Jenny Bede is running the London Marathon – again – and she’s sharing the joys and the pain of the whole experience with Standard Issue. This week she’s all about the clothes.
Jenny after completing the London Marathon
I don’t need to tell you lot it’s been cold recently. Really cold. So cold that no matter how long you run for, your legs don’t warm up and it’s like lugging lead around for 10 miles. I’ve taken to wearing two pairs of leggings, which isn’t as much of an invitation to thrush as you’d think it would be. If there are any investors out there, I’ve noticed a gap in the market and I think I can fill it by patenting Running Chaps – keeping your cheeks cosy and your crotch cool.
But I digress. As a runner, I have often heard ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing’. (I think it was Proust). Running is often deemed a great exercise to do as you can just do it – you don’t need training or gym membership, you can just put your trainers on and get out there. But this is only true to a certain extent; there are some non-negotiables.
Trainers: I can’t stress the importance of the right shoes with long-distance running. You’ll be able to recognise them straight away – they’ll be the least attractive trainers on the shelf. I’m constantly seeing ‘fitspiration’ Instagram accounts consisting of insanely hot and bouncy teenagers in awesomely designed and colourful trainers, which, while looking good, will most likely not provide you with the support you need for marathon training.
My running trainers (Brooks, a model called The Beast) resemble huge white boats. They go with nothing, but by March I’ll be wearing them with everything; they are so damn comfortable. I am a trainers girl anyway. The sad fact is I always feel on the back foot with anything else. I’m a worst-case-scenario person and wearing trainers makes me feel like I’m better equipped to run away from any impending disaster at any given time. The day I attempt to walk to the tube in a pair of sassy stilettos will be the day that Godzilla attacks Ladbroke Grove.
I know this is mildly neurotic, but you do have to be mindful of safety as a runner. Reflective clothing, being wary of where you wear headphones, making sure you have a card/money and letting people know your route etc. It might be extreme but I’ve starting taking photos of myself before I leave for each long run and emailing it to my boyfriend along with details of my route and estimated time home. Just in case.
Realistically, and particularly if you have a normal job, running at night can be your only option, so reflective gear is especially important; if anyone needs some just get in touch with me or my Mother. She’s bought me at least one item of fluorescent clothing at each birthday/Christmas for nearly 10 years. If she had her way I would run around dressed as a giant Stabilo highlighter at a rave. This is the same lady who pops a rape alarm and some anti-bacterial gel in our Christmas stockings every year. My neuroses haven’t bred themselves.
For women, and apparently some men, sports bras are also key. And for running, it has to be sturdy as hell. I’ve just ordered some new ones with zips up the front to try out next week. There is little less comfortable than trying to remove a slightly-too-small ‘shock absorber’ from sweaty crushed boobs. Even more depressingly, it’s not always a one-person job.
Attire aside though it’s been a decent couple of weeks in terms of my training. Not perfect: my knee is starting to sing so I’ve had to put more emphasis on things like spinning, pilates and circuits in order to keep myself fit and work on strength without constantly running. The runs I have managed have been good, getting into double digits again in terms of mileage, which is always a nice feeling.
Jenny, after completing a half marathon last year.
I was going to give some stats again but decided that was boring. Instead, I’m going to share a recipe that will hopefully blow your mind in the way it has mine. Discovering this is the thing I’m most proud of so far this year.
Ferrero Rocher Oats: gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free.
Every Christmas day, after opening my rape alarms and such, I set myself the personal challenge of eating a box of 24 Ferrero Rocher singlehandedly. Before lunch. I rarely fail. As delicious a breakfast as it is, it provides absolutely no nutrition, so this week I set out to recreate a healthy version that will actually help fuel a workout.
– Gluten free oats
– Almond milk
– Hazelnut butter
– Raw Cacao powder
– Sweetener of your choice (Agave/date syrup)
– Shove it all in a pan and heat for a few minutes.
Jenny Bede is an actor, writer and comedian living in London. @jennybede