Review: Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights

Headlights for your shoes? Sure! Why not?

Night Runner 270s were made to light your way while running, walking, or hiking. In darkness and low-light conditions, you want to be sure you can see every hazard and obstacle in front of you, and headlamps and hand-held flashlights can be annoying and irritating. Doug and Renata Storer came up with the idea for the Night Runners and tested out several prototypes – including taping flashlights to their shoes – before finally settling on the current Night Runner 270 design.

Sounds great to us. But how well do they work? 

Specifications

Night Runner 270

Water resistant

4 – 8 hour battery life

USB Rechargeable

150 Lumens

15m forward beam distance

Cost: US $59.95

Performance and Evaluation

I took the Night Runner 270s out for several night runs in the city. Sometimes my way was partially lit by streetlight, but I actively sought out dark streets, woodsy trails, and wide-open parks for a thorough test.

Even when on the highest setting, the beams didn’t hit the advertised 15m distance. 5m, yes, but 15m…not quite. I could still see the road in front of me, but only small sections for fractions of a second. It was a bit like running with a strobe light.

They weren’t great for running at any pace faster than about a 10-minute mile on roads, sidewalks, or trails. The low-lying beams of light created funky shadows on every small obstacle in front of me (leaves, sticks, rocks, etc.) and caused me to slow way down and step carefully for fear of tripping.

They worked fantastic for walking, but once my cadence increased, things get a little trippy. For someone running a 10 – 14 minute mile on newer, less-variable (cleaner, more even) sidewalks, I think they’d work fine.

I think they were especially eye-catching to drivers, which is great for a runner’s safety. 

All things considered, I would probably stick with a headlamp over the Night Runners for a night/low-light run where illuminating the path in front of me was essential.

Best for

Slower Runners (10+ min. mile)

Walkers

Runners who want to increase their chances of being seen by drivers

* Disclosure: We were provided with a free set of Night Runner 270s for this review.

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:29+00:00 November 11th, 2015|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , , , , |3 Comments

The New Run Commuters – August 2015

After a long hiatus, The New Run Commuters is back! This month we feature Jeff Jones of Atlanta, Georgia.

Jeff actually contacted us a couple of years ago and said he and his wife were moving to Atlanta from the Pacific Northwest, and one of the criteria he had while looking for a new home was that it would (ideally) be close enough to work that he could run commute. Now, he’s all settled in and acclimatized to the never-ending heat and humidity of the Southeast, and has finished a full year of run commuting.

To top it off, Jeff just recently ran the Barrel-to-Keg 70-miler as a solo runner and finished in an amazing 14 hours and 47 minutes! He attributes his success to two-a-day run commutes (as well as a high fat/protein diet.)

As always, if you are interested in being featured in The New Run Commuters, contact us using the form at the end of this post. The only criteria we have is that you started run commuting sometime in the last year or so. 

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Runner Basics

  • Name: Jeff Jones
  • Age: 41
  • City/State: Atlanta, GA
  • Profession/Employer: Finance/Verizon Wireless
  • Number of years running: 5
  • Number of races you participate in a year: 5 – 6
  • Do you prefer road or trail? I enjoy both – the predictability and intensity of a nice hard road run and the low impact and mellow vibes from trail runs.

Run Commuting Gear

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I thrive on complex logistical challenges, and run commuting seemed to align with my goals. When my family moved to North Atlanta about a year and a half ago, we decided to buy/rent within 6 miles of work so I could run commute. We even reduced down to one vehicle when we moved which forces me to run just about everyday.

I also wanted to set an example for my kids (5 and 8) whom I hope will never have to learn how to drive a car (may public transit, autonomous cars, and human powered commuting be in all of our futures)

How often do you run commute?

I run commute year-round, 5 days a week (usually for a total of 8 – 10 runs per week,) in sub-freezing temps, thunderstorms and the hottest stuff Atlanta can serve up.

How far is your commute?

6 – 10 miles depending on the route, sometimes a run through Vickery Creek Trails or down the Greenway tempts me away from a direct route home.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

Pack my lunch 4 days a week, food truck Friday!

What do you like most about run commuting?

For me it’s about work/life balance – being able to do 45 minutes to an hour of running each way gets my exercise done for the day and I can spend time with family. Additionally, after a couple miles into the run you settle into that flow state and life’s problems/stress just work themselves out.

