is also made of a material that moves and stretches as you move, not like the usual polyester/nylon mix of most running jackets.
And then there is the hood.
Anyone who exercises or runs regularly will get what I’m saying here. There is nothing more irritating than putting your jacket hood up, only to turn your head and find yourself looking at the inside of your hood.
This hood moves with you, and it doesn’t even flop over your face as you run staying perfectly in place.
The price? The jackets range from approximately £130 to £234 depending on style and colour.
October 31, 2014 at 5:35
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Runner, cyclist or just workout a lot? If there is ONE piece of recovery kit you buy this is it…
While I love my Grid Foam Roller, if I had to choose one piece of recovery kit that I could not do without, it would be the TPTherapy.com massage ball.
It’s small so you can take it with you wherever you go in the world (and I have, from Mumbai to Majorca, Darjeeling to Devon). Yet despite it’s size, it works to relieve niggles and aches and pains from the obvious – plantar fasciitis, to piriformis, tibalis anterior niggles (what would feel like shin splints to some), calf tightness, hip pain, shoulder pain and even tight hamstrings and quads.
(The trick with calf muscles is to place the ball on a book, then your calf on the ball. For your back or even piriformis, use it against a wall. And for the hamstring, sit on the ball on the chair where you have a tight spot, then straighten and lower the leg).
You might ask, why not just use a golf ball, tennis ball or even the relatively inexpensive spiky massage balls? I’ve used them all and I swear by this. It’s just different. Trust me.
October 23, 2014 at 9:43
Posted by Rachael Woolston
We may just be heading into winter but here’s a sneak peak at New Balance’s sports performance range for next season
Pick N’ Mix your performance running shoe
Consider yourself a speed queen? Then you’ll love the W1500v1, which feels as light as a feather at just 175g. It looks and feels like a minimalist shoe but actually has a 6mm heel drop. We love the look and the feel though and can’t wait to try them out. Aimed at those who need a little bit of stability. Which is most of us, right?
If you are not a minimalist or neutral runner, there is plenty to choose from in the NW Spring-Summer 2015 offerings. Their stability shoes have a 10-12mm drop but feel light in the hand rather than being clunky despite a chunky looking heel in some of the shoes.
Pick N’ Mix your performance running shoe
Here at Fitbitch, we are a lover of trail running, so what of their rugged shoe offerings? The shoe below might look like a hefty tractor but weighs 228g and has 4mm heel drop. It looks good but only time on the feet will tell us if it performs AND looks good.
Their shoes look great but we LOVE their performance clothing for Spring-Summer. It feels beautiful to touch, has all the quality that you would expert of performance wear combined with great style and colour. Roll on Spring we say!
October 8, 2014 at 1:27
Posted by Rachael Woolston
One great thing about the changing season is the excuse to get some new running kit…
After a glorious Indian summer of short sleeves and running shorts, the weather has turned and heading out for a run requires another layer. But what to wear that keeps the rain off and prevents the wind cutting through you?
The MC Sprint Jacket is a great option and looks stylish too, unlike many options out there that either make you look like a hiker from the 1970s, or is so stylised it is completely impractical to run in.
This has a high neck with a mesh lining to keep you warm without chafing and thumb loops at the wrist. The latter works perfectly to keep the wind from rushing up your arms but it is a bit irritating if you wear a training watch. The only option is to strap it over your sleeves.
With a draw string at the waist and two pockets, it is also a tight fitting jacket without being restrictive.
The jacket comes in Gem (purple as in these pictures) Crimson or Black, and while it has reflective strips on the arms and at the neck (the latter disguised if you have long hair) it does not stand out particularly well at night.
But how well does it perform in autumn conditions? It keeps the wind out and is rain resistant so is a perfect mid-season or sparkly frosty winter morning jacket. (For the depths of winter, I swear by the OMM Jacket, the only truly waterproof, flexible jacket I have ever found to run in).
I am a big fan of this jacket though because it works as a great crossover piece, looking stylish enough to wear outside of running too.
