Christmas gift

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas​ for Runners

I’d love to say that I am the ‘super organised’ kind of person. That all my Christmas Cards have been written and are in the post already. That my Christmas presents are neatly wrapped and sitting decoratively under my tree. Well, I would love to say it, but that wouldn’t be true!!

So, if you are like me and need some last-minute gift ideas for runners, here are some suggestions for you.

Christmas gift

Runr

I am a big fan of Runr and love the fact that they have the option of getting e-gift cards. So, if you are REALLY bad, you could purchase this on Christmas morning and print it!

Runr are a brand that are for the passionate runner. They have both technical kit, leisure wear and running accessories so your recipient will be able to find things to buy, making sure that everyone knows that they are a runner.

Gins Running Stitch

I love the products that Gins Running Stitch offers as they are personalised and although it maybe too late to get an item made now, I know that gift vouchers are available.

All the race t-shirts that runners don’t know what to do with could be made into a rug, running skirt, ponchos etc.

Secret London Runs

I know I have spoken about this company lots, read here. but no runner would ever be disappointed if they got a gift card or signed up to one of their runs. Secret London Runs host themed running tours around London. You don’t need to worry about pace or distance as they cater for all. I missed their Christmas Lights run this year, but I WILL definitely make it next year. It looks SO much fun.

I am sure that there ar MANY other ideas for last-minute gifts, so please add to the comments below to help out those of us that are a little less organised!

Laptop on Desk Employee of the Month Blog Graphic

Five Things Friday #2…

Sharing FIVE things that I have been doing/using/found this week that I think are worthy of sharing.

For clarity, none of the products mentioned have paid me to write this (I wish)

Strava Hack

I feel like this little GEM may actually blow your mind just a little bit. I was just going to bed on Monday night and Susie Chan shared this on her Instagram stories. This just had to be shared. Watch and be amazed! Also, if you are not already following her – you need too!

Blog Post

I came across this blog post on LinkedIn and it is so thought-provoking. Well worth a read.

Titled: ‘If you are too busy for these 5 things, your life is more off course than you think’ Have a read here

Christmas Lights

If you are like me and love the festive period, especially all the decorations and lights, make sure that you are following Secret London Runs on Instagram. They have a run that takes in lots the Christmas lights, trees and decorations in London.

Secret London Runs Instagram Page. Friday Find

Get Involved

I have been taking part in the #ASICSADVENT on Instagram via Jenna Wilkinson. Each day both Jenna and Geoff open the advent calendar and behind each day there is an exercise to complete. Day 1 was 1-minute plank, Day 2 and 2-minute wall sit, Day 3 3 x 30 seconds deadbugs, Day 4 was 4 x 1 minute high knees, Day 5, 5 minute meditation.

If you are not already involved, get involved now, you may have missed a few days, but starting now means you won’t miss any more!

Nearly forgot day 4!

Listening to…

Now that I have a little longer commute to work, I am loving listening to Marathon Talk again. I have listened on and off for years. But now they have more presenters and the additions have only added to the podcasts.

The interviews are really interesting and they always discuss relevant topics, so if you haven’t listened, go give it a listen.

Marathon Talk Friday Find

So that’s it for Five things Friday Number 2. I hope you like the idea, please feel free to leave any feedback below.

If you missed last weeks Five Things Friday, check it out here.

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Secret​ London Runs – Gin Tour

This company needs to NOT be a secret! I had never heard of Secret London Runs until I ran with them as part of a blogger event organised by Runderwear back in April. Read about it here.

I was lucky enough to win a competition that they were running on social media, so on Saturday, I headed back to London with Victoria to take part in their Gin Tour.

I’m not a Gin drinker but still loved this run, so don’t be put off if don’t drink Gin. All the correspondence prior to the tour are thorough and clear.

You meet your guide in a pub, you don’t need to worry about not finding them, as guides have ‘Secret London Runs’ on their t-shirts and everyone is in running gear.

Ye Old Cock Tavern entrance

We had a quick brief outside the pub and then set off. You stop frequently, so it doesn’t matter if you are at the back, you’ll catch up soon enough. At each stop, Ian our guide, gave us some great insight into the history of Gin, as well as some fun facts about London.

Photo of the River Thames
Running by the Thames

You explore places you never knew existed and you get to connect parts of London together. Most of us visit places via tube stops and never really realise how close together places are.

