PTs Share Their Running Essentials

With the London Marathon taking place on Sunday, we asked six PTs and running coaches to share the essentials they swear by before, during and after a run. Here’s what they had to say…
By Tor West /

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Tana von Zitzewitz

Master Trainer At Barry’s UK

Leggings with a pocket are a game-changer. I can’t be without a pair of Nike’s Dri-Fit Run Division leggings – not only is the fabric super stretchy and comfortable, but they have handy pockets to keep your phone safe. I also rate Lululemon’s Wunder Train Longline bra when running – the fabric is fast-drying to keep you cool and comfy and the high neck supports without feeling overly constricted. I recently discovered Gngr Bees’ sports bra which has become a firm favourite. The entire brand is sustainable, biodegradable and planet first.

Layers are everything. Body temperature can fluctuate rapidly when you’re running, especially in the British climate. When it’s warm, I’ll wear running shorts and a vest top, but if it’s on the cooler side, I wear a bra or vest top underneath a Lululemon Define long-sleeved sweat jacket. When it’s very cold, it’s important to wear layers made from fabrics that are fast drying to keep you warm. 

Don’t forget about socks. If you’re in the throes of marathon training, you’ll know how important a decent pair of socks is. Higher Ground’s ankle socks are my go-to, especially when paired with Hoka’s Bondi 8 trainers. On cooler days, I wear Nike ankle socks and Nike trainers.

Hoka is a great brand for endurance running. When it comes to trainers, I like to feel supported and like I’m bouncing on a cloud – Hoka’s trainers always fit the bill. I alternate between the Hoka Carbon X for speed training and the Bondi X or 8 for distance running.

I train in the morning. My stomach is sensitive, so I prefer to run before breakfast, meaning a morning session is my go-to. Around 90 minutes before heading out, I’ll fuel with protein, carbs and good fats. If I’m heading out for a longer run on the weekend, I’ll also take a Science in Sport electrolyte gel or Veloforte energy chew – both are full of fast-release energy.

A podcast helps the time go by. I can’t be without my Beats ear pods, and am currently working my way through the Rich Roll archive and love the Huberman Lab.

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Susie Chan

Peloton Tread Instructor

A GPS running watch is a great investment. I’ve been using Polar’s Grit X Pro for years – the battery life is incredible. It lasts for days without charging and the app, unlike others, is simple to use. It’s a clever watch – as well as tracking the ins and outs of your run, it has a clever feature that tells you if you’re training too much. For long runs, I also rate Shokz headphones – they provide a clever bud-free listening experience which is great if you find buds uncomfortable on longer runs, and means you can hear traffic around you, too.

I swear by my Salomon run vest. When I’m heading out for a long run, I use it to carry fuel, water and my phone. I’ve done several ultramarathons, so my body is used to endurance running and I don’t like to over-fuel when running. Gels don’t work for me but I do pack Haribo and Babybel to keep me fuelled. I try to take on additional calories via liquids, too.

Light layers are a must. A lightweight running jacket is useful – I have a wind-resistant one by Hoka that I use constantly. When it comes to bras, I prefer seamless bras without clasps to avoid chafing. Lululemon and Adidas both have a great selection.

You can’t beat a pair of Hoka trainers. Hoka has always served me well for long runs – its Cliftons are my go-to everyday trainers. When it comes to socks, I prefer something thin and breathable as opposed to a thick, padded sock.

Stay calm and start slow. My top piece of advice if you’re running the marathon is to start slower than you think – it can be easy to get carried away with the crowds. If you’re after a specific time, stick with an official pacer. Make sure you fuel at steady intervals and don’t be distracted by what others are doing – it’s your race.

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Emma Bord

Personal Trainer

A seamless top is a must. The Sweaty Betty Athlete seamless vest is fantastic – I have it in several colours – and in the cooler months I wear Lululemon’s Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve Shirt. It’s lightweight, seamless (so no chafing) and has thumbholes for when it’s very chilly. It also doubles up as an extra layer if it’s very cold.

Sweaty Betty does great sports bras. I wear the Stamina sports bra for every run and have done so for years – it has a super comfortable deep under-band and a racerback for freedom of movement. I also own dozens of pairs of Balega running socks – once you try them, you won’t look back.

Asics trainers suit my feet. The Asics Gel Kayano provides fantastic support in the heel, which suits the shape of my foot.

