Sub 3 hour marathon training diary – Week 12 – 13

Week 12 – 13

In preparation for Manchester I’ve been working on dialling in my kit and nutrition, by practicing these areas for my long runs. This article is a high level recap of my running kit choices over weeks 12 and 13 of the training block.

Sunglasses

My go to running sunglasses are the SunGod Pacebreakers.

The are fully customisable (colour wise) and comfortable via the ear socks (red parts) which are grippy even with sweat. They have 100% UVA & UVB protection for rays upto 400nm. The 4K lenses help reduce glare and inner lens reflection. They are lightweight at 27g. And finally they have a lifetime guarantee if they break (or you break them).

Headphones

Whilst I don’t wear headphones for races, a big part of my easy paced training runs are spent listening to podcasts and audiobooks.

I use the following two sets on rotation. The great thing about both is that the battery life is great, you can run for days on a single charge. Additionally both are sweat and water resistant.

AfterShokz Trekz Air Wireless headphones. They work through bone conduction technology which delivers audio through your cheekbones. It sounds strange but it really is excellent as it allows your ears to remain completely open to hear ambient sounds, which is good for a safety point of view.

Beats PowerBeats3. The battery life trumps the AfterShokz Trekz Air (approx 6 hours) as the Beats can go up to 12 hours. They are comfortable with a selection of ear bud types to fit different ear types. They stay secure when your moving your head when running, plus the wire between the two ear clips fits securely with minimum bounce using the cable management clip. Additionally the sound quality is great.

Top

For races I prefer singlets/vests to running t-shirts. Because they are lighter, breathable, and make for a more comfortable running experience.

However I broke that rule for Boston 2018 due to the weather!

If it’s cold, and I’m wearing a singlet I’ll add arm warmers. These are shown in the photo below, which were given thanks to the team at the world marathon majors. Wearing them brings back the positive energy of my six star finish, with the epic weather of Boston 2018 (photo above).

Watch etc.

For me any GPS watch should be used as a guide. After running several marathon majors, I’ve learned that built up areas, skyscrapers etc can throw your recorded GPS pace and it’s more important to learn to run by feel for different paces. As GPS strength won’t always be 100%. So use watches as a guide, but learn to trust your pace by feel, rather than clock watching.

Also when your too focused on what your watch says you get awful stop your watch at the finish line photos like this… yep you’ve been there!

At the moment I switch between the Apple Watch 4 and the Suunto 9.

My favourite element of the Apple Watch 4 is the rolling mile feature, which I’ve gone into greater detail reviewing previously in this article. It’s strength is the smart watch features in combination with the fitness side. I’m looking forward to seeing the new ECG App, which is great for health monitoring.

My favourite element of the Suunto 9 is the insane battery life. I ran the ultra marathon trail race, the half marathon Des Sables Peru on one charge over 4 days. The watch functions by both touch screen and buttons. It has a clear interface for everything that you need from regular runs, to interval workouts and beyond.

Road ID (Left) Suunto 9 (Right)

Health and safety is vital for running, in an emergency situation when you need to convey any health conditions to someone that can help you. I used to have a card detailing this, but now I just use my Road ID band. In the photo above I’ve not shown the ID part for security reasons (which you can put your vital details on) but have just shown the accessories badges (Boston Strong etc). However they have practical badges that show specific conditions such as T1/2 diabetes for example. There’s many other options including just fitting the ID badge to your Apple Watch strap.

Shorts

When I started running I wore longer shorts, but they aren’t suitable for running fast unless your trying to start a fire.

Then there’s racing shorts which are perfect for running. However unless your an elite and you have tables on the course to pick up your fuel or have people in designated areas to hand them out, they can be unpractical if you need storage for keys, gels etc. They may have pockets but space is limited for race shorts.

So you could go for storage belts like the spibelt or flipbelt. Both are equally as good and it’s down to preference which one you use. My preference is the endurance spibelt (as shown in my finish line photo above…) as I like the external hoops for your gels, so you can see which one your going for, which is useful if you are rotating between regular, electrolyte and caffeine gels.

However whilst both have limited bounce etc. My preference when running fast is to not wear the belts. So that means carrying items in pockets.

Decathlon have two excellent solutions at a reasonable price.

1.Kalenji Men’s trail running tight shorts

2.Kalenji Men’s trail running baggy shorts

Both have six pockets

  • On the front a large pocket around the stomach that can hold a 250 ml water flask, held in place by an elastic band. Inside this pocket there is a zip pocket (140×70 mm);
  • At the back, there is 1 large zip pocket for a 250 ml water bottle;
  • On either side of the back pocket, there are 2 net pockets that can easily hold 3 gels each

Both can be adjusted with a draw cord at the waist and will comfortably carry weight in the pockets with limited bounce.

At the moment the tight shorts are my favourite, they are comfortable, with an element of compression, plus they hold everything I need i.e. gels. 10 years ago I would not had pictured myself wearing vests and tight shorts running…but they are so comfortable and fit for purpose that I just embrace it now!!

There is an exact same version of the tights and shorts for women also.

Socks & Underwear – Runderwear

Blisters, chafed feet can ruin a race so choose your socks wisely. I like the Steigen because they dry quickly (excluding running in rain obviously) and they reduce friction. Plus they have a Blister Free Guarantee. This means that if you get a blister running, walking or riding, they will support you with a refund.

The Runderwear men’s merino briefs, have a number of benefits from natural Anti-Bacterial Properties, to extra comfort. They are the premium range but I have the regular Runderwear boxers as well and they both are equally comfortable and help you run chafe free. There are also ranges for women also.

Shoes

Whilst some will argue for a more cushioned shoe, the fact is they aren’t going to fully save your legs from the pounding of a marathon. Plus to add insult to injury they are heavier, which means your carrying extra weight per step, which does add up over time for races. However I’m not against supportive shoes. Personally I wear them approx 80% of the time for my easy/steady pace running only.

However when running fast, or racing, my preference is a LIGHT shoe. I’ve been practicing running in the New Balance 1400v6’s, and they are ticking all the boxes for me, as my race day shoe. They feel light enough for quicker leg turnover but have cushioning. In addition I use my custom Enertor orthotic insoles, to provide extra support.

To follow my training I post my training on my Strava account.

Manchester marathon is approximately four weeks away, to see my journey on Instagram follow the hashtag.

#2019projectsub3

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3 comments

  1. Great gear review mate 👍🏻 love the analogy of starting a fire in your shorts. For the first few years of running I also felt too embarrassed to wear the really short race shorts and would wear shorts over tights. I have since learned to not care what others think and go with what feels best. Do you find that carrying gels etc in your pockets can chafe?

    Like

    1. Thanks mate. I can fully relate to the shorts over tights element, and am the same as you now, I go with what works best. For the decathlon shorts/tights The pockets have an elasticated band/material which keep the items quite secure. But I haven’t experienced any chafe with them and I’ve taken upto 5 gels, a few times running with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thats good to know, I might take a look at a pair of them. I usually carry my gels in a belt which I use for triathlons, like you experienced, it can bounce a little which can be off putting.

        Liked by 1 person

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