- Amy reviewed 1 year ago
I have been searching for the ultimate waterproof and breathable running jacket for about four years as I live in the Portland, Oregon area and run in steady rain frequently. With an especially wet October this year, I renewed my quest and decided to give The North Face Hyper Air GTX jacket a try. I was intrigued it is made from a brand new Gore-tex Active material that claims to be ultra breathable and have a permanent beading surface.
Out of the box, I was impressed with how light and thin the jacket is. I tried it on and found the fit to be tailored and flattering, definitely a well-constructed jacket. The hood fits perfectly, there are two deep zip-pockets at the front, the sleeves are nice and long, and there’s adequate room through the shoulders. I like that it dips slightly longer in the back.
My first run in the jacket was nine miles in steady rain (probably 70-75 minutes) in the mid-50’s. I layered a thin wool running t-shirt underneath. The hood was comfortable and stayed on without a problem. I felt damp through my forearms where my arms were bare under the jacket, but I was still comfortable. All the way to the end of the run, water was still beading on the surface of the jacket. After the run, I took it off and was shocked that much of my shirt was still dry. I was a little wet through the center of my chest, but I hadn’t zipped the jacket up entirely for the whole run, so I figured some water had leaked in down my neck. I wasn’t overly sweaty either, just the normal amounts from running (it’s actually breathable!). I was tentatively quite excited that I might have found “the one”.
Since that run, I’ve worn it in two more very rainy runs, both in the low to mid-50’s. One run was 90 minutes with rain coming down so hard in parts I might as well have been standing under a rain gutter. When I got home, my shirt was visibly damp through the chest and shoulders (I think from rain coming down my neck again – I need to see if wearing a hat with a bill eliminates this problem), but there were parts of my shirt that were still visibly dry and the hair on top of my head was completely dry from wearing the hood. I couldn’t believe it! Even more, rather than rushing to the shower right after the run, I took my time stretching, doing core, eating breakfast, and I wasn’t freezing.
I have washed the jacket in the washing machine (on cold, hang dry), and it hasn’t affected the waterproof performance at all. The waterproof properties come from the material itself, not from a coating that can wear off. The jacket really lives up to its claims of being waterproof and breathable.
To view my full blog post on this jacket, visit http://runningfavorites.com/bring-rain-north-face-hyper-air-gtx-jacket-review/
Throughout the year, I usually run early in the morning, so in the winter months, it’s DARK (and usually rainy) outside. I wear a headlamp not only to see my footing and where I’m going, but also because it’s one of the best ways to quickly be seen by oncoming traffic and at intersections (i.e. avoid getting hit by a car or bike). I attach a small Nathan Strobe Light (http://www.amazon.com/Nathan-Strobe-Light-Tango-Size/dp/B0099LSWYM) to the back of the headlamp strap, and then I’m confident I can be seen from the front or the back without needing to wear a reflective vest or expensive reflective jacket.
I’ve run with a Petzl headlamp for a few years, but even after changing the batteries, I felt like the light was pretty dim. I searched on Amazon and found this yalumi headlamp with amazing reviews for only $15 and decided to give it a try. In short, I love it. It’s one of my best running-related purchases of the entire year. Super high yield for a great price. I’m amazed at how bright the light is – I can see SOOO much better on my early morning runs, so I’m not worried about stumbling or stepping in a pot hole. After some use, I felt like the light was dimming, but when I replaced the batteries, it was very bright again. The bright beam it casts is kind of narrow – I wish it were a little broader, but I’m still so happy with it. There are three settings on the headlamp: First touch, economy; Second touch, brightest setting; Third touch; strobe setting; Fourth touch; off. The headband is easy to adjust, and the light tilts very well so I can cast the light right were I want it, regardless of whether I’m wearing it right on my head or over a hat.
If you’re looking for a headlamp for dark runs or for an upcoming relay race, buy this one! It’s so bright and such a great price.
- SqueakMatteson reviewed 2 years ago
Due to having a long second toe and a short big toe I am prone to pinched nerves in my feet, and have recently fought with a Morton’s Neuroma in my right foot. I wish that I’d found Toe Spacers sooner, as once I started using it my recovery time has sped up drastically. I’ve always been a “gear skeptic,” but I can’t say enough good things about using spacers to relieve the misery of a foot neuroma. I’m hoping that if I keep using them, the nerve pinches will be a thing of the past.
- nangunoori reviewed 2 years ago
I have been using this for over an year now. Ran around 600 miles so far using this and I’m quite satisfied with it. Good battery life, gets the signal relatively quickly. I’ve paired it with my HRM and also a foot pod. During indoor runs on treadmills it uses the foot pod to measure the distance and I’m ver impressed to say it is accurate to 0.02 miles. Overall nice gps watch. I’ve used it only for running and not for other sports yet.