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

I think I’m probably the only run commuter I know of in North Atlanta – I’d love to have some company though ;-)

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

My wife picks me up usually just once a week. Otherwise it’s that or Uber if I have to make exception. I am fortunate enough to have a great team at work who has graciously allowed me to bum a ride from time to time.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

Ease into it if you are running with a backpack. Going immediately into 8-10 runs a week with a 8lb+ loaded backpack can really be tough on the lower back initially – I learned that lesson the hard way.

Anything else that you would like to include?

How fortunate we are to be able to set our own challenges – may your run commuting be full of great challenges, extreme weather and many quality miles punctuated by sweet hill climbs.

Don’t underestimate traffic. Even though we usually follow all the pedestrian rules/lights, many drivers are just distracted. I’ve been hit twice this year by folks who weren’t paying attention – fortunately, I was able to escape injury.

 

The New Run Commuters Submission Form

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By | 2016-10-22T20:26:30+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Categories: General, People|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Review: Icebug Mist RB9X Shoes

A pair of shoes from a Swedish company named “Icebug” wouldn’t seem to be appropriate for running in the hot, humid summers of the American South, however, I was quite surprised – they’re pretty damned good.

Though you may not have seen anyone running in Icebugs lately, the company has been around for almost 15 years. They have only had a market presence in the United States for the past few years, however, and just recently opened a unique testing center in Shale Hill, Vermont where the public can try out the shoes at their on-site obstacle course.

I tried out a pair of their Mist RB9X shoes over the past couple of months. Here’s a summary of their performance for both running and run commuting.

Icebug Mist RB9X

Icebug Mist RB9X (US Size 10)

“We were frustrated by having to choose between slipping and saying [sic] no to outdoor activities because of the risk of slipping. The company started as a result of us wanting to be able to stay active year-round.”

– On the origin of Icebug shoes

Initial Wear and Run

The shoes fit great and are true to size. I love the off-center tongue loop and the cushiony feel of the tongue and collar. It makes for a very comfortable feeling around the ankles.

They’re slightly flexible. They initially feel quite stiff and you don’t really feel any cushioning underfoot.

The tread is amazing and makes Icebug shoes stand out from the competitiors. The crazy combination of rubber knobs, raised surfaces, little rounded buttons, and corrugations seem out of place on a road shoe, so I was a bit leery at first about how the Mists would run on streets.   

The upper is made of a tough, durable mesh. While you would expect a mesh upper to be breathable, the Mists seem to surpass that expectation. I had a fan on nearby when I first tried them on and you could feel the breeze pass through extremely well.The only shoe that I’ve worn with a similar breeziness were the Salomon Techamphibians, which – oddly enough – were the shoes I used for run commuting when I first started almost 7 years ago.

Quick Facts

5 mm Drop

9.4 oz. Weight

Rubber 9 Extreme Outsole

Minimal Cushioning (though listed as Medium)

One Color Option (Shell and Sapphire)

My test run – a 5.3-mile morning run commute through urban and suburban neighborhoods – went quite well. My initial thoughts after I finished:

  • The shoes are stiff, but feel fine on the run
  • Terrain grip is excellent
  • Feet did not get warm on hot day while running
  • Did not feel rocks or roots underfoot

To expand upon several of the points above, let’s take a closer look at the traction on the sole.

The tread pattern is grippy on flat, smooth surfaces and very functional on rough terrain. They worked extremely well in all conditions I tested. 

Extended Test Period – Road and Trail

After running over 60 miles in the shoes, I’ve found that the shoes pair best with a slightly padded sock, such as the Thorlo Experia or Trail Runner, rather than a thinner one like the Drymax Lite-Mesh sock. The stiff insole allows the foot to slide around inside a bit too much otherwise. Buying a half size smaller may solve the issue, though I prefer a looser fit in the midfoot and toe.

The shoes are solid performers in the city. You never know what kinds of conditions or terrain you will come across during a run commute, and, in my case, whatever those happened to be, the Mists handled them exceptionally well. Here are some of the surfaces and/or conditions that I encountered:

  • Wet and dry concrete
  • Wet and dry asphalt
  • Dirt trails
  • Stream crossings
  • Slightly muddy trails
  • Heavy-volume rainstorms
  • Gravel
  • Medium-sized stone paths (think railroad grades)
  • Dusty, pollen-covered, and wet steel road plates
  • Wooden footbridges

On my trail test runs, I took them through several stream crossings and was amazed at how well they both shed water and returned to their pre-submerged state. With some trail shoes, the cushioning and upper retain moisture for a long time, leaving you with wet feet and soggy, squishy, heavy steps for up to a mile-and-a-half afterwards.

