The No-Shower Clean Up: Women’s Edition

“Hair is a woman’s crowning glory”, according to my grandma. Granted, she’s 95 years old, and we might hope that nowadays women are appreciated for more than their hair, but to an extent my nan is still right: for many women, long, flowing locks are still the go. When they’re styled-up or blow-dried they’re magic. But what about post-runcommute sweaty, frizzy, out-of-control long hair? I would hazard a guess that long hair is the reason that many females who are potential runcommuters baulk at giving it a try.

If you are just such a female — contemplating run-commuting but put off by the ‘long hair problem’– trust the women who have runcommuted before you when they say: it can be negotiated successfully.

Here is both the Good News and the Bad News from the perspective of the female no-shower runcommuter.

The Bad News:

  • Long hair that has been sweaty can become dry and feels disgusting for the wearer.
  • Due to this, you have to commit. Always fully wet your head—scalp and hair—with fresh water, no matter how inconvenient this may initially seem.

The Good News:

  • Once you have done this a few times (wetting your hair and scalp thoroughly) it simply becomes a part of the general run-commuting routine, and is no more of a hassle than anything else.
  • Shampoo is not necessary (unless you don’t use hairspray or other product on your hair, in which case you may need to use a tiny bit of shampoo just to avoid the ‘earthy’ smell of hair washed in water only).
  • As both Josh and Kyle suggest, have a proper shower before leaving home. This will mitigate all sweaty-hair problems somewhat.
A few gals with long hair who haven’t let it slow them down…..

Products Used

Hair Towel:

  • Long hair necessitates one additional product for female no-shower run-commuting and it is…..the extra towel. In the name of successful hair management, a sufficiently absorbent, sufficiently large extra towel is the key piece of equipment. It needs to be able to absorb as much water as possible if you want your hair to be as dry as possible. It also needs to be large enough to be securely tied up. Not the same kind of miniscule stamp-sized micro-towel that might be perfect to dry your body with, as it won’t be long enough to wrap up your hair and tuck back into itself. Specific ‘towel-turban’ products exist (see below). Crucial here is pre-run practice: wrapping your hair in the towel before using it on a real life runcommute, to make sure it’s long enough.

 

Some specific towel-turbans:

(Click on all images to open product page in Amazon.com). This one looks chunky, but purports to do all kinds of super-technical hair-drying. Claims it is: “Super Absorbent Will Suck The Moisture Right Out Of Your Hair.” Gosh!

This one is less chunky, and it’s patterned:

Other towels: 

You may need either one or two towels to wash and dry your body, depending on whether or not you embrace wetwipes. If you do, then you may need only one towel, probably a micro-towel such as those reviewed by Josh in his ‘Destinkify’  post, to dry your skin after you have wetwiped it. If you prefer soap and water, or plain water, you can use a face-washer sized micro-cloth and wet it to clean your skin. Then you’ll need another, probably slightly larger, towel or cloth to dry your skin.

The fluffy cotton basics (I just love the brand name of these ones!):

Some super cute ones….

And some high-tech functionality ones, which claim to remove makeup with warm water only! 

Finally, the ‘cheap and cheerful’ 24-pack:

Hair products:

  • Hairspray, styling gel or mousse or other hair product

OR

  • a little bit of shampoo

Makeup:

Whatever your usual makeup products. See ‘methods’ for further advice.

Optional Changing Robe:

This can be either a home-made job, a basic store-bought beach product, or a full-on, warmth-focused professional outdoor sports DryRobe. If you run-commute in really cold conditions, you might want to check out DryRobe’s range of robes that you can change underneath. Their robes are used by pro surfers and so on, to stay warm or when changing on a cold beach. The inside of the robe is synthetic lambs’ wool. Check it out here:

This DryRobe is fairly heavy (in the weight-conscious world of runcommuting) though, so probably only good if you have somewhere at work to keep it stored.

This looks like a nice terry-towelling one, by Northcore:

Hair-wetting container:

Can be anything from your soap container to a vessel you have specially designated your ‘hair washing’ container – your choice! I use a very small, soap-bar sized clip-lock tupperware container that also holds my soap. I put the soap on the basin and then use the container to wet my hair and scalp. (See pic)

Flip-flops:

You’ll need flip-flops to allow you to get out of your running shoes and socks, but without exposing your bare feet to the germ-party that is a public bathroom floor. Theoretically, you could take off your running shoes and put your work shoes on immediately, but you can’t put your clean underwear/tights on until you’ve wiped down your legs and ‘business’ areas, and it’s hard to get them over your work shoes. The issue of balancing on high-heels might also come into play if you wear heels.

