Naked? Running Band

Perfect design made simple … a Running Band which you would use even when you would like to run … Naked ūüôā

IMG_20180707_075817Maybe when you first read or hear of the Naked Running Band you get all kind of imaginary visions of … a¬†Band playing music whilst Running around Naked or … Runners who are Running Naked with a Band around their waist?

However, I need to disappoint you. It is all less ‘strange’ than you might think but that said the Naked Running Band is a great piece of Running stuff!

I really like trailrunning, I also really like using and writing about trailrunning ‘stuff’ and especially when it is by design simple but efficient, it does the job you want it to do and also looks ‘cool’.

So what is it?

The Naked Running Band is a specially designed waist band for (trail, ultra, marathon, commuting to work) runners to carry a lot of ‘stuff’ without having it bouncing up and down or falling out. With some ingenuity and minimising it has enough room to carry the needed, or sometimes mandatory gear for a mountain or ultra trailrun which than by definition also allows you to take the things you need for your morning or evening run to and from the office or your own (multiple) day trailrun.

To be honest, I feel really lucky that I stumbled over this Running Band. In an earlier blog I wrote about my experiences with different trail waist bands or belts and trailpacks. Given the choice I would like to carry as little as possible in a waistband allowing my back to ‘breath the fresh air’ so to speak. And the Naked Running Band allows me to go a long way before needing to use a trailpack.

So why am I so enthusiastic about the Naked Running Band?

Smart design to keep everything inside.

A few clever design features makes sure nothing fall out. For example: (1) the outside layer is just a littler higher than the inside layer creating an ‘automatic’ covering; (2) the band is divided in three pockets creating enough stretch power to keep ‘stuff’ inside; (3) each pocket has an easy to find tab to quickly open the mesh to get stuff out or put it back in; (4) a hook allows you to secure your¬† keys safely; (5) a wide range of twelve different sizes allow you to really choose the best fit for both your body size and the way to want to use the band, i.e.¬†up high on your waist, on your hips, or low over your butt.

Smart design to add things.

(1) Two built-in race number shock cord attachments at the front; (2) two silicone backed elastic straps at the back allow you to add additional gear. Naked Running provide as examples a set of foldable running poles or a rain jacket.

However, I found it rather cumbersome to get my running poles securely fastened in the straps. You either need to take your time or train this whilst on the run. It obviously helps that you can easily turn the band around your waist so you can see what you are doing. Also when you add your poles you cannot use the pockets between the straps to their maximum content. I ended up holding my poles in my hands during a day long trailrun when I needed a the pockets for other ‘stuff’.

Smart design to keep your cool.

The mesh is open enough to leave sweat through whilst it also¬†repels rain or sweat, and maybe the best thing … the mesh does not create any chaff after miles of running and sweating. At least not with me and although I am not hyper sensitive to chaff I do need to take for example the usual precautions of putting anti-chaff on my nipples when going for a long run.

Smart design of softflasks.

IMG_20180715_100932Obviously you can use any type of (soft)flask to carry your fluids. But that said, I found that the Naked Running Band softflasks are for me the first which have large enough opening at the top to allow easy cleaning with a normal cleaning brush. If you not already have you own set I would definitely advice you to consider these.

Is the Naked Running Band worth the money?

Everybody has it preferences so I will give my opinion which may help you to decide what your final choice will be.

Yes, if you compare this running band with for example another high performance brand running band: the Compressport Free Belt Pro which you can buy for almost the same price. I would argue (having used the ‘normal’ Free Belt extensively) that the breathability, easy access and twelve versus three sizes tips my choice to the Naked Running Band.

Probably, if you compare it with some cheaper models like for example the Flipbelt or¬†The Hipster Running Belt from Nathan. Both are approximately half the price but are less breathable (no mesh but ‘solid’ fabric), do not have a key hook, additional straps for poles and race number shock cords.

A tough competitor could be the Salamon Pulse Belt. This belt also has additional straps for poles but is not made of a breathable mesh, has only four sizes and is less stretchy to really put in a lot of ‘stuff’.

So, for me it is worth the money.

It allows me for most runs to leave my trailpack at home. But it has its limits as I wrote above, especially when you also want to add your poles to the Band. That’s also realised by Naked Sports Innovation I think whilst they just introduced a vest from similar material.

What are your experiences with Running Bands? Any preferences?