These shoes would be ideal for obstacle course racing, where the terrain and surface conditions change frequently and you are constantly getting wet. Apparently, I was not the first to realize this – Icebug was just signed on as the official footwear sponsor of the 2015 Obstacle Course Racing World Championships.

Pros

  • Comfortable, airy upper
  • Durable construction
  • Rock-solid tread for any conditions
  • Drains water extremely well
  • Dries quickly
  • Great for road and trail

Cons

  • Little cushioning
  • Rubbed a little on longer runs (8+ miles)

Summary

For the run commuter, the Icebug Mists will treat you well overall. They’re a good, all-around run commuting shoe, in which one can easily switch from hopping paver stones along a sidewalk, to bombing down steep trails and plunging through streams on the detour in to your office. Best for up to mid-distance commutes (5 – 8 miles), and those accustomed to running in minimal shoes.

Icebug’s International Website

* Disclosure: Icebug provided us a pair of Mists for this review.

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:30+00:00 July 13th, 2015|Categories: Gear, General|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Meb for Mortals: A Run Commuter Book Review

In his new book, Meb for Mortals: How to Run, Think, and Eat like a Champion Marathoner, Meb Keflezighi, three-time Olympic medalist and winner of both the 2009 NYC and 2014 Boston Marathons, tells us in his introduction that he is ‘not the most talented guy.’ I scoffed aloud when I read it.

It was an ugly sound, and I was embarrassed I’d done it. But I kept reading. I ran Atlanta’s AJC Peachtree Road Race with him last year.  Ok, so maybe not with him, but we were both running the race at the same time. Actually, not even that, if you want to be technical about it. Due to the number of start waves needed to accommodate the more than 60,000 runners, he had not yet crossed the starting line as I was finishing. He began at the back as part of a fundraising challenge. However, as deflating as is to be effortlessly passed when I am sucking wind, I looked for him, listened for his entourage to be coming behind me shouting ‘Make way!’ or whatever it is they yelled.

I really hoped he’d pass me. One runner said, “It was like you’re on (Ga.) 400 going 55 and he’s doing 95.” [sic]. That would have been a sight to see; a once-in-a-lifetime running memory.

Meb is infinitely more talented than I am, and after reading this book, what is basically his training diary, I can see how he got that way. The book is divided into nine chapters, and in every one you see just how hard this guy works to be a champion.

Meb states that his game is mostly mental: good goals, commitment, and hard work. The book opens by detailing how to set good goals. This chapter, Think Like Meb, was one of my favorites. Even if you are running purely for enjoyment, or as a much-loathed, but necessary, daily dose of cardiovascular exercise, you set goals for your run – probably time or distance. Wouldn’t you like to know how to set better goals for yourself though? Especially if it increases your enjoyment of your run by making them easier or at least less painful? Maybe learning to set better, more attainable running goals will carry over into other areas of life as well.

The next 8 chapters describe exactly how Meb treats his body to get it to run the way it does: fueling and hydrating, stretching, sleeping, form drills, even recovery. It’s all here. For the form drills, stretches, and strengthening sections there are photographs of Meb doing the movements to help make sure we’re doing it correctly. They are not fancy glossy photos, just simple, monochromatic illustrations of what we should be doing.

My second favorite chapter was Race Like Meb. I don’t run a lot of races, mostly because they cost a lot of money, but I loved reading about how he prepares for a race. This is one of the more tip-heavy chapters with lots of little boxes that contain bits of information. Broken into sections like that, it is easy to read and has loads of interesting ideas for clever racing, even – no joke – how to Lube Like Meb, though it isn’t actually called that. Mixing a GU into a bottle of water or Gatorade to make the GU easier to consume while running is a smart tip. I will be trying that one, because GUs are helpful, but revolting. I might have gone my whole life without thinking of or hearing about otherwise. He also explains how to drink while running fast. I am not fast, but learning to drink while breathing like a ferocious, sweat-flinging beast is pretty much the same thing, I think.

