New Year, New Gear.

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Following the turn of the New Year, most of us will be left with the feeling of seasonal over indulgence.  If you are like me, you will make a valiant attempt to channel this feeling into motivation for getting into even better shape for 2013.  However, you can make the transition from the sofa to the streets much easier by investing in a new pair of running shoes.

When people decide pick up a new pair of running shoes, the myriad of styles and categories available can be bewildering.  However, once you understand the different categories of running shoes, it will make your decision much easier.

Running shoes can be separated into three broad categories: general-purpose running shoes, racing flats, and off-road running shoes.  As a general rule, I tend to prefer racing flats.  This is because they have a much lower heel, which makes them much lighter than other running shoes and more importantly, it makes you quicker in the process.  The design of racing flats features a raised front, which encourages you to run on your toes and therefore faster.

Traditionally, racing flats tended not to provide as much support and cushioning as general purpose running shoes, which rendered them unsuitable for general training.  However, there are a range of racing flats available on the market now that still allow you to run like the wind, but they also have some of the features more commonly associated with general purpose running shoes.  This includes additional rear-foot cushioning and ample support.

One of my personal favourites for the upcoming year will be the Asics Gel-DS Racer 9 Running Shoe.  When you first pick them up, you can instantly tell that these are a racing flat as they weigh only 215 grams.  However, they are the only running shoes that manage to maintain the lightweight nature of a racing flat, whilst also providing ample support.  This makes them much more suitable for your regular training runs as well as the main event.

After doing some further research on the Asics website, I discovered that these running shoes feature something called a DuoMax system.  The DuoMax system consists of two or more midsole materials of varying densities, which is done in order to help correct the dreaded over-pronation.

When you pull on a pair of these running shoes, you will immediately notice that they fit like a glove.  The only way I would describe them is like a slipper with laces!  They also come in a dazzling yellow and orange colour way, which will come in handy over the dark and wet winter nights.

Unfortunately, Asics do not sell their running shoes on their own website.  So if you would like to try out a pair of the Asics Gel-DS Racer 9 Running Shoes for yourself, I would recommend getting them from Millet Sports, as they have an exceptional range of running shoes and clothing for your New Year running exploits.

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Edge 22 XL

I received this rucksack from Go Outdoors Lowe Alpine are in my eyes better than North Face based purely on the fact that every item of kit i have had from Lowe Alpine has performed and outlasted anything i have got from North Face. This is a 22 litre day/rucksack i use it for all sorts of stuff . I would be struggling to get my kit i would need if i was to go out for a couple of days but this type of bag is not aimed at Mountain expeditions. It is perfect for a day out on the hill though. Its made from a tough material and has 2 usable and handy pockets. Two side webbed pouches for a quick stuff or a couple of water bottles. It also has some secure internal pockets and pouches with handy tie lanyards. It can carry an hydration pack which also has the added benefit of having a good guide and loop to hold the tube in a correct position. It has handy loops that are Velcro attached for a walking pole.

This has turned into an everyday bag for me and a useful addition for hill work.

Delivered very promptly from the people at Go Outdoors

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Mizuno Wave Riders

A pair of Mizuno Wave Riders arrived a few weeks ago to try out. They came from this quality website over at Up and Running, who always have a good collection of trainers. It’s always nice to get shiny new trainers. I opened the box in front of my kids and after we all spent a few minutes taking in that wonderful new trainer odour we all agreed that these look fantastic. Now I didn’t get the scales out but these feel really light compared to other shoes I have, and I am sure I will be corrected later on. I don’t usually go for a longish run with a new pair trainers in case they have a slightly awkward fit and I end up with blisters (as has happened in the past), but I was very confident after putting these on that they would be fine. They were snug and felt stable. My first run was a 6 miler down the beach and I had no problems with them at all. I don’t know if it’s the psychological effect of new trainers but it felt like I was bounding along at a great pace with these. They are a firm favourite of mine out of the growing collection, and I am sure they will-be for a long time. So after a few weeks of good running in them they still have that fresh feel and I will be entering them in their first race in a couple of weeks’ time, in an off road/ on road 10km.

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Jabra Ear Phones

I got sent these ear phones to try out. I do listen to music on most of my runs and go through ear phones like Pringle Crisps. I don’t eat them i just can’t think of a clever and witty analogy at the moment. Anyway they are very comfortable it turns out i a have a large ear because they come with  3 sets of rubber ear bud sizes and mine fit the huge ones. They have “noise isolating feature” which is supposed to block out the wind but i couldn’t tell either way probably because i don’t gain enough speed to have that problem. You can take calls etc . The left side is shorter than the right ….why? no idea but that’s going to keep me awake at night. Thinking about it, probably easier to dangle when you have to take it out to listen to some one else talking.

I use them with my Android Phone and the quality is good. I like them they work well and above all are very comfortable.

I don’t get paid to review this stuff they just send me them to try out btw.

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Asics Gel Asperatus

Haven’t had a new pair of trainers for ages and with this new enthusiasm for running i decided to treat myself to a pair of mid range Asics or to be more precise a pair of shiny new Asics Gel Asperatus. I have had a pair of from this sort of range before and they did me proud. I got some great mileage out of my last pair of Asics.

I always find writing a review for trainers a bit conflicting (I’m a poor darling) but trainers are very personnel things . Everyone has different feet and are built in an equally different way so one trainer that i might like may be a nasty clump of textile crap to another. Anyway i went through www.idealo.co.uk to look for some good deals and came across these at a very reasonable price. Just below 50 quid. There are some running snobs who would baulk at the idea of donning such a cheap pair of running shoe and i hope this makes them even more sniffy after reading this.

I use a pair of trainers like these for short runs such as 3 to 6 milers. Anything more and i have to use a different pair. I love Nike Air Pegasus and have consistently had a pair knocking about for a number of years now.

These Asics Gel Asperatus are very comfortable although after the first mile or so i found them a little tight around the mid sole but this was just the newness in them and after a couple of miles they felt great. They have the GEL Cushioning System like most Asics shoe and this really is great for on road runners. I don’t really care how a trainer looks but if i did i would imagine these look ok. I have no idea what a good looking shoe should look like but I’m sure some fashion geek somewhere knows better than all of us. After all I’m not going to the local disco to cut some shapes on the floor wearing these.

I have put a a good few miles now in these and have broken them in nicely. Looking forward to getting a good few months of pounding mileage with them.

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BAM!

I got asked to try out this base-layer top from the people at BAM -Bamboo Clothing. When i was serving in the Infantry  most of the Soldiers are kit monsters in that they want the latest and best outdoor stuff they can get there hands on. When i left the regular Army i held an auction to sell off all my non as issued kit. I made about £1000. Anyway i once had a conversation with a squaddie about all this stuff and when asked, if i was going out on exercise and i could only take one bit of non standard Army kit what would it be? I always said my base-Layer.

BAM asked me to try this out on some runs. It’s not specifically built just for runners but skiing, hiking, expeditions, climbing, camping, kayaking, etc. I have used it about 6 or 7 times and this mornings run was one of them. It works well and has some little details that are very useful like the thumb inlets to draw the material round the hand especially useful when changing tops and not taking your base layer off as you often do on long walks or camping. There site also has lots stylish and more importantly useful clothing.

I have done loads of early runs lately and this top is now one of my favourite running tops i love it. This was taken this morning post 4 mile run.

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