- carmonaj reviewed 2 years ago
I absolutely love this shoe and have raced a 10K and a cross county race with this shoe. I would also wear it for a half marathon and maybe even a marathon. I pronate very badly so was very happy to find a race shoe with a little posting and support but is still very lightweight! I used to race in the 1400 but it just wasn’t enough support for me.
- carmonaj reviewed 2 years ago
I was worried about this shoe since it is only a 4mm drop but i ended up loving it. I find the foam pretty stiff which feels good on my foot as it feels like it supports my over-flexible foot and arch. I like to throw this shoe in the mix for my easy days. I especially LOVE the trail version of this shoe since it is lower to the ground and provides great support on uneven terrain.
- coverbeck reviewed 2 years ago
I love this shoe! One thing I really like about this racing flat is the tackiness on the forefoot. Racing in the Pacific Northwest means alot of racing on wet roads. Unlike other racing flats, I know that when I go to make a move or power up a hill in a race I’m not going to loose ground by slipping with this shoe. The shoe is also feather light (5 oz). I wear these shoes for the half marathon and shorter. I also use this shoes for track work. They are fantastic on the track but yet cushioned enough to handle a long warm-up and cool down on the roads.
- Amy reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
I’ve run at least 175 miles in the Vazee Pace, and I still can’t completely make up my mind about them. Some days I think they’re great for my achy foot and provide the right amount of support while remaining very lightweight, and other days I feel like there’s nothing to them, like they’re lacking cushioning, but they feel stiff. The Zante (also by New Balance) is about the same weight as the Vazee Pace but provides more cushioning and softness per ounce.
The Vazee Pace was supposed to replace the 890, but I’m still mourning the loss of the 890v2 (more soft and flexible, felt more like a daily trainer). I wish they would bring it back!
Update – 12/15/15
Several weeks and 50 miles later (on this particular shoe), I find myself reaching for my Vazee Pace running shoes more and more because they help my sore foot feel and function the best. I love the way it wraps around the arch and hugs the heel. I think the bottom of the shoe provides a nice stable platform while still being really light-weight.
- Amy reviewed 2 years ago
- last edited 2 years ago
The New Balance 1400 has been my go-to racing flat for 2.5 years. It feels light, fast, and comfortable for track workouts and tempo runs and provides just enough cushioning to get me through a marathon. I use it regularly for speed workouts and races, but I like a little more cushioning for recovery days. My only wish is that the toe box was slightly roomier. FYI, after about 200 miles, this shoe is done for me, even when the tread looks okay.
I was reluctant to order this shoe at first since I run almost entirely in neutral shoes, and this one is a lightly posted racing flat. However, I’m so glad I gave it a try! From the first run, it felt amazing. It provides just the right amount of cushioning, so my feet feel smooth on the ground. The posting feels like it’s gently supporting my Achilles without feeling rigid. I totally understand why Runner’s World shoe testers rave about this shoe.
My go-to racing flat is the New Balance 1400 which has a 10mm drop. Sometimes I wonder if the lower drop on this shoe, 6mm, makes it harder for me to push off as fast as I can in a higher drop shoe, but I think I’m probably just weird. Overall, I really love this shoe. It consistently feels great.
The Boracay feels nice and cushioned without feeling heavy and bulky. I lean definitely towards more lightweight, neutral shoes, but sometimes pavement just feels “hard” in a lightweight shoe- not in the Boracay. I ran 21 miles in this shoe one day, a combo of roads and trails, and even when I transitioned from trail to road, the shoe still felt nice and soft. My only wish is that it provided a little more arch support.
I’ve run with an older Garmin, the Forerunner 305 model, for several years. It worked perfectly but was so heavy and bulky that the only time I used it was on tempo runs and some long runs. I kept wanting to buy a new Garmin but had a hard time justifying the cost when my current GPS watch worked perfectly. Fast forward to Hood to Coast a few weeks ago. The weather was chilly and wet on my night and early-morning legs, but my GPS watch was so bulky I couldn’t even put on and take off a warm-up coat over my Forerunner 305. A few girls in my van had the Forerunner 220 and loved theirs, so I bought one on Amazon (for about $200) before we even reached the beach. So far after 13 runs, varying from long, interval, tempo, and recovery runs, I love it.
Size: Even though the watch face looks large for a small wrist (see photo), the watch feels light and unnoticeable on my wrist. I actually think the design of the watch is pretty cute.