Meb’s tone throughout the book is conversational, as though he is standing next to you (I’m pretty sure he’s not much of a sitter.) He chats and carries on, which makes this book very easy and enjoyable to read. Though, in my mind’s eye, he is probably chatting while stretching, doing core exercises on one of those big exercise balls, like in the Strengthen Like Meb chapter. Meb says that he feels like he’s 80 years old the day after a marathon. It’s little human asides like that which made me believe Meb truly does work incredibly hard, and thereby makes his advice easier to hear.

If you wanted to, if you had the time and money, you could absolutely use this book as a manual to become one hell of a runner, at least way better than all your friends. But even if your running goals and means are simpler, this easy-to-read and apply book will help you learn to make your body move more efficiently and hurt less after a long or hard(er) run, and maybe, just maybe, inspire you to set bigger goals for yourself next time.

Review: Sunwarrior Protein Powders

I’m really bad at recovering after a run. Really bad. My normal routine usually includes a 5.5-mile run commute home, followed by jumping in the car to go pick up a kid from school, then rehydrating with a cheap, watered-down beer while I cook dinner when I return home. 

In the 20-60 minutes after your workout, your muscles can store carbohydrates and protein as energy and help in recovery.

I know there is a brief, post-workout window in which your body is primed for receiving replacement protein and carbohydrates, but I ignore that and move on with the night, much to my bodies detriment, no doubt.

So, when Sunwarrior sent us their Starter Pack (updated in 2016 to this) filled with raw, vegan protein powders and supplements to test out, I was excited to try them and see how they made me feel after a good run.

 

Test and Evaluation

All of the products were sampled after a 5.5-mile run which ranged in duration from 42:00 – 45:00 minutes. My 6-year-old, Everett, insisted on tasting each one as well. His comments are included.

Sample #1: Chocolate Warrior Blend with Ormus Supergreens (Added to 10 oz. Light Vanilla Soymilk)

Everett - Product Tester Extraordinaire

Everett – Taste Tester Extraordinaire

This was really good! It was thick, but smooth, with a flavor not unlike a cold mug of hot chocolate. There was a slightly sweet aftertaste which remained for a brief period after consumption (which is no surprise, as the products are sweetened with the natural sweetener, Stevia.) Even with the added Supergreens, the flavor was chocolaty and delicious. 

The directions suggest adding 6-10 oz. of liquid to the powder, however, after trying it, my personal preference would be to add no less than 12 oz. to cut down the thickness a little more.

Everett’s Review: “Great!”

Sample #2: Classic Protein Vanilla with Ormus Supergreens (Added to 14 oz. Light Vanilla Soymilk)

This was pretty good. The Supergreens were peppermint flavored, and I think adding them to a vanilla powder worked very well. Even though they have long been touted as health powerhouses, powdered greens can be unpalatable for those unused to them, but together with the Classic Vanilla powder, they went nearly unnoticed in the final drink.

Aside from the “greens” part of the Supergreens powder, Sunwarrior adds even more healthy additives, too, including several species of Lactobacillus Acidopholis, and a smorgasbord of leaves, roots, and grasses.

The Classic Protein Powder added in 15g of easily-digestible protein in one serving.

Everett’s Review: “Really good, but not as good as the other one.”

Sample #3: Vanilla Warrior Blend with Activated-Sprouted Barley (Added to 12 oz. Vanilla Soymilk)

This was good, though the “greens” taste of the sprouted barley was much more noticeable in a vanilla-flavored shake than in the chocolate. The overall consistency was a bit chalky, but not bad going down. 

The Barley powder is meant to be used for sustained energy, as it is slow-burning, so in retrospect, I should have had this combination pre-run to keep me from bonking. Nevertheless, the mixture provides 20g of pea/cranberry/hemp protein (and that’s not counting the additional 10g of protein from soymilk.)

Everett’s Review: “Pretty good.”

Sample #4: Classic Protein Chocolate with Liquid Light (Added to 12 oz. of Vanilla Soymilk)

This was one of my favorites. The texture was smooth, it was flavorful, and was the least gritty of all the previous samples. It only contained 16g of brown rice protein, but the addition of the Liquid Light (fulvic acid and long list of minerals) packet added an additional healthy kick to the overall nutrition profile. 

Everett’s Review: “Great! Tastes like chocolate milk.”

Can be mixed, but best on its own

Can be mixed, but best on its own

Sample #5: Healthy Shooter

The Immune Shield liquid packet simply suggests taking one or more daily, so I just tore the top off and chugged it down. It was tart and sour, with the consistency of water.