Step 1. Post-run-commute: Claiming a ‘clean up’ space 

  • Pick up your makeup/towels/flip-flops/changing robe from their storage place (See Note 1 at end).
  • Proceed to the bathroom.
  • Go into one of the toilet cubicles and hang your pack on the back of the door. (See Note 2).
  • Go back out to the washbasins, whilst still in your running gear, and wash/rinse your hair and scalp under the tap or by tipping water over your head from your container.
  • Once you have sufficiently rinsed the sweat off your scalp and hair, wrap your hair up in your ‘towel turban’.
  • You can now proceed back into the toilet cubicle for Step 2: Gettin’ Naked!

Step 2. Gettin’ naked! (and then washing and getting dressed again)

  • In the cubicle, strip off your running clothes, leaving your towel turban on.
  • Use your wash/dry towel to wipe your limbs, torso, and private areas down, and then to dry them. The method for this last directive changes depending on your choice of ‘washing’ equipment.

Chemical-covered wet-wipes are technically supposed to be safe to use on your ‘lady parts’, given that they are used on babies’ bottoms, which are surely some of the most sensitive skin around. However, everyone’s skin is different, and some women may find it more pleasant to stick with plain water.

If so, this may require a thinking-through of method.

The wet-wipes method:

  • Go back into your cubicle
  • Get naked
  • Wipe down your body with wet-wipes
  • Dry your skin thoroughly with your dry towel.
  • Apply body powder if desired.

If you eschew wet-wipes, there are two methods you can adopt for the body wash:

No wet-wipes method 1:

  • Whilst still dressed in your running clothes, but having wet your hair and tied it up in your ‘towel turban’, wet your ‘washing’ cloth/microtowel thoroughly under the tap. Squeeze it out until most, but not all, of the water is out.
  • Take it back into your cubicle. Shut the door (!)
  • Hang the wet cloth on the hook over the top of your pack
  • Get undressed
  • Wash your whole body bit by bit (except your face).
  • Hang the wet cloth back on the hook.
  • Use your dry towel to dry your whole body
  • Get dressed
  • Exit the cubicle. Wash out your wet cloth, refresh the water it is holding, and wash your face and neck at the basin.
  • Dry your face and neck with your dry cloth.

Some people may feel that there is insufficient refreshing of the water in the wet cloth when using this method. For example, you may feel like you want to wash sweatier areas in a separate ‘go’. If so, the second method is the one for you.

Method 2: (Start off in the same way as per Method 1 up to and including “Get undressed”.)

  • Put on your ‘changing robe’ (take a moment to feel smug that you have a ‘changing robe’…).
  • Using your cloth underneath your robe, wash the sweatiest (or least sweatiest, your choice) areas on your body with the wet cloth.
  • Still wearing your changing robe, exit the cubicle, rinse wet cloth under tap, refresh with water, and either return to cubicle to wash remaining areas, or wash them in public, underneath your robe. Your colleagues cannot complain you are being indecent, because your nakedness is hidden under your robe!
  • Once washed go to cubicle, shut door,
  • take off changing robe so you are completely nude, and use your dry cloth/microtowel to dry off your body.
  • Get dressed in work clothes. At this point you should be dressed, but still wearing your towel turban on your wet hair.
  • You are now ready for Step 3. Hair Management.

*Remember though, if you go with the wet wipes option, throw them in the bin, don’t flush them down the toilet! See here for why (but not if you’re eating whilst reading this post).

Step 3. Hair Management

There are a few options here. The easiest is to wear your hair up for the day somehow. This reduces the need for product, though a full head of wet hair sitting there all day can feel ‘heavy’ and cold in winter or cold workplaces.

If you want to leave your hair down, you can either blow-dry some of your hair before applying product, or just apply product straight to your wet hair. (See Note 3).

Step 4. Makeup

  • Apply makeup….
  • Sparkle!!

 

Conclusion

Female-specific ‘no shower’ runcommuting is the same as runcommuting in general. It is all about planning and organisation. As with many things that require planning and organisation, the payoffs are totally worth it. Try it tomorrow.

