So…. A little about the kit I run in just in case you are interested.
The kit I have worn over the past few years has changed quite a bit. I’ll try to keep this page updated so that you know all about what I am using and wearing.
Arguably, the most important item of kit for any runner is their shoes. Over the past six years or so I have had the opportunity to try out a great many different makes and models. For a considerable period I was particularly fond of the Mizuno Wave Rider; the ’14’ designated model was prescribed to me after my first gait analysis at a running store. I switched to a pronation-controlling shoe to try and fix self-diagnosed knee issues but this didn’t help. I ended up with Brooks Ghosts and these soon became my new go-to shoe.
The opportunity to pick up a free pair of shoes from Sweatshop courtesy of parkrun gave me free-reign. From here I switched to New Balance, and I have been primarily wearing their offerings ever since. I am now on my fifth pair of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante (and v2) and they have seen me through the training and racing of four marathons in the last few years. In these shoes I have not had a single blister. Once I have used up my stock from the cupboard I am excited to move on to version 3 (unless they have moved on again by that point.)
Don’t they look beautiful?? 🙂 I have found these shoes to be very comfortable and supportive, and could not recommend them highly enough – well, providing your running style suits them of course.
For those days when I fancy a change – I also have a vast array of trail trainers so I can hit the woodland paths around my house and work. The feel of trail shoes is very different, offering little in the way of support – so I can’t run in them for too long, but I have found that trail running is more about time than distance, and it does help to improve running strength and pro-prioception, which is a good thing – especially for all the little supportive muscles in the legs and feet.
The shoes in my trail collection currently come exclusively from Salomon and include: Speedcross Pro, S-Lab Sense Ultra 4, Sense Mantra, and the X-Scream. I have, in years gone by, also enjoyed models from Brooks (Cascade) and Mammut (MTR 201 Dyneema). I am particularly keen to try the trail versions from New Balance too.
Being the item between your shoes and your feet – and often the source of blisters (alongside ill-suited shoes) – these are the second most important kit item for any runner. After a deal on offer via SportsPursuit I stocked up on a bunch of Mund running socks recently, and haven’t worn anything since; certainly when running on the road. For the trail I often head for Injinji Trail which allow you to wiggle your toes and fully embrace the proprioceptive feedback offered on the trails.
If your budget is tight then I recommend you purchase a pack of five London Socks from Start Fitness which will set you bag just £10. Bargain, and very comfortable!
I like a nice pair of calf sleeves on occasion. Compressport or Decathlon’s own brand Kalenji which can be picked up for a reasonable price, work well for me. I also have a pair of Skins A200 compression tights which I had bought to run in but found them supremely uncomfortable for that job. After a hard track session I like to pull them on and let the placebo effect wash over me and make me feel better; I think it helps. This paper certainly suggests that there is little scientific evidence that it works, but there seems to be a new report out every week, so take it all with a pinch of salt.
Regardless of the shorts, I have to have some sort of liner short on underneath. The one place I suffer chafing is the one place a guy really doesn’t want to suffer chafing; marathons can quite literally be a pain in the arse!
The briefs in a pair of shorts are never good enough for me so I have experimented with a range of different shorts, but the standout winner is the Under Armour Heat Gear shorts. Cheap to pick up, but worth their weight in gold. I wouldn’t be without them.
If money is an issue, or you are testing the water to see if running is for you, then head back to Start Fitness (where you got all your socks for a tenner) and pick up a pair or two of the Zorbo shorts. They are comfortable and cheap. The material isn’t terrific, but you aren’t paying for that.
Once you have decided that you quit like the act of putting one foot infront of the other at a pace faster than walking, then pick up some New Balance Accelerate shorts. My absolute faves!
Tops are kind of your call; any t-shirt/top combo that keeps you suitably warm, and wicks sweat away will do the trick admirably – I would not recommend running in a cotton top, but maybe that’s because I am a sweaty mess!
If you do want recommendations, then I would through a few New Balance T-Shirts in when I was on their website looking at shorts. I know, I sound like I could be sponsored by New Balance; I WISH!!
Kit to keep me moving
Not a pleasant subject, I know. But one of which I am all too aware – I already mentioned that I suffer particularly in um… the groin area. The refuge that I have found from chafing is Bodyglide. Not particularly cheap, and runs out when applying it five times a week – but I couldn’t bear the consequences; I could not recommend it more highly!!
I am not sure whether Foam Rolling prevents injury or helps to recover from it, but it seems to work for both purposes. To my mind, the best pieces of kit you can buy for this purpose are the Trigger Point Therapy Grid Roller and MB5 massage ball. A golf ball and a tennis/lacrosse ball also come in handy for truly pin-pointing a tense muscle.
So that’s it – al the kit I use for every run. I don’t take stuff with me except for a key to get back into the house. I will take my phone too, but there is not much point in recommending my phone case as I doubt many of you use a Wileyfox so that’s not really relevant. Headphones are at your discretion too, but I use a pair of TaoTronics bluetooth headphones; a great idea, but because they fit so snugly they actually cut out a lot of road noise so I wouldn’t really recommend them.
What kit do you rave about? What are your favourite shoes? Do you buy shorts with pockets in, why? and what do you carry in them?