Category Archives: Gear

Time for new shoes

When is the right time to buy new shoes and after how much mileage? If you were to ask several different people, you’d get several different answers. The commonly accepted rule of thumb is to change your running shoes after every 200-300 miles but if, like me, you’ve never really kept track of which shoes you wear and how far you’ve gone, what are you going to do? Trail shoes potentially have a longer lifespan than road shoes because they’re generally used on softer, less abrasive surfaces. Your weight, gait and running style will also affect the wear and tear on your shoes. For example, in the last 10 years, I’ve gone through two pairs of Hunter wellies because of the amount of walking I’ve done, my stride and my weight while my wife, who has probably done a similar amount of mileage, is still on her first pair.

My personal method of knowing when I need new shoes is by the feel of the shoe when I wear it and to examine the shoe itself. So, if you’ll pardon the smell, let’s have a look and see what we can see!
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Gear Check: Packing the bag

I started prepping my gear this weekend, making sure I had all the gear on the required kit list and planning my race nutrition. Out of curiosity, I also weighed everything to see how much extra weight I’d be carrying. Here’s the list:

Pack (OMM Ultra 15L) 415g
Waterproof jacket 415g
Waterproof trousers 250g
Base Layer (top) 140g
Base Layer (bottom) 240g
Headtorch 125g
Mobile phone 135g
Compass 35g
Hat and gloves 65g
Foil blanket 50g
Emergency food 50g
First aid kit 40g
Total 1960g

Other essentials that I will be taking as well:

500ml water 530g
Food 450g
Total 980g

Then I have some optional extras – luxuries if you will – that I may take with me.

Camera 205g
MP3 Player 50g
Nuun tablets 70g
Spare socks 85g
Spare top 150g
Total 560g

If I take everything, my pack will weigh roughly 4kg (assuming I take 2 bottles of water on most sections) or 3.5kg if I don’t take the optional extras.

Why would I take the luxuries if they’re going to add half a kilo of weight? Because of the mental aspect. If the weather is adverse (as it’s currently looking to be) then fresh socks/top can help give a sense of comfort. The camera I’m already in two minds; I want to be able to take pictures but I’m not sure I can be arsed to (and if it is going to be raining, I may not take it with me). Music? Some people may not like running with it, I like the option. Last year I found that I got a huge lift going around Blencathra with my music on and I flew from Dockray to Dalemain. (This year I might save that inspiration for the second half of the race.)

I know it would be possible to save more weight from the required kit list – up to as much as another 500g if I really put time, money and effort into it. If I were in the running for a top-10 spot then I’d be probably be more dedicated to saving every ounce that I could but I’m not. As a middle-of-the-pack runner, I don’t know how much my performance will be affected overall if I carry an extra ~400-500g. Obviously I’m going to move slower with a pack than nothing at all but in my favour, I’ve been training with a heavier pack, it’s still much lighter than a full mountain marathon pack (no tent or sleeping bag for a start!) and hey, even at the end of May I weighed 4kg heavier than I do now.

How much does your pack weigh?

Gear Check: Lakeland 100 kit

The compulsory kit list for the UTLD100 is:

  • First aid kit to include: blister plasters / sterile pad dressing / bandage or tape to secure dressing as a minimum requirement.
  • Full WATERPROOF body cover, top and bottom *please note that windproof is not sufficient.
  • Spare base layer *top and bottom.
  • Head torch / spare batteries if required
  • Mobile phone *fully charged
  • Whistle
  • Hat and gloves
  • Emergency foil blanket or bivi bag
  • Emergency food & drink (additional to your general nutrition i.e. not to be eaten during event)
  • Map (supplied, waterproof and pre-marked) 1:40,000
  • Road book (supplied on waterproof paper)
  • Compass

Additionally, running gear, shoes, bag pack to keep it all in, drink, food, other stuff I’ll no doubt forget on the day and be in a panic about.

I’m going to write separate posts about packs and waterproofs because they seem to be the questions most people ask about but as a quick overview of the rest of the gear, here’s some of what I’m taking:
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Bad Altitude

Sarah Wilde wrote a very honest post about her experience this weekend running the EnduranceLife UTSW60 that ran this weekend. It’s a shame to hear that she felt the overall experience of the race was lacking owing to poor communication, organisation and lacklustre checkpoints. Which is a shame. She also highlighted an apparent discrepancy in the advertised total ascent of the course against what her Garmin showed (14000ft vs 6900ft). Which figure should she trust?

Via the wonderful medium of Twitter, I gave her a link to Andy Cole’s blog post about the issues with Garmin’s elevation calculations and, Andy being a gent with an engineering background (and the ability to make some very pretty graphs), it’s a useful and insightful post.

Last night, after a running a few laps of a local field (complete with hills) and a subsequent conversation with Sarah on Twitter, I thought I’d do some analysis of the run and some data comparisons of my own. Ready for this? Don’t worry, there are some pretty pictures. Well, graphs.
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