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Gear I Run With

On this page, I will be reviewing all of the different types of gear I use in my training, as well as on race day.  Below each picture that you see, there is a link to the website for each product.  Please feel free to ask me questions about these products or others.  I love talking about my gear! 


Shoes

I just got a new pair of running shoes for Christmas...Brooks Ghost 4...trying them out.  I have previously run in several pairs of the Brooks Defyance series, but I had been told they no longer make them.  Brooks sent me a message on Twitter, telling me that they do in fact still make the Defyance series.  However, since my running store had told me that they were no longer available, I had gotten the Ghost 4 and am giving them a try.  I am a neutral runner with high arches and I do wear custom made orthotics.  I also tend to run higher miles in the heart of my training (around 50 to 60 miles per week).  I will let you know how they work for me. 



Socks

I wear several different kinds of technical running socks to help wick the sweat away from my feet and prevent blisters.  However, my go-to fav's are my balega socks.  Love them! 




On longer training runs and during marathons, I also wear CEP compression socks.  They are designed for improved blood circulation, muscle and joint stabilization, improved coordination, and more energy, stamina, and performance.  I do have the pink ones shown below, and I love the way they look on race day!!  So far, I think I have seen a subtle difference in my performance, but I see more of a difference in the way I feel the day after a long run.  My legs don't usually feel quite as sore as they normally would have, had I not worn the socks.




GPS Watch
I currently run with the Garmin Forerunner 305.  I do have the heart monitor strap that goes with it.  This piece of running equipment is amazing!  It tracks a ton of your stats, like time, distance, pace, calories burned, elevation, and heart rate (if you have the heart monitor strap).  In fact, the watch is capable of doing more than I can even understand or keep up with.  I have had the watch for two years and haven't used it to its fully capability yet...not even close!




As a runner, I typically only use it for running.  However, the watch can also be used for walking, hiking, biking, etc.  I have used it a few times for other sports...biking and snowshoeing in particular.  It has the capability of being a virtual running partner/trainer, but I have not used that feature yet. 

There are many things I like about the watch that I have used.  I will list them below:

  • GPS mileage...it means I can run ANYWHERE and not have to go back out and drive the route...it also means I can do trail runs if I would like to and still be able to track my mileage.
  • Heart rate monitor...I like knowing that I am getting in better shape and if I am maximizing my training sessions
  • Lap counter...I use this the most on my treadmill
  • Average Pace monitor...I used to use the Current Pace monitor, but it was too stressful...especially if I was running under tree cover.  The average pace monitor, however, let's me keep track of how fast I am going so that I know if I need to speed up or slow down...without stressing me out for every second of the entire run
  • Back light...for running in the dark
  • Clock...helps me stay on schedule if I need to be somewhere soon
  • USB cable to hook up to your computer so that you can keep track of all of your workouts and view them to see your progress
  • History menu...I like to look back at other stats from previous runs to compare with my current run and I can do this right on the watch if I don't have easy/immediate access to my laptop.
  • You can set the screen up to show you the information you want to see while you are running.  I used to just have the time and mileage, but I finally figured out how to turn my screen into for rectangles and I picked out exactly what went in each.  I chose:  time, average pace, distance, and time of day.
  • I have my watch set to beep every time I complete 1 mile.  That really helps me mentally...especially when starting over from scratch with my fitness.
  • It has a multi-sport feature so that you can use the watch while training for or competing in a triathlon...I have not yet done this, but hope to someday, so I like having this feature on the watch.
There are only a few things I do not like about my watch:
  • It feels heavy on my wrist.
  • It is an awkward shape on my wrist, which makes it slightly uncomfortable.  I typically strap it on over my sleeve to alleviate this problem.
  • I do not have a car charger for it...do they even make one?  If I forget to charge it before leaving the house to go to a group run, I would love the ability to charge it in the car on my way there.
  • It is not always 100% accurate.  I typically try to run a tiny bit more than what the watch says.
  • I would love to have the foot pod that goes with the watch to help make it more accurate, but it is expensive...another $70.
I am only just beginning to use the watch again after a year, so I don't remember every detail about the watch.  However, as I get back into my running and use it more often, I will continue to add to this review.


Reflective Gear

Several years ago, I was running on the side of the road and a car clipped my elbow (which still hurts to this day).  And, it also happened to be my birthday that day...boohoo!  This was enough for me to realize that I needed to be much safer when running on the roads.  So now I have a small collection of bright and/or reflective gear, which I will review here.  I typically wear my bright/reflective gear whenever I run on main roads.  I can't tell you how many times drivers have crossed over the lines or swerved away from me at the last moment because they weren't paying attention.  Although pedestrians have the right-of-way, I feel that it is our responsibility to make certain that motorists can see us out there.  In other words, don't wear black at night and expect to stay safe.  Ya know what I'm saying?  If you get hit and killed or seriously injured by a car that didn't see you, it really doesn't matter that it was their fault...as far as your future running is concerned...you're either dead (translation:  NO MORE RUNNING), possibly paralyzed (translation:  NO MORE RUNNING), or you have broken bones (translation:  NO MORE RUNNING for quite a while...possibly never again).  So do what you need to to stay safe on the roads and make sure you wear clothing that is HIGHLY visible! 

Vests

I will start with my vest review because it is the most versatile reflective gear that I own.  I actually have two reflective vests.  One is the Brooks Nightlife Reflective Vest and another one.  The other one was replaced by my Brooks vest because the Brooks one is far superior to it.  The second one is also so old now that a quick scan of the Internet does not bring it up.  In any case, it was a light gray with pink on it and it really didn't help me "be seen" by motorists unless their lights were shining on me.  Hence, what I like about this Brooks Nightlife Reflective Vest is that because of the bright yellow color, I can be seen easily during the day, at dusk and dawn, or at night. The reflective material down the sides is generous and easily seen by motorists, as well.

This vest slips over your head and has Velcro straps on either side that you can adjust for the right fit.  It is very lightweight and breathable because it is mostly made of a mesh material.  Obviously, the fact that it is a vest is also key to keeping you cool while wearing it.  This vest is a great addition to my running gear, since I can wear it over any other article of clothing I decide to put on.  So, when the temps are frigid and I am wearing my winter running jacket that is thicker, I can put the vest on over it and still be seen (which is a great thing, considering I was wearing my white winter running jacket when I got hit...not too smart wearing white when it's white outside, huh?).  Since the vest is so lightweight and comfortable, I can also wear it in the warmer temps, right over my tech t-shirt or tank, as well.  I have not had any discomfort or chafing from this vest.

One slight downfall to this vest is the fit during the winter.  It is a bit snug over my winter running jacket, which, although bulky, is not nearly as bulky as a regular winter jacket.  And I am of a smaller/medium build...typically around 130-140 lbs at 5'6".  I can get it on over my winter running jacket and Velcro one side completely shut.  The other side is a very tight squeeze, and the vest feels a bit tight, but it works...and keeps me safer!

I would love it if this vest had a small zipper pocket on it, as well.  It would be great to have a place to store a key or a gel...nothing heavy or bulky, as it would probably flap up and down.  Still, a small pocket would be great.


Jackets

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