 

Notes

Note 1: If you don’t have a private filing cabinet or drawer or any other place to permanently store your makeup, you may need to adopt Kyle’s ‘secret ceiling panel’ method as detailed in his ‘From Sweaty to Office-Ready’ post.

Note 2: Most toilet doors have hooks on the back. If your workplace has toilet doors without hooks, you have a problem! My advice in such a case would be to either: ask management to install them, or install one yourself, without asking.

Note 3: Some workplaces will now have those blow-driers for hands that are designed to blow upwards, from waist-height, in a narrow slot in which you lower and raise your hands to dry them “in ten seconds”. This is an unfortunate development for the long-haired female runcommuter, as it is impossible (though some have tried) to stick your head in a five-centimetre slot. Technology: always changing, often for the worse. If your workplace has invested in such machines….I have no advice. Suggestions welcome in the comments below!

Note 4: Personally, I don’t use a huge range of makeup products, so I’ve been able to adopt the method of simply buying a duplicate set of products. This may be more of a hassle for women who have an extensive or expensive set of makeup products costing hundreds of dollars. But think of it this way: you’d have to buy another set eventually anyway, for runcommuting you’ve had to buy two at the same time but they will last double the time.

 

 

 

 

 

Xena, X-Men and Rapunzel Image Sources: Official Xena Facebook Fanpage; imbd–X-Men The Last Stand page; Disney Princess Gallery (click on names to open source sites).

Run Commuting Tights Fit to Face a Canadian Winter

If you run commute year-round above the 49th parallel, you most likely have a variety of thermal tights. Up until this year, finding a pair that performed well below -20°C/-4°F proved to be tricky (at least for me) unless I was ready to spend lots of money. However, Mountain Equipment Co-op came out with a great new set of tights this year that solves my dilemma: the MEC Flyer Tight.

Source: Mountain Equipment Co-op

The front panel is made of wind-blocking nylon, polyester, spandex, and blended with polyurethane. The back is slightly different, composed of nylon and spandex, with a soft-brushed fleece interior.

Having now used these for the past 2 weeks, I am extremely pleased with the way they keep me warm, even in the coldest weather (-22°C/-8°F). Despite being thicker than most thermal tights, they did not impede my range of motion. That said, the idea behind these tights (front and back panel made of different materials) is not new, but their price make them a real steal: $82 CAD (about $58 USD).

In the same category: Sugoi Firewall 180 Zap tights, $209 CAD ($148 USD)

Modified Running Gloves

A friend, with whom I often run commute, owns a pair of Nike running gloves, which also have a mitt cover for colder days. I have been trying to get a pair of these for many years and just recently found a similar product at MEC. Reviews were not good for the product though, but they were at a discount, so I went for them. I quickly found out why: the mitt cover seams let go after the second day.

I could have taken them back to MEC for a refund, but I decided to go another way: I went to my local shoe repair shop. For a minimal cost, they readily fixed them, and they will be good for many run commuting years to come.

My local shoe repair shop, Cordonnerie Chez Gerry.

Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie

For the past 10 years, I swore by soft shell jackets for winter running. However, last fall was very mild, so I kept my Salomon Fast Wing Hoodie around longer than usual, which led to trying it out in cold temperatures. With the proper base and mid-layers, it turned out to be a very good fit, even in temperatures as cold as -20°C/-4°F. Not only does it work well, but it is half the weight of my soft shell.

Source: www.salomon.com

Perfect Gifts for Run Commuters: Stanley Products

I’ve got to say – these Stanley products have really made me rethink what I use to drink from, not only around our house, but for all outdoor activities in which our family pursues. Our southern summers are hot and humid, and after a few hours of hiking in the woods or playing in the park, cold beverages tend to be infrequent luxuries. Thankfully, Stanley has changed that with their high-quality constructed and classically-designed beverage containers. Check out a few of these great Stanley gift ideas, perfect for the hard-to-buy-for active person in your life.

A lot of run commuters are also bike commuters, and this stainless steel growler is absolutely fantastic for transporting draft beer in a bike pannier. With my old glass growlers, I was always worried that I would hit a bump too hard and the glass would shatter and spill beer everywhere. Not with the Stanley growler!

