Tag Archives: dryrobe

The Importance of Good Kit – Legs and Body

Last weekend with no race to run, I amused myself writing a post about the kit I choose to use on my hands and feet, and I was in all honesty blown away with the response to an article about gloves socks and shoes! This week, with yet another race free weekend to contend with, I’m writing the second instalment, which will basically cover everything else I wear and why.

This time I will start at the top and work my way down.

Top Half

For my first two races, I just shoved on my original RP Combat Conditioning top, without giving it much thought. This was a vest made from cotton, and actually isn’t the best choice for racing. The problem with cotton is that it will absorb water, stay wet, get heavy and leave you cold.

For Warrior Run, on a lovely day in October, this didn’t matter at all, but it was a different story when I did Beat the Bog in November – if I knew then what I know now, I might not have spent an hour blue after that race.

Base Layers

The first thing I have learned is that if its cold, you are going to want a base layer. I got myself a Nike Dri-fit base layer in February before doing a training session on the Nuts Challenge course, and I also have a thinner RPCC long sleeved top, giving me an option depending on the temperature.

Nike and RPCC base layers
Nike and RPCC base layers

The Nike top performed really well in the cold conditions at Nuts, it is very warm and keeps you warm even when you are wet, but would probably leave me too warm as the temperature starts to rise, the other is thinner and a better option if its not freezing. I like having the option, and I use the RPCC top on cooler training sessions as well.

Tops

On your top half you should really wear t shirts or vests made of technical material, something that is going to be breathable and not hold water (You could also run topless, I know a few guys who pick this option!).

I have a range of vests to choose from when I run, which I either wear on their own or over a base layer. Once you have run a few races you will also start to pick up a collection of race tees which you could use – I tend to use mine for training though.

A small selection of my choice of vests
A small selection of my choice of vests

For those of you who might be a little more self-conscious bare in mind that the lighter colours are quite unforgiving on the figure once they have got wet and are clinging to your every lump and bump, the darker colours hide this better – just a little tip. You can pick up a decent t-shirt from any sports shop, or on-line without too much trouble.

Bottom Half

As with every other section of kit I have managed to make some mistakes on my bottom half too. In this case it was only recently that I have made kit errors, I’m still learning too!

Running Tights

In the colder months it’s not too difficult to get it right, don’t wear cotton, wear something that will wick away moisture and keep you warm. I would also suggest nothing too baggy.

I ran my first race in a pair of normal Nike running shorts (more on this later) and my second in a pair of Karrimor leggings picked up from Sports Direct, but preparing for Nuts I wanted something a little warmer, so I picked up a pair of Nike running leggings that were made for winter and had Dri-fit technology. These performed great and I’ve worn them quite a few times for races, although they are reaching the end of their life now, as they are wearing through a bit on the knees now, which I think was a souvenir from the Dirty Dozen race in April.

Nike Running Leggings
Nike Running Leggings

I really dislike being too hot when I run, so once the weather starts to turn a bit warmer I usually opt for shorts.  Now for the problem with my normal running shorts, once they got wet they started to ride up and cause rubbing – not pleasant or convenient when you are part way through a race I can assure you. They would still be OK to wear however over the top of some compression shorts or similar, again this might be something to consider if you don’t like the look of yourself in tight shorts.

Shorts

The first pair of shorts I bought specifically for racing were a pair of X-Racewear ladies run shorts. These include a convenient bib pocket on one leg which stops you losing your race number in the midst of a race – a problem I have had before. These shorts are tight, but there is also a unisex pair if you prefer things a bit loser. I find these really useful for keeping my race number safe, however I have found the number can get a bit screwed up sometimes. I wear these over the top of my running tights, or the compression shorts which will be up next. They are also quite short so I’m not really very likely to wear them without something underneath, but this is really just my own personal preference.

X Racewear Shorts
X Racewear Shorts

 

As I have mentioned above I also have a pair of 2XU compression shorts, which I bought along with some 2XU compression calf guards. I initially got these after suffering some cramp towards the end of the Dirty Dozen race, which was, at the time, the longest distance I had run. I have worn these to my last few races and they have performed really well, no cramp at all, and they also help to reduce recovery time. In fact it’s not unusual to find me at home after a training session sitting around in my compression wear to help aid recovery, and It has worked so well that I have since bought a new pair of full compression tights, and am considering the purchase of a compression top too.

2XU compression shorts and calf guards
2XU compression shorts and calf guards

The compression wear is pricey, but I’m sure I’ve said before that I think good kit is worth it. For me the lack of DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) is totally worth it.

The shorts and compression wear were all purchased from my favourite website for kit – Obstacle Kit Ltd – which I know I plugged a lot in my last post, but they really are very good at what they do.

I think that’s more or less it, the last bit of kit I take to my races is my dryrobe. I have mentioned this before in some of my race blogs, but it is amazing and deserves an honourable mention. After a race you chuck it on, it dries you, keeps you warm, and is big enough to change inside of – very useful at a race, where changing facilities are not exactly 5 star. This was also bought from Obstacle Kit, and I wouldn’t be without it.

