Running’s a simple sport, right? All you need is a pair of trainers, a pair of shorts and a t-shirt? Well, true, but like most of us outdoor enthusiasts, runners love gear as much as the next person. There’s a purity and simplicity in running, maybe more so than any other sport but having the right stuff makes running fun and keeps you coming back for more.
A new piece of kit is always a great motivator to get out and see the trails in fast forward and even the most committed runner still needs a little push out of the door sometimes! Here’s a selection of cool gear ideas to add to your kit list:
We all like to carry the absolute minimum when we’re out running, but there’s always a few essentials you’ll want to take with you. The Ron Hill Stretch Arm Pocket is low profile, weighs just 18 grams, and will fit those little bits like keys, MP3 players and phones so that they are nice and snug to your arm and they won’t bounce around and get in the way of those bounding strides when you hit that runners’ high!
One of the many pleasures of running is that it can fit into most schedules, and you’ll have noticed that runners are out doing what they love at all times, day or night. As the shorter days draw in, it’s important to be seen when you’re out in the urban environment and this Ron Hill Vision LED bottle combines two elements for runner safety into one! Stay hydrated with a 330ml bottle and make sure you’re seen with inbuilt LED lights. The ergonomically shaped bottle has a handle for comfortable carrying and a sports valve for sipping without breaking your stride. Perfect for a late winter pre or post work 5-10km run.
The introduction of GPS to the runner’s tool kit has revolutionised the sport, and GPS watches are just getting better and better. The Suunto Ambit 3 is the latest stage in the evolution and the Sport edition is geared towards the runner, cyclist or swimmer who wants to keep things light whilst getting some of the most powerful training and analysis tools out there. This edition is heart rate enabled so you can monitor your beats per minute, make sure you are training in the right zone, and keep an eye on your recovery to prevent overtraining.
Suunto’s Movescount site is a brilliant tool to analyse your data and engage the runner. It has stats galore to breakdown your run, a huge community to motivate, and powerful tools to enable you to plan, create and get out exploring. What’s more, if you’re already into Strava you can still smash those segments with the Ambit as they’re fully compatible. The Ambit 3 S will help get you out of the door and help any runner push it to the next level!
Sealskinz are constantly evolving their range to fit the huge variety of outdoor users that share the same goal – they want their feet to stay dry! These ankle length socks are thin enough to stop your feet overheating, and have a fully waterproof and breathable membrane to help protect from the elements. We’re blessed in this part of the world with having 4 seasons and unless you’re the Imelda Marcos of the running world you’ll want to add more versatility to your trainers by treating yourself to some waterproof socks.
We’re often asked what shoes should be worn for adventure races and the likes of the Turf Warrior. These socks are the perfect complement to a good pair of trainers and will go a long way towards protecting yourself in wet, adventurous running conditions. Let’s face it, to be a runner in Ireland you’re going to face some pretty wet conditions, so these socks would be a welcome addition to any runner's sock draw.
Osprey are the masters of the ergonomics of carrying, and with this neat little pack they’ve managed to tick a lot of boxes. So, you want your hands free for tearing down that winding technical singletrack? You need a drink at the top of that nasty climb but you don’t want a rucksack sloshing around affecting your balance? And you want your phone so you can see if you smashed the segment time you’ve been trying to beat all year? Enter the Rev Solo Bottle Pack. It’s the perfect carrying solution with a 600ml bottle carried securely on the waist, a smart phone pocket, and a body belt pocket for other bits and pieces. Every runner would benefit from one of these.
Headtorches haven’t always been designed with the runner in mind but now Led Lenser have decided to tackle the issue with the ultralight and affordable offering. Our head weighs 7-10% of our total body mass so the 88g with battery pack nicely balanced on the back of your head will not effect that all important form! It has a 90 lumen output a 10m beam, in a 16:9 wider output so great for runners who need good periphery vision and there’s even a red LED on the battery pack for rear visibility, perfect for the urban runner. Moreover, with a 40hour constant mode battery life you won’t need to bother changing the batteries very often either.
Adventure racers and endurance athletes are a needy lot, but when you’re pushing you’re body to its limits you need your hydration, nutrition and protection to be where you can find it without stopping. This 13 Litre pack has space for a 2 litre bladder and two easily accessible 500ml bottles on the hips providing excellent balance and allows for a plethora of hydration solutions. There are handy pockets for gels and bars that can be accessed on the go, a main compartment to fit a waterproof and pole loops for mountain trails.
Importantly, if you’re running with all this, the pack needs to be comfortable and the Enduro fits this brief perfectly with a soft, body hugging, breathable harness fit that will make you feel loved all the way along the trail! Any runner that’s looking to push themselves to go that little bit further on the trails would love one of these packs.
How many of us run with our phones nowadays? There’s a world of technology at our finger tips with a phone out on a run: stunning photographs of the trails; tweets of our feats; live encouragement on Facebook, if only we could just unlock our phone without exposing our digits to that icy wind! There is a solution! These stretchy, slim fit gloves are perfect for the winter runner so that they can use their tech on the go.
Every other person on streets of the trail running capital of Europe, Chamonix, is wearing a pair of these awesome trail shoes. There’s a good reason for it, apart from the amazing array of colours, they turn twitchy nervous trail runners into agile, sure footed mountain goats! I love my Salomon Speedcross because of their foot hugging fit, fantastic grip and stability on the trails in the wet, mud, and even snow. These shoes can tackle anything from the unique Welsh mud to dusty dry Californian singletrack. If a runner wants to take on some trails, these are the shoe to start with.
Many runners have heard of Ron Hill, most for his exceptional clothing line, but before that he was one of the world’s top runners. This thermal base top is perfect for keeping warm in winter training and wicks brilliantly when you pick up the pace to draw moisture away from the skin, and help prevent that heavy feel. Thumb loops are lovely on a cold winters run and flat locked seems give ultimate comfort making this an essential item for a winter runner’s clothing armoury.
Words by Duncan Hyde ¦ Cotswold Outdoor, Cardiff
Duncan has been running on roads, trail and mountains for more than 15 years and is a self –confessed Strava addict.
He’s competed anything from a 5km flat road race to mountain marathons. When his legs won’t run anymore he’s out on his bike or walking the hills of the Brecon Beacons, Wales.