The text on the package touts the health benefits of fulvic acid and complex silver, and their roles in enhancing the individual’s immune system. Not bad at all…

Summary

My preferred shake was the Sunwarrior Chocolate Warrior Blend with Supergreens. This is something I can see myself drinking regularly after my daily run commute and not growing tired of it. It mixes well, tastes great, goes down easy, and provides a noticeable sense of fullness for a while thereafter; so much so, that I tended to eat less dinner when consumed within an hour-and-a-half beforehand.

The Blender Bottle, with its removable whisk ball, did a fantastic job of mixing the products with ice-cold soymilk. Nothing was left on the sides or bottom, where powders tend to gather and clump.

If you live an active, plant-based life, you should give Sunwarrior’s shakes and supplements a shot for your pre- and post-workout nutrition.

Quick Facts

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:32+00:00 March 27th, 2015|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Giveaway! 2015 Warrior Dash – Georgia (April 11, 2015)

Do you love getting dirty? Do you like to spend your Saturday mornings running through obstacle courses? Want to participate in an an event that has raised millions of dollars for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital?

Well then, The Run Commuter has something just for you!

We’re giving away TWO ENTRIES to the April 11, 2015 WARRIOR DASH GEORGIA event, sponsored by the official race drink of the Warrior Dash Series, ROCKIN’ REFUEL!

What is the Warrior Dash?

The Warrior Dash is a 3.1-mile (5K) race over moderately-hilly terrain and through, over, and under, 21 obstacles on what’s known as the “battleground.” The Georgia event is one of 50 locations around the globe which hosts the race series, and participants revceive a beer, shirt, medal, and warrior helmet upon finishing.

If you are ready to try something different and challenge yourself, the Warrior Dash is for you. Check out the pics from last year’s race below. More can be found here

WARRIOR DASH OFFICIAL SPONSOR

ABOUT ROCKIN’ REFUEL

Made with real milk, Rockin’ Refuel is packed with the natural protein athletes of all levels need to achieve their physical goals – whether it’s rebuilding muscle after a workout or building strength to get ready for game day. Featuring the ideal amount of high quality protein, Rockin’ Refuel offers the protein milk beverage for you to maximize your performance.

WHERE TO BUY

Click here to find a location near you

EVENT DATE

April 11, 2015
– Start times vary –

LOCATION


 

VISIT WARRIOR DASH GEORGIA’S WEBSITE

Click Here

CONTEST DETAILS

The giveaway is open to everyone.

The race takes place in Northern Georgia.

The more entries you receive through the giveaway app, the better your chances are of winning.

Giveaway begins at 12:00am EST on March 27, 2015 and ends on April 4, 2015 at 12:00am EST.

If you are a winner, you must register for the Warrior Dash by midnight on April 9, 2015.

ENTER NOW FOR A CHANCE TO WIN AN ENTRY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:32+00:00 March 27th, 2015|Categories: Giveaway|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

The New Run Commuters – February 2015

This month we’re featuring Tom Fischer, a firefighter in St. Louis, Missouri. Even though he has an unusual work schedule and did not have all the latest and best running gear in the beginning, Tom decided to start run commuting anyway. And, he’s sticking with it. He makes a great point about a great target audience for run commuting, too. Fire, EMS, and police usually have many facilities available at their workplace already (showers, laundry) that could make them the perfect jobs for which to run commute.

As always, if you are interested in being featured on The New Run Commuters, fill out and submit the form at the end of the post.

Runner Basics

Name: Tom Fischer
Age: 35
City/State: St. Louis, MO
Profession/Employer: Firefighter/Paramedic for the Kirkwood Fire Dept.
Number of years running: 6
# of races you participate in a year: 0
Do you prefer road or trail? Trails are better for the knees. Humans weren’t designed to run on concrete.

Run Commuting Gear

Backpack: REI Stoke 9 backpack. I recently switched over from using a cheap drawstring-type bag. I would use a black cord to make my own sternum strap to keep it from swinging.
Shoes: My Trusty old Asics (GT-2130). I plan to get minimalist shoes to mimic barefoot.
Clothing: Sweat pants with hooded sweatshirt. Knit gloves (it’s really cold outside.)
Outerwear: Same as clothing
Headgear: Knit cap
Lights: None
Hydration: None. I drink 2 cups of water as soon as I wake up.

