Runderwear - Chafe Free in the Desert

This post is in collaboration with Runderwear.

Runderwear - Chafe Free Running Underwear - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

Where do you start telling the story of 60 hours running in the desert? To be honest I’m still processing The Speed Project, it was singly one of the most surreal and epic adventures I’ve ever had and it’s going to take me some time to get my head around it all (and sift through the metric tonne of footage and hundreds of still images we generated). For now I’m sharing the tidbits I can process, and where better to start than my favourite topic, Chafing!

Sometimes I wonder if I should stop saying this is a running blog and rebrand as a chafing hotspot. I seem to be obsessed with clammy nether regions and painful rubbing, so I’m pretty sure I could turn it into a thing, but then maybe it would be awkward to explain at parties…I digress. Even if you’re not weirdly obsessed with chafing (prevention and management) going for a 340 mile jog through Death Valley will put it on your radar as all that sweat can wreak havoc on parts of your body that touch.

Runderwear - Chafe Free Running Underwear - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

One of the areas I chafe the most is my butt. Yep, it’s true, after Royal Parks Half Marathon a couple of years ago I looked like a tiger had mauled my arse and sitting down was really not an option for a few weeks. Broken skin is a regular occurrence for me, whether it’s my butt, thighs, arms, lower back, some part of me is going to come back from a run chapped and rubbed raw. Not Fun. Really not fun if you have a few hundred miles left to run. However, at The National Running Show this year I was lucky enough to run into the guys from Runderwear and they sorted me out with some lovely soft pants that they promised would see me through the race chafe free!

I’d always been a bit curious about Runderwear. Were they a massive gimmick? Were they worth the money (women’s pants retail from £16-20 a pair)? Would they solve all my problems? Well the answers are No. Yes. Yes.

Runderwear - Chafe Free Running Underwear - A Pretty Place to Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

I took two pairs of Runderwear with me to the States and wore each pair for 24 hours (because I am feral like that). Each pair were worn through multiple legs and rest periods, which would be gross in any other scenario but proved to be the perfect test as I could really see if they did wick sweat away and prevent that nasty clamminess that leads to rashes and sore skin. It was a big ask, but Runderwear was up to the job, two days wallowing in my own sweat and I emerged in Vegas tired, sore and hungry but without a single blemish on my skin from rubbing. Win.

The pants I tried during The Speed Project were the Women’s Brief and the Low Rise Hipster. Both were actually pretty high rise - Baby One More Time Britney would have issues - but I liked that because it meant my pants hit the waistline of my shorts, which is really comfy and avoids weird bumps and bulges. What was more awkward for me was that both pairs had pretty high cut legs, which I am really not used to. I found that it meant the pants dug in a little and left me with some pretty pronounced VPL, maybe not an issue in the desert but sometimes you don’t want to draw attention to your undies. Since I’ve come home Runderwear has sent me some Hot Pants and the No VLP Hipster which I am really excited about (and will report back on soon!).

Runderwear - Chafe Free Running Underwear - A Pretty Place to  Play, London Running and Fitness Blog

High cut legs aside I found these pants extremely comfortable and crucially they helped me get through Death Valley in relative comfort and without any chafing to deal with otherwise. Which is just as well given all the other injuries I sustained! I’ll defiantly be keeping them in rotation and packing them for all my running adventures this summer (dodgy leg notwithstanding!).

Have you tried Runderwear? What are your thoughts?

*Runderwear sent me various products to try but all opinions are my own.

** images: Kaye Ford.

When Should Your Change Your Running Shoes?

When Should You Change Your Running Shoes - A Pretty Place to Play

Despite having an obscene number of running shoes I always find myself reaching for the same pair - my 361 Spinject trainers. They're responsive, versatile and the bright orange colour brings a little punch to my day! Wherever my run takes me I know that these trainers are going to do the job, which is probably why they're now knackered!

I'm really gutted, and it's very tempting to keep wearing them, but that's probably not the best idea. Worn out running shoes are less supportive and protective than a fresh pair of kicks, which leaves you open to an increased risk of injury because the integrity of the shoe has broken down. And the last thing I want right now is an injury.