It is also great for coffee (more practical to carry while run commuting), keeping liquids warm for half of an entire day, and the handle and wide mouth spout make anything easy to pour. Best of all – no refrigeration needed; the Stanley Growler keeps beer cold long enough for you and friend to two to finish it off.

Specs

Keeps beer cold for 16 hours

Keeps liquid hot for 12 hours

64 oz. capacity

Stainless steel, double wall vacuum construction

This is my new favorite thing – An insulated pint glass with a wide drinking opening and built-in bottle opener. Stanley combined their signature style and design to a timeless classic making something completely perfect for beer, coffee, and soda drinkers alike.

The Stanley Pint has consistently kept all of my beers cold until they were gone, easily outperforming any other drinking vessel on warm, Southern afternoons. This is the perfect gift for friends or family members (and at a great price, too!)

Specs

Keeps beer cold 4 1/2 hours

16 oz. capacity

Four color choices

Stainless steel, 

double wall 

vacuum construction

Ever wanted to treat your date to a homemade mixed drink in the park? Have you ever been sitting around a campfire and thought a whiskey sour would really hit the spot? With the Stanley Happy Hour, you can do that! Included in the set are a break-apart shaker, jigger cap, citrus reamer, and two insulated rocks glasses. And the best feature? The whole system fits inside itself for easy packability and/or portability. Pairs appropriately well with the Stanley Flask.

.

Specs

Five piece system

20 oz. capacity

Dishwasher Safe

18/8 stainless steel

The Stanley Flask will hold your spirits without leaking during transport, thanks to the securely-attached, hinged lid.

It pours easily from its wide-mouthed spout, and it fits perfect in a back pocket, a backpack, or inside a bike pannier or handlebar bag.

This flask is a classic and should be a part of everyone’s outdoor packing list.

Specs

Leak proof

8 oz. capacity

Four color choices

18/8 stainless steel

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

Review: Osprey Rev 24

We’ve had our eyes on the Osprey Rev since we first heard about it in 2013, and I finally broke down and bought one to try it out. Though it falls under Osprey’s cycling category on their website, it is intended for trail runners and endurance athletes whose running needs include easy access to storage space and ample hydration.

Test Model

Osprey Rev 24

Size: Small/Medium

Carrying Capacity: 22L, 1,343 cu. in.

Cost: US $130

Add-on: Hi-Vis Rain Cover (X-Small)

Performance and Evaluation

I  ran over 100 miles with the Osprey Rev 24, carrying my clothing in the IAMRUNBOX garment carrier or the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter, lunch, rain jacket, hat, and an occasional book. The average weight for the entire setup was 7.0 pounds.

On the run, it felt great! The Rev’s fit is snug and secure against the torso when properly adjusted. I was a little concerned that the thin shoulder straps might rub, but aside from a little discomfort against my clavicle once or twice (which stopped after I readjusted the straps), it was comfortable, light, and chafe-free. The shoulder straps run close to the sternum, and then veer off towards the hips at the bottom. This provided my arms with a lot more freedom of movement than I’ve found in other packs.

Another initial worry I had was that there are no external compression straps on the sides. There is, however, a cinch strap/buckle at the top of the pack, and it pulls together the zippered areas at the top of the pack. It did not appear that it would do much for bounce though. The pack itself is made of thin material, making it floppy, and I thought the lack of compression straps would have made it overly bouncy while running. Surprisingly, it runs extremely well with very little bounce. I think that having a garment carrier inside helped the pack hold its shape and minimize up and down bouncing, and the waist/sternum straps eliminate any potential side-to-side movement.

When it comes to having items and storage at the ready, the Rev dominates its field of competitors. I loved having quick, on-the-run access to a hat, wallet, gels/bars, rain jacket, camera, and headlamp. In addition, the flip-down phone holster on the shoulder strap was great for checking emails/texts while waiting at long traffic signals. On one or two occasions, though, I found that the clear vinyl inside of the pocket fogs up, most likely due to the sweat emanating from my torso.