As we slide slowly towards September, we tested the revamped PUREGRIT trail shoes to see if they would help us keep our grip on the off road trails…
Last season’s PUREGRIT trail shoes were a bit of a disappointment. With little tread, they proved to be handy only as a cross shoe between road and minimal dusty trails. Throw a bit of mud and water in, of which there was A LOT last winter season, and they were a slippy choice. Thankfully, Brooks have addressed the issue and the PUREGRIT for AW14-15 are fantastic.
I tested these on a range of trails from the dusty, rock-strewn to the muddy, river side path and I felt sure footed on all.
The only downside was running on a muddy clay surface one Sunday where the mud became packed between the treads, making my feet as heavy as clogs. But checking with the rest of our run clubbers that day, all who were wearing different trail shoes, this was the same with everyone’s shoes.
A few other characteristics of the PUREGRIT worth mentioning includes a rounded heel, designed to help a heel striker roll more quickly forward through the foot. A bit unnecessary on the trail when your biomechanics tend to change as you run up and down hill, but it could be useful for those who use one shoe between trail and road.
And this points to another benefit, which is this shoe can be comfortably worn on trails and on road surfaces without you feeling as if you’re running in studs. It is also a light shoe, weighing in at 145g compared to the women’s Adrenaline ASR GTX at 281g. And THAT makes a difference on a trail marathon, I can assure you.
It also looks good in a fantastic cherry tomato red and buttercup for this season.
While I personally would still choose a more grippy shoe for extreme trails that I tend to run on in the depths of winter, (and we’re talking Lake District and North Wales here) the Brooks PUREGRIT would do the job for most trail runners.
What do you wear to run in THIS heat? Fitbitch reviews the new running cap from Moving Comfort
I’ve run marathons and half marathons all over the world, from Lisbon to Mumbai, Paris to Berlin and have had to wear a running cap for many of them. And right now, the weather in the UK is not so different from that sweaty marathon that I ran in Mumbai two years ago.
So, I’ve been trying out the new running cap, Endurance Hat in Gem Crosshatch, £20 from Moving Comfort and I LOVE it.
To be fair, it is not as light as the Salomon cap that I’ve worn on most of my hot marathons. This may prove irritating to marathon runners, (sorry, but I wasn’t willing to go THAT far in the interests of research) but to half marathon distance, this remains comfortable in a barely there kind of way.
The peak is perfect size and shape for keeping out the sun, without it being so curved that it creates its own microclimate.
It also has an inner sweat band and two strips of mesh material run front to back for the flow of air. Along with a handy zipped pocket for holding keys, money or a credit card on the side of the cap, this has got it all going on.
I hate to even think about the R word but this cap is also water resistant so could be a handy autumn running accessory too.
My only caveat is that this IS heavier and thicker than my usual Salomon running cap. But for European races and training, not to mention lounging on the beach, I’m a fan.
Trail running is becoming increasingly popular but is there a need for a trail shoe for the city? Running coach, Emma Harwood tries Salomon’s urban trail shoe
Designed to inject the mountain spirit of trail running into the city streets, these shoes felt incredibly light and comfortable with soft cushioning. They have what the manufacturers call the ‘Seamless Sensfit’ which cradles your foot, so you feel supported throughout the run.
Despite feeling light, they weigh in at 290g, not the lightest compared to other trail shoes which can come in at around 150g. This perhaps reflects the fact that they have extra cushioning compared to trail shoes because of their use in an urban enviroment.
Sadly, the aspect that I disliked the most was a stiffness to the shoe, which made me feel as if my feet were slapping the pavement as a run. The exact opposite of providing that feeling of freedom of movement that you achieve when trail running.
As for whether they work on trails through the city parks, yes but only on dry trails. These sheos claim to give traction on any surface but the grips on the sole would not leave me feeling confident about running on muddy trails even in city parks.
Style wise? Usually, we love Salomon shoes but these didn’t even look as good as they usually do.
In trying to make an urban trail shoe, I’m not sure they have succesfully pulled off creating a good road shoe, nor trail.
Do you travel a lot with work and love to take your running shoes? Then don’t miss out on the FREE Salomon CityTrail App. It features routes across 18 different countries from as far afield as Croatia to Canada, Slovenia to Spain. Alternatively, explore the city in your running shoes, recording your route and sharing it with other runners.
