Running socks: Puma Powercell Performance and Asics Kayano Marathon socks.

Currently sat waiting for the rain so I can head off out for a run, looks like it could come down any minute now. So, I have now for a months time solely been using either ‘Puma powercell performance socks’ or ‘Asics marathon socks’ when I have been out for runs. I know, I am far from being a marathon runner (it’s not even a desire of mine to be honest!) but I love to buy and try out new (to me) training related gadgets and clothes, socks being no exception. And since I had been in need of some new socks for training I decided to try out ‘running socks’, meaning socks that are especially made to offer supportive compression and zonal cushioning of certain areas of the foot during running. Additionally, the manufacturers claim that these socks are anti-blister, have seam free toes and microfibre moisture control. However, when I purchased these socks I had no idea whether or not they would actually work or if I would even notice a difference compared to ‘normal training socks’ since I am not covering extensive distances.

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Before I start reviewing I would like to address a few opinions about ‘running beginners’ (me!) who enjoy buying and using running related products, be it clothes or gadgets, despite not being the ‘best runners’ out there. Firstly, I find it appalling that people cannot just be happy for each other, why is it so difficult for some people to respect that we all are different and choose different ways to keep ourselves motivated and happy. I enjoy to try out gear that is a lot more advanced than I am when it comes to running, but who cares? I still work on my form, have consulted running coaches in the past to analyse my ‘step’ and I do take my health, body and continued ability to run seriously. My current ‘status’ as a beginner within the running community shouldn’t mean that I cannot wear my Garmin because its considered too advanced for my level, who says? I love statistics and I would lose a lot of my motivation if I couldn’t measure my progress, summarise and analyse my effort and status.

If anything I believe its a good thing to take control of your training, to make it your business to understand what you are doing, why you are doing it and how you should be doing it.

Injuries tend to happen from ignorance, to be prepared and use available technology is perfectly fine in my book. Same goes for my tried out and fitted asics running shoes, could not and would not want to live without them. Once they are on my feet, they almost become a part of my own body – I can barely feel them, and yet they work wonders to support my problematic areas (which for the record are a lot stronger these days!). So, trying out running socks that may or may not be aimed for marathon runners doesn’t bother me, and surely its up to each and everyone how we want to spend our money and what it is that makes us go that extra mile (pun intended!). I guess I just wish that people would be a bit more supportive of each other instead of passing judgement where its certainly not needed.

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I must say that I was a bit surprised at how very different I found the socks, the Puma ones are a lot softer and a bit thicker, warmer on the foot but yet very cushioning. The Asics socks are stiffer, less giving in its material and as such feel more supportive once on, but they are thinner which I actually don’t mind and though I really like the Puma ones I mostly tend to go for Asics for some reason. I haven’t really had much of a problem with overly sweaty feet, so I cannot say whether or not they are better than an average sock in that regard. One small downside though is that they only allow 30° degrees washing temperature. However, I find that most training gear only tolerate somewhere between 30° – 40° degrees so I guess its not that odd after all. When it comes to blisters I have not had any since I started wearing the socks, but I must admit that I hadn’t experienced much of that problem before either at least not to the extent that it would bother me. My blisters mainly appear after long hikes, which is a completely different ballgame. Not sure if theres that much else to say about this, after all its only socks – but to sum it up, they feel absolutely fabulous on the foot, the design (if you care about these things) is beautiful and I find that they hold up well even after numerous times through the washing cycle.

Rain has started, so its finally time for me to head off out for a run! 💦

To venture into the world of Nike.

As I had discovered a small hole in my gym shoes it was time to get a new pair that would be used solely for the gym. I have always wore my running shoes (asics) at the gym, but since I actually don’t run at the gym anymore (only outdoors) I figured that it was unnecessary to splash out a lot of money on a pair of new asics which mainly are used for supporting my problem areas when running. Because to be fair, I really don’t need ‘perfectly fitted’ running shoes at the gym when all I do there is walk from one gym machine to another, engage in the free weight section, row and cycle. As such, I decided, during our shopping spree in Heidelberg, to treat myself to a pair of new and very colorful Nikes! These beauties will keep my feet happy at the gym and will also keep me smiling, because sometimes a splash of color is exactly what I need to cheer myself up when I am busy lifting!

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Below a display of my current gang of lovelies, first my asics trail runners (Fujitrabuco 4 G-TX), second my ‘everyday’ asics running (supporting my problem areas) and lastly my new Nike sneakers. I was quite surprised to notice that for once I actually have a rather colorful collection, not too shabby! But perhaps more important, I am once again all set for various kind of training which is exactly what I like. Do you have any favourites and how many different pair of shoes do you normally switch between? It is always fun to hear what other people think when it comes to different ‘gear’.

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New in | Asics Fujitrabuco 4 G-TX.