Chilling in my dryrobe with Tania
Chilling in my dryrobe with Tania Mellish  at Beast in the East

Grim Series: Beast in the East

As we enter May it’s time to take on a few more challenges. This month I have three lined up, the first of which being Grim Series Beast in the East.

Race Description

This race came to my attention through RPCC who posted about it on Facebook, suggesting an “RPCC takeover”, It doesn’t take much to persuade me to do a race so I signed up straight away.

Beast in the East is a 10km trail run based at Canada Heights, Swanley, which takes you round a motocross course (twice) as well as a run though some woods. Their website says that you will plough through mud, sand and hills, and also warns that you will get muddy and wet.

With a large number of RPCCers doing the race, there was a great atmosphere to start as we waited for the off. The sun was shining and it was shaping up to be a good day.

RPCC "Gun Show" at the start line
RPCC “Gun Show” at the start line

 

The Race

The race kicked off at 10:30am and after a ten second countdown everyone surged over the line, the course almost straight away took you up a steep hill that we had previously driven up to park, across the top of the field where we had parked the cars and then onto the motocross course. You could see the front runners powering up the hills, but unfortunately I very quickly began to tire and slow down. I had been struggling with a cold all week (I even lost my voice completely at one point) and this really affected my ability to run.

The motocross course was brutal, huge muddy hills that were almost as difficult to run down as they were to run up, and I’m ashamed to say that I did a lot of walking on the ups, rather than running them.

Trying to run up the hill
Trying to run up the hill

Once you had managed to navigate the motocross circuit it was back off across the car park, for a stretch of trail running through a field, then a token set of tires to hop through before heading into the woods.

The run through the woods and fields was fairly pleasant, although there were still some more hills to navigate. I had expected that this section might include some rivers or streams to wade through but I was disappointed in this. After this stretch you begin to wind your way back to the dreaded motocross circuit for a second time.

As I ran round, feeling very unfit and out of breath I just kept telling myself “it’s for charity, you are doing this for Sooz” (My friend who is the inspiration for this year of challenges and who sadly lost her cancer battle in March). I really didn’t want to do those hills again, but I pushed on, still walking more often than I would have liked and by now my shoe had started to rub and in all honesty I was feeling pretty miserable.

At the top of the hill, contemplating how to get down
At the top of the hill, contemplating how to get down
"Running" down one of the long steep hills
“Running” down one of the long steep hills

After covering a section of the course we were diverted into some water – finally! This was by far my favourite part of the race and I had no hesitation jumping into the muddy water, the bottom of which was very squelchy deep mud that was difficult to wade through, then up out of the water and under a cargo net, now I was nice and muddy, which didn’t make the running any easier, but felt more like the races I’ve grown used to!

Wading through the water
Wading through the water

Just when you thought that must be it, it was back onto the motocross circuit for a few more ups and downs, before a stretch back across towards the finish, once I saw that finish line I put in one final effort for a sprint finish, probably the fastest I ran the whole race in fact.

Crossing the line with a sprint finish
Crossing the line with a sprint finish

Once I crossed the line, I was give my event Tee and grabbed my DryRobe. My whole body felt like it hurt, my knees were aching and my heal was throbbing from a blister, I was really glad to be finished.

At the finish line with (from left to right) Lucy Warburton, Sarah Warburton, me, Tania Mellish
At the finish line with (from left to right) Lucy Warburton, Sarah Warburton, me, Tania Mellish

It is always lovely to do the races with so many people from RPCC, the support is fantastic and everyone did such a good job, it’s a real privilege to run and train with these guys. Getting cheered on when you are tired really helps to push you on.

Me with some of the RPCC girls showing off our new T-shirts
Me with some of the RPCC girls showing off our new T-shirts

Once home I wanted to know my race time, unfortunately though when the results were published I was missing, along with a lot of other people who raced. There had been a glitch with the timing systems so no time was recorded, using the photo of me finishing though I was able to use the numbers of the guys ahead and behind me to work out I finished in 1h9mins and would have been in the top 50 girls. I’m quite pleased with this time as the 10km trail run I did in Januaray was not as tough as this one, and I did that in 1h15 so despite feeling ill I beat my previous 10km trail PB, and you have to be happy with that.

I didn’t enjoy this race as much as some others, but I think that was more to do with feeling I hadn’t done my best, than anything wrong with the race itself. For me, I would rather do the obstacle races than just running, and I would have liked more water.

On a final note I would just like to “big-up” the DryRobe, although pricey it’s a fantastic bit of kit for anyone who runs in these kinds of races, I was warm after finishing despite being wet and hanging around for a while before I got changed, and they are big enough to get changed inside of too. I definitely recommend them. Now time to gear up for my next race, next weekend!

Chilling in my dryrobe with Tania
Chilling in my dryrobe with Tania