Monday, September 17, 2012

RunnerDude Review: Awesome Running Gear

I'm always on the lookout for great new gear for runners. Cool and flashy is great, but I'm on the hunt for functional, dependable, and quality.

From shirts to shorts, to GPS watches, I constantly have my eyes peeled for something to help better the running experience. Recently I came across three products that I just had to share with you.

My favorite running clothing company, Lululemon, has done it again. Their Sprint Tech Short Sleeve Shirt continues their line of high quality, breathable, and comfortable running clothes. A unique technique of weaving silver fibers into the fabric helps prevent body odors from lingering in the clothing. This shirt also features a handy pocket in back to hold your music player. There's a small slit at the neck in which headphone wires can be inserted to keep out of your way while running. The lightweight fabric is preshrunk and the flat-seam construction helps reduce chafing. The Sprint Tech shirt sells for $68.00 which is a premium price, but well worth it. I have several Lululemon tops and shorts and they hold up run after run, wash after wash and look as good as they day I bought them. These are the most comfortable running clothes I own.

RunnerDude sporting Lululemon's
Sprint Tech shirt and Run: Response
Shorts Just Before his Blue Ridge Relay
10-mile \Leg up Grandfather Mountain 
Recently I was able to test the Sprint Tech Shirt during the Blue Ridge Relay (a 208-mile relay race from Grayson State Park, VA to Asheville, NC.) I wore the Sprint Tech shirt during my 10-mile leg up Grandfather Mountain. The shirt performed perfectly. Actually, I did something I always tell runners never to do....wear a garment in a race that you got the day before. I received the Sprint Tech shirt in the mail the day before leaving for Virginia and I didn't have time to wash it. I really wanted to test the shirt on the hardest of my relay runs, so I took the chance that it might not work for me. But, I've had great success with Lululemon in the past, so I felt confident it would work. Work it did. Unwashed, right out of the package, the shirt wore and performed perfectly for me.

Lululemon's new Surge Short is a great slightly shorter option for runners. Still a modest 7", the combination of the shorter inseam and V-notch legs provide for excellent leg movement when running. The lightweight technical material wicks moisture away from your skin and the 2-way stretch provides for multi-dimensional movement. Perfect for the road or trail. Like my all-time favorite Run: Response Short, the Surge also includes two side pockets, a zippered pocket perfect for key and/or ID storage, and the chafe-reducing flat-seam stitching. The Surge Short sells for $64.00.


Another great product that I was fortunate enough to test during the Blue Ridge Relay is the Soleus 2.0 GPS watch. About a year ago, I tested the Soleus 1.0 GPS and was very impressed with it's simplicity of use, dependability and affordability. The 1.0 version doesn't have the ability to upload data to your laptop, so I was eager to try the 2.0 version which does have the capability. Like the 1.0, the 2.0 is extremely easy to use right out of the box. The satellite search-and-find is quick and even in the mountains, I had no problem getting and keeping a signal.

Some of the new features added to the 2.0 version include interval timers and the data upload. With the training timers, you have the ability to set up to 5 individual training timers for your workouts. The data is easily transfered via USB and the easy-to-download Soleus software to our laptop or desktop.

The thing I like the most is the compact design. It's just a tad bigger than a non GPS watch. I find myself wearing it when not running. It holds a charge well. Two of my runs were in the dark and the easy-to-read dial and the bright night light made night-time visibility a breeze.

After the relay, uploading my data was very simple. Reading the cumulative data and splits was very easy. The Soleus 2.0 sells for $149. There's also a 3.0 version that sells for $199 that includes a heart rate monitor.


The Black UltraSport SeatShield at
work in RunnerDude's SUV.
Finally, the last product I have to share is very low tech, but one of my favorites. If you're a runner, particularly a runner in the summer, and a runner who sweats like I do, you're probably always having to keep a towel in your automobile to sit on to keep from ruining the upholstery. The sweat can leave stain marks on leather and no one likes the stench that that seep into fabric seats. SeatSheild is a great solution to this problem.

SeatShields are completely waterproof. Their patented design prevents odors. The cover is extremely easy to use and remove. They are comfortable to sit on and they're easy to clean. Not only are they great for protecting your auto seats from sweat, they're also good for protecting them from dirt, food, pet hair and a variety of other "gunk." I wish I had discovered these when my kids were little!!

I actually bought two SeatShields to keep in my SUV. One for me to use on a regular basis and one in case I have a sweaty passenger. The design of the SeatShield includes a pouch at the top that slips over the headrest and shoulders of the seat to hold it in place. The bottom of the cover is loose, and drapes over the seat. This simple yet effective construction and design makes it fit any vehicle.

The SeatShield  comes in three styles. The one I purchased and use is the UltraSport which sells for $29.95. It's available in Black, Beige, and Gray. If you're a sweaty runner and need an easy way to protect your auto seats, you need a SeatShield.

Notice: While Lululemon and Soleus provided the featured products for review, they in no way requested a positive review. My review is based on my personal experience with the products. The SeatShield was a personal purchase and was not provided by the company.

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