I have had these beauties for a while now but I have not had time to wear them all that much as of yet. Mainly because I have spent most of my time at the gym where I naturally wear indoor shoes (also Asics, I am pretty hooked as they are simply – p e r f e c t – for my feet) and also the last time I wore these I forgot to put my gel pads in and ended up with sore achilles. Not pleasant, not at all. Therefor they have been in the back of the pile for a bit but as soon as the weather allows me to hit the trails again I will plaster up my feet properly, remember to put in the heel pads and try these beauties out again. I cannot wait!

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I must admit that I absolutely fell in love with the gorgeous color of these shoes – however, I did not buy them because of the color. Of course not. Unfortunately I am not one of the more fortunate ones that can pick and choose when it comes to training shoes as my problematic achilles (both sides, but mainly the right one) makes the whole choosing of new foot gear quite the mission. The shoes have to be absolutely perfect or I simply won’t be able to wear them and I really dislike wasting money on things that I cannot wear due to my own lack of research pre purchase. Thus I am quite thorough in my investigation and taking my sweet time trying products out properly before I invest into new foot gear.

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This particular Asics is a trail running shoe, very robust and sturdy and it has got excellent support around the heel area making it perfect when running in the forest or on uneven ground. Additionally, the fact that it has waterproof Gore-Tex on the top of the shoe makes it even more suitable for autumn- and winter outdoors activities. All in all it is a delightful shoe and I am pretty sure that I will enjoy quite a few forest adventures wearing these beauties!

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Current infatuation: Deuter Speedlite 15 review.

I have forgotten to tell you about my newest love, namely the Deuter Speedlite 15! It took me some time to decide which rucksack to purchase for my daily walks, but after careful consideration I choose the one below. Of course, it did help a little that I could order it in my favourite colours, namely black and yellow – instant love affair right then and there!

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I particularly love the side mesh pockets (one on each side) allowing quick access to drinking bottles but perhaps more important, making it possible to keep even weight (at least to start with when both bottles are equally full) over the shoulders. This was one of the features that I looked for as my Jack Wolfskin only had one mesh pocket always making the weight over my shoulders a bit lob-sided, not pleasant.

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As you may have noticed from the greenery outside in the photos, it is a few months since I purchased this rucksack and I have now had time to properly try it out during my summer walks and hikes. I must admit that I am still absolutely infatuated with this rucksack, it is simply perfection! When it comes to training gear I am a bit like ‘the princess and the pea’, if it does not fit my needs (and body) perfectly it is simply not worth the time and effort. In this regard the deuter speedlite has certainly not disappointed, it is far more comfortable over my shoulders than the Jack Wolfskin (I still really like my Wolfskin rucksack though, but perhaps not for powerwalks or longer hikes in particular) as the straps seem to fit my body a lot better for quick walks. I also greatly appreciate the smaller size and how very light it is, even fully packed it remains comfortable to carry for any length of time. Despite its small size it is still big enough to hold my essentials such as medication, compact camera (I could probably fit my SLR in as well but it would be a rather snug fit), nordic walking sticks if need be (mine are foldable), wallet, tissues, keys and some other bits and bobs.

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Additionally there is a neat little pocket on the very top of the rucksack, making important items such as wallet, keys and medication quickly accessible. As you can see in the photo above there is also a small hook to which I can attach my keys, no more rummaging through the entire backpack – I love it! All in all I am well pleased with my purchase, it is the perfect companion for walks (or runs) no matter if the distance is 5 or 20 kilometers. Thus, if you are looking for a new small sized rucksack I would highly recommend this one, but by all means, if there is a ‘princess and the pea’ living inside of you too, do try it out in a shop before purchasing!

Trekking poles and its benefits.

Last weekend I purchased some awesome trekking poles (Alpine FLZ) from Black Diamond Equipment and I absolutely love them. I have been thinking for a long time that a pair of trekking poles would be a great addition to my morning walks and hikes in the forest. I mean, why not engage the arms and shoulders a bit more while out walking? Personally I think it is a fantastic idea to try to activate as many muscle groups as possible and as such get a better workout. Version 2

However, I can admit that I probably never would have purchased these if it was not for the huge amount of walkers/hikers that roam around the area (a huge national park) where I currently live. For some reason I have previously affiliated the usage of trekking poles to the older generation, I could not have been more wrong! The benefits of trekking poles are fantastic, not only the increased pace (balance and stability ) due to getting into a better flow in a much similar way to a ‘military march’ since the poles force you to engage the arms properly. Another, and by me, much appreciated side effect is that I no longer get ‘swollen fingers’ as my hands and fingers constantly are gripping the handles and arms are swinging thus increasing the blood circulation all the way out to the finger tips. I don’t know about you guys, but it is simply lovely to be able to finish a walk on a sun beaming day and still have ‘normal sized’ fingers! All in all, I could not be happier with my new trekking poles, it certainly made my walks so much more fun and efficient and it is safe to say that I now am hooked!Version 2

