Tag Archives: run

SPI Belt Performance Series Review

 

Here is my review of the SPI belt performance series. I have to say I don’t normally use belts to run with and normally use my Adidas Arm band. Therefore when I was asked to review the SPI Belt (Small Personalised Item) performance series I was curious to see the difference in comfort with the belt. I have to mention that I was asked to review this product and while I was not paid for the review did receive the SPI Performance belt free of charge. However I am not biased in this review and have given my honest opinion of the product from my personal standpoint. This is the only compensation I have ever been given and haven’t been swayed into writing a positive review or trying to sell you any product. I have been for a run with belt on two 5km and one 12km runs.

The look of the SPI Belt:

SPI belt performance series
SPI belt performance series

I actually like the look of the belt and think it is quite attractive. I got it in blue, which just means that the belt is black in colour with a blue zip. Yes its simple but I have no problem with that at all I quite prefer it. Personally I wouldn’t really want an out there belt but that’s my personal opinion, you can get other styles in different series from their website including polka dot or more block colours. However one two of my runs while it did pretty much remain dry a few drops maybe I simply put the belt under my waterproof which obviously made no difference to what the belt looked like and you couldn’t even tell that I was wearing the belt.

It does fit everything I need when I go for a run snuggly and comfortable, its not too tight but compacted enough for the belt to remain small in size. The actual belt with nothing in it is relatively small which is great as it means it’s not bulgy at all if you only take some ID and your keys with you. The material of the belt is dry natural rubber, which I found beneficial as it meant the belt was lightweight but easily able to mould and stretch around the items I put in the belt. I have an Iphone 5C so my phone isn’t the biggest you can now get on the market but the pocket is big enough for larger phones including the iphone6plus and the Galaxy S, which is much bigger than my phone. Normally when I go for runs I tend not too take too much with me as normally I don’t have the option to carry anything with my armband, I can just about squeeze my front door key in. The option with the SPI belt is that you can take a lot more with you and its no issue at all, you could take some money, ID, all your keys with you if you wanted to and the belt would just mould around it. The fact that the belt mould around the item does mean it may look an odd shape dependant on what you put in it but that honestly doesn’t make any difference to be personally especially as I would rather it be more compact and lightweight rather than have lots of extra material. Also the material allows the belt to remain extremely lightweight.

The band and the buckle of the belt seem to be of good quality and the width of the band seems just about right. The band is not too wide but wide enough to get a good grip around you waist/ hip.

The belt also has 4 loops for gels, which seem more than adequate for any ultra distance runner and the gels fit in snuggly. The loops are positioned with 2 on each side of the pouch so it easier to access the gels when you are running and you wouldn’t have to faff around too much to get them out.

Comfort of the SPI Belt:

SPI Belt preference series comfort
SPI Belt preference series

So this is where I ran into some issues personally however in retrospect the belt did a lot better than it properly should. The belt does move around and bounce a little when I run not massively but enough to notice particularly in the first 1km. However certainly by about 2.5km I hardly noticed the movement of the belt. The more you tend to put in the belt it naturally does seem to make it bounce slightly more with the extra weight. To counteract the movement/bouncing you can wear the belt on the hips, which does seem to prevent to the point where I actually was relatively comfortable and forgot it was there. I found that the belt does ride up a little from the hips but its pretty good. I am also not used to wearing a belt which may come into account aswell in terms of getting used to it. Overall I am pretty impressed with the fit of the belt and it was actually a lot more comfortable than I had thought it would be.

The main point to take into account with my review in terms of fit is that I have a small waist and having checked the features of the belt it does say that it fits waists between 29” – 52”. I have a 24” waist so the fact that it doesn’t bounce massively and I am still able to use the belt with relative comfort says quite a lot about the fit of the belt. I have no doubt that on a person with a 29” waist that it was actually targeted for would be no problem with the bounce or movement of the belt at all.

However a 29” waist is the waist of someone that is equivalent to a UK size 12:US 8:euro:40 which does rule out a decent proportion of runners. I do hope in future that SPI bring out an updated version of the performance belt in a smaller size especially as the SPI original, SPI energy running belt with 6 gel loops, belts are designed for smaller waists from 24”-40”. Furthermore the SPI Diabetic belt is also designed for smaller waists from 25” – 50”. If you do have a smaller waist then performance belt while adequate may not be the best SPI product for you.