When Should You Change your Running Shoes - A Pretty Place to Play

So how do you know when it's time to upgrade? Well, other than when a new colour-way get's released (I wouldn't mind the Spinject in black, just saying!). There are all sorts of estimates out there for how long your shoes should last (somewhere between 500km and 750km), but I prefer to keep an eye on the condition of my shoes. We're not talking superficial stains here (although don't you wish your shoes would stay box fresh forever?!), but wear that'll affect the integrity of the shoe. Things like whether the outer sole has worn through, whether the midsole compresses easily under pressure, any asymmetry in the wear and whether the tread has worn down and is smooth. I look at the upper, is there fraying, have I worn through at the heel or the toe box, how are the sides of the shoe?

For me a sure sign that I need to change up my shoes is that a blister appears on my instep. Seriously, it surprises me every time, and then I remember that it's because my shoes are worn out. It's worth keeping an eye on things and seeing there are any patterns when it comes to foot injuries - blisters that appear in the same place every time, toe nail damage, all that lovely stuff - it could be your feet trying to tell you something! 

When Should You Change Your Running Shoes - A Pretty Place to Play

Finally I think about where I've been running. The type of terrain you run on is a huge factor when it comes to how long your shoes will last. I try to wear shoes designed for the terrain I'm running on - so trail shoes for trail, road shoes for road - but my runs don't always pan out as expected. A path might be a track, a trail might appear somewhere unexpected, I might need to make up miles on a playing field, so my shoes will take a beating that they might not be designed for. My most recent pair of Spinject trainers ended up taking me along trails in Menorca, which no doubt caused them to wear a bit sooner than expected! 

When you're a runner your feet are your tools. While I don't really advocate new shoes for the sake of it (unless they're really pretty, sometimes these things need to be done), you can't assume you can wear the same pair for years if your running regularly. Your shoes are your tools. They help you stay on your feet injury free, protect you when you're on the move and support you to go beyond your expectations, so when they're past it be kind and allow them a happy retirement! 

How often do you change your running shoes? 

*I'm an ambassador for 361 Europe and I love that they keep me kitted out but as always all opinions are my own. 

**images: Anna Rachel Photography

Christmas Gifts for Runners

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It's December, which means it's nearly Christmas and, most importantly, time to pick out a gift for your favourite runner! I shared my Fitmas wish list with Elle last month, but I thought I'd take the opportunity to play Elf just for you and share some of my favourites here too! 

TMR Runner Sweatshirt (just to make sure everyone knows you're a runner!) - £39.99

SKINS DNAmic Compression Tights (look sharp, recover faster, run quicker!) - £75*

STANCE Running Socks (runners can never have too many socks, and they are never a dull gift!) - £17.67*

Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly Bra (the lightest, comfiest bra ever!) - £45*

Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up and Sweat with Swagger, Robin Arzon (tips, tricks and all the inspiration you'll ever need!)

RunFast. Eat Slow. Shalane Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky (nutritional tips from an Olympian!)

Believe Training Journal, Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas (inspiration from the Pros!)

Million Mile Lights (lights that'll last and last) - £18*

New Balance PaceIQ Earbuds (music for those long miles!) - $109.99*

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Run All The Miles, Eat All the Pizza tshirts (for running couples!) - $32 (hers) $30 (his)

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Entry to London Winter Run (£3 off with code PRETTYPLACE3) - £40*

Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Gel (to sooth) - £28

Neals Yard Arnica Salve (to heal those sore muscles) - £10

I'm going for a run, make me breakfast mug (to make sure your coffee is ready when you get home) - $18

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The 12 Days of Fitness by Angela Chick (who doesn't love a festive card?!) - £2.50 to £10*

* starred items were gifted to me, but this doesn't affect whether they were included in this guide. 

** images by Anna Rachel Photography

***Thanks to MIke for modelling/being Anna and I's lacky for the day