Saturday, 31 December 2011

MEElectronics M11+ In-ear Headphones

So, after being disappointed with the Klipsch Image X1's (Blog review) I decided to give the MEElectronics M11+ In-ear Headphones another go to see whether I had just bought a ‘dud’ pair before as to date they have been my best running headphones to date despite only lasting for 4 months the first time around!  They cost slightly more than the Klipsch X1’s at £20 and only came with a 1 year warranty so I will be making double sure in that period that I haven't received another pair of duds!

MEElectronics M11+ In-ear Headphones
They arrived very quickly and after reacquainting myself with them again in the office and out and about running they are performing admirably despite the recent miserable weather.  Compared with the Klipsch X1’s; the cable noise is extremely low and eliminated/unnoticeable when the cable is worn over the ear.  The M11+ headphones also stay in my ears a lot better, the cable has some memory character which helps keep them in place and they are easy to adjust out running to maintain their fit and isolation throughout the run.  I occasionally feel that the cable is going to slip away from my ear but due to the memory character in the cable this should improve over time.  The remaining cable fits nicely in my running armband.

iGadgitz Running Armband
The M11+ headphones came with about 10 pairs of ear buds of differing sizes so trying to find the optimum fit was easier than with the Klipsch which only came with 3 sets.  As a result, I have been able to achieve an extremely good fit and due to their size i.e. tiny and design they allow deeper insertion in the ear to further improve their external noise isolation, something the Klipsch X1’s struggled with due to the poor number of included ear buds, the larger housing size and their design.

The only minor negative with them that I have found so far is that there is a slight hiss present during quieter music (I believe this is more down to my budget smart phone though) and their music signature is more bass heavy when compared to the Klipsch X1’s.  This is fine for the music I listen too when running which helps me get into a good rhythm.

To conclude; I will definitely be continuing to use the M11+ out running and will be keeping the Klipsch X1’s for work as the poor microphonics are less of a concern when the cable rarely moves and the sound signature is more balanced.  I just hope that the M11+'s last longer this time around as I’m not sure I could give them a 3rd chance no matter how good they are!

For a more detailed review on the M11+ in-ear headphones, check out the Head-Fi forum thread which reviews in-ear headphones (Ref. 2C16 refers to the M11+ headphones).

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Klipsch Image X1 / S2 In-ear Headphones

After extensive research I decided to go back to ‘Klipsch’ for my replacement in-ear headphones as my last pair from them, the Custom 1’s were great and lasted just over 12 months which at the time I thought was poor but after the MEElectronics M11+ only lasted for 4 months this year I thought that maybe the 12+ months that the Klipsch Custom 1 in-ear headphones  had lasted wasn't so bad after all.

Additionally, after further reading around the general consensus was that earphones especially when subjected to sweat and the elements i.e. wind/rain/hail during running just don’t last that long as if they are kept warm and dry so I thought I would give Klipsch another go.  
Klipsch Image X1/S2 in-ear headphones
The research seemed to suggest that the Klipsch Image X1/S2 In-ear headphones would suit my needs, they came with a 2 year warranty so this gave me some assurance that they would last longer than my previous Headphones.  They also received generally favourable reviews on the Internet and the price was right (£15 on Amazon, reduced from £40).  I only paid £20 for my Klipsch Custom 1 In-ear headphones on special offer the first time around and these only came with a 1 year warranty so £15 seemed even better value for their replacements.

So, they arrived and after a few days in the office and out about with them they unfortunately have not lived up to the high expectations I had for them and are no where near as good as my old Klipsch Custom 1’s.  I had concerns the first time I tried them out in the office as the isolation just wasn’t as good as my M11+ in-ear headphones as they weren’t blocking out nearby conversations/background noises very well, so I was dubious at how good would they be against the noise experienced outside during running i.e. mainly from cars and the wind!

Unfortunately, I was right; out and about they were very poor at isolating unwanted noise.  I tried all the differently sized ear buds that came with them to try and get an improved fit but it just didn’t work and as a result the external noise was a constant distraction alongside busy roads and as a result I almost ditched them after my first run.  However, I persevered with them in the office and on a further few runs to give them a decent trial.  Following these runs, they proved to be a real mixed bag with unfortunately more emerging negatives then positives!

