Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My (Mostly) Running Wish List

Christmas is around the corner (and Hanukkah and Kwanza and Festivus), so I thought I'd start thinking about the running gear that I really want (and that I will hopefully procure this year). If any of you, my dozens and dozens (I wish) of loyal readers want to buy me any of these... feel free. And if any of the companies that make these fine products would like to give me one of them in exchange for reviewing and talking your product up, I am perfectly willing to accept your products.

Here we go!

Shoes
I don't really need any new shoes, but if I did, I'd get the following:
Trail Glove by MerrellOr Sonic Glove by Merrell
As I will (hopefully) be expanding on over the next few months, I have switch from wearing "tradtional" running shows to "minimalist" shoes (also referred to as the oxymoronical "barefoot shoes"). Last year, Merrell came out with a very popular line of minimalist trail shoes. I don't really do any trail running right now, but I would like to try it. I have also heard that trail shoes are a good shoe to use during the winter to provide increased traction in snow and on ice. Being that I live in Minnesota, I kind of need that.


The difference between the Trail Glove and the Sonic Glove, as near as I can tell, is that the Trail Glove has a mostly mesh upper, while the Sonic Glove has more of cloth/textile upper. The mesh would provide for better ventilation in the summer... but it would also allow more ventilation in the winter. I'm leanding toward the Sonic Gloves, but I've read on other sites that with proper socks (merino wool), the Trail Gloves aren't that cold, even down to single digits.


Vibram Five Fingers KomodosportOR Vibram Five Fingers Komodosport LS
I currently run a lot in Vibram Five Finger KSOs, which I love, but when I bought them, they were really the only option for Vibrams (or minimalist shoes at all). The KSOs are still fabulous for road running in dry conditions (they are OK in wet conditions too, if you're careful), but they don't have the best traction when it gets cold, snowy, and icy. The Komodosports have more aggressive traction, but with a (supposedly) similar fit and ground feel compared to the KSOs.

The only difference between the two is that the Komodosport is a velcro strap for attachment/tightening (the same as the KSOs), and the Komodosport LS has laces (hence the "LS" for "lacing system"). I've never really had trouble with the velcro strap, but I've heard the lacing system can provide for a better over all fit.
Vibram Five Fingers Bikala LS
The Bikalas are the first shoes that Vibram specifically designed for running (I believe the earliest Five Fingers were designed to be water shoes, and the KSOs were just meant to be an all around shoe). I don't know if this makes the Bikalas any better than the KSOs (especially since they are more expensive), but I'd like to find out. Apparently, the fit of the normal (velcro strap) Bikalas is not great (this fit issue was also apparently fixed by the time they made the Komodosports), so I want the lacing system version of these.

Clothing Accessories

Arm Warmers

For no other reason but that I think they look badass... OK, and they provide for better temperature control than just a long sleeve shirt. But mostly... badass.


Compression Socks (e.g., the 2XU Compression Racers)

I don't know what they do, and neither does anyone else, but they supposedly do something compressiony.

A balaclava (like this one from Smartwool)

Here in Minnesota, if you want to run in the winter at all, you need a lot of warm clothing (although not that much this year, thankfully). A balaclava is a must to keep faces, necks, and much of the head nice and warm.

Gear

Garmin Forerunner 910XT
I already have a Forerunner 305, which I love. It is the best investment I ever made as far as running gear goes (my Vibram Five Fingers being a close second). I love being able to not only get immediate feedback on how far I've gone and my current pace (or my pace over the current mile, or my overall average pace), but I also love being able to set up all my workouts and just have the watch put me through my paces (pun totally intended). The new Forerunner 910XT (which comes out sometime in late Winter or early Spring 2012) is like the Forerunner 305, but on super steroids. It has a 20-hour battery life (versus the roughly 8 hours for the 305), it is waterproof, it has an easier-to-read screen (particularly in the dark), and it has vibration alarms (rather than just audio alarms, as on the 305).

There is much more that the 910XT can do, but the biggest reason I want to get one is because it can actually count laps during an indoor pool swim, allowing for precise tracking of indoor swimming, in addition to all the awesome running tracking that it can do. I don't currently do a lot of swimming, but I want to start doing more as a cross-training exercise starting this winter.

Canon PowerShot S100
I already own a Canon Elph (I don't know which model, but it is at least 3 years old), which is a great little point-and-shoot camera. But, I want to start taking more pictures while I'm running (particularly during races), and my little Elph just doesn't have the quick setup time, fast shutter speed, or the low-light quality that I would like. I have loved the Canons I've had in the past, and from what I've read, the S100 (and its immediate predecessor, the PowerShot S95) are great all around cameras that are slightly higher-end compared to the more basic Elph series. Too bad I just don't have the budget to absorb the $300 S95 or the $400+ S100 (maybe this summer some time).

A small (10-12 oz.) handheld bottle (I'm leaning toward the Amphipod Hydraform Handheld Thermal

I already have a hydration belt (the Nathan Speed 4), which is really great for really long runs. But I want something to just carry a little water for shorter runs (5-8 miles, maybe 10 in cooler weather).

Books
I'm starting to really geek out on running books (not super crazy, but still, I rally enjoy them). Here are a few that I would like to pick up.

Daniels' Running Formula by Jack Daniels

This is supposed to be "the" (or "one of the") training bibles for marathon running, at least from the perspective of "traditional" training theories.

There are a few other odds and ends that I'd like to get, but this will do for now. Happy shopping everyone. You only have 4 more days to buy your gifts and have them shipped to me.

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