Group of people listening to guide.

At each stop, there is a chance to get involved. You are not just talked at, you can ask questions and we had little role play sections. We covered just over 5 miles, ended up back in the pub, where we were rewarded with a Gin.

City of London Distillery

I can’t recommend this highly enough and I know that is easy to say this when I haven’t paid for it, but I will be. I am very keen to do the Christmas Lights tour in the winter. Actually, I pretty much want to do them all. Thank you Secret London Runs for running your competition allowing me to win, see you again soon.

Have you taken part in a running tour before? Let me know in the comments below, I think it’s such a great way to explore places.

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Runderwear and Running Awards products.

In my last post (here), I did say that I was going to write in more detail about the products that I was gifted at the Runderwear Run, and The Running Awards.

The run that I participated was led by Secret London Runs, which prior to this event I hadn’t heard of. The first contact I had with them was when I posted the night previous to the event, tagging them in on Instagram and Twitter, saying how I was nervous. Reassuringly, they promptly got back to me, saying that I will be fine and that they are looking forward to running with me. I thought this was lovely, as it did put me at ease.

When I turned up to Millennium Pier, there were many runners there, and quite quickly we were spoken to by Vanessa. She was bubbly, happy and engaging, putting me at ease immediately. I opted to go with the slower group which Vanessa was leading. Vanessa was 6 months pregnant, so I hoped that meant I could keep up. She was very quick to tell us that we would go at the pace of the slowest in our group, so no one was to be left behind.

I really must learn to pose when cameras are around! Photo Credit Runderwear

We set off and within minutes we were discovering sections of London that I never knew existed – admittedly history isn’t my strong point. It was obvious that London history was a passion of Vanessa’s, and she delivered it, in an informative and fun way. Secret London Runs have not asked me to write any reviews or promote their company, but I can’t help raving about it. I have already spoke to my club about a group of us signing up, and then went to my RunMND group and told them about it. Abby from Running Abby has recommended the Christmas tour, so I am definitely going to try and organise a private tour then. The tour prices vary around the £20 per person mark. The private tours depend on numbers and distance. See photo

Private running tour costs with Secret London Runs

As the run and running awards were sponsored by Runderwear, we were gifted personalised kit to wear. As I said in my previous post, I have been a fan of Runderwear for a while now, but have only ever purchased their pants. This time I was gifted a t-shirt, pants and a crop top to wear. When I received the kit and tried it on, I was concerned about the crop top. Although it was very soft and comfortable, I didn’t feel it provided the support that I needed. So on the run, I wore my shock absorber under the crop top. I was wearing an XL, and did wonder if a L may have provided more support. The pants are seem free and so comfortable to wear. I must admit, even though I am a big fan, I did opt to buy similar running underwear from Decathlon as it was cheaper, but being back in Runderwear made me realise the other briefs are cheaper as the quality and the softness is just not as good as Runderwear.

#TeamRunderwear

The founders of Runderwear spoke at the Blogger Forum, and I was interested to hear, that they are about to launch more bras, with many sizes available, and I will definitely try them, as I am hoping that they are a little more supportive for the larger busts. I also noticed a tweet recently, that they are looking for brand ambassadors, so I am thinking of applying. I don’t exactly have the figure to promote underwear, but runners come in all sizes, so what have a lose by applying!

When we arrived at The Running Awards in the evening, we were gifted a good bag, and were given a free pair of Enertor insole.

Keep a check out on my MNDAD@70 raffles as some of these may just end up as prizes!

Again, this was a company I was unaware of prior to this event. They spoke about the product, but they really had me excited when they demonstrated how shock absorbent the insoles were. They dropped a glass bauble from about 7 foot onto the insole and it bounced. They then removed that insole, and dropped it from the same height and it smashed on the floor. A similar experiment can be seen here with an egg.

I have put the insoles in to my trainers and have run twice in them. Although they feel springy, I was silly and picked up a pair of size 5 insoles, forgetting that my trainers are a 6.5, so I can just feel that they are too small around my toes. I am hoping that I can change them for a larger size, so that I can give a more accurate review of the insoles.

Again, for transparency I paid £15 for my ticket to The Running Award, but the run and the products were gifted to me. So thank you to Team Runderwear, Secret London Runs, Enertor, Tikiboo, Mud & Blood, Veloforte, Go Bites, and Hala bar.