Practicality of the SPI Belt:

It is meant to be weather resistance but not water resistance and they do sell plastic inserts for your electronics on their website. I placed the belt under my waterproof jacket, as there was a slight drizzle on several of my runs and I had no problem. I also had no problem with sweat however it isn’t scorching weather at the moment in Wales its rather on the cool side so I wasn’t sweating buckets. However due to the position of the belt round my waist compared to an arm band it this respect I would give it a better rating in sweat protection than my usual arm belt. Personally I think that the belt would be fine for sweat and minor drizzle but wouldn’t stand up in heavier condition having said that even when running with my waterproof/windproof jacket I have still be soaked through my base layer and long sleeve top.

Conclusion:

Overall I was impressed with the SPI performance belt, it was able to allow me to carry as much as I wanted on my runs with ease and comfort. It has been created for a simple job and it does well. I would recommend the belt to any runner as it is comfortable and doesn’t really move around. I would like to see SPI adapt the performance belt in the future to have the same size range as the original SPI belt opening up the belt to small waist sizes.

You can check out the SPI performance belt from their website on: http://www.spibelt.co.uk/running-belt-performance-black-blue-c2x18384167

Features and Price of the SPI Belt:

Price: $25.99 or £22.99

  • A large weather resistant pocket and zipper
  • 4 gel loops
  • Able to fit iPhone 6 Plus or Samsung Galaxy
  • SPIbelt doesn’t bounce
  • Compatible with 175ml water bottles.
  • The Perfect Spibelt for Runners and outdoor activities.
  • Available in black or with Coloured zippers.
  • One size fits waist 29″ – 52″

 

 

Coming In Last

Why do we have a fear of being the last one.  You put in the effort, your out on the course longer (which takes lots of endurance) and some how we feel like we’ve failed.  Over the weekend I ran a half marathon and in the process crossed the finish line with a PR, as wonderful as that is, It wasn’t the highlight of my day.  There were several of us that made the journey to  this race and after I crossed the finish line they were  still out on the course.  A friend that had competed in the 5K event while we did the longer course and I went back out walking the course in reverse to give support to our other fellow athletes.  A long the way we met lots of new friends and cheered them on as well.  Once we made sure all of our group had come across the finish line we took part in group pictures and recalled the ups and downs of the race (in this particular race there where a lot).  We had just started walking away to leave when they announced that there was runner(s) coming in and the last runner(s) had crossed the 12 mile marker.  At that moment we all turned around went out on the course and formed two lines in front of the finish line to cheer. The looks on their faces of seeing that finish line, smiles so bright it pulls at you. Then several minutes later at the top of the hill with the golf cart and lights going behind them the very last bunch of runners.  At this point the clock read 4:34:02, we all screamed, cheered, clapped them in from the top of the hill to the high fives right before they crossed the finish line. I don’t know about them but my emotions ran over for them.  It has been one of the most amazing experiences for me as runner to be able to see the determination on their faces and those huge grins when they crossed that line. There is no shame in ever being the last one out, the only shame is in never getting out there and giving it a try.

Go Girl Finish line OKC 2016 The last of the finishers and their cheerleaders.
Go Girl Finish line OKC 2016 The last of the finishers and their cheerleaders.

Post Half Marathon Advice: What to do after

Congratulations you’ve finished a half marathon. Hopefully you have had a great experience not just with the physical running side but also the atmosphere which makes these events so special. Your recovery starts as soon as you get across the finish line so here is some tips on what to do post half marathon to help avoid the aches and pains over the next few days.

Zero – Five minutes post half marathon:

Don’t Stop!

You may feel exhausted, aching and needing a lie down however the best thing to do is keep moving for at least 10-15 minutes after you finish. Listen to you body but get a cool down in and keep moving even, go for a light jog or a walk. Just try not to sit down straight away, walk to the food or charity tent. Start your post race stretching and put some layers on as your body will loose heat very quickly.

Zero – twenty minutes post half marathon:

Hydrate

It’s vital to replace the fluid that you would have lost throughout your run as quickly as possible to help your body recover. For a half marathon distance try electrolyte sports drink, juice, water or the beloved runners favourite chocolate milk. You want to drink enough liquid so that your urine returns to a pale yellow, if its darker you are still dehydrated. Water is great but as you would have lost salt and mineral throughout your run try a combination.