Firstly, the positives; comfort is definitely one when a good fit is achieved.  They are extremely comfortable to wear for extended periods and I haven’t had any issues in the office when listening to music for several hours at a time; they are so light that sometimes you can’t even feel them in.  The housings are quite large though and I don’t feel I get as good a fit as my others but they are definitely comfortable to wear.  The sound quality is another positive; they are as good as my old Klipsch Custom 1’s and slightly better than the M11+ in-ear headphones  as there is no hiss present when listening to quiet segments of music although the lack of isolation does make it harder to ‘lose’ oneself in the music, both in the office and out running.

Now on to the deal breaking negatives; microphonics i.e. cable noise was poor regardless of the cable arrangements I tried….and believe me I tried them all out!  These arrangements included cable behind the head but this was not comfortable as when the cable became taunt it had the tendency to drag and tried to turn my head which isn’t comfortable.  I tried various methods to restrict cable movement i.e. armband/shirt clip and I also tried running the cable over the ears which normally works very well on other earphones and even though there was some improvement; the cable noise was still too distracting.  This is certainly an area where my previous earphones, the M11+ excelled.  The best arrangement was when worn over the ear however this led to a further negative discovery in that when they fell out on occasion it was extremely difficult, time consuming and distracting to re-establish and maintain their position as there is no memory character in the cable so they don’t ‘remember’ the position that they are normally in too well.  

Finally, as alluded to earlier, the external noise isolation is very poor even when the best fit is established.  Perhaps when out running it is good that isolation isn’t very good when running alongside traffic although I feel I am very road/traffic aware when out and about but above all else I prefer trying to get lost in music to help me get into a ‘zone’ when running and the poor isolation on these make that extremely difficult.  I also know that it can be just as dangerous running without any form of music as a colleague of mine was hit from behind.

To conclude, after an extremely good 2nd run with them (What makes a good run?), I was almost at the point where I could put up with them despite their flaws.  However, a further ‘normal’ run raised further concerns with maintaining the ‘fit’ when worn over the ear as highlighted earlier.  I gave them one more chance on a long run (6 miles+) to help me make my mind up as to whether to continue using them for running or not and I still struggled with them and they didn’t perform as I expect from running headphones so I’ve decided to keep them solely for office use and its back to the drawing board for finding a suitable running in-ear headphones replacement… 

For a more detailed audiophile review on these in-ear headphones, check out the Head-Fi forum thread which reviews in-ear earphones (Ref. 3A24 refers to these in-ear headphones).

Last blog before Christmas Day, so thanks for reading and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas!  Check back in a few days to find out what in-ear headphones I have bought and used since dispensing with these.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

First run in over two weeks...

…thanks to a virus, however, today’s the day, I feel much better after my steroids boost this week to help open my airways; As a result I’m coughing less and breathing is less of a struggle and what with Christmas Day fast approaching I want to get back into Running sharpish as I haven’t run now for about 2 weeks as the virus entered my system and attacked my biggest vulnerability…my chest which unfortunately always leads to issues with my Asthma making any kind of physical exertion difficult. 

One bonus of not running, I have been able to finally finish the long overdue blogs pertaining to the earphones I have been testing over the last couple of months and they will be posted over the next week or so for a bit of light Christmas reading for anyone that is interested…

I have wanted to run every day of the last 2 weeks; the Wii Fit has been telling me 'frequently' that the pounds are piling on and it isn't even Christmas yet, so I have had to reduce my food consumption to compensate.  I'm now at the stage where I want to try and fit in a couple of easy runs before Christmas Day so I can relax more over the festive period and ease back into training.  Until the New Year, I will be looking to rebuild any lost fitness with a few steady runs when I can before I recommence my Marathon training programme.

So, today’s the day for my first running attempt in 2 weeks, my biggest running break ever since last December when the UK was covered in a blanket of ice and snow for several weeks…so, how much fitness will I have lost and more importantly will I remember how to run?