I don’t run with a hydration system unless I’m going long (10 miles+) so I only tried it out for one commute. I like the entire setup of the system, and found it runs extremely well. The quick-disconnect hose allows the bladder to go in and out of the pack with ease, and is ideal for trail races when you want to spend as little time as possible at aid stations. Though it is designed to reduce movement and noise, I still found I needed to burp the bladder before running to reduce sloshing

One thing missing from the Rev is a rain cover. I run commute year-round in whatever weather is occurring when I step out the door, so a rain cover is a necessity (and additional purchase). Osprey’s Hi-Vis Rain Cover in X-Small fits the Rev 24 perfectly. It has reflective markings, a light attachment, and it performs as advertised in wet weather.

What I Liked

Shoulder strap media pouch

Multiple run-accessible storage areas

Very lightweight

Advanced hydration system

No pouches on waist strap

Double sternum straps

Strap placement allows arms to move freely

What I Didn’t Like

Back heats up quickly

No rain cover

No pouches on waist strap

Heavy items in side pouches tend to bounce around

Backpack Details

Front

The front of the pack contains no pouches or light attachment points, however it does have an elastic band tie-down system that can hold many items of different sizes and shapes. It is ideal for holding a damp jacket or a pair of shoes. At the top of the pack is a triangular, black flap with a buckle and cinch strap that sort of pulls together everything at the top of the pack (zippers, pouches, and hydration pocket).

Sides

One of the things I like most about the Rev is that it has so many different quick-access pouches. I love to be able to run without carrying things in my hands, but also be able to access certain items without loosening straps and removing my pack. The Rev has two different styles of side access pouches.

On the right side (while wearing the pack) is a medium-sized pouch made of stretchy material that expands as you put something into it, and contracts back down to look like a small flap when empty. This is an open-ended pocket with no closure, but the elastic does retract to keep things from falling out. It is perfect for holding sunglasses, a camera, or packable rain jacket.

On the left side is a nearly identical pocket. The only difference is that it has a zippered opening so that nothing will fall out.

Main Compartment and Top Access Pouch

Despite looking like a small, low-capacity pack due to the Rev’s somewhat floppy, softer construction materials, the main compartment holds an exceptional amount of gear. It easily fits a set of work clothes in a garment carrier, lunch, additional clothing, and even a pair of shoes, and the single top strap holds everything in place quite well.

The top access pouch (the gray area of the main compartment in the pic below) is reserved for smaller items which need a little more protection, and that aren’t needed during the run, like a wallet, identification badge, checkbook, keys, etc.

Back and Waist Strap

The back of the pack consists of tightly-woven mesh covering 1/8of flexible, padded, breathable material. That’s it. Unlike the Manta and Stratos with their AirSpeed back panels that separate the pack from your back, the Rev comes in direct contact with your back. While still extremely comfortable, it does heat your back up quite fast.

The waist straps have wide, padded “wings” on each side where they attach to the pack. The connecting strap is narrow, non-stretchy, and the plastic buckle is small. On the outside of each wing, and within easy reach while running, are medium-sized, zippered pouches, capable of carrying a wallet, gels, energy bars, or any combination thereof. The whole setup is quite comfortable and I never once experienced any chafing or irritation in this particular area.

Suspension

The shoulder straps are made from the same material as the back of the pack; waffle-like padding covered with a durable mesh material. One of the unique aspects of their design can be seen where the straps attach at the top of the pack. Rather than just have the medium-width straps rest on your shoulders, Osprey added some additional material that makes the top of the straps nearly as wide as the pack, making the pack rest very comfortably in an area that is prone to chafe and irritation, especially when carrying heavier loads.

On the left strap is Osprey’s DigiFlip™ media pocket. It holds smartphones up to 5 ½” long and 3” wide. It fit my HTC One M7 nicely, though without its Otterbox Commuter case. The pouch flips down and your phone is touch-accessible through a clear vinyl cover and the outside of the case is made from water-resistant material, as well, so the phone is completely enclosed and weather-resistant. On the outside of the DigiFlip pocket is another stretchy, storage pouch.

The right strap has two narrow, overlapping stretchy pouches which can hold anything from a flashlight, to gels, bars, or pens and markers. Each strap has two attachment loops above the pouches for routing the hydration hose, or attaching items such as blinking lights.

Connecting both shoulder straps horizontally are two stretchy, adjustable sternum straps. Both can not only be adjusted left and right, but can also be slid up or down along the straps. The topmost chest strap has a magnet on the buckle, and is used to hold the mouthpiece of the hydration hose while in use.

