Archive for the ‘Running Equipment’ Category

GPS Running Watch – A Watch Fit For The Run

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Exercise has proven to be beneficial not only to one’s physical fitness but also to one’s emotional and mental fitness. Thus, people who engage themselves in exercise carry more edge than those who do not engage themselves in such activity. The advantages that it can offer is way beyond just physical for it also has positive effects on our emotional and mental well-being.

Running, along with other forms of exercise, certainly gives each individual the advantages he/she needs that will enable him/her to live a healthy life. Along with living a healthy life, of course, would be the capacity for each individual to reach its greatest potential which would eventually cause him/her to achieve the goals that he/she set.

To really see their progress, most runners jot down their statistics from time to time during each run and later analyze them at home. This is a great thing to do. However, there is a much more convenient way in trying to monitor your development through the use of a GPS Running Watch. With its GPS technology, this device is so dependable and takes away all the hassle that you have from jotting statistics from time to time. It is there to get you focused on your thing while it does the recording and analyzing of data so all you have to do is to focus and enjoy the run.

Garmin Forerunner 610I personally run with a Garmin Forerunner 610 and find it is a great addition to the running equipment. The readout that I find most useful is my pace per kilometre read out. In training I get an immediate idea of my fitness levels just through being able to see the pace I can comfortably run along known routes.

The pace per kilometre feature comes into its own during races too. I have found that I am able to judge how my race is progressing by figuring out the pace that I will have to run for the remainder of the course when the race is partway completed. In a recent half marathon I was able to run the second half of the race safe in the knowledge that I was easily on track to beat my goal time of sub-90 minutes.

Aside from Timex, Sigma, and Garmin watches, there are a number of other companies that manufacture this device that also continue to produce them with more sophistication with each model. Runners, athletes, and people who are part of the sports and training industries are the very people who can use this device with its great advantages. The watch that I have chosen to wear is the Garmin Forerunner and the latest model is the 610 which provides me with all of the fancy features that make it easy to download to the computer and recall at the touch of the screen or a button. I may squeeze out a review of this particular watch sometime in the future when I have a better handle on how it performs.

To better match with the needs of everyone who enjoys staying fit and healthy through running, manufacturers have also come up with gender-specific types of this device. The convenience that it offers to every runner is just enormous. This is truly a must-have for every runner who wants to be the best.

FuelBelt Helium 4 Bottle Belt

Friday, January 20th, 2012

One of the earliest designers of quality hydration belts is FuelBelt and it offers the runner and the triathlete a high quality product. The FuelBelt Helium 4 Bottle Belt consists of four 8oz bottles that are positioned at easy to reach places around the waist.

The FuelBelt Helium has been widely used by some of the top Ironman Triathletes around the world providing a pretty good indicator about its quality in some of the most trying of conditions. If high level competitors are prepared to use the belt during important competitions it is very likely that the amateur like me is going to find it useful.

It has been shown in studies that consuming around 300 to 350 calories per hour while performing continuous exercise will help the athlete’s endurance and intensity. Having immediate access to carbohydrates and electrolyte drinks is important in maximising your training efforts as well as minimising the possibility of running out of fuel.

The review below joins my other reviews as I continue to consider which hydration belt I should buy.

Belt Features

  • Control-stretch waistband with wider Velcro closure means a secure and custom fit
  • Choice of 5 colors
  • Four 8oz bottles are ergonomic, leakproof, dishwasher safe and made of recyclable BPA-free LDPE (No.4) plastic
  • Breathable therma-foam keeps you cool when things heat up
  • Each Helium belt comes with a removable race pocket, perfect for salt tabs, gels, keys or cash
  • Four sizes: Small (27-29”); Medium (30-32”); Large – (33-35”); X Large (36-38”)

Buy A FuelBelt 4 Bottle Belt Here

Click for pricing and buying details

 

Bigger Range of Sizes

One of the first things I noticed about the FuelBelt when compared to both the Nathan and Amphipod belts is that they are available in a wider range of sizes. This might be because the belt is not quite as adjustable as the other two but it certainly means that you should be very careful in choosing the one you want to buy or else risk ending up with one that doesn’t fit. This appears to be at the core of a few complaints about the FuelBelt with the lack of adjustability coming into issue.

