Thursday, 9 January 2014

Gear of the year 2013

These are the products that got my seal of approval in 2013...

Ultimate Direction SJ Race Vest was the best purchase of the year.  Although I previously confessed my undying love for the Salomon S-lab, I have huge issues with the clips when my hands are cold. As my jaunts don't frequent fairer climes, this is a big problem for me.  I swithered for months about buying the UD pack. Mainly because I'd already bought the Salomon, but also because the GM had the one.  It's bad enough that we look like Mary-Kate and Ashley by default, without purposely kitting out in the same gear. Anyway, I caved and it was a great decision. 

Weighing in at a teeny 212 grams and providing 9.2 litres (it's like a tardis in there!), it's perfect for long training runs and races.  As it's so light, I don't use a bottle belt for medium-distance runs any more.  It's a really well thought out product with compartments and pockets for everything you will need on a day's run. It's doesn't bounce, rustle, rub and fits like a glove.  Even on ladies who are less blessed around the chest, like me.

LED Lenser SEO7R head torch is another gem. I'm not very technical, so I'll save myself the embarrassment and just tell you how I see it.   The beam is fantastic.  It weighs next to nothing, so I'm more likely to carry it as emergency kit on training runs.   It can be used with 3xAAA batteries, but also comes with rechargeable lithium battery pack. So, you save a fortune on expensive batteries.  Especially if you're like me and replace batteries that don't need replacing just to be on the safe side.  Plus, because it's rechargeable I use it more on runs that I probably wouldn't bother with during winter nights.   And it's only priced at around £70.  Bargain!

Montane Mountain Minimus Jacket is one my favourite bits of kit.  It's ultra lightweight and packable, so perfect for a day on the trails. I also wear it quite often on my daily running commute.  With only one base layer underneath it's perfect for winter mornings.  I feel really comfortable without overheating two miles into the run.

HOKA Rapa Nui and Kailua:  I've been a Hoka fan for a couple of years now and the Rapa Nui (trail) and Kailua (road) are my favourites. My endorsement has more credibility when I can say I bought these - and raved about them - before I became a Hoka sponsored athlete though!  I'm quite excited about trying out the new Conquest Tarmac in the spring though.

Hoka and Dirty Girl Gaiters
Drymax socks: Running in the UK, I've certainly put my Drymax through the wringer.  The range includes socks for different weather and conditions.  As previously documented I went from blister-plagued to blister free on the very wet and muddy Thames Path 100, using the Lite Mess No Show  and for warmer termperatures the Drymax Hot Weather Mini Crew are fantastic.  For really wet and cold weather the Drymax Maximum Protection Running Socks are in a league of their own.  I know, it's a wonder I have time to run at all with all the dilemmas I face before even getting out of the door!

Dirty Girl GaitersI'm a gal who likes to accessorise, so the these are right up my street. Plus, there serve a pretty good purpose and stop little nasties getting into your shoes.  Double bonus.  

Lansinoh Lanolin: This is my new must-have for feet and areas prone to chaffing. Yes, it's for breastfeeding Mother's cracked nipples, but it works a treat.  The small tube is also light enough to carry on long runs and races. This one retails around £10 (available from Boots), but supermarkets do their own cheaper version. I have used one from Asda. which is only £5. Lanolin is Lanolin after all.

Engo Blister Patches:  I used these for the first time during the Lakeland 100 and didn't have any issues with my feet. Of course, this is only one part of my foot care regime.   The Engo Patches are different in that they are applied to the inside of the shoe - not too skin.   There are proven to last over 300 miles, but mine last the duration of the Rapa Nui, which was about 500 miles.  Not cheap for what they are, but worth a look.
Pulsin Protein Bars are my new favourite training snack. They are the only junk free (and tasty) protein bars that I've came across. Made with whey and pea protein isolates, Pulsin's Maple Protein Bars contain 15 grams of protein. And certainly the only one I could find without sweeteners.   Click here for ingredients.  Plus, they're vegetarian, gluten free, no added sugar, no trans fat and non GMO.  You might be a bit dubious the first time you try one, but after that it's like a nice bar of chocolate. 

Bounce's Coconut & Macadamia Protein Balls are a little bit of heaven. I see them more of a treat, that something you have to endure for energy on a run.  Although I'm not sure I could eat them during a race, as the chewing would be an endurance event in itself. Still very tasty though. 

Accelerade Energy Gels are perfect for racing.   Personally I don't use gels or sugar for training runs, but I used these for the Lakeland 100 and Glencoe Marathon. Accelerade contain 4:1 carbohydrate and protein.  They are the only running gels on the market that protein, with 5g in each pack. There are some interesting favours such as strawberry kiwi and key lime and raspberry cream.  The chocolate and expresso flavours also contain 100mg of caffeine. 

1 comment:

Andy Cole said...

Interesting comment on the clips on the S-Lab. I had the same problem but as I'm (still just about) a rock climber I assumed my fingers ought to be strong enough and I must have a model where the clips were out of spec. Seems not. Anyway, a bit of careful work with a sharp Stanley knife will change the profile on the C-clips so that they work properly.