So after about 5km and 35 minutes of non stop running I think it went all right...I tried to keep it slow and steady but my body was fixed on 1 speed only today.  As soon as I started my legs felt heavier than normal, by the end of the run I was almost at the point of using my arms to keep my legs moving.  As expected, my chest was tight throughout so it was a battle to get enough oxygen into my body to keep my legs moving, whilst keeping my breathing under control.  By and large it mostly worked...however, by far the worst part was when I finished the run..

As soon as I stopped, I started coughing and it took a few puffs of my Asthma medication for my breathing to return to normality.  A nice refreshing shower and 5 minutes rest later at my desk I felt all the better for having run….honest!  Despite these troubles for a couple of hours at least after the run, my chest felt clearer so I think it was what my body needed!  Either that or the 10mg of Steroids I swallowed soon after worked really fast!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

2nd Magic Mile Complete

Following the completion of my 1st Magic Mile last month, it was now a good opportunity to see if I could run faster to try and beat the previous time of 8 minutes 14 seconds.

I chose a morning run for my attempt.....bad move!  It was dark, cold, wet and the wind was in my face throughout making it quite unpleasant not to mention causing my earache to return early on in the attempt despite my tight fit earphones.  I also didn't feel as focused or determine and as a result I failed to beat my previous time, coming in 14 seconds slower this time around.

As a result at home it led me to unpack my 'buff' freebie that I got given at the Half Marathon event to see if I could get it into some kind of configuration that would cover my ears and not make me look stupid......not possible.....back to the drawing board for now...perhaps a proper headband is needed!

Anyway this run marked the end of week 8, I am now a 1/4 of the way through my current training programme to run a Marathon, the next few weeks will not be completely to the schedule as I'm away in London for a few days next week and then what with Christmas on the horizon I will just  be aiming to maintain my current level of fitness before resuming my plan when January arrives.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


Normally prior to a long run (over 6 miles), I can get quite anxious as to whether I will be able to complete the distance and whether I'll be able to successfully keep myself motivated throughout the run as I often get bored running distances over 6 miles (10km).

However, last Thursday was different.  I felt a lot less anxious prior to the run as I knew the intervals that I was planning on introducing this time around as part of Jeff Galloway's run-walk-run strategy (a ratio of 5:1 = 5 minutes running to 1 minute of walking) would help break the run up.  I just didn't know prior to the run whether these intervals would be beneficial or a hindrance!

This ratio isn't strictly following what the Galloway programme suggests for my pace at the moment but, it’s a ratio I felt comfortable to begin with to help me determine whether the walking breaks suit my style (if I have a style) of running.  I intend to experiment in future long runs with different ratio's that the Galloway programme suggests for my predicted pace as determined by the Magic Miles.  Anyway back to the run in hand...

...the 'breaks' felt weird at first as I haven't run intervals since completing the Couch 2 5K (C25K) training programme last year, but after the first few 'breaks' I started to get into the swing of them, the run started to become enjoyable and I began looking forward to the next 'break' once I had started running again.

After only 1 run using this technique I think I’m sold with what it is trying to achieve.  I found that the walking breaks helped me to recover control of my breathing especially following a difficult segment i.e. a hill and it also allowed me to time to refocus and to regain my composure which allowed me to get straight back into a comfortable running stride and rhythm.

The run wasn't without its difficulties though...the breaks came at the 'wrong' time in some of the hills i.e. the beeper went off to start running again as I started to run up a hill, but the thought of running for just 5 more minutes before another 'walk' break really helped me push myself in the running segments.  I did feel that I hadn't stretched enough at the start of the session as my thighs were getting quite tight by mile 6 and a sore foot nearly forced me to cut my planned route short after only 4 miles on the clock, but luckily I managed to keep going and the soreness disappeared.

With this technique, the miles seemed to fly by rapidly, I could enjoy the scenery during the breaks and I didn't really feel bored at any stage of the run and therefore didn't struggle with motivation as much as I normally do on the longer runs.  As a result it was probably my most liberating and enjoyable long run for a long time.  I went over the intended 7.5 miles (bad planning on my part) and racked up 8.7 miles by the time I finished and with the way I was feeling I probably could of carried on running!