The fun filled day of running has really fuelled my love for running, and it was great to meet so many like minded people. Be prepared for a new lease of life in my blog, as my head seems to be exploding with lots of ideas! In my crazy running phase, I have also signed up to Manchester Marathon and put my name in the ballot for London Marathon!! Please make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, for my daily musings about running. Also ensure that you have entered your email to the front page, so that you never miss a post.

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London Expo, Runderwear Run and The Running Awards

“Do one thing that scares you everyday” Eleanor Roosevelt.

So awhile back my cousin Katie, sent me a link she had seen on Twitter about The Running Awards and a Bloggers Forum. Fancy this? She sent. My initial reaction was NO WAY, I’m not really a blogger or a ‘proper’ runner. I know how stupid that sounds, because I would be the first to write – if you run, you’re a runner, but I wasn’t sure I would fit-in at this kind of event. I didn’t tell her that, I think I sent an equivocal response like ‘that looks fun‘.

A few weeks later, Katie sent me more information about it, and it said that we get a free set of personalised Runderwear if we sign up. I have been a big fan of Runderwear for a long time, so this had me sold. I wrote about my love for Runderwear back in 2016 here.

Kit gifted from Runderwear

Fast forward to the week prior to the event, an email is sent with all the details, and the run was taking place at 2pm. Katie sends me a message to tell me that she can’t get out of work, so couldn’t do the run, but we could still meet after and go to The Running Awards together. Oh no, oh no, panic sets in. I’m not a proper runner, I can’t go on my own. What if they are all super fast? What if we are expected to run in only the Runderwear? – I’m not really the shape that should do that! I consider missing the run too.

After deliberating for a few days, I decided to stop missing out and be brave. What could go wrong? I might actually enjoy it.

The night prior to going I posted the above photo, the caption exposing all my insecurities about not fitting in and not feeling like a true blogger. I am so glad that I did. The messages I got on that post where so lovely. Other runners that were going messaged me, and it felt nice to connect with people prior to getting to the event, and even knowing that they were nervous too.

I have always been a fan of the London Expo, and as soon as I knew I was going to be heading to London, I wanted to fit in a visit there too. Perfect timing, as Tina, one of my club mates is running London, and she was heading to the Expo on Thursday morning, so I asked if I could join her.

The conversations on the train were interesting. I will never be able to eat a Twix the same again! Best not to ask, hehe.

Heading to the expo, I am like a kid on Christmas Eve. It is such a special event, and even though I am not running it this year, I feel the excitement for those that are. Also, the London Expo is my happy place. It’s just full of people that love running as much as I do! I got to catch up with friends there and meet lots of new people. I was so lucky to win a £30 gift voucher from Sports Direct (My next raffle prize in MNDAD@70 is now sorted!). I didn’t get to spend as much time there as I would have liked – I reckon I could easily hang out there for the entire 3 and a half days that it is on, and I wouldn’t get bored!!

Special!!!

I left the expo and headed to meet up with the Runderwear and Secret London Runs group. This was the part of the day that I was most nervous for; attending on my own, being completely out of my comfort zone!

When I got on the DLR, I spotted and Paul from Pick Up The Pace Paul Great I thought, I can just follow him, he is bound to be going. I knew the train journey was about 20 minutes, so I jumped on instagram trying to share some stories, next thing I know we are at Tower Gate, I look up and Paul is gone! I cram everything into my bags and run of the train – I nearly miss getting off! Great start. I head out of the station and immediately spot another lady wearing a runderwear t-shirt. I hurry along to try and catch her up, assuming she knows where she is going. Luckily, she has to wait at the crossing, so I accost her. As I ask if she is attending the same event and can I follow her (Yep, weirdo alert!) The girl on the other side of her, says that she is going too, so we all walk to the event together.

I was so lucky that it was Lauren from Girl Running Late and Abby from Running Abby. Both of them were so warm and friendly and made me feel that I had made the correct choice attending on my own.

So, we met next to Millennium Pier, and most people were already in their kit, I was not, and pretty much realised immediately that there was no where to get changed. I was so relieved that I had at least put my Runderwear on in the morning, so it only meant I had to strip off my top and shorts. So there was me, worried about having to run around London in my underwear, and instead I was hid behind a van stripping off. Not sure why I hid, as the place was packed 360. At least it was a bit of publicity as I changed, as rularuns was displayed across my backside!

