All the gear- What do I use?

When people find out you are a runner, there are usually two things they want to talk about, why you don’t have a car (which I do by the way) and gear.

It starts with shoes and usually ends in the deep dark hole of GPS watches. I’ve been experimenting with gear for a little while now so here are my go-to’s.

But a bit of a disclaimer, go to a specialist running store for your shoes. Why are you trusting a pimply teenager in Rebel who has never run further than being late for the school bus with $200 of your hard earned money. Don’t get me wrong I love Rebel and you can often find some great bargains, but they aren’t shoe specialists. Get fitted properly unless you are keen to blow some serious cash and run your own experiments.

Runners World Magazine always have great shoe reviews or check out Melbourne’s own The Shoe Wizard.

Also (disclaimer) I’m not getting paid or receiving free gear for any of the below recommendations. Hey I’m not against it, who doesn’t like free stuff, but these are genuine recommendations and if anyone ever sends me stuff I’ll be completely transparent. Go on, send me stuff at your own risk! (Insert lol emoji here!)

Shoes:

Let’s be honest, it’s pretty much always about the shoes and the watch!

In road shoes, I’ve had two real long term relationships. One was long and deep and committed, the other was more of a flirtation with a break in the middle but we are back together now and going strong. My longest relationship was with the Mizuno Sayonara, specifically the Sayonara 2. We were together for almost five years. We supported each other, were loyal to each other and treated each other with respect. It was a beautiful shoe and we had a great time. I ran my first half marathon and first marathon in the Sayonara. I have had almost 10 pairs in different colours but then they broke my heart with the Sayonara 3. It was heart braking and never the same.

So I went back to the first shoe I ever owned, Nike. I tried on so many shoes, but nothing compared to the Sayonara 2. I spent a year going to every DFO and stoking up on all the old 2’s but it got to the point where I just couldn’t get them anymore and I had to move on. I avoided Nike to be honest. But now I am very happy with my .. and have had two pairs with no real dramas.

On the trail, I like the Saucony Peregrine 6. I’ve tried a clunky Salomon and a Mizuno but the Saucony is my fave at the moment. It’s got enough grip and space in the toe box to suit my trail running needs without being insanely heavy or clunky.

I don’t like clunky foamy shoe. I gravitate towards the minimal, low rise shoe.

Clothing
I’m a girl, I have junk in my trunk, you will never catch me running more than 5km in shorts. I’ve tried and chafed and will never go back so don’t bother telling me about shorts!

I’m a tights/leggings girl all the way. I’m not at all picky either. For longer stuff I have recently gotten into 2XU and I love my ICE tights but I really love anything with a cool print.

I also have an affinity for chafe. You name a body part, I’ve probably rubbed it red raw! I tried those Ron Hill shorts with the bike pant type things underneath and I was walking like a pirate for about a week. My tuck shop arms also tend to cop it so I favour t-shirts over singlets for long runs. I absolutely love my Kusaga t-shirt It’s never smelt and is super comfy. I did a review here.

Tech

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Oh my love of Garmin and no I didn’t get any of them for free! But hey Garmin Australia hit me up! I’ll test out your stuff! Haha

I bought my first Garmin 7 years ago when I couldn’t run more than 3 km. I was using a Nike running app which was rewarding me with cool outfits for my emoji when I reached certain milestones. It was a great way to track my running but I didn’t think I was a “real runner” until I got a Garmin. I started strong with the old Forerunner, but it was too clunky so I gave it to a “friend” (who is now my husband!) and got the girl version. I just loved it, but then my dog ate it so I stitched it onto a wrist band.

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Since then I’ve had a Forerunner, a 920XT and I currently have a Fenix 3. I’ve recently looked at upgrading to the Fenix 5X but I’m keeping my Fenix 3 and here’s why I’m sticking with it and why I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great multi sport watch.

  • It’s a smart watch, it receives all your notifications from the mobile phone
  • It syncs via bluetooth so no need for a computer to plug your watch in to get all the data
  • It works great with a heart rate strap and a foot pod. I have both and love it. I hate getting short changed on the treadmill. The food pod helps a lot with that and also any analysis you might want to do with cadence. The heart rate strap chafes like a bitch but I couldn’t do heart rate training without it.
  • I’ve always focused on the running features but it’s not just multi-sport in the sense that it doesn’t triathlon stuff it also does golf and cross country skiing among other activities.
  • It looks great as an every day watch. You can change the faces and even put your own photos on the face with the Garmin Face It app as well as changing the bands to suit your mood.
  • You can also charge it whilst wearing it but attaching it to a battery pack

Another confession, I’ve never bought from the Garmin Australia website either. It is too expensive. Check out local runner shops like The Happy Runner in Torquay, Pushy’s or Highly Tuned Athletes. They are often local small businesses, you still get the same support and warranties from the official site and can often grab a great bargain. I fully believe in supporting small when you can.

Hydration

IMG_0111To bladder or not to bladder? It’s all up the individual but like shoes, unless you want to spend a fortune experimenting, I’d head into your local adventure store, like Bogong to try them all on. Being relatively small, I’m 164cm, around 56kg and have teeny tiny boobs (what too much info again!) I’ve only ever had the two versions of the Ultimate Direction Jenny vest. I did buy another one (I don’t remember which but it had big solid bottles on the front) and I couldn’t stand them, they were just too heavy for me. I absolutely love my current vest which is the Adventure vesta. The pockets are secure, the bottles are soft and it has enough space for all the mandatory gear. For those training or looking at UTA which has a significant amount of mandatory gear, I have a small Sea to Summit dry sack which I put all my mandatory gear in ( I put it all in labelled zip lock baggies and then into the dry sack) and it fits perfectly into the back of the vest. I put my snacks, paw paw (did I mention the chafe) and my Go-Pro in the front and there is still heaps of room.
I also Nathan hand held Speed Draw for training runs. I love this because I can put my car key, a snake bandage and some snacks in the front pocket. I’m keen to try the new Ultimate Direction soft flask ones so I’ll let you know when I get one what I think.

Socks
I’m a bit biased here. I haven’t had a blister since I got injinji’s. I don’t get anything fancy, just the standard ones and for longer runs or events, I coat my feet in vasoline and slide them into the socks. Haven’t ever had a problem.

Other
There is so much other random gear, hats/caps, buffs, bras/jocks. But one thing that I truly believe in that I think everyone should know about is GlimmerGear and other high vis products. If you are running at night, I can tell you right now, drivers cannot see you- period! Avoid dark colours, stick with fluro and any type of light. I like the Glimmer Gear bands because they highlight the movement of a person which is what drivers recognise when they are driving. Otherwise you will just look like any other reflective blob (and you can’t judge distance in the dark either). I’ll post a detailed blog post including all the science of night time driving but the moral of the story is, don’t run in the dark without reflective gear and lights.

Let me know if you have any questions on gear or suggestions for things to try. I’m about to upgrade my headtorch and get some trail cheat sticks.

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