Refueling

In the first half an hour after you finish you want to eat some small, with main component being carbohydrate with a small amount of protein and fat. Good examples are a banana, fruit either fresh or dried, Nuts, bagels/baps, cereal bar/flapjack, yogurt or chocolate.

2 hours post half marathon:

After you finish your run try to have your main meal; half of the meal should be made up of carbs preferably whole grains with an equal amount of protein. Ginger and honey have also been proven to help and reduce muscle soreness.

Thirty mins – one hour post half marathon:

Stretching and Sports Massage

It wont be the first time you’ve been told about the importance of stretching after a race but there’s a reason way. After you have done your own stretches end the to the sports massage tent and get a massage. The therapist will often be able to detect muscles that you may not have notice being tight as well as getting deeper into the muscles. They will also be able to help you with dynamic stretches, which have been proved to be more effective than static stretches.

The evening post half marathon:

By the evening you should have refuelled and start to relax. Whether your staying in a hotel or you were lucky enough to be local and are able to chill at home make sure you keep moving. Just go for a evening stroll nothing strenuous something simple like a 10 minute walk with the dog at a very leisurely pace will be more than good enough. The most important thing is you get a good night sleep cause lets face it you deserve it!!

Three – five days post half marathon:

Get another sports massage to help with any aches and pains that you may have developed post race. You can read for about the benefits of Sports Massage here.

Four days post half marathon: 

When should you start running again?
The general rule is between 4 days after go for a 2-mile light run just to keep your muscles moving. You want to reverse taper and start to slowly build up the mileage you are doing.

You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.

For other articles on Half marathon’s check out what to in the week before and on raceday.

Half Marathon: Race Day Advice

It’s race day! You’ll probably be feeling a mix of emotions nerve, excitement, fear or all of the above and more rolled into one. Here are some tips to get you to the starting line of your half marathon feeling calm and relaxed.

Early Start:

Get up early and leave plenty of time for breakfast and to get to the start. The last thing you want to do is rush to the venue. Go through your race details of where to drop your kit off and where the starting pen is. Have one last look at the half marathon course details including water stations.

Do a last-minute check of your kit bag make sure you have your shoes, clothes, race number with safety pins attached, timing chip if not already attached to your shoes, water bottle and food. Make sure your kit bag has extra layers for after the race and some dry clothes encase it’s a wet race.

Two – Four hours before the half marathon:

Eat a breakfast you’ve had before don’t try anything new, you don’t want an upset stomach. Try to eat 2?4 hrs before the starting time and aim for 1000 calories. Eat a combination of simple carbs with some protein for example bread/bagels, cereal, nut butter, low-fat yogurt, or milk. If you can’t stomach food try a fruit based smoothie.

Two Hours – Thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Have a pre-event massage 2 hr ? 30 mins before the race. The massage should be light and up-tempo to aid the runner in getting their muscles warm and ready for the race. The theory is to increase the blood going to the muscles. It also has been suggested to improve focus and relax before the race. The practitioner can also help with some dynamic stretches. It should not be used instead of a good warm up and stretches but to complement it. If you want some more information about how sports massage can benefit you check out my blog post on Sport Massage.

Up to one hour before the half marathon:

Keep your fluid intake up and drink 500?700 ml up to the hour before and then no more than 200ml 30 mins before. While you need to make sure you’re properly hydrated before you start, you don’t want to over hydrate or have to stop and take a pit stop mid half marathon.

Thirty – forty-five minutes before the half marathon:

Have a good warm up and stretch. Never stretch cold muscles always go for a light 5-minute jog before hand. Do the same warm-up you are used to and get into your normal pre-race/run routine. For more tips on advice on warming up check out my  guide to the importance of warming up.

Up to thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Drink around 200ml this will be your last main fluid intake till the start of the race.

Twenty to thirty minutes before the half marathon:

Go to the start early, hand in your kit bag and have an old track suit or old foil blanket, to stay warm at the start but something you can just get rid off. Get to the pen 20-30 mins before the start so you know you don’t have to rush or add any extra anxiety.

Two minutes before the half marathon:

Leave it to the last few minutes to take your old kit off.
Most importantly enjoy the race!!
You can download this guide at: The A State of Health Clinic’s Website.
For other articles on Half marathons check out: What to do the week before, what to do after a half marathon