This post contains products that were sent to me care of the brand Helly Hansen. All news, views & reviews are my own.
I always have a little chuckle when fitness/sports/outdoors brands get in touch and want to work with me. I have to stop myself from saying
'ME? Have you seen the number of wine bottles in my recycling bin?!"
Nevertheless, Helly Hansen sent me a very lovely email back in December about a couple of things, and well, it's been fun.
Firstly, I received a super generous package to make sure I didn't freeze to death whilst moving about at my own personal (read: snail) pace which wasn't as much a worry in central London in December as it has been in rural Cambridgeshire in January!
As a Helly Hansen virgin, I was really relieved that after telling the ladies what my usual size was (honestly rather than giving them the size up for fear of something not fitting) that both the top and the tights do fit. The tights are perfection, which is interesting because my bottom half can be challenging, the top is a bit more snug than I usually choose- but then for warmth I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be tight-ish. If it were a few centimetres longer, it would be amazing as it does ride up a tiny bit and I can only wear it with a higher waist pair of tights (fortunately the above come up high enough!).
In hindsight, trying them on after eating my body weight in cheese at New Year wasn't so good for self esteem...
The tights feel a bit peculiar at first as the thighs and the calves have a stiff fabric that protects from the wind- as put to the test both on my bike and in the chill breeze coming across the fenlands. The inner is a super warm brushed fabric. The zips at the back keep everything snug and the side pocket is great for holding keys or a few coins for a sneaky post run coffee. My only slight niggle is that if the pocket were a fraction bigger, then it would hold my phone which I use for music and to track my run. They're super snug and warm, launder easily
The top as mentioned would be amazing if it were a little longer- just a couple, maybe 3cm and it would be amazing if the sleeves were a little longer with thumb loops- but that's probably more my personal preference than anything else. The colour wouldn't necessarily have been my first choice but in hindsight is an advantage- you're certainly not going to miss it in the half light, helped by reflective details on the half zip and the back. It feels super light weight but kept the wind out with it's short collar, and with a half zip it's easy to control ventilation, not forgetting the inserts in the back and underarms. Not being sticky/sweaty OR cold on return from a January run is probably the most telling of all- temperature control, CHECK!
To try and keep us all inspired, motivated and out there being good little active beings Helly Hansen launched a Winter Duel app (available from the iTunes store and from the GooglePlay store) to enable you to challenge everyone from your best mate to a professional athlete or a Helly Hansen brand ambassador to run a bit further, a bit more, or a bit harder over a 5 week period.
Trainers, Nike - Tights, c/o Helly Hansen - Hoody, c/o Mountain Warehouse
Now, I'm NOT a natural runner. I've tried it several times and even got to a passable level when training for forces selection, but it doesn't make me happy- that's what my bike is for. So I'm not really sure what it is that made me say yes to Helly Hansen when they asked if I wanted to review some of their winter training gear and give the app a go. I warned them that I'm strictly in the beginner category (I'm currently doing a C25K program) but I suspect it's the competitive element that has struck a chord- helped by the fact that I'm winning this week....
I usually leave being super competitive to my dad as watching him lose a game of Jenga is highly entertaining, but actually T bring out the competition in me and I like the Helly Hansen concept of channeling it. T & I sometimes race home from work as our routes converge about 1/3 of the way home and sometimes a challenge is what I need to get a buzz from something that I wouldn't normally enjoy- running is definitely one of those things.
It's been super interesting to put Helly Hansen kit through it's paces as an amateur this last month or so, mostly because the logo is familiar to me after years and years in the Lake District but I had no idea they did training gear. It's technical- and it works. Their kit is warm, dry, does what it says and is comfortable. So given today I came home from a session with the amazing director of design for Helly Hansen with a HUGE bag full of more kit to put to the test, it's all pretty exciting.
Stick about for a part 2- Mija, the director of design was really interesting and had lots to say about a brand that's over 100 years old and some of the kit coming over the next year is mind blowing (um.... basically glow in the dark anyone?!)