Flanci Skort Review

So I have been wanting a running skort for a while but don’t like just buying things for the sake of it and had a perfectly decently pair of running shorts… however, that doesn’t stop me looking 😜 I found it hard to find many running skorts and I have to say that most of what I did see weren’t very inspiring (or were more than I would want to pay!). And then I stumbled upon Flanci while searching for ‘colourful running skorts’ in Google and I immediately fell in love with their colourful and fun designs. I kept going back to have a little look!

I have been trying to increase my running distances but must admit the next step to a 50 mile run felt somewhat daunting (we won’t mention the 100 mile race I am signed up to later this year!) so I decided a little incentive was in order – if I completed my 50 mile run I would treat myself to a Flanci Skort.

So at the beginning of April I plotted my route (a 50 mile loop from home including Dunning, Loch Leven and Glenfarg), collected all my kit together and planned my food and hydration (everything had to be carried!). I set off aware I was feeling a bit defeatist about the run but stubborn enough to get out and go anyway. I have to say it was hard, I struggled most of the way with talking myself out of it, that I couldn’t do it and I wasn’t ready. I was unsure what pace to run at and my legs hurt! At about 38 miles I sent Iain a message saying I was struggling, hoping he would come and rescue me! He was very encouraging and told me I could do it and to have some food/drink and walk a bit (but no offer of that car ride home). So I had a little sit in a convenient bus shelter and gave myself a little talking to and walk/ran the rest of the way. 50 miles completed in 11 hrs 5 min. Not fast but reasonable for me and a first attempt. And I had earnt my skort 😃.

And then I had the tricky decision of which pattern to choose. With so many great designs it was really hard to decide on the right one. The whole family got involved, but all had different favourites! In the end I went for the orange ‘trailblazer’ flames design – picked for its bright fun colours and nice undershorts (and its name!). I then struggled with knowing what size to get. I have changed shape a lot over the last year with increased exercise and am now very much between a size 10 and 12 in clothing, with a 30” waist. Flanci do have a very good size guide which I used – I came out very much between a small and medium but at the bottom it suggests that if you are between sizes to get the bigger size, so I went for the medium.

The website is nice and easy to use and my new skort arrived without delay. Initial impressions were good – it looked as good as it did on the website and is well made with a super thigh pocket in the shorts and zip pocket on the back. My only slight negative was with its weight – it is quite a sturdy fabric so with the extra skirt layer was heavier than I expected!

On trying the skort on I found it on the looser side of comfortable but I was too impatient to send it back and swap for the smaller size! The length of the shorts is great – 7.5” inside leg so a longer leg short which I prefer. The outer skirt allows just the smallest amount of the undershort to be visible. The thigh pocket was the perfect size for my phone and the zip pocket on the back is ideal for gels, snacks, keys etc. It also has a long drawstring on the waist which did make the skort feel more secure when I used it.

I have now used the skort on numerous runs of varying length (4 miles to 26 miles) and terrain and varied weather conditions. Overall there is still lots I love about this skort but I do have a few niggles and one bigger downside. The skort is comfortable to run in but I do think I should have got the smaller size. I do not agree with the comment on the sizing guide to get in the bigger size if between sizes – I would suggest going with the smaller size as there is plenty of stretch in the fabric. However I stuck with the medium and because of this I do find the legs are on the looser side (however this hasn’t caused any chafing even on longer distances). The drawstring is useful in making the skort feel more secure but is a major pain on those longer runs when a wee stop is required! Again if I had gone for the smaller size I don’t think I would need to use the drawstring at all. Also because of the looser fit I do find the legs ride up slightly (but again I only think this is a problem because I went for the larger size). If I bought another skort I would definitely get the smaller size but saying that I am quite happily running in the medium with a looser fit!

I absolutely love the thigh pocket for carrying my phone. It is secure, comfortable and easy to access – all running bottoms should have one! The back pocket is useful for keys or a gel and has plenty of space (haven’t tried my phone in it as I love the thigh pocket so much!)

And so to my big negative – it is not good in the rain 😭 I was caught in a downpour just after half way on my last marathon run. The skort got soaked, became heavy and stuck to my legs. This wouldn’t have been too bad if it had dried quickly but it didn’t! The shorts and skirt section were still wet when I got home and it was not pleasant! I have had many wet runs in shorts and tights and never had such a horrible feeling of heavy wet fabric around my legs. How it compares to other skorts I don’t know. It may just be the extra layer of fabric that is the problem but I expect it is partly because the fabric is a heavy weight fabric. For me this now means I won’t me able to use the skort for any of my ultras races where there is a chance of rain in the forecast. I am gutted about this as it looks so good.

Overall, I think this skort looks great but the performance in rain would put me off getting another. I would however try the shorts and maybe even legging (they do a tall option) as I love the colours and patterns. They can’t help but make you smile. If you are looking for new running clothes and like bright colours Flanci is well worth a look.