The total session duration was 1hr 35 minutes which after discounting the warm up and cool down, the walking elements consisted of 13 walk breaks therefore 13 minutes of walking accumulated during the run.

I was worried beforehand that it wouldn't feel like a proper run with the walk breaks but after I finished I didn't really worry or care about that, it felt like a long run and the times for 5k and 10k (33m and 1hr 6m respectively) were comparable to other runs of similar distances that I have completed to date...if anything it was slightly faster than the average times!

Therefore to conclude, I'm looking forward to experimenting with the Run-Walk-Run ratio's in my future long runs to further establish whether this technique suits my style and helps me to run the longer distances or if it was a one off i.e. a fluke!

A Run of Two Halves…

Picture the scene... the fine rain that gets you wet coupled with howling cold wind.

Once I had accepted the fact that I was going to get wet regardless, I set off on my run yesterday which I intended hoped would be an easy one due to my longer run (7.5 miles) planned for later in the week however, the weather did not make it easy one bit!

In terms of raining on runs, I much prefer it when it starts to rain mid run as in most cases it’s a refreshing distraction (especially in the warmer months) but, starting to run when it is already pretty bleak, another sign (like we need any more) that Winter after a short let up has finally arrived and is in full swing is a different matter.

However, surprisingly the run started off really well, the wind was behind be spurring me on, almost pushing me to go faster.  I felt efficient in my strides, relaxed, comfortable and my earphones were doing a decent job of staying in the right place despite the winds best effort to dislodge them!

Then half way around, I started turning into the wind and rain...and my winter running earache reared its ugly head making the run become miserable.  I know I could wear a hat...but its not quite cold enough for them yet and I find they give me a headache (catch 22)!

At that point, I just wanted the run to be over, especially after I reached a clearing and the respite from the weather that I had managed to find under trees/near buildings disappeared….then the thought of hot shower and a warm office building at the end of the run was all that kept me going.  

Thankfully, back in the warmth my earache all but disappeared...well until my next run in this weather anyway....

Friday, 25 November 2011

Earphone troubles

I recently had to return my faulty MEELectronics M11+ pair of earphones which lasted just over 4 months which is a real shame as they were excellent apart from a slight hissing noise at higher frequencies but that was more down to my el cheapo phone (ZTE Blade / Orange San Francisco) than anything else.

It was starting to become a real challenge in trying to find the right pair of earphones for running without paying the earth! I already pay much more for my headphones then most people would even consider (around £15-20) as I like good quality earphones with good sound, good isolation to block out unwanted environmental noise i.e. cars, are comfortable to wear and have good microphonics i.e. low cable noise.

I have tried 'low' cost headphones in the past, recently I tried an ‘Expect’ pair from Amazon which only cost £6 but, I think it’s a case of you get what you pay for as the sound was poor and they just wouldn’t stay in my ears when running so they have been ditched.    

To find the right pair, I undertook some fairly extensive research over on the Head-Fi forum and other review websites to find and buy the right one's but unfortunately after trying them out, they were a huge disappointment so I had to rethink and buy a second pair.

Therefore, over the past 2 weeks I have been testing out not one as originally intended but, two new pairs of earphones for running, reviews for both in no particular order will be up shortly with conclusions as to whether my search for the 'right' earphones are over....well for now anyway.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

The 10k One Hour Barrier

After seeing what the Magic Mile predicted my 10k time to be (58:42), a long way from my current Personal Best of 01:02:30;  I decided to treat today's long run (6 miles) to mark the end of Week 5 of Jeff Galloway's Marathon training programme like a 'race' with a single aim, to break through the one hour barrier for the 10k!

After some stretches and a 5 minute warm-up walk I was ready....unfortunately, it was a horrible run from start to finish and I didn't enjoy!  It was really hard to try and maintain a consistent fast pace, it had to be less than 10min/mile if I was to have a shot at breaking through the barrier today.  My breathing was all over the place, I just couldn't get it under control and as a result I struggled breathing throughout and had to have a few puffs of my drugs along the way to keep my asthma at bay...

