It may seem like your running besties have everything they need, but trust me, this little hobby of ours is an endless pit of gear, gadgets, and equipment!

I have taken some time to put together a bit of a list to give you some great ideas to use for Christmas, but if you don’t celebrate Christmas then save these for birthdays or other upcoming gifting occasions. These are not necessarily in any preferential order.

  1. Socks – R89 – R139

Use this suggestion as a stocking filler, or as a gift. Thanks to the likes of Versus, Balega and Falke, socks are cool again! Trust me. Check out these adorable patterns from Versus:

2. Running shoes – R2000 – R3000

Now, hear me out! I know it’s nice to be able to give people an actual box of shoes, but the tricky thing with this is that runners really need to fit their shoes before the purchase. If you are based in Johannesburg, then unless you know the exact brand and size of shoes that a person wears, perhaps rather consider buying a gift voucher from The Sweat Shop. There are stores in Bedfordview, Dunkeld, Irene, and Claremont (JHB, CPT & PTA). The giftee will receive far superior service from them than they ever would from Sportsmans Warehouse (sorry to throw this shade but their staff know nothing, John Snow!).

Click the voucher image below to head straight to their website.

3. Tights – R420 – R500

There is one thing you’ll need to figure out about the person you’re shopping for. . . do they wear Esjays, Funky Pants, or Bean Bag the Brand? If she wears Esjays, she’s going to be disappointed in Funky Pants. Brutal, but true. We all have our own preferences, stick with those! In the photo below, the lady on the left is wearing Bean Bag the Brand and the two on the right are wearing Esjays. Neither are superior, it’s just about personal preference.

4. ICE bracelet – R229

I know this is a bit of an average topic, but running with an ICE bracelet is always a good idea. Accidents happen on the road and in South Africa, people shouldn’t be running with their cellphones, and so it is a great idea to have your identification readily available.

5.  Headphones

Before I left Johannesburg, I was gifted a pair of Volkano earphones and I have been yet to share my views on them because people will know me to wear the old Plantronics Backbeats. The Volkano Sprint earphones are great for the money spent. The sound is not as incredible as the Plantronics, but they stay inside your ear perfectly through skipping, jumping, and running, and they are really easy to use. I am going to give you two recommendations that will then fit into different budget ranges.

Volkano Sprint 2.0: R449



I remember when I was a kid, one of the biggest goals I had was to be able to do the splits. It took slipping on wet grass to get me down, but I did it! My right side has always been more flexy than my left. Splits on the left require alcohol. #PartyTrickExclusive
The splits are becoming a birthday tradition for me now. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a party trick now…how lame that I didn’t land up on Broadway!?
When it came to running I used to do the good ol’ “static” stretches, focusing a lot on my hamstrings. Touching toes, stretching out the quads by pulling my foot back to reach my bum, bringing my arms across my body and holding it for 10 seconds on each side. All the official-looking people do this, so it must be the right thing to do.
Stretching this way before a run is not actually great for us. Stretching “cold” muscles before warming up can cause injury and injury = the worst ever. In addition to the chance of injury, it can actually cause a loss of strength and it decreases performance in running and jumping. The understanding behind this is not so clear, however with tests using a thingum called a dynamometer, they have been able to measure the validity of this statement, and thus it is true “because I say so”, not so much because “I understand why”.
A few years ago I attended a dance workshop and they worked on our flexibility slowly. It was a combination of massage, relaxation through a form of meditation, muscle contraction and then release. The instructor had us at “listen to my voice”, lying there on our yoga mats (mental relaxation). We then rolled around on tennis balls (massage). The final element was pairing us up and having the one girl “fight” against her partner for a couple of seconds (creating muscle contraction) and then releasing and allowing the partner to push the leg back a little further each time until we were full on Elasti-girls. The reason why I bring this up is because I finally understand that this is now absolutely a thing. Studies have shown that muscle contraction is able to improve performance, and there is an assumption that there is some neuro stuff getting involved there too.
A moment of serious-ness:
It has been recommended that when completing static stretches, holding a stretch anywhere between 15-30 seconds is the most productive, as well as repeating each stretch 2-4 times.
Static stretching increases range of motion for us, and so it is absolutely vital to incorporate it into any routine, however it has its place in a particular place and when it comes to a warm up before running, it can quite frankly just be avoided. Static stretching should be done when you are already warmed up. So save it for post-work out. Do not omit it!
Now, allow me to introduce you to the kind of stretching one should indeed be completing before a run. It’s called dynamic stretching. *And the crowd goes WILD! Dynamic stretching allows you to warm up without stretching out too much. It contains movements with a lot of movement, rather than holding positions for a long time. It helps you with loosening and warming up simultaneously.
Here are a couple of examples of dynamic stretching, however I will share videos with you soon!:
Leg swings:
You’ll want to get your balance for this. If you’re in the parking lot at Hobart then perhaps hold on to a car 😉
Simply stand on one leg and swing the other leg forwards and backwards.
Lateral lunges:
With your body and legs facing forward, open your legs wider than usual and then lunge to the side keeping your feet facing forward.
High knees:
This one is pretty well known and self-explanatory.
So, the next time you see an athletic human warming up with static stretches, just giggle on the inside and know that you know better than that!
Here are a couple of static stretches which you can use to cool down from an activity.