My pockets are always full of snacks. I have tried and tested several belts and arm bands over the years but now rely on my pockets – I find the bouncing movement of a belt or band annoying, whereas I don’t notice things tucked away safely in pockets. I always carry a couple of Tailwind sachets, which I mix with water for a boost of electrolytes, as well as Clif Bloks, which I chew on at intervals to keep energy levels topped up. I’ll always carry a Nivea lip balm, too.

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Heidi Quine

Run Coach At One Track

I can’t be without my Spi Belt. I am not sure how I lived without it – it’s entirely bounce-free and stays in place, regardless of how much you put in it. I carry GU gels with me on longer runs and marathons – the texture and flavours are great – and often use Science in Sport Beta Fuel gels, which contain 40g of carbs per serving to keep you going. Being a type one diabetic, I also always carry fruit pastilles in case my blood sugar drops.

I don’t always listen to music when running. I never use headphones in races as I like to soak up the crowds and atmosphere, but on training runs I’ll listen to a podcast or audiobook. Jabra Elite Sport are my preferred headphones – they have a great battery life and stay in your ears, regardless of how sweaty you are.

Under Armour and 2XU are my go-to brands. Under Armour’s speed pocket leggings have seen me through countless runs. The high waistband is flattering and comfy, and the phone-friendly pocket is great for keeping your essentials safe. Gymshark is also worth a look for affordable pieces.

Running in cold weather is all about having the right gear. As long as you have the right kit, the weather won’t phase you. On particularly chilly or windy days, I love New Balance’s high-neck running jumper, and also love wearing a Buff headband around my head and ears to keep me toasty.

Maaree’s sports bras are a game-changer. Its Solidarity bra has won industry awards. Going up to an H cup size, the bra features a clever overband – a curved panel that runs over the top of the breast and anchored via adjustable straps, to a wide underband for unparalleled support. Under Armour’s infinity mid sports bra also keeps everything in place without over-constricting.  

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Lillie Bleasdale

Founder & Head Coach At Passa

Maurten gels are an industry first. If you struggle with regular gels, try Maurten. From a technical perspective, traditional ‘gels’ are water and carbs mixed into syrups, often containing added flavours and preservatives. Maurten’s gels, on the other hand, are hydrogels, which are better absorbed by the body and more easily digested. All the pros use them. Fuelling is so important in endurance running – I eat around 90-120 minutes before a long run, which tends to be a bagel and a Maurten 320 drink. During a run, I’ll take on a Maurten gel every 30 minutes.

Think about your post-run kit, too. We put so much effort into training and race day that it can be easy to forget about what happens afterwards. Pack a sugary drink and snack in the bag you leave at the bag drop – you may not feel up to eating properly straight afterwards but it’s important to get some fuel into your body to aid recovery. 

A pair of compression tights helps me go the distance. I use 2XU compression leggings – they provide support in the right places and don’t budge while you’re running. On top, I love the Nike AeroSwift range – it’s lightweight and breathable. When it comes to sports bras, you can’t beat Sweaty Betty

Always wear run-specific socks. They’re engineered slightly differently to ensure breathability and to avoid blisters (as much as possible). I swear by Nike run socks. For long-distance easy runs, I wear New Balance 1080 trainers; for shorter sessions, I wear a pair of Nike’s Next%. For racing, it’s always a pair of Nike’s Alphafly

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Claire Gleave

Founder Of Natal Active

It’s important to be prepared. At this point in your marathon training, you’ve done the hard work – now, what will be, will be. Having said that, staying as calm and relaxed as you can on race day makes all the difference. Fuelling well in the days beforehand is also vital as you may be too nervous to eat much on the morning itself.

Pack your essentials the day before. I always carry a sun visor, some tissues (in case you need the loo en route) and cash for emergencies. I don’t use gels after a bad experience in my last marathon – I now swear by dextrose energy tablets. I carry my essentials in a running belt I bought on Amazon.

Take your time to find the right sports bra. I used to reach for M&S sports bras but found they chafed on longer runs. Although I’m now many years post-breastfeeding, I only run in Natal Active sports bras as they provide the perfect balance between comfort and support. They have never once chaffed over the 26-mile distance.

Brooks trainers are great. For years I wore Asics but recently made the switch to Brooks and haven’t looked back. If you’re intro trail running, try the Hoka Speedgoats.

My Apple Watch keeps me safe. Not only is it a great way to keep tabs on your speed and other running stats, but it’s simple to use, connects well with the Strava app and the emergency alarm feature is useful when you’re running alone. In terms of tech, I recently swapped my AirPods for Trekbone’s conducting headphones, which allow you to be more aware of your surroundings.

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