(If interested, in the UK the Naked Running Band is sold by Centurion Running, when in the Netherlands you can either buy them via the internet in the UK or US).

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What did I carry so far with the Naked Running Band?

Groceries I bought for my evening meal when running back home.IMG_20180704_163016

Eight ‘Krentenbollen’, my favourite Dutch bread treat, known in the rest of the world as Raisin buns, see video¬†:).DSC_0130

Mountain trailrunning pack when I explored the Bob Graham Round in the Lake District in three days days.

 

For these day long trailruns in windy and wet weather I packed I think the maximum I could fit in in (keeping my poles in hand):

  • a set of water proofs (jacket and trousers);
  • first aid kit;
  • softflask;
  • phone;
  • map and compass;
  • some energy bars.
The Bob Graham Round is a circular tour around Keswick following 106 kilometres, 8200 meters height gain over 42 fells tops in order to prepare myself for the ultimate endeavour next year to do it in 24 hours and become a member of The Bob Graham 24 hour club.
Just another crazy idea in the trailrunning world that started already way before we called it trailrunning. The round was first done just within 24 hours way back in 1932 by Bob Graham, a hotelier of Keswick, Cumberland, at the age of 42 (!).
Besides trying it within 24 hours you can also add: ‘doing it in winter, do it twice’ or do it as fast as possible like the ‘inhuman’ trail phenomenon¬†K√≠lian Jornet just proofed setting a new record of 12.52 hours! For me within 24 hours would be great, I will definitely write a blog about my effort!

 

 

 

THE WALL

Nothing beats an iconic name for a trailrun and THE WALL just sounds great, and it sure was!

asterix-hadrianswall

asterix-and-the-pictsAlready Asterix and Obelix found out that the Roman Emperor Hadrian had build a Wall (128 AD) to keep the Picts out of his Empire. However, just like that small Gaul village on the edge of Brittany, the Picts kept challenging this border. When thinking about this Wall, you also realise how much easier it is nowadays with a border less EU to trade your salmon for example, but for how much longer with the BREXIT?

img-20180617-wa0042Anyway, politics aside, on a cloudy Saturday morning I started with four runners from Northwood Headquarters and about 500 other ‘lunatics’ the crazy journey of 69 English imperial miles or 112 kilometres to run along Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle in the West across England to Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the East. img-20180615-wa0000The day before we went to the formal start point of the Hadrian’s Wall Trail at Bowness-on-Solway to smell the Irish Sea ‘mud’ during ebb. This Saturday the aim was to smell the North Sea at least in time to have a beer before it would turn Sunday. And maybe spoiling the plot already a little: we all succeeded – see also the movie at YOUTUBE.

 

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Counting down to 0700 at Carlisle Castle the long and slow shuffle began. That is the fun for me doing such an ultra long distance. You can start very relaxed, who cares for a minute later at the finish? You can start at a slow pace so no problems with digesting your breakfast, so no need to get up four hours in advance. No stress at the restrooms, you can always visit a local pub, tearoom, or a tree. Amazing views? Just 35628990_1945134698884190_3980730265805783040_opause, ask another runner or supporter to take a picture, enjoy the scenery and carry on. At an organised refreshment post, enjoy the plethora of food options available … the first of four official ‘Pitstops’ I more or less rushed through, only realising later how stupid that was … take some time, rest, do some tasting of sandwiches, cakes, bars, tea, curry (!), rice with meatballs … it just did not end. So, the next three ‘Pitstops’ I 35847088_1945135838884076_736377168010936320_otook more time and decided that I did not need any food in between, just water. That is another bonus of the ultra long distance, you can eat AS MUCH AS YOU WANT, because you will burn it anyway during the shuffle.

The ‘shuffle‘ is the ultra long distance equivalent of impatient walkers. However, I think the shuffle is less strenuous than the official ‘Race Walking’. With the shuffle you combine a high stride frequency with a img_20180616_102515small stride length floating more or less along the trail. With ‘Race Walking’ you are mandated to keep ground contact resulting in a, in my opinion, forced way of moving forward.

