Running Gear – A few Reviews

I ran with my new Camelbak for the first time today and I loved it.  I had my water with me, I didn’t have to worry about running out, and once I got used to the sloshing (after a mile I got used to it), it was completely awesome and I couldn’t believe it took me this long to get one.  It didn’t bounce around on my back at all, and it fit me really well.  I wanted to take this opportunity to review a couple of running products that I love and/or think you should have.  I am in no way being compensated for these reviews, but I know a number of you have been getting into running lately and might appreciate some feedback.

I looked at a lot of models but I wound up with the Aurora.  I wanted something that was big enough that I could fit a couple Cliff bars or a sandwich in it, along with my phone and first aid kit.  I wanted something that I used mainly for running, but could still take on a long bike ride.

The bladder fills from right under that top pocket, which is much better than the old system where you had to pull the bladder out of the pack to fill it.  The filling system for the High Sierra pack I’ve been using for cycling is much less easy to use.  I fit two cliff bars in the top and one in the bottom with my phone, and had plenty of extra space.  It even expands to carry a light jacket, which is great when you are prone to getting really warm like me.

My sister gave me a SpiBelt for Christmas last year and it is the best thing ever.  First of all, I can put my phone in it and it just sits against the small of my back and doesn’t bounce at all – a must have for shorter runs in the city where I live, when I still like to have my phone on me.  Secondly, I got the race belt tabs and I love having a race belt.  It’s great to not have to pin numbers to your shirt and risk ruining a favorite shirt with pins, and it’s even better to not have to chafe against a number for the entire race.  If you are thinking about triathlons, you need a race belt anyway, so you might as well pick up one that is practical for daily runs as well.

If you are prone to blisters or chafing, you need to invest in Body Glide.  I bought it for wearing with dress shoes, and it made a world of difference.  When I got into running and started noticing that I was getting blisters, I started using it for running as well.  You also need to buy expensive socks.  Laugh all you want now, but trust me, you will thank me later.  If you don’t get blisters, don’t worry about it.  But if you get them, even if it’s “only on long runs”, you need to invest in some socks.  I alternate between WrightSocks (the dual layer coolmesh is the best) and a couple pairs of Asics I got as a shower gift (link is to a similar pair).  My friend E. swears by SmartWool socks and I want to pick up a pair.  If you are trail running or you are prone to sock slippage, you should go with quarter socks, if you are road running, the low socks should be fine.  You could get taller socks for winter runs, but I view the gap between my socks and my ankle as bonus ventilation.

I hope this was helpful if you are at that point in running where you want to be a little more serious about it.  If you are running shorter distances, between 3-5 miles, you probably don’t need a Camelbak, but I take my SpiBelt on all of my short runs now as well.  It’s great, especially if you are running in a new place and are afraid you might get lost.  You can also keep a $20 in it, just in case you need it and aren’t keeping one in your shoe.

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