Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Running Buddy and Runnin' Buds Review

The Running Buddy was created by Julie Bradfield.  Julie wanted to create a belt-free storage option that she could put more than one energy gel in.  After spending over two years and over 1,000 miles of testing, the Running Buddy was created. 

The Running Buddy is worn on the waistband of your shorts or pants.  It is held together by powerful magnets and has a dri-fit material that is comfortable against your skin.  The pouch is water and sweat resistant and has a separator so you can keep your cash/cards separate from your phone.  There are several sizes to choose from.  I got the Galaxy Note version for my Samsung Galaxy S5 with a case and it fits great.

I had initial concerns about comfort and if the pouch would stay in place when I first received it. My concerns quickly disappeared though as the magnets are very strong and hold the Running Buddy in place very well.  The dri-fit backing is very comfortable as well.  I took it out for my first test run and freaked out for a second after about a mile.  I usually run with my phone in my pocket, which I hate.  I didn’t feel my phone bouncing around and thought it had fallen out of my pocket.  Then I realized that I had on the Running Buddy. I was surprised that it was so comfortable that I didn’t even realize I had it on.  Now that’s a great product.

The Running Buddy is well put together and is inexpensive starting at $22.99 for pouches that will hold your phones and $13.99 for a mini version that would be great for carrying smaller items.  These would be a great for women who want to take their license and cards shopping, but want to leave their purse at home.

The Running Buddy also has a single earphone called the Runnin’ Buds. The Runnin’ Buds are great, especially if you run at night.  It is more important to be aware of your surroundings at night and running with standard ear buds means that one is dangling around hitting you in the chest (or face).  I love the idea of having one ear free from music, so you can pay attention to other runners, cyclist, or cars that are nearby.  It did take a little while to get used to only running with music in one ear, but these buds work great.  They have a sports style ear clip that will hold the bud securely.  I found that these ear buds stay in place very well and have great sound.  They also have a built in microphone so you can talk on the phone if the person on the other end doesn’t mind hearing you breathe.   These are a great alternative and are priced at only $17.99.  Give them a try.

Running Buddy provided me with a discount code to give to my readers.  Enter the code "RB15" at checkout at www.therunningbuddy.com for 15% off your order.  You can also purchase your Running Buddy products at Amazon, but will not be able to use the discount code.  I will be giving away a Running Buddy in my giveaway that starts on on December 15th, so keep your eyes peeled.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do you know when to replace your running shoes? The Mino does!



Do you know that running on worn out shoes is one of the primary reasons for injuries in runners?  Do you know when to replace your shoes?  Trying to get a straight answer out of any runner or running store as to when you should replace your shoes is difficult at best.  There are a few common theories.

One theory is that you should replace your shoes every 300-600 miles depending on the brand.  I have read about runners who replace their shoes every 200 miles and others who run over 1,000 miles in a pair of shoes.  The truth is that you can’t really go by mileage because it depends on too many factors including you weight, running style, and type of terrain you run on.

Another popular theory is that you should replace your shoes every 6 months.  This is not a good option either.  I might run 400 miles in that 6 month period where another runner might run 100 or 2,000 miles in that same 6 month period.  Many runners also have several pairs of shoes so they might not put that many miles on each pair of shoes.

The third theory that I hear a lot is that people retire a pair of shoes when they can tell that the cushion or sole of the shoe shows wear.  The problem with this theory is that by the time you can see that the soles are worn out or that the cushioning has started to collapse, you have probably already started to injure yourself.  So how do you know when to replace a pair of shoes?

There is a product called the Mino that can help.  The Mino is a 2.5mm thick pad that you put under the insole of your shoes.  It measures the compression each time you take a step.  The best part is that you don’t have to worry about when to replace your shoes.  The Mino has a set of 6 lights.  As you run more miles in your shoes, more lights will illuminate.  When you get to the 5th (yellow) light you know that you will need to replace your shoes soon.  The 6th (red) light means you need to replace your shoes now.  Every once in a while, just lift up your insole and push the button on the Mino to see how many lights are lit up.  It really is that simple.

My primary concern was if I would feel this under my insole or if it would change the way I ran.  I was surprised to find out that I didn’t even know it was there.  The Mino comes with a 2nd pad to put in your other shoe so your feet will still be the same height from the ground. 

Some runners track mileage for each shoe they run in.  What a pain!  I have several pairs of shoes and don’t want to hassle with a spreadsheet to track my mileage.  I absolutely love this product and I have a pair in every shoe that I own.  For the month of November, you can purchase the Mino at 33% off ($10 each) at www.runmino.com.  Use the coupon code "TEN" at checkout. You can find out more information about the Mino on their website as well. 

Your shoes are intended to protect your feet for a set amount of miles and after that; you dramatically increase the chance of injury.  I think the Mino could quite possibly be the product of the year in 2014.  This would be a great holiday gift for the runner in your life.  Grab your own Mino and let me know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I tried out the Newton Gravity III that I got a while back and because of injuries I had a friend test them out for me.  He generously agreed to review them for the Running Without Injuries Blog.  Here it is, courtesy of Ferdinand Batatan. 

Last week, I had the opportunity to test out the Newton Gravity III. At first, I was a little bit hesitant on how this shoe will perform since I’m used to the Altra’s zero drop technology/innovation.



It took lot of trial and error, mostly error, to find the right shoes for me. A very good friend of mine introduced me to Altra shoes and voila…I found my shoes. In my opinion, once you find the right shoes, you stick with them!





Though I previously owned a Newton Motion shoes (with 4 lugs)… I have to say that I had a love it/hate relationship with the Motion shoes. The loved the feeling of testing out new “lugs” innovation and hated finding out that the shoes did not work for me.



