I hate shopping. I’ve got a one or two shops where I go if I need something…and that’s pretty much it. BUT ask me about my runningdrobe….that’s a completely different story! My running clothes counts for 70% of my wardrobe (if not more).
The kit selection for #mygoal this year wasn’t easy. Two days before the race I wasn’t still sure what trail shoes and shorts/skort to wear. I wanted my race to be ‘perfect’ and I wanted to nail it down to the last piece of clothing. Suffering due to my poor selection of the kit wasn’t an option and so I spent hours and hours testing, researching, asking my fellow ultra running friends and even bombarding Anna Frost with tons of kit related questions.
On 20 June 2015 it all paid off and I ran for 27h 50mins in the same clothes and shoes with NO pain, NO chaffing issues, NO blisters…NO one minute spent thinking about clothes and whether I should change my top, shorts, put clean socks or else.
All the kit I was wearing become my second skin; the ‘skin’ that got me to the finish with no pain.
Thank you clothes!
A few things I learned on the way tho;
– When budgeting for the race don’t forget about the kit cost!
– Long training runs = catwalk shows – really test everything
– If you’re not 100% happy with it, don’t take it
– Don’t neglect underwear selection
– Merino is the new black
My ‘Runfit Of The Race’
T-shirt: Ashmei merino + carbon top
I simply love this top so this choice was really easy and quick. For the race, I bought myself another red-short sleeve and also a long-sleeve top.
It really does what it says on the tin – keep you warm when cold and wet; and cool when it’s hot. And it looks good, not that I care much but yes, ladies – it’s a very flattering top you can wear when not running. Although it’s a rather expensive item when compared to other running t-shirts, it’s 1000% worth the investment. I haven’t look back at the ‘normal’ technical t-shirts since I first ran in it.
For the whole duration of the race I didn’t feel cold during the rainy night and hot during the 30C-day-weather. Me fellow runners were quite jealous of the fact that I haven’t had to change it and that it didn’t smell. Yes, they tried but couldn’t smell me!
Women’s Merino + Carbon T-shirt – £75 from ashmei
Shorts: X-Bionic Trick Shorts
Choosing the right bottoms has always been a tough one for me. Shorts, tights or skort need to be a spot on otherwise I get frustrated very easily. And being frustrated and irritated for 27+ hours it’s not good!
At first, I thought of wearing my beloved Salomon skort but I had some problems with the inner shorts on a couple of my last long runs. This got me worried and I was in search for an alternative.
Compress sport trail shorts sounded like a good choice but so the X-bionic shorts. I opted for the latter and got them the day before my London Marathon. As it was only 26.2 miles I took the marathon as a training/testing run and trialled these. Great choice well made, Miss Istvanova!
No seams = no chaffing, they don’t ride up or down and are the perfect length. Shorts sorted!
My compress sports shorts arrived just a few days before the the race and I managed to run only once in them. I didn’t want to take the risk so their ‘running premiere’ was postponed.
X-bionic Trick Shorts – £80 from X-bionic
Underwear: Icebreaker Merino Oasis Women’s Boy Shorts – 200
The most expensive pair of panties I own! After a chat with Frosty and her recommendations I got myself a pair. Why on earth I haven’t thought about merino underwear before??? Honestly, my running life could have been much easier if I got these earlier. Anna wears the Icebraker Oasis Boy shorts underneath her Salomon dress and skorts.
Again no chaffing issues whatsover so go and give them a go!
Icebreaker Merino Oasis Women’s Boy Shorts – £35 from Icebreaker
Bra: Runderwear Crop Top
As a proud owner of a smaller chest I don’t really need very supportive bras and I’m fine with just a normal sport bra. Guys over at Runderwear kindly sent me their crop top to test. And after a first training run this seamless and moisture wicking crop top turned into my race bra. Sweet!
No chaffing, great fit and moisture wicking system = happy boobs 🙂
Women’s Runderwear Crop Top – £25 from Runderwear
Socks: Ashmei merino + carbon socks
Similar to Ashmei merino top, their socks are my another must-haves. I literally won’t leave my house for a race without wearing them. The ultimate pair of socks that never disappoint and they got to experience some pretty muddy runs with me.
For the race, I got myself the trail running ones (mid – 3pack) – blister and smell free socks which dry quickly! Although I packed all of the three pairs with me, there was no need for me to change! #Winning
ashmei Trail Running Socks MID (3 Pack) – £33 from ashmei
Trail shoes: Scott Kinabalu 2.0 2014
Okay now we are getting to the kit category where I struggled the most. As with any race, long or short, the shoes are the most important choice you make. Wrong shoes and you’re screwed… After my school boy error of going from 10mm heel drop to 4mm in one week, Simon suggested I try the Scott Kinabalu as he was very happy with them when he did the CCC.
The time was ticking and with only a month to go I did my internet magic and found these for £40! Yes, please! 2 days later and my feet were happy again. It’s really funny how quickly you can find out whether the shoes are THE ONES or not. It took me 3miles…
No initial arch-pain – ticked, no blisters – ticked, shoes found – ticked!
Scott Kinabalu 2.0 2014 Women’s Trail Shoe in Green/Red – £45.95 from Edge & Wax
Pack: Salomon Advanced Skin3 12L
The best one ever! I don’t think this backpack has ever received a bad review. Salomon knows it’s sh*t damn well!
It fits perfectly, it’s like your second skin just with pockets!
You can easily spot which brand doesn’t invest enough in R&D and talking to runners. Chaffing, bad fit and pointless pockets and add-ons are common results of poor research and testing. If you want to invest in a good running pack then buy Salomon, that’s all I’ve got to say.
Although, saying that, I’m still not sure about the flasks. I’m always a bit worried that I’m going to brake them. So I bought myself the older version of the pack which has got two pockets for normal bottles.
S-LAB ADV Skin3 12 Set – £150 from Salomon
Neck gaiter: High UV Protection Buff Ciron
A neck gaiter is such a versatile piece of kit. You can wear it however you want to – as a neckerchief, a headband, wristband, mask, hairband, scarf, beanie or bandana. It was one of the compulsory items so I wanted to make sure I had a good one. I was given the opportunity of testing the latest innovation from the Buff Wear – High UV Protection Buff. A lovely 36C sunny weather hit me when I landed in Slovakia (my race location and my home) so the High UV buff was a spot on!
I wore it for the full 27+ hours and it helped me a lot. My perfect neck warmer during the cold and windy/rainy night and useful headgear during the sunny day.
Buff Ciron High UV Protection – £16 from Kitshack