...but, it was worth it (I guess) as I managed not only to break the one hour barrier for the 10k but, smash through it and even beat the latest Magic Mile prediction!

...and as a bonus I smashed my current 5k Personal Best too so I'm on top of the world at the moment!  My new personal bests for 5/10k are as follows:

5k - 26m 46s
10k - 56m 32s

I certainly won't be looking to beat those in a hurry!  It's now a good time for me to draw a line under running flat out on the longer runs and see what effect the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk-Run strategy will have on the times, specifically the 10k+ times.  My first attempt at this strategy will be in 2 weeks time as December looms ever closer.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

1st Magic Mile Run Complete

Week 4 concluded last Thursday with the completion of my 1st Magic Mile run.  This involved a slow one mile warm up followed by a further mile running as hard knowing after the mile that I couldn't have run more than a football field at the same pace, then a slow jog to complete the mileage required for that day.  The intention for subsequent Magic Mile runs is that I will aim to run faster than in the previous one.

Then once I've completed 4 of the Magic Mile runs I can start to better predict my race performance.  To do this I eliminate the slowest run, average the other 3 and then use Jeff Galloway’s web based race prediction calculator (here).  For example, using the time for this Magic Run (8:14 min/mile) would give me the following predictions:

Pace (min/mile)
Predicted Race Time
Current Personal Best
5km pace
10km Pace
½ Marathon Training Pace
½ Marathon Pace
Marathon Training Pace
Marathon Pace

Incidentally, my fastest 1 mile time recorded to date is 7:45 min/mile so it will be interesting to see if I can get closer to that in future Magic Miles, I was slightly injured (pulled chest muscle) when I completed this Magic Mile although it didn’t really affect my run, so it will be interesting to see how close I can get to this record in subsequent Magic Mile runs over the next few months.

So, for the distances I’ve already completed, apart from the Half Marathon pace/times they are not far off, so it will be interesting over the course of the Run-Walk-Run Marathon Schedule as to how close I get to all these times.  It certainly would be nice to achieve all those times especially for the 10k and Half Marathon distances.

However, I doubt I could better those times for 5K/10K much as the Magic Mile has reaffirmed my opinion that I just don’t like running fast.  When running the 1st Magic Mile, my breathing was all over the place, more difficult to control, my chest felt tight, my asthma flared up so I was glad when it was over as I could settle back into my 'normal' pace for the remainder of the run.

Monday, 14 November 2011

What makes a good run?

Sometimes, everything just comes together, clicks into place and a really good enjoyable run comes along. 

Today, I had one of those runs.  Once I stopped faffing about with my new headphones (more on that later) my run was really smooth and consistent, probably my best run for a good few months.  

My form and running efficiency felt really good which allowed me to relax into a comfortable rhythm and pace. 

The run was only lasted 35 minutes including a short walk warm up at the start, but my pace was around the 10min/mile mark which for a 'training' run was pretty fast for me. 

Long may those kind of runs continue!

Monday, 7 November 2011

One Hour Runner (OHR)

After completing the Couch 2 5K (C25K) running programme, I went straight onto the 10 week One Hour Runner (OHR) programme.  

The schedule which I can't seem to find any more, perhaps its fallen out of favour compared with the plethora of other programmes available out there at the moment which are more geared towards completing 10k i.e. Bridge to 10k (B210k) as opposed to being able to run for one hour, which is just under 10k for me at the moment, so back when I did the programme is was more like 8 or 9k in an hour.