With that being said, should I try new shoes made by the same company? Ehhhhh, sure why not?!?  My plan was to run for a short distance only and if it doesn’t feel right, then I would be done with them….that’s how I roll.



So there I went.  I spent the first mile being careful of how I landed on my feet, so I didn’t injure myself. To be more conservative, I ran 8:30 min/mi pace to get the right feel for the Gravity III’s. They didn’t feel too bad for the first mile, so I went for another mile to test it further.



My biggest concerns were:



· Would the 3mm toe to heel drop causes some muscle tightness on my calves since I am used to a zero drop shoe?



· Would the lugs be an issue in balancing myself every time I land my feet like with the Motion shoes?



I have to say that I was really surprised how the shoes performed.  The shoes are more stable than the Motion and the ride is so natural that it lets my feet do what they are supposed to do. The 5 lugs are well placed, helping balance my forefoot and letting me feel the ground under my feet. The shoes are really not that cushy compared to Altra but enough to give me a soft landing. The Gravity III’s lightweight and breathable mesh was comfortable and because they are breathable, they won’t get that funky smell after each run.



I have to say that I ended up with a total of 9 miles.  I love all 9 miles with the Gravity III.



Thanks Newton….this time you hit the mark!

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.


Thank you Ferdi for the great review.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Noxgear Tracer 360 Review




I ran across another product online and knew immediately that I had to try it.  The Tracer 360+ is an illuminated light vest that can help keep you safe when running or cycling in the dark. It is made by Noxgear, a company based out of Ohio.  All of their products are sewn and assembled in the USA.  Daylight Savings Time is here and it gets dark so early now.  Chances are that unless you run during lunch, you will be running in the dark.  With drivers becoming more distracted by the day with food, being tired, texting, or trying to get the kids to settle down in the back seat, it is important to do everything you can to increase your visibility while running in the dark.

Noxgear has the Tracer 360, Tracer 360+ (which adds reflective shoulder straps), and they have a Kickstarter to raise money for the Spot360 Illuminated Dog Vest (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/noxgear/spot360-illuminated-reflective-and-fluorescent-dog).

The Tracer 360+ is made of a reflective chest strap which is adjustable, comfortable, and does a really good job of holding the vest in place with no bouncing or shifting.

There is the main unit that houses the batteries and is where the fiber optic cables get their light from.  This main unit has a single power button that is easy to use.  Each time you push the button it cycles through the six solid colors or 5 different blinking modes.   

You really have to see it to believe how cool it really is.  To turn the unit off, just hold down the power button for 2 seconds.  The main unit is comfortable and has a soft backing that will not irritate your back.

The Tracer 360+ is powered by 3 AAA batteries and will last for up to 40 hours.  When you turn on the unit, it will blink green two times to let you know the battery level is good, blink yellow two times to let you know you have about one hour left, and blink red if you need to replace the batteries.  I love this feature.  It would be terrible to run out of batteries in the middle of a run on a dark road.

The Tracer 360 is easy to put on and stays in place well.  You simply put the fiber optic cables over your shoulders, buckle the belt, and use two little cord locks to tighten the cables so they don’t slip off your shoulders.

Pros:
Extremely visible
Batteries last for a long time (up to 40 hours)
Lets you know when to replace batteries
Lightweight and comfortable
Good in all weather conditions
Can use over jackets easily

Cons:
I have yet to find one

The Tracer 360 is $59.99, which does not include the reflective shoulder straps.  The Tracer 360+ with the reflective shoulder straps is $62.99.  You can purchase them directly at www.noxgear.com.  This is a wonderful product and I strongly recommend it, not just because it will help to keep you safe, but it is really cool.  The different flashing light combinations make you look like you are from some futuristic movie.  I have read tons of comments about how people are stopped with the Tracer 360 and were asked where they got it. 

Get your Tracer 360 today, you won’t regret it.  With Christmas and Hanukkah right around the corner, it might make the perfect gift for the runner in your life.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

SPI Belt and SPI Band Review

I received a SPI (Small Personal Item) Belt and SPI Band last week to review.  I have seen these Facebook and was really excited because I have had issues in the past finding something that would hold my Samsung Galaxy S5 with a case. 

SPI was established in 2007 and makes product that are great for walking, running, hiking, cycling, and more.  The CEO, Kim Overton, was jogging one day with her keys tucked into her bra.  She thought to herself, “There's got to be a better way.”  Their products line now includes the SPI Belts for both adults and kids, the SPI Band that can go on your wrist or ankle, Messenger bags, water bottle holders, dog leashes and more.

The SPI Belt definitely lives up to the hype.  The elastic belt is adjustable and has a buckle, which makes it easy to put on.  The stretchy zippered pouch was able to fit my Galaxy S5 with the case (although it did take a little work).  As promised, the belt and its contents do not bounce around at all.  It was so comfortable that I didn’t even realize that I had it on during my run.  The SPI Belt is made in the USA, which is a rarity and I always like buying American products when possible.  The only negative thing that I have to say about the SPI belt is that I had the pouch on my lower back and the pouch is not waterproof, so my phone has some sweat on it.  Not a deal breaker for me and SPI does sell a waterproof accessory bag that you can use in the pouch as well.


The SPI Band is a great product as well.  I tried to use it both on my wrist and ankle and found that I prefer using it on my ankle.  You can stash smaller items like a driver’s license, credit card, cash, or car keys with ease.  I personally don't like things on my wrist and found that it was not breathable enough for my wrist (in my opinion).  I did not have any breathability issues when using the SPI band on my ankle though.  This would be perfect during races when you need to stash your car keys.

I think that SPI puts out great products and has an extensive product line.  If I had to choose between the SPI Belt and Band, I would suggest the belt because of its versatility.  They are both great products though and I would definitely recommend them. Give them a try and let me know what you think.