There are three main reasons why running is my least favourite element of a triathlon: Firstly it is by far my weakest discipline, which means I have to work hardest to get through it; Secondly it comes at the end of a race so you are inevitably knackered by the time you come to it, creating permanent associations with painfully dragging my ailing carcass around the course; and Finally because it usually does not involve as much kit as the other stages!
This might seem a strange reason to give, and blah blah the sport needs to be accessible and so on, but the fact is that every triathlete I have met at any level loves the equipment triathlon involves. I have already posted on the swim and cycle legs earlier this year, and have a whole shed-load of stuff that I need to lug into transition and squeeze into for the swim and carefully lay out for bike transition, and I love all that.
Now don’t get me wrong: I am not saying it has to be expensive, and that is where a lot of people go wrong by just buying the top brands for everything. As much of the fun is the research you put into finding the best equipment for you by reading press, checking online and visiting stores, whilst trying to track down be best possible prices. By nature of my job I am one of the most cost conscious people you will ever meet, and you would be amazed at how a few pounds saved can make all the difference on even the largest purchase.
But running is a bit different, as it really can be done with minimal kit. Pair of trainers – check. Enough clothing to cover your body so you are not disqualified for indecency – check. You are ready to race! Technically. Of course in reality there is more than that available, and my own personal running kit list is as follows…
Running Shoes – I have three pairs to cover most eventualities, and have tracked down the (clean) photos so you can get excited over them too:
- Tri – Decathlon Kalenji something or others – These were the first pair I bought and I did not pay too much attention in the shop, but fortunately they have worked out really well. They are ultra-lightweight with a velcro strap to slap on quickly, and I now save them for sprint races or below (5 km or less) where the time they save in putting on outweigh the lack of cushioning on offer.
- Road – Saucony Progrid Omni 10 – The longest name and the first proper pair I have bought, specifically for the Birmingham half last year. I decided to go through the treadmill gait tests and so on in a decent running shop and this was the best of the recommendations. To be fair they are decent, my arches seem to be supported and I do not get ankle pain (other than what I would normally expect from a run). They were not cheap, although under £100 is actually reasonable for a pair like this, but I suspect I will have to replace them again next year when they wear out with all the miles I have been clocking up during the Chile Challenge.
- Trail – Saucony Progrid – When I realised the Avenger involved a cross-country half marathon this year I realised I would need some proper footwear for it, so given the success I had with the road version I ordered these online from the same range. Again, they have worked out pretty well so I can’t complain, although to be fair I don’t really have a lot to compare these to.
Other Running Stuff:
- Clothing – As mentioned the other necessary element is of course your clothing, and things like proper running socks can not be underestimated. I am not really brand influenced in this part, preferring price and comfort to choose my shorts and tops, but have to put in a quick plug for Tribesports, who seem to be a fairly new company (I promise I have no connection to them and no money is changing hands for this!) but I have bought some of their stuff this year and it seems really good quality – plus it is usually my favourite black & gold which is the colour of my old school rugby team, Cornish rugby kit, and of course my current bike – so winning all round.
- GPS – Garmin Forerunner 410 – It now seems compulsory to have some sort of computerised device to wear for training, and I am actually going to stand behind this one. Yes, it may not be as necessary as say a dive computer, which has important life saving features on it, but it has made a massive difference to my training. Arguably you could just have a timer on your watch to work out how long you have been running for, but the feedback this has given me in the last few years when I have trained all over the UK, in terms of average speeds, distances, climbs, routes, and so on has been invaluable. I am going to write more on this in another post, but personally this is may favourite piece of running kit.
- Calf Guards – Compresport – These are the long sock type things above, that basically help bloodflow through your legs to reduce cramp, aches, and so on. To be fair, I use these during and after training rather than racing (I am not really a fan of the look) but they are useful as anything that gets me back up and on the go more quickly is ok by me.
- Cap, Sunglasses, Race Belt – There are various other necessary bits and pieces that help out but do not actually make me any quicker. The sweat-proof cap was a lifesaver on the Avenger when I would otherwise have burned to a crisp in the sun, whilst my ‘Team America’ yellow tinted glasses help me spot potential rabbit warrens and trip hazards to avoid. A race belt might seem small, but the time saved in putting on your number this way rather than using the old safety pin trick (not to mention the comfort) is worth the few quid they cost.
And that is pretty much it for my run kit. As mentioned I do like my gadgets, so keep an eye out soon for a bit more on the Garmin plus the other bits I use in a vague effort to improve my performance!