Wear the right gear for your Winter Running

This blog is called ‘Run Your Way’.  In actual fact, it’s for people that run my way.

What is My Way

I’m mainly a gym-goer.  I was about the weights and circuit classes, obsessed with the aesthetics.  A day comes  when you’re hit by gym boredom and you want to take part in that free pursuit called running.  Either that or you’re on your way to the grocery store on a Saturday morning (because today you’re out of croissants) and you come across a Park Run.  After almost getting knocked down you find out that this event takes place every week and it is absolutely free.   In fact, when this happened to me at the Highbury Park Run, it was during an interview with Sweatshop Running that I found out more about this great and inclusive event.

I was now eager to get into running; however, when a gym goer is ready to acknowledge the gym better than running claim, they have to understand that their body is either too stiff from all the weights or too flexible from all the yoga.  Such running converts need to accept that their bodies aren’t at all suited to this activity especially when this group will usually have a competitive streak and an inherent desire to achieve respectable times.  Hence, one still needs to follow a basic plan and increase mileage gradually as the body is adapting to running.

I have touched on subjects beyond the realm of this post, but the take-home here is that runners like me are essentially running converts, arriving from the gym, and still insistent on achieving an above average running time.

And it’s no surprise that we will be the first to hide in the gym for the cold months, getting the mileage in on the treadmill and stealing a few cheeky moments to pump a little iron.

…………….

1st Day of February and it’s time to hit the road.  The biggest headache for me is getting the kit right for my winter running;  I spent a long time figuring out what the appropriate gear was.  In a running store I was surrounded by running addicts who ran everyday and probably wore a vest and tight shorts every time they went out.  However, this southern softie needed a little more protection from the dreaded Manchester Chill.  So I experimented with different combinations before deciding on my ideal winter running wardrobe.

It's Only Cold if you're still Standing - Great winter running slogan
Love this slogan

Consider this range of gear for the colder months.  You have your main kit and then your running accessories.

Main Kit

Winter Running Kit: Top - long-sleeve base layer and poly T-shirt - Bottom - Leggings and poly shorts
Winter Running Kit

Bottoms – Jogging Pants and Shorts

Oh yes, the jogging pants.  Many are still coming to the running store looking for jogging bottoms that are more appropriately worn on B-Wing.  Today the trend is very much tight bottoms for running.  This is to create a second skin or base-layer.  The compression also helps prevent muscle vibration so can limit the next-day running soreness.  In addition it is reported that the compression also helps enhance blood circulation.

So why the shorts?  No technical reason.  If you go without them just don’t do lunges during your running warmup (not in public anyway).  Also don’t get offended if people look away when talking to you.  And the fact that most ladies do not wear shorts over the leggings is purely trend.  There should be no peer-pressure either way.

Do I wear  underwear? No, but that’s just preference.   Commando limits the layers and the chances of chaffing.

Tops – Long-sleeve base-layer and T-Shirt

Again the base-layer is very important and works a treat for providing that shield against the wind.  Those with a bit of muscle-mass will really feel the support.  The tight fitting gives a nice aerodynamic effect.

Why the T-shirt?  For the same reason as the shorts above.

Both for the shorts and T-Shirt it is important that one wears polyester or nylon and never cotton. You’ll notice that cotton clothes take forever to dry after washing.  Same logic for selecting running-gear.

Running Accessories

Winter Running accessories Hat, Snood, Gloves
Running Accessories
  1. Hat – never a beanie. A running hat is different from a beanie. Basically, it looks like a condom.
  2. Gloves – Once again we are avoiding the cotton. The Karrimor running gloves I have are great with the key pouch, and even smart-tip for when you need to get the phone out.
  3. Snood – These have become like gold-dust for some reason. You usually have to go to the ski shops or camping shops for these. The one pictured is the type that footballers like Carlos Tevez began wearing a few years back (to much mockery).  I actually have a couple of polyester/nylon ones but misplaced them (as one does).  Fleece ones like these are not what I usually recommend.

Running Jackets?

Not a fan personally.  I have one for when it is raining but you have to ensure that it tightens a lot.  If however, you run in very adverse condition you need to invest in a good quality Gore-Tex jacket (have a £150 plus budget handy).  Commuters may also need to invest in such a jacket so that they have something breathable one-way (for when they are running) and still warm when going the other (on foot or public transport).

And Long-Sleeve Running tops

I was given a nice Brooks Running Top.  My problem is that it is too thick to be a base-layer and causes me nipple-chaffing.  It also compromises your ability to layer.

