If you happen to follow me on social media you will probably have picked up on the fact that I am in training for my first ever marathon! I’ve dabbled in running on and off over the years – I ran a bit of cross country at school, have completed several 5K and 10K runs and took part in Larne Half Marathon in 2018 but I’ve never taken on anything like this before. I am now almost mid-way through a training program in preparation for Trail Marathon Wales which takes place in June this year and am really enjoying it even though it’s really, really hard as well as being a massive time commitment, and, it’s probably the first time I’ve ever really taken myself serious as a runner. A group of us is training together with Animate Fitness at the helm and we will head to Snowdonia National Park for the big event in around 12 weeks time which is now feeling not very far away at all!

Am I nervous? Absolutely, one hundred per cent. As the date gets closer the more I wonder if I am capable of getting my body around a 26-mile trail marathon in one piece. Trail running is a lot of fun and I find it way more interesting than pounding tarmac, but it’s technical and tiring and you need to be switched on at all times to survey the terrain and plan your footing. The training is intense too – 5 days a week running, strength training, hill reps, intervals… it’s all happening… and my body is definitely feeling it! I am of course thoroughly enjoying it, otherwise what’s the point? But, it’s a lot and I know my body is being put to the test and will continue to be put through the mill right up until race day. We are each being prepared to run the best race we possibly can by great (albeit slightly bossy) coaches, and I am totally committed to giving it my best shot and hope that by putting in the hours (and tears) now that I can go to Wales confident that I’ve done everything possible to take on the biggest running challenge I personally will ever have faced.

As the weeks roll on, so too the mileage and the number of hills we run up increases. It’s hard work at the time and I, along with my team mates, have to dig really deep mentally to keep pressing on. I return home sore and weary after our long weekend runs and wonder how on earth I’ll recuperate enough to start the new week’s schedule with even more training added on, but, miraculously, a hot bath with Epsom Salts, some really good food, lots of water and plenty of good quality sleep means when Monday swings round I’m up for it all again. I am finding that having some things to look forward to really makes a difference to my outlook and that looking after myself really well is simply non-negotiable in these preparatory weeks. The hot baths are long and luxurious, hot water bottles and lovely blankets essential for rest times and having soft, comfortable clothes and nightwear to slip on makes me feel so good. It’s the simple things in life after all!

We travel about to different locations for our training so I also make sure that I’ve got on plenty of snug layers before a run in order to keep warm and to pull on afterwards too. I really dislike being cold and you do cool down really quickly after a run so I love having a decent jacket with hood to pile into. The Isobaa Merino Wool Insulated Jacket is ideal for this purpose. It’s a lovely lightweight jacket and due to its merino wool insulation, it keeps you warm but also breathes well too. Being merino, it also insulates when wet, is quick-drying and naturally odour resistant – all gaining it bonus points in my book! I also love that it has a hood with elastic cords to secure it around your face; it’s so nice after a run to feel enveloped in it’s cosyness!

I’ve tried out quite a few Isobaa products in recent years and one of my favourite things is the attention to detail on each product – the little labels and embroidered sheep prints, the contrasting trim, the elastic hem and cuffs for flexible fit, the storm guard on the zip – all markers that it’s a top quality product.

It’s not just pretty though, it’s so well made, true to size and being made with Recycled Nylon Ripstop outer fabric it’s hard-wearing. I feel really good wearing it too, which is also important in my opinion; the feel-good factor and function are well balanced here! I like that it’s so light and flexible, giving me freedom to move and play but that it also performs well.

Making tree climbing look sexy since the 1980s!!!

I’ve also been trying out the Merino Blend Travel Slippers and I’ve got to say they are an absolute winner! Kicking off muddy trainers and slipping on these post-run is such a treat for sore feet! They are so warm and cosy and have good eco-credentials to boot – they’re made from recycled bottles and upcycled oyster shells from the food industry – like, who knew?! It’s obviously really important to me to look after my entire body as I prepare for Trail Marathon Wales, and my feet in particular deserve that extra little bit of TLC after carrying me around the trails for miles, so these slippers will be going everywhere with me from now on! I also have several long-haul flights later this month so they will most certainly be getting packed into my hand luggage to keep my feet snug on my travels. Another excellent product from Isobaa that fits so well and also comes with handy travel pouch. Love them!

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