Happy running everyone!

My running story: Iain

I wasn’t always a runner. My main sport as a teenager and student was kayaking – both whitewater and slalom. Edinburgh University Canoe Club was actually where Julie and I originally met! However, through my late 20s I gradually drifted away from paddling and by the time I turned thirty I was fighting the ‘battle of the bulge’ against good home cooking and a mostly sedentary lifestyle, commuting an hour each way in the car to work in Edinburgh, while being convinced that I was still young, fit and healthy! One night in early 2014 I got a wake-up call… Our dog got out and I ended up running about a mile until she was eventually cornered and apprehended. I wheezed my way home, woke up the next day with a chest infection and spent a week in bed on steroids and antibiotics – and decided I really needed to do some serious exercise again!

Getting in to running: zero to half-marathon

I needed something that would fit in to the daily routine, so I packed some shorts, an old cotton singlet and a pair of trainers and went out in my lunch hour for a couple of laps of the King’s Buildings campus in Edinburgh. Next day I could barely get down the stairs! I managed to stick it out and by the summer was stretching my distance enough to enter the monthly work handicap “KB Dash” 4.1 mile race. It’s a great event – really friendly bunch of people and as a handicap caters for everyone from plodders to bone-fide superstars. Over the next 3 years I gradually improved my times from 32:55 mins down to 26:26. I also entered a series of local off-road winter duathlon (MTB + run) races, which were great fun, despite (or perhaps because of) the snow! In April 2016 I ran my first ‘proper running’ race – the 10 mile Great Edinburgh Run. It was a freezing cold day, especially for Julie and the kids who came along to watch, but I remember really enjoying getting to run around the city centre of Edinburgh on closed roads, suffering through the 8-9 mile mark around Duddingston, but still having a little bit left for a fast(ish) finish. I’d even discovered a bit of runner’s tech, and recorded the race on my phone. I think I was originally using MapMyRun, but I’ve since switched over to Strava:

By this time the bug had well and truly bitten – I think my not-so-hidden inner competitive side had realised that running wasn’t just to get and stay fit, but I could actually be competitive (at least with myself). I ran several more races, setting a 42:09 10k and 1:36:00 half-marathon times – the time for the half I still haven’t improved upon!. Don’t let it ever be said that you need lots of expensive gear to run in – at this point I was running in a pair of Slazenger tennis shoes, cotton socks and shorts 😮

Next steps: first ultra distance!

Quite early on in my running journey I’d realised I preferred running off-road and up hills much more than running on roads. I’d always enjoyed walking in mountains, and I think something about going a bit off the (literally) beaten track appeals to me. I ran several local trail races and at some point I started to find out about ultra-running. Then for no apparent reason decided to skip the marathon and just go straight to running hilly trail ultras… As things turned out, my first ‘Ultra’ turned out to be only 25.5 miles, and my second – the awesome Lakes Mountain 42 – was cut short due to extreme snowy weather, but ended up just over the marathon distance, at least according to my GP! I did eventually finish a couple of genuine, complete ultra races in 2018 – the Keswick Mountain Festival 50k (part 1 and part 2) and the Warrington Way 40 miler – so I was officially now an ultra-runner, without ever completing a marathon.

It would be impossible to talk about this period of my running story without a mention of Run Sandymoor. For the couple of years that we lived in Runcorn, I was a member of the club. Whether you’re just starting out with a couch-to-5k programme, love Parkrun, or want to push your abilities with the weekly “Killer Hills” or the annual Warrington Way and Sandstone Trail ultra races you’ll not find a better bunch of people to go running with!

Pushing the distance: 100 miles

In 2019, I set out with the goal of pushing my distance further and completing a 100 mile race. With that in mind I entered a series of increasingly longer distances, starting with The Fellsman (61 miles) in April, The High Life (80 miles) in July and culminating with the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Race 130 miler in August. I really enjoyed the Fellsman, despite some pretty grim weather for the first half of the race – it was the first time I had run through into the night, finishing around 1.15am, and ended up grouped with a great gang of four other runners. The High Life went really well and to my surprise I ended up winning! Perhaps starting with a bit of overconfidence I ended up with a hard reality check at LLCR. Went out too fast (especially given the hot August conditions), started to struggle from 40 miles in, eventually hobbled my final 10 miles and registered my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish). On the positive side, I did make it past the 100 mile mark (just!).

One final race at the end of 2019 that deserves a mention was “The Drop” – two days after Christmas. I really love races which have a navigation element, in this case the race involved being driven blindfold to an unknown location 30 miles from the finish and being left to make your own way back – no GPS allowed! Apart from a couple of mile detour near the start, I managed a fairly direct route and finished first overall. A great end to a good year… the less said about 2020 the better!