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Thankfully, it didn’t take me too long retrieving the full set of gear from my wardrobe (apart from the snood) and it feels very satisfying to have completed my first winter run of 2008.  It’s nice to be able to sit here and share my ideas.  Feel free to share your ideas below.

 

 

 

Adidas Boost for Running

Adidas Boost for Running

The much coveted innovation quickly becoming the technology of choice for many runners but what it is it all about?

Let us break it down before we look at the suitability of Adidas Boost for running.

We know that a running shoe needs to have cushioning; yes there is a debate over whether using cushioned shoes are natural but that is for another day.  Now, the cushioning in a shoe needs to perform 2 roles; the first is to absorb impact in order to protect the joints, tendons and muscles and ligaments from damage.  The second role is to provide a response; that rebound effect that helps a runner transition into the next stride.  Strictly speaking no synthetic material can do this, as biomechanists will tell you, for this is the role of the human body.  In reality what good bouncy cushioning can do is limit the energy loss in order to give a runner that edge.  It just feels a lot simpler to talk about the midsole cushioning giving good ‘energy-return’.

For years the top innovators in running-tech struggled to find a material that could perform this dual role of absorbing impact and ‘returning energy’.  Instead, they experimented with incorporating different materials in a single midsole like gel in the Asics shoes and Air (or Zoom) in the Nike runners.  Then the geeks at Adidas discovered the idea of tiny plastic pellets made of ThermoPlasticUrethane (TPU) fused together to produce a chunky layer of foam soft enough to cushion those joints and springy enough to propel the runner.  It then became clear that millions were going to enjoy the pleasure of Adidas Boost for running.

A lot more can be said about the tech and endless reviews have been written on the boost running shoe.  The main question on your lips will be ‘Is it all that?’

You probably came here because you thought it was all about the Ultra Boost.  During my time in a running store I lost count of how many people just asked for the Ultra Boost in their size thinking that the shoe was the answer to their injury woes; or how many people came back to the store complaining about the discomfort being experienced in their running from these shoes.  Luckily we were at hand to explain the ins and outs of this iconic shoe.  My experience was that the Ultra Boost was not a suitable running shoe at all and only the most gifted and efficient runners could get along with them.

I found 3 common problems with the Adidas Boost for runners:

  1. Burning Sensation: many complained about a burning sensation experienced when trying to churn out their mileage wearing these runners. Ultimately, your foot will still splay inside the shoe every time you hit the ground so as your feet rub against the TPU material the sensation is going to be different, if all your life you have had shoes with the more common EVA.  Obviously, I have no studies to back this theory, it is solely based on the anecdotes that have come my way.  What I do know is that when people switch to a midsole that combines EVA with Boost, like in the Supernova, it makes for a much more comfortable ride whilst still enjoying that rebound the TPU is known for.
  2. Too narrow: there is no set measurable length at which point one can say that so and so has a wide foot. We just knew by looking at people’s feet how to define a wide foot from a narrow or normal foot. The Ultra Boost, I found to have a narrow base with the Prime Knit upper providing that 4-way stretch to help accommodate a wider than normal foot.  The problem with this is that the outer edge of a person’s foot is always going to spill over the basic silhouette of the shoe and that’s not going to feel very comfortable for the runner after a couple of miles.  A runner is bound to feel  better when the foot is kept encased within the basic outline of the shoe in my opinion.  I found that New Balance, Brooks and Saucony were the best shoes for wider feet.
  3. No Support. So support is a funny old word when it comes to running shoes.  Here I am talking about pronation when the foot turns in upon impact.  The Ultra Boost is one of the worst when it comes to protecting the runner against pronation.  And with this shoe being purchased on the back of much hype, a little like Nike Frees and Vibrams, more people are at risk from injury as they are often unaware of this role of protecting against pronation.

To conclude, I do not recommend the Adidas Ultra Boost for running but much favour the Supernova Glide although this has been replaced by the Supernova (which I don’t like as much but prefer to the Ultra Boost).  At the same time for those serious about their running the best solution is to go to a running store and test the shoes out whilst being guided by their dedicated and knowledgeable staff.

Adidas Supernova Glide, a much better option for runners

 

IASTM: get acquainted with your new tool in Running Rehab

I am what?…

Is it a blade…

Maybe a ninja star…

Perhaps a kitchen utensil…

It is actually another tool in your armoury that could help you prevent those persistent niggles.

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilisation (IASTM)

Continue reading “IASTM: get acquainted with your new tool in Running Rehab”