The sizes that they are available in are Small (27-29”); Medium (30-32”); Large – (33-35”); X Large (36-38”).

Bottles and Positions

The molded shape of the drink bottles have been slightly bent in order to allow them to sit low in the holders. It also means that they will be easy to grab while running and should then snap quickly back into place when you’ve had your drink.

There have been some reports by some runners that the position of the bottles interferes with the swinging arms that form part of the natural running motion. Although every running style is different it is a little concerning that there is a chance that contact can be made.

There is no option to change the position of the bottles on this belt. The holders are fixed in place on the belt. The option you do have is in the position that you wear the belt – either low around the hips or higher on the waist. This, too, can cause problems because it appears that the belt tends to ride up if it is placed around the hips until it has reached the waist making it prone to jiggling about.

Flask Holders

As mentioned earlier, the bottles are positioned around the body with two at the front and the other two in the back. They are made from lightweight recyclable plastic and can be sealed tightly to avoid leakage on the run. The positions are not as easily accessed as one might hope and it is invariably necessary to use two hands to get the bottles back into their holders.

Belt Material

The belt itself is made from a breathable therma-foam that prevents the area from heating up too much. The waistband provides a small amount of stretch giving you some measure of being able to custom fit it within a small range and the closure is a wide Velcro seal that makes it secure once it has been closed.

Storage

The amount of storage space is one area where the Helium 4 tends to fall down a little when compared to other fuel belts. Although it comes with a removable zipped pouch, the pouch is particularly small making it difficult to store some of the items that some people might find essential such as a cell phone.

Also, apart from the water bottle storage, the pouch is the only opportunity for additional storage meaning that everything extra that you want to carry will have to be placed in the same space. This means keys, money and MP3 player will have to share room with chews, gels, pills or lollies needed for refuelling.

Other FuelBelt Models

There are a number of different styles and configurations of FuelBelt Bottle Belts for those who are looking for slightly more or slightly less hydration storage.

FuelBelt Revenge 2 Bottle Belt – 2 x 7oz Bottles
FuelBelt Revenge 4 Bottle Belt – 4 x 7oz Bottles
FuelBelt Revenge R30 – 3 x 7oz Bottles
FuelBelt Terminator 6 Bottle Belt – 6 x 8oz Bottles

You might also like to read the review of the Amphipod RunLite 4 Hydration Belt or the review of the Nathan Speed 4R Waist Pack.

Nathan Speed 4R Waist Pack

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Training for longer distances has always been made a little difficult because of the problem of dehydrating during the run. This used to mean plotting a course that would take me past water fountains or locations where water was easy to access. Carrying my own water supply was not really an option because it would have to be done by hand with no comfortable or easy to use method of holding the bottle.

The introduction of the Nathan Speed Waist Packs have changed all of that with a range of different belt sizes as well as a variety of bottle numbers that may be carried. Training over longer distances, the use of the Nathan Speed 4R Waist Pack is ideal because it allows four 8oz drink bottles to be carried in comfort. There is also a zippered pocket that provides added storage for gels, chomps or personal items.

It has been shown in studies that consuming around 300 to 350 calories per hour while performing continuous exercise will help the athlete’s endurance and intensity. Having immediate access to carbohydrates and electrolyte drinks is important in maximising your training efforts as well as minimising the possibility of running out of fuel.

