Diet, Kit, Reviews, Running, Training

Kit Review: Sis Go Isotonic Gel

Running can be an expensive sport once you start looking at all the kit and accessories available.  There is a whole industry built around offering more and more sophisticated options to runners, all with a price tag attached.

When I set off for a run with my Brooks trainers, Garmin watch, Nike capris etc…I’m probably wearing the most expensive outfit I own (just to sweat in it!).

One area I’m very sceptical about is runner’s nutrition.  I’ve seen people at 5k runs taking energy gels, clutching sports drinks, they are probably taking on more calories than the burn in the 30 or so minutes they’ll be running.

My rule of thumb is that I don’t need anything extra if I’m doing up to 70 minutes of exercise.  Beyond 70 minutes, I might need more fuel.  For up to 70 minutes, a piece of flapjack before I head out and a bottle of water are fine 🙂

When I’ve done half marathons in the past, I’ve faded at the 7/8 mile mark.  For the marathon, I’m working on strategy of taking on some fuel every hour, and I’m incorporating that into my long runs now so I don’t get any tummy related surprises on the big day.

I’ve been using SiS Go Gels.  The marketing blurb says “concentrated carbohydrate energy in a convenient fast-flow gel, Science in Sport (SiS) Go Gel is the world’s first and only isotonic energy gel with unique patent-pending formulation.

Each handy palm-sized Go Gel sachet contains 25g of isotonic carbohydrate energy, which is enough energy for 20 to 30 minutes of exercise, and because it’s isotonic, it will still deliver energy without the need for extra water.”

SiS Go Gel

SiS Go Gel

I say “they don’t taste too yucky, seem to hit the spot and don’t give me any digestive grief”.  Tropical is my favourite flavour, the blackcurrant isn’t too bad either.

There’s another version of the gel that contains a hit of caffeine as well, but I’m trying to avoid caffeine as part of my training regime, so I’ll be giving that one a miss – if you’ve tried it, let me know what you think in the comments.

The sales websites suggest 3 gels per 60 minutes of exercise.  I’ll go for 1 per hour in the marathon with one for an emergency, so I’ll be carrying 5 in total.  My next challenge is to find a way to transport them.  I don’t really like running with belts or backpacks but I’m going to have to try a few options, another kit review will follow when I find something I’m happy with.

How do you fuel your long runs?  Gels, jelly babies, just water?

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10k, Race Review, Reviews, Running

Race Review: Castle Howard 10k 16.6.13

Sunday 16th June was down for a 10k race on my training plan, so I registered for the Castle Howard 10k.  This is a gorgeous scenic race through the the stately home’s stunning grounds.

Getting there

Castle Howard is fairly close to where I live so it wasn’t too much of an early start – plenty of time to get some porridge into me and grab a banana for a pre-race snack.

There is a fun run and a 6k race that start before the 10k, which kicks of at 11.15.  Because this is a smaller race, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about fighting traffic.

Parking

Free parking is provided in a field about 5 minutes walk from the race start.  There’s ample space, but it can get a bit slippy if it’s a wet year.  This year was hot and sunny so no problems getting in and out of the parking.

Facilities

There are toilets near the race start for runners to use – the queues can be pretty long but they are inside toilets with toilet paper which is always nice – better than a grotty portaloo!

The start

The race started a couple of minutes late to allow some stragglers who were stuck in toilet queues to arrive.  The start is quite narrow so for the first 100 yards it’s just a case of holding your own  – after that the pack thins out and there is no crowding on the route.

There was a warm up before the start but only 2 people joined in – perhaps because the PA system was quite poor so no one knew it was happening.

The route

The route is 10.45k in total – that extra .45k can be a real shock if you don’t know about it and are only prepared to run 10k.  It is a 2 lap route, on good quality trails that show you some of the highlights of the estate.  Most of the laps are flat or gently sloped, apart from the end of each lap.  Here, you run up a steep bridge and then up another steep slope on the other side.   It’s only a few minutes, but it can be a killer and many people choose to walk.

The finish

Even though it’s a small race there are plenty of folk to clap you over the line.  Timing is taken manually, no timing chips.

The goodies

A commemorative mug and a bottle of water 🙂

My time

I crossed the line in 1.04.47, so averaged a 10 minute mile.  I’m happy with that!  Previous years I’ve walked the steep section but this year I ran non-stop so it was a great 10k.  Leeds 10k is coming up next month followed by York 10k in August, I’m hoping to sub-60 minute in both of those.

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Kit, Reviews, Running

Kit Review: Sports Bras

Reading through Runner’s World this month I was highly amused to see there is a naturist friendly 5k in Pembrokeshire.  My immediate thought was ouch, my chest!  But looking at the picture, it seems most of the women runners chose to wear a sports bra, trainers and bare bottoms.

The sports bra is an essential piece of kit for women runners.  A lack of proper support can lead to long term droopiness, but short term I find it painful to run with my chest flapping about so it’s not good for my focus or my form.

Sports bras can be eye-wateringly expensive, so it’s important to choose the right one.  Some of them just don’t seem to work for me, but I have to spend a few minutes jumping up and down in a changing room before I can decide.

The brand I swear by is Shock Absorber.  I’m a D cup, so I need something fairly substantial – friends I know who have larger chests than me run in 2 sports bras at once to get the support they need.

The 2 bras that work best for me are the Shock Absorber Ultimate Run and the Shock Absorber Active Multisports.

Ultimate Run

This bra is great for running and really minimises bounce.  My only criticism is that I’ve never found a way to put it on single handedly and always need someone to fasten the back of it for me!

Ultimate Run

 

 

Active Multisports

This is a crop top style compression bra.  It’s got 2 fasteners on the back so it’s comfortable but very supportive.  I’ve had about 6 of these now, I have found the latest ones seem to be a bit softer and less supportive than the older ones so I’ll have to play around with sizing next time I buy.

Multisports

 

 

Sports Bras come in all sorts of pretty colours but to be frank I don’t care what they look like as long as they do the job 🙂

The other sports bras I’ve had some success with were Shock Absorber tennis bras.  They were on sale at my local Sweatshop so I grabbed a Ball and a Racket Sports bra.   They work great at minimising bounce, tennis players are probably experiencing similar forces to runners so they are worth a look too. (PS I’m not affiliated with Shock Absorber in any way….I just like their bras!)

Ball Racket Sports

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve invested in your sports bras, remember they will only last so long before the elastic starts to give and you’ll notice you’re not getting the same support you used to.  I find mine last 18 months to 2 years and then they become ‘gym bras’ before being sent off to the great bra shop in the sky.

While they are expensive, they are a great investment and with some clever shopping you can find some bargains.  Shops like TK Maxx and Sports Direct get good sports bras sometimes, so it’s worth a check.

If you’ve got a recommendation for a great sports bra please do leave a comment.

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