My Running Gear

Picture of my Running Gear

Don’t be fooled by all these fitness adverts or fitness/fashion blogs.

You don’t need to be wearing the latest gear to start making a difference and get fit. No amount of Nike ticks or Adidas stripes on your shiny new clobber is going to make any difference to those first weeks and months on the road or in the gym.

I thought I’d do a post on the gear that I’ve been using in my first 4 weeks of my fitness journey in the hope that it inspires you to raid your wardrobe and get out there. (Unfortunately I know this is very male-centric so I can’t give any top tips on leggings or sports bras other than they’re probably vital and come in many various colours) – Edit:  Although with my lovely manboobs, a sports bra could be really handy! A Bro-Bra? The Bro’ob Tube? …..

My stuff ranges from the cheap to expensive and you’ll see why as we go. Truth be told, the cheap side is the actual nuts and bolts of running, the expensive is my unhealthy obsession with gadgetry!


My Running Clothes… Picture of my Running Gear

Firstly, I grab any t-shirt I have lying around. The older the better really. I will sweat into this thing so much and destroy its armpits beyond compare so not my favourite The Verge shirt for sure (plug!)

I have a long sleeve running top I picked up from Aldi for about £6. It’s great, has reflective material on the back and is really breathable whilst keeping me warm.

My shorts are just an old pair that I think I acquired from an old housemate of mine many years ago. Basic men’s running shorts with netting to keep your valuables safe at all times! The shorts have two zip pockets which are adequate to hold my phone in one and keys in the other.

In this weather, gloves are valuable and so is a good woolly hat if you have one. Usually depends on the temperature, but my gloves have been on for every run so far and it’s nice to keep your fingers toasty when bobbing about at 1 or 2 °C.

Topped off with a real bright white pair of cheap running socks from Primark for a couple of pounds.

Shoes …

New Balance Trainers for Running

I picked up this pair of New Balance running trainers years ago from I think TK Maxx in Manchester for about £20. They’ve never really gotten much use but I’ve always thought they were super comfy and as I knew at the time, from a pretty reputable maker of running shoes.

Shoes are vitally important and I know most blogs or advice columns would advise you to go to a running shop and get fully fitted etc before putting foot to road. If I’m honest, I don’t really have the money to drop on an expensive pair of shoes and I firstly wanted to make sure that I was committed to this journey before I really invested any money into it. Once I think things are progressing where I’m actively running 5K on my own a few times a week I’ll explore a new pair, but for now, these bad boys have done me no wrong. Super super comfy and fit great!


Now I’m going to preface this bit again by saying that you need none of this to do what I’m doing at the moment. I’m just a bit of a gadget fiend and I love having all the stats of my runs and intervals available to me on my down days. I find it super interesting.

Interval training could be done with any normal watch as long as you can remember what you should be doing at what time.

First off is my phone. I have an iPhone 6 which fits snuggly in my pocket and runs my Runmeter app. The Runmeter app is a bit of a fuggly looking thing, but works really well and the stats and customization aspects to it are endless. I got it as it looked the kind of thing that in the future would be really useful even if I’m just using the bare bones of it now. This app also sends data to my Apple Watch which displays my intervals and stats through the run. It’s great as I don’t have to keep looking at my phone to see the timers and gives me other info like heart rate and pace so I can keep slow and know when I’m rushing. It also gives you GPS tracking so you can see on a map where you ran and the different speeds on the intervals. I’ll do another post about my watch as in it’s day to day use, its health features really can spur you on to get out of your seat and be active.

Lastly, I have a pair of JVC running headphones that we’re about £6 on Amazon. They are an over the ear clip which means they are super sturdy and I can just listen to a podcast while I’m jogging about. The good thing is that they allow enough ambient noise through so you don’t feel like pedestrians, other runners or traffic are sneaking up behind you and you can still be very aware of your surroundings. They also let the Runmeter app give me voice notifications of when to run and walk so I don’t need to be glued to my watch for those instructions.

So as I said, the basics are pretty cheap and as I found, I already had most of what I needed hanging around the house!

That’s one less excuse you can use for getting out there!!


Drinking and Weight-loss: Can you lose weight by putting down the bottle?

I stopped drinking in October of 2014.

Honestly, I’ve not been tee-total since then. The odd drink at a family occasion or wedding or a toast at new years, but that’s been it. I’d say probably 10 to 15 bottles or pints since then.

It was a very bad relationship I had with alcohol.

When I say stopped, I mean I stopped binge drinking. I stopped going out till the eleventh hour, drinking myself into a stupor, waking up wherever and generally being a huge arsehole. When I worked in Theatre, I’d be out every 2 or 3 days, throwing money into Bars and generally drinking to escape the stress of the job. It was a very bad relationship I had with alcohol. I’d say I’d had that kind of lifestyle since I was about 20 and had never thought anything wrong of it.

I always wish someone had stepped in and said “Andy, maybe you’ve had enough” but it never really happened. In fact, in the end, I had to tell myself to stop.

I stopped for two reasons. Me and Louise had been dating for a while, and she hated me drunk. Plus she didn’t drink either so going out was difficult and pretty dull for her. Also, I just wanted to quit drinking. After my years of bingeing badly, It was time to grow up and stop using it to forget about my problems and actually face up to them.

What I had expected, or better yet assumed, was that as soon as I stopped buying my daily beers for the fridge at home I would instantly lose weight. I was eating pretty well, the odd take away every other week but generally, I ate some good food. But the weight never went away.

The truth is, and I’m realizing that more now I’m focussed on weight loss, is that you won’t lose anything unless you put on those shoes and get out there. Whether it’s off out for a run, cycle, a swim or just a walk every now and again. You’re only going to burn that excess off if you do something about it.

So no. You won’t lose weight by putting down the bottle. It only happens if you make the choice to get out there and do something about it.

My advice? Drink less and get out more. It’ll make you feel great and will save you some money too!