Knowing that I had to go 112 kilometres I needed to force myself to slow down, come in to ‘shuffle mode‘. I prefer to do this by really ‘looking’ around, more intensely than normal observing the world around me. I am surprised by the different style of runners who join such an event. Some you would not give one mile, but they just go on … some have some additional body weight, but they just go on … some have trailpacks which sloshes around with all kind of loose ‘stuffs’ and not vacuumized drinking bladders, making me seasick just looking … but they just go on …

img-20180617-wa0027Just like Hadrian’s Wall … just goes on. Unfortunately the organisation decided to follow most of the time the tarmac of the National Cycle Path 72 and not the official National Trail Hadrian’s wall walking path. I could have known if I had read the small print! So, it was not really a trailrun but more a ultra distance tarmac run where some parts had a touch and go with trail underground and the remains of THE WALL.

fb_img_1529347365393After about 80 kilometres and the last rain shower I changed shuffle mode from ‘looking outward‘ to getting into the shuffle zone and ‘looking inward‘. Dividing the last kilometres, after already two marathons, in small pieces and giving myself the ‘reward’ of walking for one minute, or a hot tea at the last ‘Pitstop’.

Approaching Newcastle, following the River Tyne embankment, the thrill of getting really close to the finish created another shuffle mode change: ‘Satisfaction, Jubilation, Shivers, JIPPIE!‘. The finish was really in the town centre, people strolling along the boulevard whilst I was shuffling / struggling to move forward supported by cheers from people on terraces drinking a beer or wine.

img-20180616-wa0003Finally across the Millennium Bridge, which every decent city in the UK must have, to HMS Calliope, the Royal Naval Reserve Unit Centre. A prime location along the Tyne with for us the bonus that within 100 metres of the finish line there are showers, a bar with a view on the city, beer, curry and our bunkbeds!

After 13 hours shuffling I layed down for a half hour enjoying the rewarding feeling of completing this madness (which I voluntarily signed up for, no old fashioned navy recruiting, so no moaning!).

The beer and curry tasted delicious but at 2330 we all are done with … than the last bonus of HMS Calliope … the room with the bunkbeds had no windows … so in complete darkness we slept until 0800 the next day.

IMG-20180617-WA0004Sunday … the legs feel OK … WHAT? … yes they feel OK … a bit stiff, but much less than the Innsbruck Alpine 85km, or a fast marathon … one more benefit of ‘The shuffle’ in non mountainous terrain … you feel really tired but the total strain on muscles and joints is less. But I will still enjoy my full week of no running at all, that’s for sure!

For he who wants to know some crazy facts and figures!

Some Training & Preparation

img-20180617-wa0009I did not have a very specific preparation. However, on average I am running about 100 – 130 kilometres per week of which at least one is a longer run of 3 to 4 hours. So the endurance base is already exists. From January this year I first trained for a fast marathon and made 2.43 at the Manchester Marathon beginning of April. April and May I stopped with training for speed and more for the slow speed ultra ‘shuffle‘. In some weekends I ran both days a longer run of 2.5 – 4 hours letting my body getting used to the distance without pushing it too hard. The last May Bank Holiday weekend I ran three consecutive days clocking in total THE WALL distance of 112 kilometres.

Some Gear

img-20180617-wa0047The weather forecast was not great: rain, drizzle, rather fresh. As a ‘cold’ person I decided to run in an INOV-8 3/4 quarter tight with an INOV-8 merino longsleeve shirt as base layer. During the rain showers I used the INOV-8 AT/C Stormshell Jacket, but directly changing it for a short sleeve shirt when it got dry because in the end it was still approximately 14 – 17 degrees Celsius in the sun. And as most times the weater forecast was worse than reality, in all four larger rain showers of about 30 minutes, some drizzle but mostly dry and at the end of the day even sun! All the usual mandatory gear fitted easily in my INOV-8 Race Ultra 5 litres trailpack.

img_20180616_112053As I wrote above, I expected more trail than tarmac and started therefore on one of the multi-terrain trailrun shoes of INOV-8, the Roclite 305. In the end maybe even a road shoe would have sufficed but for me the Roclite 305 gave good comfort to finish without any blisters or pains. I normally ‘grease’ my toes and use a lot of talc.

Some Numbers

I ran the 112 kilometres and 1200m+ in 13.04.32. More than 3,5 hours (!) after the first man finished, 27th male and 30th overall. At the ultra distance the physical differences between male and female are definitely not important anymore. The last person finished in 25.30 as 447th, what an achievement!

The Wall (1)My average overall speed was 7 min / kilometres, i.e. 8.6 km/h. I told you: ultra running is ‘walking for impatient people’. According to my watch I spend approximately 1 hour at the four ‘Pitstops’ making my average ultra shuffle speed between stops an amazing 9.3 km/h, wow ūüôā