Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Running Jackets and a Pre-Xmas Friday Easy Run

Today's plan calls for an Easy Run. 

DC Bike Path: 1/2 Marathon Training, Easy Run. Dist: (4.08)mi. Pace-avg: (15:26). Speed-avg: (3.9)mph. Speed-max: (4.9)mph. Burned: (422) Calories. 

Plan: Run (2.0)mi. @ a (17:51) pace for a total of (35:42)min.
Actual: Run (2.0)mi @ a (13:58) avg. pace, bracketed by a (1.0)mi. warm-up walk, and a (1.08)mi. cool-down walk.
Fuel: Pre-run: GU Energy Gel w/ caffeine (Mandarin Orange), and a packet of GU Chomps (Mandarin Orange); Mid-run: (water); Post-run: dinner of some kind.

Tonight's run was nice and simple. I wore my new Mizuno Thermo beanie again, and it was mighty nice. There were a couple other runners out in the park this evening, and a few cyclists, but the cyclists were mainly BMX'ers just out in the park with their friends. I kept a pretty decent pace up using my updated running stride: Kicking up my heels a little more, picking my knees a good bit. Using this newer-to-me stride definitely feels like it is working more of the muscles in my legs, especially my calves. I look forward to using this running style more and seeing where it takes me. I am interested to see how well I can maintain this running stride during my long runs. I may have to switch back to my short stride glide for endurance, but we'll see how it goes Sunday. Running on Xmas Day? Totally crazy, but I feel the need to give it a whirl.

Splits: Mile (1): (13:36), Mile (2): (14:23).

Other News: I am trying to decide on a winter running jacket, and so I will do a little "thinking out loud" here to help myself. I believe I have narrowed it down to at least three: Gore Running Wear Essential Jacket; the Brooks Nightlife Silver Bullet Jacket; the Adidas Supernova adiVIZ Highbeam Jacket. All three seem to have a wind-stopper lining of some variety.

The Brooks jacket has an aluminum membrane lining for added warmth, kind of like wearing a space blanket while you run. I first saw similar technology on some Columbia winter jackets at the local Sports Authority store. It certainly has the Gee-Whiz(tm) factor going for it, but I'm not sure how durable it will be over repeated machine washings. Some other nice-to-haves for this jacket are thumb-hole cuffs that flip out, as well as flip out mitten covers, which would certainly be appreciated whether I am wearing running gloves, or not. I like multifunctional equipment and gear, like Swiss Army knives, et al.; I'm not sure where I get this, maybe it is a natural geek trait.

The Gore Running Wear jacket has a Gore-Tex(tm) lining, as expected. It has Velcro(R) cuffs and two large zip pockets on the sides. I tried on the XL in black at Fleet Feet, and that fit comfortably. I also tried on the blue in Large, but it was a little snug. The color selection is limited to black, blue and red, period. It has some nice reflective stripes on the sleeves. I like the black one because it fits and is in stock. The employee I spoke said these jackets are on back-order, with no estimated time of arrival. Even though black is clearly a bad idea for night-time running, I can throw on a reflector vest that I already have, or get a Brooks reflector vest that has some nice large reflective patches front and back.

The Adidas Highbeam jackets appears to have all the reflectivity one needs without additional reflector vests, et al.: The reflective strips are nice and large, front and back. It even looks like it would be bright enough to wear and be seen walking alongside the highway after your car breaks down, or if you have to change a tire in the middle of the night on the side of the road. The Stockton store says they don't stock Adidas, but the Sacramento store does. 

So far, the Brooks sounds like the best all-around bet for the winter here in the valley. It gets cold late in the year, but the early months can get even colder. I have a bad habit of running after dark, mainly to avoid putting on sunscreen, so cold winter months will definitely need some warm running gear. The Brooks jacket has good reviews on the Brooks Running website, including reviews by runners in the Sacramento area, and Oregon, places I know to be pretty cold at this time of year.


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