Tom Fischer

On Run Commuting

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

My New Year’s resolution this year was to run more. Lately, I’ve only been running on the treadmill at work (with socks only; I don’t like shoes). I figured that if I convinced myself to run to work, I would then be forced to run again to get home, and I was right, because I like going home. This, plus the treadmill seems to be a good fit for now.

How often do you run commute?

I only go to work 5 times per month (I work 48 hours straight and then have 96 hours off). I just started, but I plan to run commute every day that the temperature isn’t too uncomfortable. The coldest I’ve ran to work was 13 degrees F. I’m going to call that my limit until I get more appropriate clothing.

How far is your commute?

2.9 miles

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

Both. I work a 48-hour shift, so I pack oatmeal for breakfast and something healthy for the first day’s lunch. While at work, I go to the grocery store and get the rest of the food that I need.

What do you like most about run commuting?

I get to work totally awake instead of stumbling in half asleep and I feel great the rest of the day.

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

Not a soul.

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

By driving my fantastic Jeep Liberty, of course.

If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who was considering run commuting, what would it be?

Just start doing it while you’re thinking of doing it…with the gear that you already have. There’s plenty of time to research and acquire better equipment later, but your desire to try it won’t last forever. Get started now, so that you gain experience and make it a habit.

Anything more about you that would like to include?

Your coworkers might think you’re crazy. Mine already thought that, but now some think I’m even crazier. I would encourage other firefighters, EMS, police, etc. to take advantage of the convenient facilities that exist at your work places (showers, laundry, lockers, pantries). Take full advantage of them by running to work. One’s own health is important enough to run more, but if you may need to drag a victim or another firefighter out of a house fire, or chase a suspect for a further distance than you would prefer, then it becomes imperative to run more (and lift more, as well). It takes me 10 minutes to drive to work or 25 to run to work, so for just an extra 15-minute investment per day, I get almost 3 miles of running in.

And lastly, because PE class doesn’t teach this, never land on your heels. Humans were designed to run, but only with a front or mid-foot strike. Landing on your heels is the best way to become an elliptical machine user, because you will lose your ability to run. You have to build up your distance slowly though, because your calves will ache as you switch to landing on the balls of your feet.

I'm interested in being featured in The New Run Commuters!

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The New Run Commuters – January 2015

In our first edition of The New Run Commuters for 2015, we meet Kate Livett from Sydney, Australia. Kate is a recent and die-hard convert to run commuting and though her job contracts and office locations often change, she’s determined to make the run to or from work no matter the circumstances. Rock on, Kate!

If you are interested in being featured in The New Run Commuters, simply fill out the form at the bottom of the post and we’ll get started on your profile. We look forward to hearing your stories! 

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Runner Basics

image

New Run Commuter Kate Livett

  • Name: Kate Livett
  • Age: 36
  • Hometown: Sydney, Australia
  • Profession/Employer: Academic (English Literature), various universities around Sydney (currently UNSW)
  • Number of years running: 7 years
  • Number of races per year: None. I went in a couple of road races and was not a huge fan of the crowds, but I’m planning to do some trail ultras in 2015.
  • Do you prefer road or trail? Trails are my passion (Whenever I can I run on trails.) I’m very lucky to live 40 minutes’ drive from a massive national park of native forest with very technical, rocky and rootsy singletrack, loads of mini-waterfalls, giant goannas, echidnas, kangaroos, poisonous snakes (!), unspoiled coastline and generally all-round amazing natural beauty. I try to run in the national park at least once a week. Running in the city, I enjoy looking at people’s gardens and meeting cats and dogs or watching birds in trees, etc., but I hate the aggressive drivers in Sydney, and constantly having to be ‘on my guard’ against crazy cars.