Accuracy: After 13 runs, I feel confident in the accuracy of the watch. One morning I wore it for 800 repeats on the track, and each interval consistently measured 0.50 miles.
Lap Pace: I love this model over the more basic Forerunner 10 because it includes lap pace. This field is so important when I’m on a tempo run or doing off-track repeats so I can see what pace I’m trending for the current lap. There is also a lap button, so it’s easy to start a new lap (repeat) at any point in a workout.
Fields: The only fields I really care about on a GPS watch are time, distance, average pace, lap distance, lap pace, lap time, and time of day. The 220 offers all of these fields and several more. When in use, I have access to three screens on the Garmin 220. There are three customizable fields for screens one and two, and the third screen displays time of day.
Wristwatch: As compared to my old 305, I love that the 220 can remain on all the time and be used as a wristwatch. Because the time of day is synced with satellites, it’s perfectly accurate. Awesome.
Bluetooth: The 220 syncs via Bluetooth with my iPhone. When in unlocked mode, it can connect to my phone and sync my runs with Garmin Connect. I have Garmin Connect set up to link automatically with Strava, so my run data is all there almost instantly when I finish running.
So far, I feel like this was $200 well spent, even with my old GPS still workable. The lighter/smaller profile, ability to use as a wristwatch, and the Bluetooth syncing feature have made it a worthwhile purchase.
I first tried UCAN before a long marathon-training run a few years ago. Because of a route detour, the run ended up going a couple miles longer than planned, but I felt fine. Usually after a super-long run, I feel absolutely desperate for food RIGHT AWAY. With UCAN, I remember just feeling fine and even rather than feeling like I had to eat everything within reach. I used it for the rest of my long runs and the marathon in that training cycle, and I really think it helped me avoid bonking in that last 10k. Because it helps utilize fat for fuel, I think my glycogen stores lasted longer, helping me finish strong in that marathon. I’ve used it in a couple more marathons with positive results.
Recently I’ve started drinking UCAN before early-morning workouts, and I really notice my energy level feels higher throughout the day after the workout instead of feeling really tired. It’s a nice, calm feeling.
The flavors I’ve tried are really gross and medicine-tasting, but the plain powder goes down fine for me. Just be aware that the plain flavor does not include added electrolytes like the flavored varieties.
I will definitely continue to use UCAN before long-long runs and marathons.
- Amy reviewed 3 years ago
- last edited 3 years ago
This past year, I’ve struggled with pain in my right heel and other parts of the foot. Correct Toes have helped decrease foot pain, increase range of motion through my Achilles, and allow me to run and train as much as I want to. I started wearing Correct Toes in March after sustaining a bad heel injury while running the CIM Marathon on December 7, 2014. I started running a little bit in mid-January, but I felt like my foot didn’t really turn the corner until I began stretching my calves several times a day and wearing Correct Toes regularly. Gradually I worked into wearing them several hours a day. I felt CT stretching out my feet and Achilles and even up into my calf initially, and they helped me increase my mileage and incorporate speed workouts again.
When I started doing speed workouts, I remember coming home from one session feeling like “Uh-oh, I might have messed up my foot tonight”. I put in Correct Toes when I got home and felt them stretch out my foot and all was well.
After my foot was feeling decent for a while, I tapered off wearing my Correct Toes just out of forgetfulness. In July, I went on an international trip where I didn’t run very much, and when I came home and started running again, my foot got pretty sore, and I was worried. I started wearing Correct Toes several hours a day and stretching my calves, and my foot felt so much better within 3-4 days.
I really want to see if they will straighten out my toes. As you can see from the attached picture, my toes angle out. I need to be more consistent at wearing them to see if they’ll straighten out my feet over time.
A couple of notes. I did do the pinky-toe modification where I cut off part of the last spacer that goes between the 4th and 5th toe. When I first started wearing them, they would shimmy out from between my toes so I would have to keep bending over and sticking them back in, pretty annoying. I contacted the company and they recommended I wear a loose sock over them, and that works perfectly at keeping them on as I’m walking around.
Honestly, if you’re having any kind of foot/Achilles pain, I highly recommend trying Correct Toes. The cost is less than one PT/Chiropractor/Massage appointment and totally worth it in my opinion.
I’ve been using NAAWK spray sunscreen SPF 50 and 30 on myself and my kids throughout the summer, and I’ve become a fan. We’ve used it before swimming and running and have found it to be completely effective at preventing sunburns, an absolute must. I love how the nozzle works – the spray comes out very light and even to quickly cover the skin. I feel like I can cover my kids in sunscreen more quickly with this brand than others I’ve tried. The smell is pleasant, and I like supporting a product and company that is environmentally-friendly. NAAWK sent me quite a few samples of their sunscreen at the beginning of the summer which I shared with my running friends, and they give the product rave reviews as well. I highly recommend!
