The kit we’ve been relying on to get us fitter, faster and healthier.
1 Training Food, Renee McGregor, £7.80 eatwellfeelfab.co.uk/training-food
Science never fired my imagination at school, especially after we had to dissect a bull’s eye. Now though, I’m desperate to understand anything scientific that’ll improve my mediocre performances. Renee McGregor’s book Training Food is perfect for me.
Firstly, it’s accessible. Renee doesn’t bamboozle with scientific jargon, even though, as a registered dietician and sports nutritionist (and ultramarathon runner), she states she can only give advice that’s evidence-based.
She has a gift for accessibility. Crucially, the book’s practical too. There are 100 mouth-watering recipes and nutrition plans to suit training plans. The latter account for how to fuel interval training, fat adaptation, strength training, rehab, recovery and much more. The book caters for the multisport athlete too, with swimming and cycling included. It’s that good that Training Food has been stolen by my (relatively unsporty) wife and now resides in the kitchen with the cook books rather than in my running book collection. Damian Hall, contributor.
I can’t be the only runner who likes to mix up their runs with a bit of on-and off-road terrain. I may pretend this is for different training purposes – speed work on Tarmac, pleasure on trails – but in truth it’s due to the convenience that the best 10km circuit from my front door involves a variety of surfaces.
These Nomads are designed to deal with just such demands, light and flexible enough to run on the road but with enough grip to tackle grass or woodland trails.
I wouldn’t choose them for a muddy cross-country run, but as all-rounders they’re very impressive. Jonathan Manning, contributing editor.
3 JBL Yurkuds Inspire 300, £34.99 yurbuds.com/uk
Yurbuds are proving to be more than just a pair of trendy earphones as the latest incarnation – the Yurbuds Inspire 300 – offer a number of additional endurance athlete friendly features. I popped in a pair and pounded the paths, parks and pavements. They lock securely but not awkwardly into the ear – as a result you don’t subject your drums to the kind of torture Keith Moon would his.
With such a snug fit you can drown out the traffic without cranking the volume to 11. The Flexsoft material they’re made of is sweat-proof. Also, and this proved to be the clincher – the buds’ backing is magnetic – so you don’t spend the first 10 minutes of your run trying to untangle them. Rob Kemp, contributor.
4 Hoka Clifton 2, £100 Hokaoneone.eu
Light enough to persuade you they’re a 5km road shoe, cushioned enough to cope with long, slow days the Clifton 2 is an encouraging reincarnation of its older cousin. Sometimes tinkering with an established product can be a foolhardy pastime, but on this occasion the changes – no, make that improvements – will please everybody. There’s a firmer toe box and firmer counter, propelling you off a lighter base.
Cutting the weight more often than not comes at the expense of cushioning, but not in this case. Hoka’s unique “fat tyre” approach means you sit on-high; it could seem potentially tricky to get used to, but in reality it’s no problem. These are an interesting proposition for marathon runners looking for comfort in the latter stages or speedier types looking for a responsive, light platform to drive off in shorter events. Paul Larkins, contributor.
5 Scicon Aerocomfort 2.0 TSA, £235.79 sciconbags.com
Never the best of fliers, my anxiety levels rise yet further when I have to entrust my bike to the hold of the aircraft. If bikes were a more convenient shape I’d be sorely tempted to book mine a place next to me in the cabin, and frankly it’s terrifying to watch my meticulously packed pride and joy whir down the luggage conveyor belt only to be bundled up with all the other suitcases and out-size packages. Thankfully, the Scicon has always delivered my bike in one piece.
The bike’s frame locks securely to a frame in the bag, straps reinforce the tight fit, and then heavy padding protects the whole package. At almost 9kg it’s fairly substantial, but the modest dimensions of the soft case make it easier to fit in a hire car at the other end of the flight, and while it’s fairly awkward to pull through a busy airport the wheels on the bottom roll easily. Jonathan Manning, contributing editor.