At the moment I am in a somewhat of fanatical shopping mode, but I think it is due to my previous training break and it is a lovely way to start anew by investing in some new gear and helpful things. Thus, now that I can check off trekking poles from my ‘to buy list’ I have shifted focus and am now ogling various small rucksacks as I am in the need of a rather tiny one for my longer walks. I would love to be able to go out on walks without a rucksack but it is not possible as I need to bring allergy and asthma medication and a few other bits and bobs. My current rucksack, Jack Wolfskin (snuggle up) only have room for one water bottle which bothers me tremendously as this creates an uneven weight over the shoulders. It is perfectly fine for shorter walks or day to day activities, but not when you are out walking for a couple of hours or longer and carry a tad bit more in the backpack. So that is why I am on the prowl for a new one, and boy do I love shopping for items that will help me on my weight-loss journey!

Something beautiful.

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Last night when my boyfriend and I were preparing for heading out for an evening jog we had troubles figuring out how to be able to bring with us house keys, my iPhone (for RunKeeper) and my asthma inhaler which I always have to bring with me in case something happens and in particular during pollen season. Luckily we solved the key problem with a wristband pouch and then a small bag for the mobile and my inhaler. Safe to say, not ideal at all but at least we made it work. Unfortunately I also have this odd thing about not being able to wear wristband pouches when I jog (no idea why, but I have never been able to, not even when I was fitter and used to run a lot) so my boyfriend, whom for the record is a great sport about things like this, without objections and actually quite happily carried my stuff while we did the evening jog.

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However, today this beauty arrived which means that it will be one thing less to carry around namely my iPhone, a great relive in particular since I don’t really want to accidently drop my phone or get it water damaged due to rain or something along those lines. Out of the things I have to bring with me when jogging the mobile is by far the nicest thing to be able to leave behind. House keys I usually tie to my shoelaces when I exercise (unless I have a backpack) and the inhaler is no problem holding in my hand while jogging. So all in all and thanks to my Garmin it should be a lot easier to head off out on my own from now on! I must admit though that at the moment I really need my boyfriend as a motivator and someone who can give me a bit of an extra energy boost whenever I feel like I cannot jog anymore and want to quit and walk instead. To me it is a great thing to have someone that is a lot fitter than I am by my side since it gives me the possibility to focus only on myself and my training instead of having to try to boost myself up or motivating someone else as well as myself.

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As I have only just opened the package and sort of admired this beautiful thing with a rather foolish grin on my face, I have not been able to try it out as of yet so will have to get back to you all about whether or not it is as good as it looks! But trust me, I am so looking forward to trying this beauty out tomorrow during my next jogging session. I opted for the pulse band since I think jogging or running (actually even during walks and hikes) while being able to keep an eye on your pulse is one of the best motivators and indicators for yourself to help you figure out whether or not you are entitled to slow down or not, as your pulse will lead the way to a more target driven training. I don’t know about you guys, but I love that so much, control and stats, it gets me going any time of the day!

Garmin on the way.

I am so very excited right now because only a few minutes ago I ordered a Garmin Forerunner 610 for myself and I cannot wait until it’s here in a couple of days! Ever since my Polar pulse watch crashed (it’s very old) I have wanted a new watch that can help me keep track of my training as I find stats extremely motivating and an important tool to help me challenge myself when exercising. I am however quite indecisive and have not been able to decide whether or not I wanted to stay with Polar or move on over to Garmin. This has been a particularly difficult decision since I truly have enjoyed my Polar watch and it has been a great companion for many years. Nonetheless, I have to admit that a Garmin has always been my  dream  watch when it comes to stats and training. So naturally, when I started to dig a bit deeper into it all it quickly turned into a done deal and even more so when I learnt about the GPS, touch screen and ability to upload data to RunKeeper (which I use and utterly adore) the decision to try something new was easily made.

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I am not really much of a tech person in general, but I do love to keep track of my progress and a pulse watch makes life so much easier than trying to calculate things on my own. Saying that, I do know that even the stats from a pulse watch can not be trusted 100% but at least it will come a lot closer to the truth than my estimations ever will. But I have no previous experience of using a Garmin watch whatsoever and I suppose that it is as with most things, some people will love it and others will have a billion of complaints. I tend to prefer to listen to trusted sources (friends) instead and a close friend of mine has been using the Forerunner 610 since it was newly released on the market and he has been very pleased with it ever since. His opinion and expertise (he is a marathon runner after all) of course also played a huge part in my final decision. Still, I sincerely hope that I will learn to love it and that I wont regret changing brand, but I am sure that Mr Garmin and I will get on just nicely. I mean how could we not, it is a rather handsome watch is it not? Oh yes, indeed! 

Photograph: garmin.com