Running Together

As well as my own races, as Julie started getting in to running we arranged to run a few races together. So far this has meant me “pacing” her, but as we have done longer and longer races her endurance really starts to kick in, so when we eventually run a hundred miler together – it may be the other way around! The highlight so far was the Edinburgh Marathon 2019. Not only did we arrange a child-free weekend, we stayed at the Peebles Hydro hotel before and after the race so had a swimming pool and sauna to relax in. I promised Julie that if we could finish the race in under 5 hours I would pay for a hot stone massage at the spa. While we were touch-and-go for a bit around miles 17-18, we managed to pull through and had an emotional finish together in 4:53:41. Running together definitely makes the race experience that little bit more special!

Goals for 2021

With racing (and running anywhere further afield than the local area) out of the question for most of 2020, I’m looking forward to what 2021 has in store. Although my first race of the year (Ultra Scotland 100) ended up being cancelled at the last minute, we’ve got quite a few events booked up already. At the end of May we’ll be running the Northumberland Ultra together, and the following week have a family weekend of camping and running at the Blair Atholl Trail Weekender. Another event that was postponed from last year will be the OMM in October – 2 days together of navigation and camping out in the wilds of Argyll. I’m also looking forward to crewing Julie through her first 100k and 100 mile races! Finally, I’ve got unfinished (literally) business at the LLCR130 – hopefully I can learn the lessons from 2019 and complete the whole distance.

My running story: Julie

Hi, I am Julie, I’m 42, wife of Iain and stay at home mum of 4 wonderful children. I have been running on and off for the last 6 years, and seriously since March last year. I still find it hard to believe I am a runner having spent most of my life believing I couldn’t run! It has taken me a long time (since school days!) to realise running doesn’t have to be about competition with others but it is about challenging yourself, about doing something that is good for you physically and mentally. It can be getting out and run-walking, running your first 5k or pushing for an ultra distance. It is about taking one step at a time, embracing the journey and seeing where it goes. Everyone’s journey is unique and individual to them but we can encourage each other along the way, with Miles Together with partners, friends, family and even strangers we meet on race day. Each mile together leaves a small mark on our individual journeys – how special is that?

I ran my first 5k race in 2016. I started running because Iain ran and I wanted something that we could do together. But I struggled to run regularly and still didn’t really believe I was a runner. I ran different races on and off and then when I was contemplating turning 40 I decided to challenge myself. Iain and I signed up for the EMF 2019 marathon (Iain was already running ultra distances). It was really special that we could run together. It would have been a lot harder and been much less fun without his company and support. In the run up I ran my first half marathon on my 40th birthday and then finished the EMF 2019 marathon in just under 5 hrs, I hadn’t trained enough and it was seriously hard! After that I only ran once or twice over the next 9 months.

In February 2020 I started getting out running again and this time it was different. I haven’t just been running for the races I have been enjoying getting out and just running, exploring new places, and seeing so many benefits. I have done a couple of run streaks during lock downs, built up to running 35 miles on my 42nd birthday and 50 miles at Easter. I mainly run on country roads if I can, but am trying to build my confidence on trails (I enjoy trails but worry about getting lost!). I love the space running gives me, the physical and mental challenge. I love running with Iain when we can, but I also love running alone! And this year has new challenges ahead including a 36mile race running with Iain and then 100k and 100 mile races that Iain is going to crew me.

We encourage the children to run for fun. During lockdown we had a great time running ‘garden miles’ as a family. The primary school run daily mile several times a week and we managed to continue this during the last lockdown for just over 26 week days. The kids were really pleased to have run their marathon.

However you run and whenever you run it’s great to be able to fit in Miles Together, to encourage each other and challenge ourselves. Happy running everyone 😀

Welcome!

Welcome to Miles Together! We’re Julie and Iain Bethune from Bridge of Earn in central Scotland and we love to run. Right on our doorstep there are loads of country roads, trails and hills just waiting to be explored. You’ll find us out and about most days – check out our Strava Club to see where we’ve been recently.

Running can often be a solitary pursuit and most of the time the demands of work and family mean we’re running solo too. However, most weeks we manage to make time for a run together – and it’s totally worth it! Having a partner along with you on your running journey (literally as well as metaphorically) has so much going for it. It’s a great time to talk, share time in the great outdoors, encourage each other to reach your goals, and explore new places.

Over the coming weeks and months we’ll be sharing our running stories, race reports, goals and favourite routes as we keep you updated on what we’ve been up to. We might even throw in some thoughts on our favourite running gear and training tips. It will be a ‘warts and all’ view of the highs and lows of running with your significant other – hopefully more highs than lows 🤞

Whether you prefer to pound the pavements alone, run with a club, or already have a partner or friend(s) you run with we hope this blog will inspire you lace up your shoes, join us and get out there to log some Miles Together!