Gear

I have to admit that I can be quite a running geek. As a result, I have amassed a tiny collection of running essentials and not-so-essentials. With great pride I present to you: the gear closet!

Shoes

As my mileage increased, so did the need for multiple pairs of running shoes to suit the variety of training runs. My current set-up includes:

  • Saucony Kinvara 7 (green) – Lightweight daily trainer for neutral runners.
    • This was my previous 4 mm drop speedwork shoe, but I feel confident enough to use this as my half-marathon and marathon shoe during the next cycle. So good that I am contemplating naming my firstborn Kinvara ^.^
  • Saucony Kinvara 7 (orange)  – Lightweight daily trainer for neutral runners.
    • After 500 km on the green pair, the time was right to start wearing in a new pair of this beautiful shoe.
    • As long as both Kinvara pairs are intact, I can use them for everything but the pure speedwork.
  • Kalenji Kiprace – Lightweight competition shoe (“aka a racing flat”)
    • This 10 mm drop shoe  will be used for speed work and 5-10 km road races in the coming cycle. Economically priced speed monster.

Previously I have also used (from most recent to oldest):

Electronics

  • Suunto Ambit3 Run – After weeks of research, this Finnish masterpiece proved to be the training partner I was looking for. Long battery life, a wide versatility of use, the option to upload apps to the watch and a sleek design make this one of the best GPS-watches in its price range. Though the slightly more expensive Sport and Peak edition offer users the chance to go swimming with the watch as well (as it is geared towards triathletes), I am still very happy with my watch. Bonus points for no signs of wear after over a year of heavy use!
  • Lumo Body Run – I have reviewed this portable running form coach here!

Hydration Backpack

  • Osprey Rev 6 – My lovely blue tubby accompanies me on longer runs (1h30) to supply water and snacks. As my travel backpack is made by the same brand, I was happy to discover that the trampoline A very spacious backpack that serves me well
  • Kalenji Trail Backpack – I have used this backpack for the majority of my running, but after tearing the 4th replacement hydration bladder I decided to upgrade to the Osprey Rev 6. Decathlon’s customer service is exemplary though as they always offered me a chance to replace the bladder at no extra cost. If you are in the market for a hydration pack with a good price/quality ratio, I would recommend this one.

Nutrition

I have experimented with a range of gels, powders and bars the past few years. This is what works for me:

  • Squeezy Energy gel – For training runs of 20 km and over as well as races of 10 miles and over I would take one of these bad boys with water at a 30-40 minute interval. Lemon tickles my fancy.
  • Squeezy Energy bars – For training runs over 30 km and the first 25 km of a marathon I will happily chew on a third of these beauties at a 20-30 minute interval. Fruit and cola flavours are great, caffeine version keeps me up for two days straight.

Recovery tools

The stress marathon training puts on your body can be lead to never ending soreness. The following tools have helped me speed up the healing process:

  • Foam roller – I try to go through my foam rolling routine at least twice a week to prevent stiff calves and bad juju. Expect to test your core muscles a bit doing this 🙂
  • Massage Ball – To be used in tandem with the foam roller. Great for getting knots out of your muscles. Also great for testing your vocal range (it hurts).
  • Ice Baths – Get a bathtub, add ice cubes and sit in it the first half hour after long runs (+90 mins) for 10-15 mins. I use loud music and hot green tea to distract myself from the initial coldness. While there is some evidence that ice baths hamper the improvement gains, I personally feel this is justified given the rapid healing.
    • tl;dr: Take ice baths sparingly and only after the longest runs. You’ll be able to run more per week.