After changing, I couldn’t see Abby and Lauren, so I went and stood by a group of runners. Stupidly, I didn’t stride over and introduce myself, I just stood on the outskirts of the group, they looked at me, and that’s when I felt really awkward, and wonder why I was there.

Luckily, after what felt like an eternity, which, in real life was probably about 30 seconds, I spotted Lauren and quickly went and stood with her.

Some of the runners stripped down to have photos in just their Runderwear There was a part of me that wanted to strip down too! I would NOT have looked like them, but that was why I wanted to do it – to show that runners come in all sizes. I didn’t have the confidence, but I realised that I really should stop feeling like I don’t fit in, looking around the group there was a variety of ages and sizes – running really is for all! As London Marathon have hashtagged this year #everybodysrace

Secret London Runs and Runderwear spoke to us, and then we were put into groups. It started with, “anyone running under 7 minute miles, stand over there. I think 2 people moved; there were plenty of runners capable of running under 7 minute miles, but lots were running London Marathon on Sunday, so didn’t want to be pushing it now. That group was then extended to anyone running 9 minute or below miles, there was a middle group for 10-11 minute miling and then a 12+ group. I opted for the middle one, but then the groups were uneven, so I volunteered to go with the 12+ group. I had nothing to prove, so really wasn’t worried about what pace I was running.

First stop a church ruin.

I have never taken part in a running tour, but I am definitely keen to go back to Secret London Runs to complete another one soon. Vanessa was our guide and she was very knowledgable and engaging. Within a 2 minute run from the hustle and bustle of Millennium Pier, next to the Tower Of London, we were in the most tranquil church ruins that has be made into a memorial garden.

Within the 4k run, we were told things I had never even thought about in London and taken to places I didn’t even know existed. I am so keen to book another tour with them. Abby has said that the Christmas Lights one is lovely.

Photo courtesy of @secretlondonruns
Photo courtesy of @secretlondonruns

After finishing the run, my main concern was finding somewhere to shower. Many of the bloggers had booked hotels in London and were staying over. If I was to do it again, I would definitely be doing that. Instead I hit google maps trying to find a local gym. I noticed that there was a Bannatynes’s on Old Broad Street so headed there. I have a membership with them near where I live, and although I knew this didn’t give me access, I thought it may allow them to give me a discount on the day pass.

I used to be good at following directions, but for seem reason, I seemed to go round in circles for a while! When I got to Bannatyne’s eventually, the receptionist said that I would need to pay the £20 for a day pass – I didn’t mind too much, as I appreciate they are a business and I wanted to use their facilities, but I thought I’d try my luck and ask for a discount. She called her manager and it was agreed that I could use the facilities for free. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Bannatyne’s!

Quick shower and operation look presentable, and I was out the door heading to meet Katie. Luckily that was pain-free and we were back down to Millennium Pier with 30 minutes to spare. I had spotted a subway close by earlier, so we headed in there. I knew that there was food on the boat, but I hadn’t eaten all day and I just needed to sit down!

I was a little apprehensive about attending the running awards and bloggers forum, as I just didn’t know what to expect. The invite had said, Smart/Casual, so I had a dress on with trainers, which I worried may have been too casual, and when we arrived there were some very glam people, but I decided to just feel confident in what I was wearing, there was not much else I could do!

The Running Awards were everything I wanted them to be and more. The Bloggers Forum took place on the lower deck and the main awards upstairs. We had some inspirational speakers present, (which I ought wrote about in a another post) and then the awards were shown on a TV. There was plenty of free Prosecco being handed around, we had a meal and then lots of desserts were brought around. Our table seemed to attract the dessert waiters a lot!

So what did I learn from this day! I still ❤️ running and the running community. I need to say yes to more things. Life is too short to say NO, you miss out too much. If you say yes and it goes wrong, then you look at it from another viewpoint, and work out what you have learnt from it!

Thank you to Runderwear for the gifted pants and bra, to Secret London Runs for the run and the Running Awards for a great evening. For transparency I paid £15 for a ticket for the Running Awards, but the run and Runderwear was gifted. We were gifted some other items, but I will do a separate post on them.

What things have you said yes to lately? Are you glad you did? Let me know in the comments below.