Saturday, 8 January 2011

Gear-who needs it?

Photo: Puma Cortland II XC spike-used without spikes.


Photo:V-lite Sirrocco Sandal


Photos:Nike Waffle Racer XC.Splits cut at front of toe box,all insoles removed.Perfect!


It was interesting over the New Year period to see how many of my running acquaintances posted messages on the social networking sites regarding equipment(running shoes/clothes etc),they had either received for Christmas,or they would need for the forthcoming year.One thing I love about running is that it is a cheap sport to participate in.Or is it?

Reading any running magazine the reader is bombarded with advertisements offering not just the latest 'must have' trainers,but also clothing,now made out of 'technical'materials,all assortment of electrical gadgets to measure times,altitudes and heart rates and nutritional aids and sports performance/recovery drinks.But do we need them?Do they make any difference to the average runner?Will a pair of shoes costing £100 provide you with better performances/protection than a £20 pair?Will running in a T-shirt made out of technical fibres make a blind bit of difference to a run of the mill cotton T-shirt?Will drinking a fancy electrolyte drink be any better than normal tap water?

2010 was probably my best running year since being a youngster-definitely since I resumed running again 4 years ago.I probably averaged 70/80 miles per week throughout the year,lowered my p.b's in the 5 mile,10k,Half Marathon,Marathon and 12 hour races and did not get injured once.Maybe this was good luck,but ,for certain ,it wasn't down to equipment.

The amount I spent on shoes for the year was .......£10!.This was for a pair of puma cross country spikes,which I use on mixed terrain,any run which will take me on both road and trails/fields etc.I have a 2 year old pair of Mountain Bear Gladiators which I use on exclusively off road courses,but wanted more of a trail shoe.The cost of brands such as Innov-8 put me off buying a pair.The pumas,used without spikes,do the job perfectly.They were on offer at £10,no postage and included a free T-shirt(technical material!) and free pair of socks.The combined price of these two items,priced individually on the same website came to £12,so you could say that the actual cost of the pumas was -£2!Not bad at half the price.

The bulk of my mileage was done in Hitec v-lite Sirrocco sandals.I was first alerted to these,prior to competing in The Copper Canyon Ultra in Mexico,by the fact that they were race organizer,Micah True's shoe of choice.I figured if they stood up to the harsh trails of the Sierra Madre Mountains they would be ok for the country paths,the beach and the flat roads surrounding Skegness.I bought one pair on sale on the net for £14.99,found I liked them and ordered another two pairs a week later.They have since been discontinued.These were purchased in August 2009.I currently have two pairs on the go,with one pair still pristine in the box.The only problem I,ve had is that the front strap of one of the shoes snapped,but that was down to my ignorance.I was in the Lake District helping my brother recce the final leg of The Bob Graham Round,which he was attempting a couple of months later,and descending a steep decline of scree in sandals is not recommended.Other than that,although both pairs probably have over 2000 miles wear,there have been no problems.

This last week,while on a clear out,I came across a pair of Nike Waffle Racer XC flats.I like the minimal,flat style of these shoes,but always found the toe box a little narrow.Rather than throw them away I thought I would try a few modifications.I cut a split in the outside of the outer edge of the front of the shoe,allowing my toes a little more space,took out the insole,and now running in them,sans socks,makes them just perfect.Another few quid saved!

My biggest expense this year was when I purchased a T-shirt,two long sleeve tops and two pairs of tracksters before I went to Mexico.That cost me about £50,but ,to be honest,I didn't need them.I've got a Helly Hanson Thermal top that I purchased in 1985 still going strong and enough T-shirts awarded as prizes a the end of races to last a lifetime.Still,the grand total of £60 for a years running gear is not bad,and shows things can be done on the cheap.

Ohh..and I did get some running gear for Christmas-2 Karrimor lightweight jackets on offer from Sports Direct for £6 each from my mother!!

1 comment:

Cainey said...

I agree with 90% of this - but the 'technical' aspect of hydration is something that I think sports scientists have got right, I use hypotonic drinks to aid fast absorption without the carbs - which your body should be able to supply if you're well prepared.

You can make your own cheap hypotonic drinks:
100ml of squash
One litre of water
Pinch of salt

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