Belt Features

  • Streamlined (to reduce weight) Molded Holsters for quick, one-handed Flask access
  • Four 8 oz. (235 mL) Nutrition Flasks; two with Race Cap
  • Race Cap with high-flow, one-way valve opens and closes automatically and offers a quick shot of fluid
  • Dimensional Power Stretch Mesh pocket expands to hold items snugly in place
  • Zippered Power Stretch Mesh front pocket for small essentials
  • Interior flat pocket
  • Waterproof pocket
  • Identity card / emergency card holder
  • Canted, limited-stretch elasticized Velcro-fastened waist belt
  • Airmesh moisture-wicking backing
  • Silicone grips inside holsters prevent Flasks from popping out
  • Reflective detail
  • Three sizes: Large – 36-42”; Medium – 32-36”; Small – 26-32”

Buy A Nathan Speed 4R Waist Pack Here

Click for pricing and buying details

 

Common complaints about various types of hydration belts or waist packs include their tendency to move and bounce around when running leading to chafing or to the belt slipping from the hips up to the waist. Runners have also complained that the positioning of the flasks interfere with the natural swing of the arms as part of the running motion. The Nathan Speed 4R Waist Pack deals with both of these problems.

The Waist Pack Stays Put

Thanks to the elastic waist band and Velcro closure the belt can be easily adjusted to the size that you need and when you place it around your hips and tighten it, it stays in place throughout the run. This is key for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, if the belt starts to move during the run, the place it will move to is the waist and this means the pack will start to bounce around. Not only will it feel uncomfortable with water sloshing around but it will start to chafe and become even more uncomfortable.

Secondly, and I don’t know if others are the same, but when I’m running with some kind of pressure around my waist I find it very difficult to breathe. A hydration waist pack that has slipped up and around my waist would virtually stop me in my tracks as I gasp for breath.

Finally, if the belt moves you are going to become distracted as you fiddle around trying to get it to a more comfortable position again and this will simply ruin the run. You don’t want to be worrying about your equipment for the majority of the run as it moves from place to place around your body.

Flasks and Positions

One of the key features of the Nathan Speed Waist Packs is the construction of the flasks. They are not shaped like a regular water bottle with vertical sides leading to the drinking spout. Instead, they have been bent, or canted, at an angle so that the spouts point away from the body. The reason for this is to ensure they do not interfere with the swinging arms of the runner.

There is nothing worse than continually flicking solid objects with your arms as you are running along and it would rapidly move from annoying to downright painful should it happen on a regular basis. The shapes of the flasks ensure they sit down low to the tops of the holsters and stay clear of the arms.

Another thing to note about these flasks is that there have been no reports of the bottles leaking while running. This has been a problem that was reported with bottles from other brands but the Nathan flasks are reliable in their seals. Two of the flasks with the 4R Waist Pack have Race Caps which means the flow is greater giving you faster access to the contents.

Flask Holders

The flask holders are positioned at the four “corners” of the body and provide you with easy access to the flasks. They are made from a flexible molded plastic and allow the flasks to slip in and out so that you only need to grab them one-handed. The holders are also lined with silicon grips to stop the flasks from jiggling about and falling out when they are empty.

Breathable Material

I’m sure we’ve all used products that appear to be quite sound when we’ve bought them only to find that when wearing them during a run they don’t allow sufficient airflow and become extremely uncomfortable. The mesh at the back of the belt promotes moisture wicking to draw the sweat away from the body to prevent chafing.

The material used for the Nathan Speed Waist Packs is breathable and so it remains comfortable throughout the entire run. Sure, it will become sodden just like the rest of your clothes as you progress into the second and even the third hours of your run but it will still feel comfortable around your hips or waist.

Storage

These belts are more than simply a way of carrying your fluids with you. The pockets can be used for other nutritional items such as gels, chews and bars. There are a number of different types of pockets too. The larger external pocket sits at the front and can be accessed on the run if you need an energy gel or a chew. This is also a great place to store your keys, MP3 player or phone if you like to carry those items.