Gear

  • Backpack: I have several…*ahem*. Depending on weather and load, I switch between the Deuter SpeedLite 10, Osprey Stratos 24, Salomon Advanced Skin Set 12 (2013 version) on the road, and Ultimate Direction Wasp and Nathan Intensity for trails. For me, backpacks are as important to get right as shoes.
  • Shoes: Altra Torin for road, Altra Superior and Lone Peak 1.5 for trails, Inov-8 Trailroc 235 for super-technical trails and hills (though,they are too narrow and give me blisters), and flip-flops with shoelaces around the heels for homemade huaraches when it’s hot (see photo). I love zero-drop and wide toeboxes.
  • Clothing: I try to buy from brands that respect at least one of the following ethical criteria: vegan/environmentally sustainable/workers’ rights. This is very limiting; for example, I won’t buy Salomon or Nathan from now on. I know, I know, I have packs by both those brands. They’re awesome packs, too. But, I made the decision to try to “buy ethically” just after I got the Advanced Skin Set and starting sometime is better than never, right? I am hoping they will get some specific policies on ethical issues soon, so I can buy their stuff again! I just bought a long-sleeved Patagonia capilene tee with UPF50+ sun protection. It’s made of 60% recycled plastic bottles. I’ve worn it twice in 90 minute runs in 30-degrees Celsius, and it’s totally awesome — cool and light and protective. Moving Comfort bras. Basic running shorts.
  • Outerwear: Puma PE windbreaker jacket for trail and when I’m not commuting. For run commuting in winter a huge yellow neon cycling windbreaker, which i wear with my pack underneath. It makes me look pretty silly, but ‘safety first’…
  • Headgear: I always wear a cap and Polaroid sunglasses.
  • Lighting: Two bicycle froglights on my pack and reflective clothing.
  • Hydration: None in winter. In summer, I will drink up to a litre of water on the exact same run. I recently bought two Ultimate Direction soft-flasks (see them in the front pockets of my pack in the photo). They’re pricey, but i cannot recommend them highly enough — best investment ever, for trail and road. You don’t have to run with half-empty or empty bottles all the time. They are much better suited to the female anatomy as well.

General Questions

Why did you decide to start run commuting?

I have been obsessed with running since I took it up in my late 20s. Since that time I’ve been employed all over the place at different things, often working from home. I didn’t know there was such a thing as ‘run commuting’, and always did my running before/after work. Looking back, even if I had heard about it, I’m pretty sure I would have thought it was impossible for me to run commute, as I lacked general ‘running knowledge’ and wouldn’t have felt confident running with a backpack, timing my meals etc.

Last year, though, (having accumulated 6 years’ running experience) I got a contract to work regular 9-5 hours in the Sydney CBD, and about a month before I started, I stumbled on The Run Commuter website. The universe aligned, and I decided I wasn’t going to let my running be sacrificed to employment! I read every post on this site and successfully run commuted for that whole 6 months. I’m about to start another contract with regular hours. My New Year’s Resolution is to embrace the changing GPS coordinates of my employment, and to adapt to run commuting wherever the location of my latest workplace. I’m lucky that my partner is very supportive of my run commuting and doesn’t mind if dinner time is delayed a bit because I’m run commuting home.

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Mishi, checking out Kate’s homemade running sandals

How often do you run commute?

Usually four days a week either to or from (mostly to). I would love to do both ways every day, but it would kill me!

How far is your run commute?

Last year’s 6-month stint was 12-14 km one way, depending on the route. The job I’m just about to start is almost the identical distance.

Do you pack or buy a lunch?

I try to pack a sandwich and apple. I admire the runners profiled on this site who run with frozen soup, strawberries, etc.! I’m not sure I’d be successful with that…

What do you like most about run commuting?

Chris Van Dyke, one of the first run commuters profiled on this site, says it best when he says: “How often can you straight up trade something you hate for something you love?” Similarly to Chris, I have loved swapping the peak hour public transport experience (cranky sardines in a slow-moving can…) for exercise and personal room to breathe, and I feel physically and mentally invigorated all day after running to work. When I’m run commuting i’m actually excited to go to work. Like most things in life, once you’ve done it the better way it’s hard to go back. Now I get cranky with myself if I don’t get to run commute because I’ve slept in.

Do you know of anyone else in your area that runs to work?

Runners, no. Quite a few of my colleagues bicycle commute.

When not run commuting, how do you get to work?

Train and then bus (unfortunately). Sometimes drive, but parking is impossible and the aggression of other drivers stresses me out.

If you could give one piece of advice to people considering run commuting, what would it be?

If you’re lucky enough to have showers at work, before you start run commuting try to ascertain what the unofficial “shower schedule” is — if you’re going to be rocking up at the same time each morning you don’t want to find that the shower is “pre-booked” every 15 minutes until lunchtime.

Specifically for the ladies — backpacks are generally made for men’s bodies. It can be discouraging trying to find one that doesn’t bounce, look stupid or feel wrong. Spend extra time researching this key piece of gear, and possibly spend extra cash on it, too. I’ve found it’s worth spending more at the beginning for a superior product– you will save money in the long run by not giving up run commuting due to an uncomfortable pack. (Happily, this logic also justifies my backpack fetish…) At least you’re not shelling out as much as you would for a sport like cycling/golf/triathlon. Also, don’t forget clean socks.