However, the main thing to take away from this is to follow a programme which best fits your style i.e. what works for you and as OHR continued the trend of running 3 times a week and started where C25k ended i.e. 30 minute runs it best suited what I was used to at that point.  The OHR plan consists of the following:

30 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes
90 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes
90 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes
30 minutes
90 minutes
30 minutes
29 minutes
33 minutes
94 minutes
30 minutes
32 minutes
38 minutes
100 minutes
30 minutes
33 minutes
41 minutes
104 minutes
30 minutes
34 minutes
45 minutes
109 minutes
30 minutes
36 minutes
49 minutes
115 minutes
30 minutes
38 minutes
54 minutes
122 minutes
30 minutes
40 minutes
60 minutes
130 minutes

The rest of my training plans have been covered more or less in my posts to date including the Bupa Beginners Half Marathon and more recently my current programme, the Jeff Galloway Marathon programme which I started a little over 3 weeks ago and will run until May next year.  So to summarise so far:

C25K - Started 02 Aug 10, completed 06 Oct 10.
OHR - Started 08 Oct 10, completed 07 Jan 11.
Half Marathon - Started 04 Jul 11, completed 09 Oct 11 (Approximately 380 miles running, 26 miles cycling and 2 miles swimming).
Marathon - Started 17 Oct 11, in progress...due to complete May 12.

Friday, 4 November 2011


Either I had the best run yesterday where I beat all my personal records up to the 8 mile mark or my GPS tracking was glitched to hell!.  Unfortunately, the pace was too good for it not to be the latter.....d'oh!.

The majority of software has glitches/bugs; it’s just ironic that I had stated in my last post that I picked Endomondo as it was the most reliable out of the running GPS applications that I tried!  I hope it was just a 'one off' glitch and that it will clear after a hard reset, we will see next week!

Unfortunately that wasn't the end of my troubles that I encountered on my run yesterday - My ‘backup’ earphones were a disaster!  They wouldn't stay in my ears for more than about 10 seconds no matter where I ran the cable which led to an extremely interrupted run in which I could't settle into a rhythm or get into a 'zone'.

I desperately missed the shirt clip, isolation and the 'fit and forget' features from my MEElectronics M11+ in-ear earphones which I had returned faulty earlier in the week and I have yet to find a suitable replacement which will last more than 4 months.  Maybe my old Klipsch earphones weren't so bad after all as they did manage to last for over a year...  

If that wasn't enough, I'm still suffering with something which only really rears its head when I'm out running.  It exacerbated my asthma, causing my chest to get tight and chesty which makes it extremely difficult to control my breathing and relax into my run.

Apart from all of that, the run wasn't that bad, my longest since the Half Marathon, but it would have been much better if I could actually analyse my 'actual' performance on Endomondo!

Well that's week 3 out of the way, finishing on a 6 mile ish run yesterday, only another 29 weeks of the Marathon programme to go.  I've just ordered the accompanying book to the programme to help me better understand what I need to do in terms of the run-walk strategies and how to run a Magic Mile which I need to do next Thursday instead of a long run.

I also bought a long sleeve base layer in preparation for the winter so hopefully this spending splurge will carry on as I still haven’t got around to buying new shoes or tights.  Admittedly the weather considering has been pretty mild considering the time of the year, so perhaps when the weather returns to normal i.e. cold, then it will speed up my purchases!

Update:  Just purchased some replacement in-ear earphones, the Klipsch Image X1 / S2 for £14.99 on Amazon and a 99p shirt clip from e-bay, so I will see how well I get on with these over the next few months.  There is a 2-year warranty with the earphones so that gives me some hope that they will last longer this time around.

Monday, 31 October 2011

How I started running (C25K)?

If anyone is thinking about starting running or is interested in how I started running, then this is how I did it in terms of the programme and equipment/clothing used.

I followed the Couch 2 5K (C25K) training programme over 9 weeks (schedule here) and downloaded the 9 Robert Ullrey podcasts (1 for each week of the schedule) from here.  I then transferred them all to my music player that I would be taking on the sessions.  Then you just start the podcasts in the correct order e.g. Week 1 for the first week of the schedule and then simply follow Robert's instructions  which follow the C25K schedule.  It couldn't be simpler and the podcasts provide tips, encouragement and music to help you along each session.

In terms of footwear, to start me off, I bought some basic Nike running shoes at Brantano's but, if you think you are going to stick with it, then I recommend getting some decent running shoes at the very start as the basic Nike shoes gave me blisters.  I still completed C25K with them but as soon as I moved on to better shoes (Asics Cumulus 12) designed for running and my type of feet (you can find out what type you are here, in my case I am more or less neutral footed) then the Blisters went away extremely quickly and running became easier on my feet.  