We all have a reason for venturing down this journey. Mine was a bit out of the norm – avoidance of final exams. Things have changed over the years and I no longer run to avoid aspects of my life, I run because it brings me copious amounts of joy and it challenges me. It’s also created a community for me – runners are the best kinds of people. You’ll hear me say that a lot.
I had grown up with my dad being the runner of the family, and so I had stood on the sidelines of many Comrades Marathons, however, this had very little influence on my decision to begin. A community group had started hosting weekly runs on a Tuesday and Thursday evening, and a close friend of mine started getting into things around the same time as me. These two things made it more accessible.
Anyway…I had a pair of running pants and some tops that I thought were suitable, along with my mom’s ancient Nike’s and my standard underwire bras – COOL! Let’s hit the road, shall we?
So, this is it…the things I wish I knew when I first started running:
  1. The right gear is imperative
You know I mentioned how kitted out and ready I was? Well…nope. I would soon learn that running with a normal bra hurt, wearing cotton fabric clothing was uncomfortable, hot, and it would never smell the same again, and last but not least, my mom definitely needed new shoes.
As with any hobby, it helps to have the correct equipment. Fabric that breathes well, anti-chafe, and supportive underwear and shoes which are fitted perfectly to your needs.
  • Shoes: REMEMBER! You can’t rely on another person’s experience with a pair of shoes for you to make your choice! Shoes are extremely particular so take the time to visit a specialist store, like The Sweat Shop, to ensure you get the perfect fit.
  • Shorts: Esjays make the most beautiful running clothing. I love their pants the most because of the ample pocket space (key pocket and two large side pockets), the double lining, and the silicone strip around the waistband. Other brands to look out for: Bean Bag the Brand and Funky Pants. Bean Bag the Brand tend to be great for pear-shaped bodies and just as a heads up, Funky Pants tend to have a thin waistband which isn’t everyone’s favourite.
  • Sports bras: You need to look after the ladies! Shock Absorber makes a brilliant bra that is great for women with a cup size C and up. A-B cup sizes can get away with compression bras, however, for larger busted ladies you will need the extra support.
  • Underwear: Runderwear is wonderful for underwear. I personally run in their g-string.
  • Socks: When it comes to socks, I am a lover of Versus. They have the best designs and I don’t experience any blisters with them. There are many ladies in my group who tend to favour Falke or Balega, so if Versus give you blisters, try an alternative brand
  • Earphones: From a safety/security perspective in South Africa, if you’re running alone I wouldn’t recommend this. However, if you’re looking for something that won’t fall out of your ears and has a considerably high sound quality, then be sure to check out Plantronics
2. Don’t expect the beginning to be easy
Were you surprised when the BBG program by Kayla Itsines sucked at first? Were you surprised when your butt bone hurt when you tried cycling again for the first time in years? Was it a shock when you lifted some heavy weights or tried out booty bands and the day after it felt like your groin may FALL OFF! How a groin would fall off I don’t know – but that feeling is REAL! 
Running takes time to adjust to, and like with anything you feel passionate about, there will eventually be a point where you click and it all becomes more enjoyable. Just like that time when you used to drink Four Cousins Rose because red wine was not palatable. See! Even that took time!
3. Running is the best way to make friends
Thanks to communities popping up all over the place, such as CMIYC and Park Run, it has become more accessible to join a running group without it necessarily attracting an intimidating athletic type of person. This is great for people like you and me because everyone starts somewhere. Runners are crazy levels of supportive. If you stop to walk on a Park Run route, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will encourage you to keep going as they pass you. They will emit all the positive vibes you need to keep on pushing.
4. Form and strength are important
Weight training? Pfft! That’s for men! Isn’t it?
Running is a high impact sport, which means your form and your strength can either make or break you. Cross-training is an imperative component of building a strong and injury-free runner.
Your running form is a topic which I will go into in more depth within the program, but there are some pointers which I will give you so that we start you off with the right habits in place.
5. There’s more to running than running
Intervals, fartleks, strides, hill repeats, and suicides. These are all a few variations to just going for a run, and each of them. Case in point. Each one of these types of running adds an extra component to your training which will only improve your overall performance.
6. Walking is just fine
Taking a break to catch your breath is honestly just fine. I remember when I first started running, I was so adamant about achieving 5km without stopping, but the thing is as you increase your distance, even with walking, you can build a stronger 5km or whatever distance it may be.
And that is pretty much that. I think that running is commonly perceived as something which is going to be simple to grasp because it is something we have most likely all been doing since we could walk. At school, I remember being forced into athletics days to get extra PT marks for the subject. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that it is going to be simple. You’re going to have to win some and lose some with regards to gear, you’re going to have to learn about your body as you go and you’re most likely going to hurt in the beginning. But! This is why I am here.
If you still feel hesitant about beginning your journey then just reach out to me and let’s chat!
This was my first 10km race and those clothes were amongst my first running purchases. Don’t get me wrong – you can find decent running clothing at Mr. P Sport, but these shorts and shirt were not great. At this stage, I also wore a pair of Adidas shoes in a size 6 which was way too small.
This was my first 21.1km race. Those shoes lead to such bad injuries for me and those shorts wouldn’t stop riding up – I chafed really nicely between my thighs.
I then discovered Esjays, and now these are my shorts/ 3/4’s and longs of choice.
Versus socks are our fave!
Matt wears Asics and I wear New Balance shoes.
My Cape Storm stash belt is great for holding my phone, keys, and tissues.
Check out Garmin for your wearables, a.k.a., fitness watch.



Copyright by Running for Cake 2020. All rights reserved.

Copyright by Running for Cake 2020. All rights reserved.

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