Anything else that you would like to include?

I know some people are put off trying a run commute by the thought that other commuters driving or walking past are ‘judging’ them or staring. But, if you feel self-conscious, just remind yourself: “They are probably very jealous that I am enjoying my commute and they are not.” The other confidence booster I like is the haughty self-question-and-answer: “Are THEY running 12 km to work? No, they aren’t!”

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2015 – The Year of The Run Commute

What better way to kick off the new year than to start run commuting? For those who are thinking about it, check out our Beginner posts below. Already a run commuter? Great! Maybe your new year’s resolution could be to run commute more frequently this year? Let’s make 2015 the Year of the Run Commute

Need some inspiration? Read profiles of new run commuters here.

Part 1: Mentality

Part 2: Route Planning

Part 3: Gear and Transporting it to the Office

Part 4: What to Wear

Part 5: From Sweaty to Office-Ready

Have more questions?

Check out the FAQs

Or

Email Us

Mobile App/Game Review – Ingress

This is the first in what will hopefully be a regular series of reviews on mobile apps and games for running. They may be traditional apps (MapMyRun, Endomondo), or something completely different, like today’s review of Ingress, a Google game that takes place in real-time in the real world. If you have any ideas for apps you’d like to see reviewed by runners (or yourself!)*, email us at info@theruncommuter.com, or comment on this post.

* we’re not going to review Angry Birds or Candy Crush and their playability/applicability to running (though we definitely could), so try to stick to apps that are made to be used by runners (traditional) or those that could be used while running (non-traditional.)

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Scanner startup screen

Ingress

If you get bored while running around your city, Ingress will be your new high-mileage running fix! A couple of us have been testing this out for a few months now, and we’re hooked. 

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Resistance (Blue) and Enlightened (Green) Portals, showing links and a control field (bottom of the screen).

The basic story line is that there is a form of “energy” (origin unknown) emanating from public art, sculptures, or culturally-significant places throughout the world. This energy may be either good or bad, and you choose a side depending on how you interpret its purpose. If you believe it is good, you join the ranks of the Enlightened; if you think it is nefarious, you become part of the Resistance.

Your smartphone serves as a scanner to see these energy hotspots (known as Portals) and interact with them. When you are within a certain range of a Portal, you can hack (gain items), capture, or attack it. The goal is to take control of Portals, link them together, and create triangular Control Fields that protect the population within that area from the other faction.

This is a fantastic game for runners for many reasons:

It gets you out and active; you run between portals, alter your route to create new control fields, and explore new places you wouldn’t normally run.

It makes your run much more interesting; many portals are historically significant places or works of art. Many will bring you to new places beyond your normal run commute or long run routes.

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Detailed view of a portal

It’s fun and challenging; figuring out how to level up, maximize the size of a control field, or destroying what the opposing team created can be a good learning experience.

It can be social; I’m more of a lone wolf, but the Ingress Google+ groups in your area can be extremely active, with regular in-person meetups, that may include general socializing, or planning and coordination of large-scale team operations. If you’re a noob, the members of your group will go well out of their way to help you out, level you up, and show you the ropes.

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Individual user stats

Tips for runners

– First and foremost: Don’t spend your whole time running looking at your smartphone; it’s dangerous. Stop if you need to, and plan 1/4 or 1/2 mile ahead to see where you are heading next.

– It is best to hold your phone in your hand while running if portals are close. Otherwise, carry your phone in a strap pocket in your pack or hydration vest. My smartphone fits perfectly in either side of my Nathan HPL-020.

– I wouldn’t recommend using earphones.

– Tap a portal ahead of you, and when you get within range, it will tell you that you can hack it.

– Slow down or walk when hacking, to ensure the hack is successful and all items are acquired.

– Need some speedwork? Sprint between portals. Pause, hack, deploy, link, hydrate. Pick the next portal and sprint to it.

This review is just scratching the surface of the game. There is so much more to it, and you’ll learn all about it once you start playing. Good luck!

 

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Name: Ingress

Cost: Free

Requirements: A Gmail account

Release Date: November 16, 2012

Number of players: 7,000,000

Download Links:

Google Play Download

App Store Download

 

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:34+00:00 December 3rd, 2014|Categories: General|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments
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