Training for the flora londn marathon , look at some of the gear reviews on this page
© Dana Bartekoske - FOTOLIA

"Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive.

Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve.

It doesn't matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving."  

Quote by Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)




Gear Reviews.

Some of these great items can be found at my shop or through the links on the images.

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Road ID's come in various guises: a dog tag (fixx id),wrist strap id, ankle strap id, shoe id or a shoe pouch ID. made out of high polished stainless steel, laser engraved with your emergency details, medical alerts or witty one liners ( the site even gives you suggestions of popular quotes and sayings.) If you choose the dog tag style you can also choose a picture out of the 170+ images and quotes to put on the front of the tag.

I bought my first one (dog tag style) when living in the states. Training in the summer heat for the Chicago marathon made me pause for thought what would happen is I passed out on a running trail , how would people know who to call? Or more importantly where to direct the taxi driver to take me if I passed out in a bar!

Being a Brit who had recently arrived in Chicago the locals had enough trouble understanding me when in good health without a few beers in me!

When returning to the UK I had the same safety concerns, most of my running was being done in the dark winter evenings. One missed step or a driver not looking where they are going could cause a world of hurt. So I looked at the RoadID web site and was delighted to see that they ship to the UK at a very reasonable rate.

The delivery was extremely quick and it has not left my neck ever since.

Take a look at the testimonials in the site, it really gets you thinking about what could happen if you are unlucky.

These also make great gifts for family, friends and loved ones.

To quote their web site ' If you are a runner, cyclist, triathlete or just a person who doesn't sit on the couch all day, Road ID is for you. This awesome piece of gear not only looks good but it could save your life. In the event of an accident, if you can't speak for yourself, your Road ID will. Available in 5 different styles. It's not just a piece of gear - it's peace of mind.'

Garmin Forerunner201 - GPS speed and distance monitor.

One of the biggest problems I found when I started running was trying to understand what pace I was running so that I could work out what pace I should aim to run at for the various distances or types of workout quoted in my training plan.  When being told to run slow in my training plan what does that really mean with regard to my normal pace?  ( Have a look at some of Hal Higdon’s great training plans for more info). Unless you are running on a treadmill or with a running club with experienced runners who know their pace almost to the second, it is very hard for us keen new runners to gauge our pace. Also running at a set pace on a treadmill feels different to running the same pace on the road, unless you incline the treadmill a degree or two.

How could I pace myself when running longer races so that I did not go out too hard at the start and hit the infamous wall after the first 10 paces? Also how could I track if my times were improving over the same routes that I regularly ran?

As a bit of a gadget junkie, I initially tried the type of speed and distance monitor where you strap a pod to one shoe, calibrate the monitor over a set distance and off you go. For me these did not work well. I found it hard to calibrate as I could not accurately measure a set distance to use to calibrate the device. After all this is what I bought the monitor for, to work out how far I have gone!!!  Also after a few long runs I was getting an ache on the front of the shin of the foot that the pod was attached to. For me it was like running with a sausage strapped to one foot!

So I finally bit the bullet and switched to the Garmin GPS based monitor. You literally put it on your wrist, switch it on and head out for your run, almost as simple as a stopwatch. No calibration was needed and I found it more accurate when running over hilly trails where you are constantly adjusting your stride length.

For me this tool has been great, at a glance I can see what pace I am running, so can decide if I need to slow down or speed up. Also how far I have run so I know if I have done enough for one session. Plus it does have a function where you can set a point that you may need to navigate back to, great when running on trails you do not know that well. It has saved me from getting lost a few times.

brave soldier friction zone
Brave soldier friction zone ,  after some chafing incidents and bloody nipples,  I have tried several approaches, sticky plasters which fall off when you start to sweat and other barrier creams, the cheap option of Vaseline is OK but does not seem to have the staying power of friction zone. Plus as friction zone is not petroleum based it is ideal for triathlons as it does not eat away at your wet suit.  
A tube does last a long time so it is value for money in my humble opinion.

Blurb from Brave Soldier – ‘Endurance sports formula'. Superior anti-chafing. Cold water and sweat resistant. Occlusive silicone/botanical barrier protects and conditions skin for hours. Helps prevent blisters and reduce rash irritations. No petroleum so safe for wet suits. Long lasting protection from any sports activity where gear chafing of your skin is a problem. Antibacterial formula helps prevent minor skin irritations.
Cyclists: a superior, extremely durable chamois product for hours of riding comfort. Even in wet weather.
Triathletes: safe and effective for wet suits and running shoes.
Runners: chafing due to clothes rubbing. Blisters.
Winter Sports: excellent barrier to reduce wind chafing.’
Blister care for long training runs, a must for London marathon training

Compeed blister plasters. At some time through your training you will probably get a blister either from new shoes, poor quality socks or just the distance you put into training. These plasters are made from a hydrocolliode material that absorbs fluids from the blister, which in turn protects the blister area and provides the ideal environment for the blister to heal. They are very sticky and can be left on for 3 to 4 days.