Carrying some form of identification is recommended for all runners, particularly those who run alone and who are training over long distances. Should an accident happen or the runner finds themselves requiring medical assistance, carrying identification or a medical card could prove to be vital. There is a holder for these details to be kept safe and available if needed.

Some people like to take tablets with them on their runs too. Things such as salt tablets must be kept dry or else they will simply disintegrate and so the waterproof pocket is very useful for holding these pills.

Other Nathan Waist Packs

There are a number of different styles and configurations of Nathan Waist Packs for those who are looking for slightly more or slightly less hydration storage.

Nathan Speed 2 Waist Pack with 2 x 10oz Flasks
Nathan Speed 4 Waist Pack with 4 x 10oz Flasks
Nathan Speed 2R Auto-Cant Waist Pack with 2 x 8oz Flasks
Nathan Hydration Trail Mix Hydration Belt

You might also like to read the review of the Amphipod RunLite 4 Hydration Belt.

Amphipod RunLite 4 Hydration Belt

Monday, January 16th, 2012

Providing your own supply of water or electrolytes is a very important part of training for a marathon or other long distances. One of the leading products that allow you the luxury of carrying water bottles and other nutrition items is the Amphipod RunLite Hydration Belt.

The Amphipod RunLite Hydration Belt offers the runner a number of huge reasons why you should choose this belt ahead of some of the others. For the marathon and half-marathon runner who is putting in significant mileage each run the RunLite 4 Hydration Belt will provide the ideal amount of fluid and will do so with a comfortable and customizable way.

Belt Features At A Glance

• SnapFlasks™ “click” in and out with one hand
• 100% leak-free 8 oz. bottles (4) with hi-flow spout
• Fix bottles anywhere on belt for optimized comfort and access
• Bounce-free, 360º stretch-limiter belt
• User moveable Rapid Access Pouch (5″ x 3″ x .75″)
• Built-in front stretch pocket (5″ x 2″ x .25″)
• Single handed bottle access with secure click-in system
• Easily add additional modules / accessories

Click for pricing and buying details

An important aspect with any running hydration belt has to do with comfort and the most uncomfortable experience occurs when the belt bounces around with every stride you take. The RunLite belts feature a bounce-free Stretch Limiter belt. This allows the belt to be adjusted so that it fits snugly to ensure it will not move while running.

The bottles, or SnapFlasks, snap onto the belt with a minimum of fuss and can be taken off and returned to the belt single-handed so you won’t have to break stride when getting a drink. The SnapFlasks are available in either 8oz or 10oz sizes and they feature hi-flow spouts that are promised to be leak free.

A big advantage that this belt has over some of the competitors is that the belt is fully customizable meaning the bottles can be positioned anywhere on the belt. This is important to avoid the hands or arms from coming in contact with the bottles when swinging as part of the running motion. It also means they can be positioned in the easiest to access places on the belt. These bottles may even be stored horizontally on the belt to give greater clearance for the arms.

If you are only planning a shorter run, you can remove a couple of the clip holders and convert your 4 bottle belt into a two bottle belt. This is such an adaptable system that you can use the larger 10.5oz bottles instead of the 8oz ones.

This hydration belt is not limited to carrying the bottles that can be clipped to the outside. It also contains a pouch that allows you to carry a gel or two, keys, money, your MP3 player or other small items that you would rather not leave behind while running.

Customer Reviews

There have been some very interesting comments on Amazon.com by runners who have used the Amphipod RunLite 4 Hydration Belt and provide some astute insights into how they have gotten the most out of them. It is worthwhile reading through these customer reviews. Read the Amphipod RunLite 4 Hydration Belt reviews

The RunLite 4 is only one of the range of quality running hydration belts that are available from Amphipod. Also available is the RunLite 2 (with 2 x 8oz bottles), the RunLite 2+ (with 2 x 10.5oz bottles), RunLite 3 (with 3 x 8oz bottles).

You might also like to take a look at the review for the Nathan Speed 4R Waist Pack.


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