Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Oooh, shiny new kit :)

Its been a while since I bought myself some new kit and there have been a few things I've really needed to get, especially since I've lost some more weight since the last time I bought anything of note.

First on the list was a new pair of running trainers.  I've been wearing Brooks Glycerin's since I first bought a pair of running trainers back in 2008 and I'm now on my 4th pair.  Starting with 5s, I got 2 pairs of 10s from Sweatshop with their excellent buy 1 get one free offer and now I've got myself a new pair of 11s.  The 5s were white, blue and silver and the 10s were a combination of black and green in different shades, so Brooks have gone for something completely different this time...

Brooks Glycerin 11 in yellow...also available in blue.

...a lovely bright shade of yellow as you can see.  When they actually arrived, they've got some gold on them too.  Ha, just call me Michael Johnson!  I havent yet run in them but I will be breaking them in gently on the treadmill over the next few weeks before they start pounding the streets of Welling & Bexleyheath.

Next thing on the shopping list was probably the most important piece of kit in any athlete's wardrobe during the cold, winter months.  The base layer.  I've been using the same old XL Helly Hansen one I bought about 3 years ago and considering I've lost so much weight since, it doesnt take a genius to work out that as it wasnt clinging to my skin, it wasnt doing the job is was supposed to be doing.  So it was most definitely time for an upgrade.  Looking at the brands available, I'd heard a lot of good stuff about the Under Armour brand, so I thought I'd give them a try, picking the EVO Coldgear Mock Neck Compression Running Top.

Under Armour EVO Coldgear Mock Neck Compression Running Top

Its a snug fit, but thats exactly what its supposed to be.  I've now run in it twice, on Sunday's cross country and Monday's recovery run and it certainly done the job.  I was toasty warm and dry.  Monday's recovery run was a little different bearing in mind what I wore over the top (I'll come on to that in a minute) but it performed well.  I shall be buying another one now.  I'm a little annoyed I've ended up with a dark navy one rather than a black one but that cant be helped.

I'd also been thinking about keeping myself warm whilst increasing visibility on the dark nights.  I didnt want to go as far as getting a waterproof jacket as I know from experience, no matter how much you pay for a waterproof jacket, it will never be truly breathable, even the top-end Gore-Tex jackets.  Its certainly a trade off between waterproofing and breathability.  At the end of the day, I'd rather get a little wet from the weather but remaining warm is the key for me.

So I've opted for a running gilet.  It will give a little protection from the elements, keeping the torso dry, but allows much better breathability with the arms free.  Worn with a base layer, it should be a good combination.  I've got a North Face cycling gilet which I'm very happy with, so I thought it was the way to go.

When looking out for trainers on line, I came across the Nike Flash range.  Supremely expensive but SportsShoes.com had them on at a ridiculously cheap offer, £49 down from the RRP of £150.  A saving of 66% and a bargain in anyone's eyes.  The reviews were decent, so I thought I'd take the plunge...

Nike Flash Reversible Running Gilet

The picture shows both sides of the reversible gilet.  The gilet on the left is the full reflective side, where the gilet on the right is the understated reversible side.  It doesnt look that remarkable does it?  The difference with this and every other gilet in the market is what the full reflective side is made out of.  This is what it looks like when hit by light in the dark...

Thats looks a bit more impressive, doesnt it?

 ...As you can see, the true magic happens in the dark.  This pic was taken by Izzy with my iPhone in the dark with me wearing the gilet.  Thats how bright it looks when running in the dark when car headlamps shine on it.  Cool eh?  That should minimise my risk of not being seen when out training in the cold winter nights.

I ran in it on Monday's recovery run and it was very comfortable.  Its different from a cycling jersey in that it doesnt have a longer tail at the back, its the same length all the way around.  Sitting on top of the base layer, it performed well in the drizzly, damp conditions.  The front panels of the gilet are water resistant (not totally convinced it is waterproof until further testing) and kept me dry.  There was a little dampness underneath on the base layer but that really is to be expected when the gilet was keeping me warm and the base layer is designed to pull the sweat from the skin.

I'll post an update later once I've ran in the base layer / gilet combination a bit more to give a full honest opinion.  Early impressions are good.

Very pleased with my three purchases.  SportShoes.com were giving a 20% off basket price voucher too, so got around £40 off over what they normally charge so cant say fairer than that.

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