SMART CLOTHING — Wearable tech
Out with the Fitbit, in with “smart clothing”. Think sports bras that monitor your heart rate (£32 from athleteshop.co.uk) and blood-lactate testers, worn on the calf to measure endurance capacity (bsxinsight.com; from £349 on Amazon.co.uk)
WEIRD OBSTACLE RACES
Obstacle racing has become a big thing, but you, my friend, will fail to impress your colleagues if you announce you’re off to do a Tough Mudder. In 2017, you must go weirder.
In March, do “probably the hardest off-road-tweed-clad-pipe-lit-plus-four-and-headtorch-wearing run that exists”, namely the Mighty Deer Stalker night race (ratrace.com) across the icy borderlands of Scotland. Or try the Chain Runner (chain-runner.co.uk), a 10km course of intense obstacles which must be tackled while chained to: a) a loved one, b) your fitter friend, or c) a work colleague you never thought you’d bond with quite so intimately. In June, the Gauntlet Games (thegauntletgames.co.uk) in north London is an entire course modelled on Gladiators. In July, Man vs Lakes begins with a sprint-slog across the sands of Morecambe Bay before a debilitating race up into the Lake District. And in September, perhaps the toughest race of the year. We say perhaps because it’s called the Unknown (judgement-day.co.uk). We say toughest because it lasts 36 hours.
GET FIT, DO GOOD — Charity starts in the gym
If staring at yourself in a gym mirror as you lift weights feels narcissistic, make 2017 the year that you put your workout to a better cause. Good Gym (goodgym.org) combines running with volunteering. Run in a pack to work on a community project or commit to drop in on an elderly person as part of your weekly run. In return, you’ll be allocated a qualified trainer to help you reach your running goals.
LOOK THE PART — Running material
Serious runners wear bamboo. Well, sort of. Fabric made from bamboo fibres is popular with the hardcore workout pack for its natural ultraviolet protection and moisture-wicking qualities (ie, it minimises sweat). It is also antibacterial, making smelly sports kit a thing of the past. Try bambooclothing.co.uk for lightweight running tops. For your lower body, Lycra compression tights (skins.net) stimulate circulation and reduce lactic acid build-up.
KEEP UP, GLASTONBURY — Fitness festivals
In the same way some people are now raving sober, others are going to festivals for health reasons. It’s either the end of the world as we know it or a marvellous sign that society is changing for the better. Billed as “more than a global fitness festival”, Les Mills Live (lesmills.com) will be back in the UK in 2017 with its evangelical, high-intensity arena workouts. For a more relaxed experience, Exhale Festival (exhalefestival.com) offers family-friendly camping, yoga and movement workshops by day and campfires and guitar-playing by night.
IT’S ON THEM! — Free fitness classes
Several big fitness clothing brands now offer free workout sessions. Check out Lululemon (facebook.com/lululemon) for free yoga classes, Sweaty Betty (sweatybetty.com) for a range of instore workouts from boxing to Pilates, and Nike (nike.com) for weekly running clubs that leave from its stores across the country from January 10.