Style in fitness wear used to be the sole preserve of Nike. Thankfully, nowadays, new websites featuring fantastic ranges from the US and Australia are helping to bring us Brits out of the fitness fashion doldrums
Onzie Galazxy Pant, £49
Onzie Sugar Skull Capri pants, £39
Onzie Cheetah Capri, £39
Bin the black ladies and #runloud. Share photos of yourself in your #runloud tights by tweeting @fbbootcamp or sharing on our Facebook wall www.facebook.com/inspirationalwomensfitness and you could win either 25% off a four week camp, or a Fitbitch hoodie if can’t get to one of our camps.
Entries will be voted for on Facebook, and the winning entrant notified July 3rd.
My cycling might have developed past my the age of 12 had I not then been brought a white ladies fold up up shopper to ride to school. Not cool. Particularly as I went to school in Croydon.
But being lucky enough to be granted a media entry to last year’s inaugural Ride London 100 got me back on a bike. In fact, on a proper road bike for the first time ever.
Unfortunatley, Ive hardly been on a bike since, so I was nervous about the prospect of how fast and ‘cycle clubby’ the 15 mile ride out to the Dark Star Brewery in Partridge Green would be.
Paying just £8, you can choose to mountain bike in a group or join the road biking crew. The road bike group departs from the fabulous new Velo Cafe on the recently developed Level in Brighton, before taking a series of country roads (road bike route) to the brewery.
The ride was led by the cycling group, Brighton Mitres, (one of whom, I train in our HIIT Men camps – Weds and Friday, 6.30am). They did a good job of keeping the groups together during the ride.
It meant that, while you could enjoy a good ride, it was not so fast that it became a day of competitive cycling and one up manship decided on who had the best bike. Of which there were a LOT.
Either that, or no one was being THAT competitive because there were beer tokens hidden along the route. Go too fast, and you’d miss them completely.
We arrived at the brewery after about a two hour cycle, just before the heavens opened and we made it into the brewery. This had been set up with hay bale stacks for seating amongst the steel beer barrels.
There was a cake stall, Mr Bake, with cakes clearly made for male cyclists, being the size of a brick and probably containing the same amount of calories that it would take to build a house (and NO, that DOES not mean that being a female cyclist I like cup cakes). Of more interest was the Roller Racing.
Sponsored by South Coast Sprints, this involved two cyclists going head to head on stationary bikes (the back wheel on rollers) for a 250metre sprint.
Having arrived and tucked straight into a pizza and a pint of Dark Star Hophead ale (you get one free voucher on arrival) the thought of getting on a bike and doing an anaerobic bike sprint in front of a crowd of mainly male spectators did not appeal.
But my HIIT man client, Simon, who ‘enjoys’ two mornings per week of me telling him to sprint while being held by a resistance band, or squatting his body weight, saw his chance for revenge and signed me up (a brave man, seeing as how he still has quite a few HIIT Men sessions left with me).
And actually, it was a lot of fun. I made it to the top of the female leader board, where I stayed for a while until someone told me I’d been beaten by a 13 year old girl.
Hurrah to that, I say. It is great to see young girls and women being sporty. I would have been extremely worried if someone younger had NOT knocked me off the top spot, for what does that say about the development of women’s sport? It was bad enough when I was going through school and I was the lone female basketball player at my school. I’d HATE to think it’s still like that 20 years on.
But Spin Up in a Brewery, is not all serious sport or cycling. It’s about the beer, the seriously good BBQ, and the live music. Thankfully, the sun came out warming up the mountain bikers who had arrived after us, looking like they’d been in the trenches.
This is a seriously good event. For £8, you get a guided ride (pay a little more to get transport back – but book EARLY) a voucher for a free beer, competitions (where I also won a Morvelo cycling jersey) PLUS a goodie bag containing a free beer, t-shirt and stickers. Which I promptly gave away, admittedly. Me in a beer tshirt. Not really my thing.
If you are interested in mountain biking or road biking, we will be leading a series of free guided rides throughout July and August training both for the MTBEpics and Stilletos on Wheels events. For more details sign up to our newsletter.
If you are interested in sponsoring a developing women’s riding club, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org