I was asked a while ago to write a blog reviewing the various bits of kit that I have been using on my new running adventures. I wanted to use it all for a while before I wrote about them, so I knew I was giving an honest opinion.
First of all, the most important bits of running equipment I own are my trainers.
These are my Nike+ Air Pegasus 29s. And I love them. So far I’ve run 49 miles in them and they’re showing no sign of compression let alone wear and tear. I have a neutral gait so they’re great for me, though I may need to see whether you can get supportive insoles for my right shoe as my ankle has started rocking inwards when I get tired. I’m hoping to get a pair of Nike+ Free Run 5.0 at some point in the future.
I also have a Nike+ Sportband.
This is the reason I wanted Nike+ trainers. There’s a little oval sensor that you get with the SportBand which slips into a pre-made hole under the insole of your left trainer. This senses the band and allows it to read your pace and therefore your distance. The SportBand is not the same as the FuelBand (which you can use to measure all activity and sport types). This band has no GPS or heart monitor and can only measure running. It’s going to be good on the treadmill, but I still haven’t managed to correctly calibrate it because I haven’t yet run a known distance with it. I’m planning to run tonight with Gary (him using the Nike+ app) and then sync and calibrate it to that distance. The watch will tell you pace, distance, time and length of workout. You can wear it as a digital watch too. It’s comfortable and nice and bright. To work the watch you press and hold the button until it asks you to walk. You then walk a few steps until it tells you it’s ready for you to run. Another press of the button and you’re off. I find it easier to see my pace on this than if I’m using my phone because the screen is easier to see.
Recently, however, I have been mostly using the Nike+ App. I found that TuneBelt do an armband for the iPhone 5 and so was able to start running with my phone. The armband is great. Made of neoprene and has a little velcro section on the side to wrap your excess headphone wire on. The app itself uses GPS and maps out your run. You can use it with your existing Nike account so I can use both the app and my SportBand to add Nike Fuel to my account. You can sync it to Facebook and when someone ‘likes’ your run you hear a cheer through your headphones – that can be kind of motivating! You can also set Power Songs for when you’re flagging. I like that you can choose a basic run, speed run or a distance run. When you choose distance run you get audible prompts and motivation as you run. It’s not always reliable – I ran a marked 5k recently and my app only measured 2.9 miles. Kind of annoying. You can only calibrate the app if the GPS has been lost at some point during the run.
I like the Nike community and the website is really great – gives you loads of facts and figures on yourself and others like you. You can set goals on the website and they will sync to your app. You earn trophies too!
So that’s shoes and my run monitors. I seem to have become an Adidas only kit girl too – all my clothing is Adidas and it mostly matches. What can I say? I like to look good!
When I’m running with my SportBand, I’ll use my iPod to listen to music. My iPhone 5 headphones have given me no problems whilst running but I don’t have and armband for it. I also need to carry lipbalm, tissues and sometimes a house key with me. So it’s time to tell you about my Spibelt.
This bad boy looks like it wouldn’t hold a thing but it expands to fit my iPod or iPhone, lipbalm, key, tissue and would probably hold some gels in it too. It’s not massive but it doesn’t need to be. I wear it backward (pocket on my lower back). The strap is stretchy but tight and it doesn’t bounce when I run. I fact I forget I’m wearing it. There isn’t a hole for headphones to come out but I just make sure I put my iPod in the relevant way around and leave it unzipped the tiniest bit so the cable can come out. You can buy pretty colours and patterns but I figured black goes with everything, and also Gary can borrow it if he wants without it making him feel like a girl!
My last bit of kit – but by no means least – is my Mueller Knee Strap.
This beauty is the reason I’m still running. After pushing it too hard too soon I realised I had an issue where my knee cap was rubbing on the bone below it giving me terrible scraping pains after my runs. I was living on painkillers for a week and the pain wasn’t subsiding. I did a little self-diagnosis and realised I was suffering with runner’s knee. When I saw this product on Amazon and read the reviews I was hoping it would be as miraculous as others had found it. I bought a yellow one – who knows why, and strapped it on. I now run with zero pain. It’s amazing. The strap has a hard but flexible tube inside and sits just below the knee cap. It prevents the patella from lowering when I run and therefore there’s no rubbing. Sorted!
As well as these bits of kit I have discovered the wonders of coconut water after a run. I loved the stuff anyway, but it’s amazing to glug after a long run. I’m also still on the search for the perfect running bottle – suggestions anyone?
So that’s what I’ve been using lately. As I get more into running I may find better things, but these suit me for now!