Tuesday, 20 November 2012

What does a parkrunner want for Christmas?

Well I don't know about other runners, but being relatively new to running myself, there are still plenty of running related items going on my Christmas list this year. In fact, I'm not sure if there will be many (or even any) non-running related items. There is still so much that I don't have or which I "need".

Of course, "need" is really the wrong word to use here, as one of the great things about running is just how little you really "need" to get started. I'm about 2 and a half years into focusing on running (and parkrun in particular) as my only sport, so I have now reached the stage where I no longer want to make do with what I had and now want some good kit.

So here goes with my generic list of what parkrunners really want for Christmas (leaving out the obvious parkrun PB, as Santa can't help you there):

- Hi-Vis kit - I absolutely need this. I have none and I am fully convinced that running at night without it is a really bad idea. For starters I certainly want:
       - a hi-vis zip up jacket
       - a hi-vis long sleeve technical top
       - a hi-vis mesh over vest tabbard - These are a great idea as they are breathable and can be worn over the top of your existing running tops. I'm a lucky boy as Santa (my brother) dropped one off for me just yesterday!

- A new running watch - Ideally I'd love a Garmin watch, but I am not sure I can justify over £100 on a watch. Especially as I understand there is the hassle as they need to be charged quite frequently. I think I'll have to make do with a standard digital stopwatch for a while yet.

- Short sleeve running tops - To be honest, this is one area where I have really been making do. My normal training kit is a football top and these really aren't ideal for running - they are far too heavy, are not breathable and mine are too big too. I have a few long sleeve running tops, but no short sleeve running tops.

- Running shorts - I have been swapping back and forth between the 2 pairs that I have around 3 or 4 times a week for the last two years. And I have to admit that they are (just) starting to show signs of wear and tear.

- New running shoes - Personally I think I am fully equipped here, these days I have so many pairs of expensive "gardening shoes" its untrue. It makes me feel even worse about how little gardening I actually do!

- Running socks - Running socks are very important. What you must avoid as a runner is blisters. Get a blister and it can hamper training for days or even weeks. So for me it has to be twin skin ankle socklets. The three pairs I had a couple of years ago, which started out as twin skin, are looking more and more like single skin plus the tattered remnants of the original outer skin. It's probably time to get a new pair or two.

- Running tights - Skin tight running trousers are an absolute must for me. Luckily this is one part of my kit that I do not need this Christmas, as my pair of Nike running tights are still doing me proud. With all my history of muscle injuries, these are very important to me when running in the cold weather. They may be quite revealing in the gentleman's area, but in the cold there isn't too much to reveal anyway and they make a huge difference in keeping my legs warm.

- Calf guards - These aren't necessary for most runners, but once you have had a calf injury (like me) these are another good preventative measure, particularly in cold weather. Some decent athletes even swear by these as aids to performance and recovery.

- Running vests - It may not be ideal running vest season (though I'd still wear one when attempting a parkrun PB), but unfortunately Christmas doesn't fall in spring time in the UK, so its still a good time to invest in a vest. The only decision is whether to be optimistic about the size with winter training about to compete with the excesses of Christmas!

- Running spikes - I am considering these myself. I am not sure that I need them, but if last week's cross-country is anything to go by, then it might be a good idea. I understand that you can buy these cheaper than normal running shoes, which surprised me.

- Wrist pocket - I am not sure what these are really called, but I have a wrist strap thing with a pocket and a zip and this is the perfect place to store a key when I go running.

- iPod/iPhone (or other brand) arm holder thing - Yes, I don't know what they are called! I have only ever tried to run with music on one occasion and I think my ears must be a strange shape as there was no way the earphones were going to stay in. But if running with music is your thing, then I guess that one of these arm straps for your iPod/iPhone is essential. I would encourage you to run without music and listen to your body instead and just enjoy the sights and sounds of the park.

So, what else have I missed? I'm sure there is plenty of other running related kit that I could ask Santa to spend his well earned cash on for me. There are probably running related items that I have never even heard of, but which are a "must have" on other people's Christmas lists. If you can think of any, then please add a comment to let me know.

Being a novice when it comes to sourcing running kit, I will be doing some in-depth research (a few quick popularity searches on Amazon!) and if I find anything that catches my eye, I may add links onto this blog to get some feedback from the rest of you (more experienced) runners. In the mean time, any product suggestions welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Best advice I can give is to enter some races that give a 'tech' shirt. Many local ones will have entry fees less than the cost of a good quality shirt and they give you one at the end - Win/Win!


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