My running product review…

As I was running yesterday I had a thought run through my mind… I remembered a time when I never depended on a GPS watch or many of the things I wouldn’t leave home without now a days… Another thought I had was of the shoes I had on, and I only thought of this because they were slap worn out and I was in need of a new pair… I remember those days where I experimented with different types of shoes all the time. I would wear out one pair and aggrevate my running coach about the next type of shoe I should order. Hahahaha, thats so funny to me now. I can say now I have the experience under my belt to know which shoes are right for my running style and I remember hearing him tell me to stop buying those shoes for the looks that its not all for that. To focus on the build of the shoe only! I have people ask me to help them with their running gear all the time and basically I tell them the best thing I like and that it all comes to you through trial and error… You learn a lot from the hard knocks of running…

I compiled a list of running essentials that I currently use or have used within my training and gave them my best reviews. So here goes….

Saucony is what I am currently in love with… I brag on them all the time to my friends, because being a long distance runner I am able to put the miles on this shoe before they wear down. I was taught by my running coach to pay attention to the build of the shoe and if they are firm in the back and not flexible they are more of a long distance shoe. I learned from a hard knock or two that when the bottom of the shoes begin to wear its time to get a new pair! Suck it up and buy them because its alot easier than dealing with the time off from a stress fracture… The Saucony is a favorite of mine for many reasons, another reason is, because they are very affordable! I never pay more than $59 for my shoes. I am a single mom and this is very important to me! I do plan to check out a few other types of shoes after I qualify for Boston. I’d like to test out Mizuno running shoes because I hear a lot of good things about these shoes from my fellow running friends.

The Nike Pegasus is another shoe I wear and this is the shoe I first began running in. I love the Pegasus, they hold up well and allow me to put a good amount of distance on the shoes before wearing out. They are pretty reasonably priced also. The only difference I find in the Pegasus and my Saucony Progrid Omni 9’s is the toe box of the shoe is different. The Saucony is slightly wider and I like that. In fact on most of the Nike shoes I have tried they run somewhat narrow.

As far as the clothing I wear I have to say I like to stick strickly with my Nike and Under Armour Apparrel. When I choose my bras I like for them to be somewhat tight to me. There is nothing more uncomfortable than to be out on a run and have your girls flopping around or feeling your bra moving around like crazy. So the best brand so far I have found with bras is the Nike brand. I do wear Champion bras and alot of other off brand bras but they do not hold a flame to the Nike brand. These hold up extremely well and last for a long long time. The Under Armour bras are good too, they are my 2nd choice. The problem I have with them is the sizing is never actually right. They are either too tight or too loose. A tight bra equals a bad run.

This is the Garmin 210. I purchased this watch a few years ago and I was new to the whole GPS watch thing. I was unfamilar with how to use it and if I needed a waterproof watch or exactly what I needed. The watch worked great for me with keeping my pace and distance, but whenever I was in an extremely cold or hot and humid atmosphere it wouldn’t register anything! I think the breaking point of me buying a new one was when I was doing a half marathon in some really cold temps and it just wouldn’t pick up my pace and I ran my 1st half way too fast and began loosing it toward the end. So of course I had to blame someone for this, so I blamed the watch:)

Having said all of that about the Garmin 210, I gave it to my old running coach and began researching for another. I searched Runners World for the best GPS watch that most tri-athletes wear, and the Garmin 305 appeared. I am currently using this watch and it is awesome for me. I can wear it in the rain, cold and heat! It is a more expensive watch but its worth it, no doubt!

I believe in proper hydration throughout my longer runs. So one day I got a bright idea that the camel back would be great to wear on my 1st 20 mile long run of my marathon season. OUCH is all I can say when I think of that run. It was brutal, becausse the back pack wouldn’t stay in place on my back and rubbed a huge blister on my shoulder and not to mention didn’t hold much water at all. So this is a no no for me! I hold a regular old water bottle now when I run.

When I did my 1st marathon I didn’t wear a fuel belt I just took water at the race stops. On my 2nd marathon I wore a fuelbelt! I think it was an excelent idea. I filled 2 of the bottles up with water and the other 2 with gatorade. I didn’t need to fuel at any of the water stops until over half way so I thought it was a great idea. Not to mention it stayed on my waist and didn’t move around alot and had a great place for Gue Gels. So I have to say my fuel belt gets a thumbs up!

I remember the good ole days when I first started running. I could just throw on the shoes and go. Now I have to have some music to jam to. So here’s the lesson I learned with the music. I ran with my MP3 player for a while and one morning, while running, I was bit by a dog and my leg was bleeding really bad. My point is I didn’t have any way of calling for help. That morning, I had to hobble on back home bleeding. I now run with my Iphone and just listen to my satelite music. This is the best advice I think I can give women runners who run alone!

The wireless headphones had to be the best invention for a runner! I absolutely LOVE them. Before I ran with my Motorola 310’s I ran with regular ear buds. Well, I kept experiencing ear infections. I went to the doctor and he told me that it was related to the buds I wore when I ran and it was recommended that I change them or go without them. The go without was not an option for me so I invested in these and they are great! They synch to Iphone, Ipad, Ipod, and most any MP3 player.

I have said before that I am a fan of the Under Armour brand and when I started running I wore the Nike brand shorts like crazy. They tend to bunch up too much in the front, which can become uncomfortable very quickly. When I started running 10 years ago the Nike running shorts were not as good as they are now but the Nike brands I have pictured above just do not wear as good to me as the Under Armour brand does.

I love my headbands when I run. I have people ask me about them and wonder why I wear them to work and what not. Honestly, they are so convenient to me when I do not have the time to fix my hair after a run. The Under Armour brand headband holds to my head so well and is dry-fit. I love it and of course it looks cool:)

MY compression socks are awesome! I was introduced to them after I had an injury to my leg in Febuary and missed my marathon I had trained so hard for. I have a fellow marathon friend who told me to purchase a good pair to help with the recovery stages of the pull I had in my muscle. He recommended to me the 110% compression sleeves. I love them. They have tighter compression and also have a pocket in the side you can place ice packs in. I recommend these to every serious or recreational runner.

I’ve recently began wearing the sleeves on my arms since I live in the south (unfortunately) and its steaming hot most days and nights. I love these because they have led lights on the side of them that flash and oncoming traffic know you are out there. I recommend these to any runner on the roads at night time. Before I used an armband that caused horrible chaffing to me and when I would wear one of my shirts that was sleaveless you could see the chaffed area. These things are a must!

Pepper spray, enough said. I can tell you a scary story about pepper spray. One morning I was running and it was an early morning run like I normally did. I approached 2 dogs that I had ran past for 3 years or more but for some reason one of the dogs bit me on the back of my leg! I did not have my spray with me this morning but that dog bite was aweful! It took a good 4 months to heal from it so I highly recommend running with spray or fully loaded:)

This is a good lesson for us gals, always, always carry an extra hair tie on your arm! There is nothing more aggrevating than when you are adjusting your hair and the one in your hair pops and you are SOL because you do not have another one.

If you are a long distance runner you are aware of the gels I am about to talk about. Some are disgusting I have to say, but unfortunatley we do have to have these when we are on our feet longer than 45 minutes or so. Through testing of them I have found some with loads of caffeine in them that nauseates me when I am running. The Gue Gels are good but the 2X caffeine Gue Gels didn’t work good for me, the 1X caffiene works better for me. However, the HammerGels were fabulous! I feel in love with the taste of the banana and it kicked in extremely quick.

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