Hydration System

The Rev comes with a 2.5L Hydraulics™ LT bladder that is designed to keep the water from annoyingly sloshing around, as well as to keep the bag flat and from balling up in the bottom of the pack.

The hose has a cool quick-release feature, which allows it to disconnect from the top of the bladder, and end of the hose contains a magnet that attaches to the upper sternum strap buckle, which keeps the bite valve close to your mouth while running.

The backpack has a designated hydration storage section within it that is zippered at the top and rides close to your back when secured. The bladder slips easily in and out and since you can disconnect the hose, it makes for quick refueling stops along the trail. 

Additional Pictures

Review: IAMRUNBOX Garment Carrier

How do you carry your clothes to work? Some people roll them. Others fold them and place them carefully inside their packs. But perhaps you work in an office environment that requires you to wear business attire and your clothes need to look good and freshly-ironed at all times. What do you do then? We recently tested out a product that was made to keep your clothes looking great straight out of your backpack.

What is the IAMRUNBOX?

The IAMRUNBOX is not itself a backpack. Rather, it is a garment carrier designed to fit inside a backpack, carry-on, or suitcase. Overall, the carrier is quite simple, consisting of a semi-soft outer shell, which unzips into two rectangular halves. One side has a small pocket and the other is empty. A single, small carrying handle can be found at the top of the carrier. Included with the IAMRUNBOX is a clothing folding guide and a mesh bag for additional accessories, such as a belt or wallet.

How to fold and pack your clothing

Choose your clothes for the day, then iron and let them cool. If you pack them away hot, your folds may create wrinkles that stubbornly stick around for the rest of the day. Once they have cooled, the folding can begin. Start with the shirt.

Button the top and bottom buttons of your shirt at the very least, then lay it out button-side down and flatten out creases. Place the folding guide at the top of the shirt, centered, underneath the collar. Fold one side over and fold the sleeve into the center. Repeat for the other side. Then, fold the bottom of the shirt up towards the collar, and fold the excess underneath. Place your folded shirt in the IAMRUNBOX. Do not remove the folding guide from the inside of the folded shirt. It works extremely well as a shirt/blouse/skirt stiffener!

Next, fold your pants in half, and then fold in half them once more. Place on top of shirt. Place any remaining undergarments, on top of your shirt and pants. If you have any accessories in the mesh bag, place that on top, as well. Then close the carrier.

Performance

Its semi-soft shell holds its form while inside the pack and, surprisingly, the clothing items remain in place after a long run without bunching up in the bottom. It does take up a lot of space, so it might be best to leave your shoes or other large items at the office.

I tested the IAMRUNBOX while run commuting in multiple packs for over a month. My clothes looked much better than they had while using the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter. This is no doubt due to the shell on the IAMRUNBOX versus the thin, poly material of the Specter that constricts the clothing in order to hold it in place. With the IAMRUNBOX, clothing and garment carrier coexist peacefully without the crushing and smashing involved with other products and packing methods.

It’s nice to finally see a product that is made for run commuting! It may be heavier than some runners prefer, but if you want your clothes to come out looking good at work, use the IAMRUNBOX on your run commute.

Specifications

IAMRUNBOX

  • Weight: 15 oz. (425g)

  • Capacity: 2 shirts; 1 shirt and pants/skirt (plus undergarments and accessories)

  • Not suitable for carrying suit jackets, blazers, or shoes in addition to a basic set of work clothes.

  • Price: $47.00 (£30)

Size Comparisons

I thought it would be a good idea to show how the IAMRUNBOX looks next to some of the backpacks listed above. Here are a few:

* Disclosure: IAMRUNBOX provided us a free garment carrier for this review.

By | 2017-02-02T14:38:21+00:00 September 5th, 2015|Categories: Gear|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.

 

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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

In the News: Nine reasons why running to work beats the train

Here’s a nice, concise piece about run commuting that recently ran in the UK’s Telegraph. One of the best parts: 

6. You’ll avoid talking to strangers on the train

Let’s be honest: no one wants to hear about their fellow commuter’s bunion surgery while travelling on the 7.53.

 

Aside from the fact that your legs are unlikely to go on strike as often as National Rail, run commuting boasts a number of key benefits

Source: Nine reasons why running to work beats the train

By | 2015-05-31T14:32:44+00:00 May 31st, 2015|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on In the News: Nine reasons why running to work beats the train
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