- juliawebb reviewed 3 years ago
Hands down my ultimate favorite tank to run in during hot weather or indoor exercise is the Nike Fly Tank . The breathable material combined with the minimal design provides ultimate airflow for optimal cooling. If you have ever wanted to go sports bra on a treadmill or machine but its against the gym dress code, this tank is for you. Now as a pregnant runner, I also prefer not showing off my bare belly when running, so this gives just enough coverage without the excess fabric. Goal accomplishing – staying as cool as possible in the heat of Arizona. I love the t-back design.
- mkrenison reviewed 3 years ago
I’ve used a lot of running watches and I think this watch is as good as it gets. When I say that, I mean, it’s NOT perfect, but as perfect as possible. It’s made by the leaders in GPS technology. It’s not totally intuitive, you have to learn to use it and in a wind storm or some crazy gravitational vortex you will be running a 4:40 pace or a 16:30 pace depending on it’s pull. I’m sure there are several things it can do that my small mind has yet to learn. It is, however, the best on the market for GPS. It has a life span of about 2-3 years, so work that into your running budget. They will NOT last forever. But, during your journey with your beloved Garmin 620, it will tell you your splits, total time, mileage, you can download all of the information online and overall is the best that’s out there to provide all of this information. And it’s white and sleeker than it’s bulky, dark colored predecessors. I love it.
- MJA reviewed 3 years ago
I love this ball! At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend $40 on a ball… but the lacrosse and tennis balls just weren’t working for me!
I have used the supernova on my glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings. It works really well and gets in super deep and immediately releases tension. I have friends ask to borrow it all the time!
I love how portable it is too! Worth every penny.
- Liz Anjos reviewed 3 years ago
There are so many factors that have to be just right when considering new running shorts. The way they fit, the way they look, and the way they move with you. All of those things considered, the Roga Shorts are it for me. My favorite feature is the wide waistband because it stays put without pinching in, creating a flattering silhouette. The main short material is light and stretchy, and most importantly, never rides up or chafes. The 4” inseam is the perfect length for me, though Oiselle offers a shorter option with the Mac Roga (1.75”) as well as the Long Roga (6”). As a plus, the back pocket is stretchy enough that it fits my iPhone 6. It looks silly, but it works!
- Liz Anjos reviewed 3 years ago
This is simply a beautiful tank. It’s fitted without being tight and is made with the silkiest, softest fabric. The material is slightly thicker, so it’s perfect for 50º-65ºF mid-season weather and makes a nice layering piece. Fun fact: the tank just so happens to be named after my absolute favorite singer, Gwen Stefani.
- Liz Anjos reviewed 3 years ago
- last edited 3 years ago
I purchased the Verrazano Bra last fall and it quickly became my go-to sports bra. I think I have it in something like five colors now. It just fits perfectly. The band is snug without being tight. The multiple straps, designed after the Verrazano Bridge in NYC, provide comfortable and even support. The fabric is soft and breathable while remaining compressive. I’ve worn it up to 26.2 miles with absolutely no chafing issues. As a bonus, it comes with removable cups that add just a bit of shape and coverage, but the bra is fine on its own too. I like pairing it with a racerback tank, as the straps peek out for a fun pop of color.
- LJack13 reviewed 3 years ago
I wore the Mizuno Wave Elixir for years and was worried when they discontinued that line. The Sayonara was recommended to me as a similar shoe that provided neutral support. I love how lightweight they are and low to the ground without being a racing flat.
- pdxrunnergirl reviewed 3 years ago
This sportsbra is comfortable cute and best of all I don’t feel it. That’s what I like best about running clothes. When they don’t rub or get in your way. I have a very small chest but ironically prefer really tight supportive sportsbras and found this one to be just that. I get so many compliments on this one and its cute straps on the back. I’ve run many miles in this sportsbra as well as paddleboarded and swam in it and it is just great!
- Selltrack reviewed 3 years ago
Definitely my favorite running crops EVER!! I started running in crops about 2 years ago because I thought everyone wearing them looked super cute. After buying my first pair of these, not only were they super cute, but the fit was AMAZING. They have a little compression in them so everything stays in its place, but also stays warm so that knees don’t start to get achy on my longer runs. I wear these in 90 degree weather as well as 40 degree weather (which is freezing here in Southern California). Super cute colors!! Recommend these for EVERYONE!