I first come across hydrocolliode dressings about 10 years back when I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to work in a Royal Marines sick bay as a reservist medic. Most mornings we would be dealing with new recruits with varying degrees of blisters from long wet marches and runs. What always amazed me was that once we had applied the hydrocolloide dressing and strapped them up with some zinc oxide type, the recruits could get on with another days training.

Granted these guys are not wimps, but anything that can make a long run more bearable for them and let them keep their mind on the task in hand has got to be worth a try for us mere mortals as well.

samrt wool socks

Thorlo running socks for long training sessins and races

running socks , great for marathon training and races

Socks. It may sound daft to have a review on a humble pair of socks , but after a few miles in the cheap 'sports socks' that you got 10 for a £1 down the local market, you could well be in need of the above plasters.

One tip I received from a medic when working with the Royal Marines was that you would never get a blister if you wear wool socks, the natural fibre is not as abrasive. So I asked why I was treating so many blisters then and was told 'Well the down side is that wool holds water and you would get trench foot instead! So they don't wear them' That was 10 years ago but now there is smartwool and other great technical materials.

The good news now is that you can get the best of both worlds. With smartwool socks you have a high quality wool which wicks away sweat and moisture very well, keeping your feet cool .Personally I have never had a blister from wearing them, I have also been lucky enough not to get trench foot whilst wearing them either!!!

There are various good quality running socks that are made from other great technical materials that also do a good job at preventing blisters which I have also used. Also look at 1000mile socks and Thorlo, all available at a good running shop or online at Field and Trek

Music to keep  you running when training for the flora london marathon or other marathons
If you are like me and need some music to take your mind off the miles that you are running. itunes is a great place to download just the tracks that you want to make a running play list to keep you moving. I like to start of with some slower songs for my warm up and then get rocking and a running.

Mapping tool for training runs

When in training, especially for something like a marathon, variety is the spice of life when it comes to training runs .

I found that when I consistently use the same trusted routes I would constantly be comparing the run that I was currently doing to the last few times I run the same course, if you are feeling good on the run that is great, but if you are having a bad day, knowing how far you still have to go can be disheartening. Mixing up your routes helps to stay motivated.

When you want to try a new route there is the problem of knowing how far a new circuit is. Either until you have got a map and a piece of string out or have actually run the course with a speed and distance monitor.

Help is at hand with these two great web sites providing easy to use free mapping tools so that using an 'electronic' piece of string you can measure out your route before you head out of the and

Both work equally as well but the runlondon web site by Nike also has a great feature where people have stored their favourite runs that you can browse and use yourself.


To go with the tunes you may have downloaded from itunes, you will need a nice little MP3 player, I have tried a few and for me the one to beat for a runner or gym addict is the Zen Nano Plus.

I never run without the Creative Zen Nano Plus, it is incredibly small and incredibly lightweight (less than an ounce without the battery), so you can actually put it in your shorts pocket and not worry about your shorts falling down. I have the 512mb, which can take up to 250 tracks, I wish I had gone for the 1GB version. Also the Creative Zen Nano Plus comes with a FM radio for if you get bored with your own mixes. It is totally skip free due to its solid state technology which is essential when running . Also it comes in 10 funky colours.

The other feature which I like is that it runs of a single AAA battery which will last for about 18 hours of play time. The AAA's are small enough to carry a spare one in your pocket on long runs just to be safe so that you do not run out of music halfway round your circuit.


The Creative Zen Nano headphones are very good, but I generally wear sports specific headphones when training, they are generally a lot more comfortable and also stay in your ears a lot better.

My headphone of choice for comfort, rich full depth sound and a neck band style are the Sennheiser PMX 70.

The neck band style makes it a lot easier to wear a hat on the cold days and the wire to the headphone goes into one earpiece and then is routed through the neck band to the other ear piece, which keeps the wires out of the way nicely.

The only downside is that they come in a grey and green colour scheme, a small price to pay for a great set of headphones and as I run mainly at night in the dark, the fashion police will not be pulling me over for the clashing colour of my headphones and gym kit!




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Reebok running shoes , marathon gear, london marathon

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motivate your selve when training for the lLondon flora marathon with some music from itunes

Outdoor marathon gear , trail running shoes, winter training gear

JD sport marathon wear and much more for the London Marathon