Even after a further 350 miles of running so far in the Asics shoes I still have not had any blisters or aches/pains in my feet (after the initial break in period which lasted about a week).  They are starting to wear out now and I'm already thinking about their replacements but, I'm still not getting any blisters so that is a testament to their quality and its why they should be the first purchase of anyone who is serious about wanting to run!

For other clothing, I bought a cheap pair of running shorts and a base layer t-shirt made of wicking fabric which helps to keep water away from the body. After a few more months I purchased some running socks which further helped to keep my feet protected, comfy and blister free.  As I moved into Winter I expanded my running gear by purchasing a long sleeve base layer top, some jogging trousers and for Xmas I was also given a reflective running jacket for those cold/freezing, dark and wet/snow runs.  

Again, its a relatively cheap sport as I still regularly use both the shorts, base layers and socks that I bought early on and as Winter approaches I will be getting out and wearing the jacket.  Like anyone, I have started to refine my running clothing collection as I now require smaller and tighter fitting clothes following my weight loss and the need to reduce other potential running issues such as chafing on the longer runs.  I'm still trying to build up confidence to buy some running tights though...

In terms of equipment, you don't really need anything other than a watch to follow the schedule, but listening to the excellent podcasts on my music player really helped me and it was also fun to track my workouts through the use of the Nike+ app and external sensor (containing a small accelerometer) on my Ipod Touch.  Following each workout, I could then upload my workout data to the Nike+ website which I did from 11 Aug 2010 until 04 Mar 2011 from where I could track my progress.  Other than that, I didn't buy any other equipment such as Water Bottles until I was running for more 30 minutes and in warmer climates.

My top tip if your struggling, is to slow your pace right down, just focus on controlling your breathing (especially if your asthmatic like me), work on the technique that best works for you and do what Richard says.  Then slowly but surely you will move through the schedule (cross off workouts as you go), then before you know; you will start believing that you can complete the programme and you will start to transform into a runner.

I quickly discovered that the Nike+ sensor could only really be used as a guide which is great to begin with but it was not very accurate in terms of tracking your pace/distance, and the data that you could view on the Nike+ website was limited although I do miss the video's from 'athletes' that showed when you reached a particular milestone or had a good run and the community that you could join.

I updated my phone in Mar 2011 so I took the opportunity to move to a GPS based running app  (free) which would be a lot more accurate in tracking my running and could provide me with a lot more useful data.  I was unable to carry on using Nike+ which is tied to Apple devices as I sold my Ipod Touch which didn't have GPS and moved to an Android based GPS phone.

At first I tried RunKeeper and then Adidas Micoach but I eventually settled on the free version of Endomondo which provided the best features, was well supported and was the app that I found most reliable e.g. it rarely lost data, the GPS locked on quickly at the start of runs, it accurately tracked my runs and it was easy to upload my workout to allow me to track and analyse my workout data on-line.  After a few months, I paid a couple of £ to support the developers and to unlock the pro version with additional features on the app and the website.  
As an example of this content, refer to the data I posted in my City of Salisbury Half Marathon Race Report.  This might sound like a lot of faff, but once its all set up its easy and there's nothing like some statistics to help you track your performance, help with your motivation and allow you to see how your running pace/distance develops over the course of your workouts as part of the C25K programme and beyond.  Here is how my running has developed since using Endomondo:

Click to enlarge
Back to the C25K schedule; if you just take it easy, steady and slow, follow the podcasts and the C25K running schedule, then after 9 weeks, you will be running for 30 minutes, 3 times a week and by this point (probably a lot sooner) you will already have a good idea as to whether this running lark is for you and will have started to decided whether you want to maintain this distance or like me move on to the next running programme e.g. the One Hour Runner (OHR) for another challenge.  It's only a shame that Robert Ullrey didn't make any more podcasts as that would have made subsequent running programmes a lot more fun and easier.

So there you go, that's a quick round up of what training schedule I used to start running and the clothing/equipment I acquired in the first few months to get me started.  If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.