Testing time: this time it’s my first time out with the Inov-8 Race Ultra Vest Running Backpack to see how comfortable it is with water on (just the pouch rather than the two bottles). Seems OK with just a bit of rubbing at the neck; I’ll try cinching it up a bit more.
One of the issues I’ve always found with running is that by the time I’ve left the house in the morning, worked until well after 6pm and made my way home again, I don’t really fancy getting changed and heading out for a run, especially as that also means my partner won’t be eating until I get back from the run and I’ve showered/bathed (oh and uploaded my data to Garmin Connect, Fetcheveryone and MapMyRun, of course).
If it’s dry, I tend to walk home from work: just under 4km. So the conversation the other evening turned to combining the two with me running home instead. This concept – “run-commuting” – is gaining pace and a lot of people I saw on my walks home are already doing this.
Work is office based, with a strict dress code for all of us. It’s rumoured that there’s a shower on the 6th Floor in the ladies’ loos but if it is there it’s behind a combination lock! So running to work and changing once I get there isn’t an option, but as I’m usually last out, changing in my office into my running gear to run home is definitely do-able. I can leave the suit in the office and take it home the next day – I like to wear a different suit each day.
So that’s the plan that was hatched. I now just needed one or two additional bits of kit…
First off was the rucksack. I have a number of Kriega rucksacks for my motorbikes which are fabulous but probably too much and too heavy for running, plus they’re not designed for bouncing around on your back. So I did a little research and settled on an inov-8 RaceElite 16 rucksack. All I need to carry to work is my running gear and to home it’s my shoes, socks, shirt, tie, cufflinks, phones and wallet, so the 16 litre rucksack just about fits these in, along with a spare gel sachet on the strap.
Once packed, it’s a case of cinching up the elastic straps to hold the contents securely to prevent bounce and you’re away. The chest strap is adjustable for height and girth and the waist strap can also be tightened during the run. There’s even a hole for an accessory water pouch if you need one – I don’t – or you can fit a 500ml water bottle in each wing pocket – I don’t.
In use over the 5km route home that I’d mapped out on MayMyRun.com the bag was great with very little bounce and it kept secure. Although it’s not waterproof, it was fine for the first time when it started throwing it down around 4km (just as I was passing my house for the first time before the final 1km). Talking of which, I was pleased I’d also bought myself an Ironman “Active” running cap which kept the rain out of my eyes and as it’s vented meant I wasn’t too hot at the same time.
Sadly, I let myself down with my iPod being completely discharged: I find I run better with music than without, as it drowns out the panting of the sweaty old bloke I am! Mind you, I’d also been thinking that as I was having to cross a couple of main roads on my way home, I could probably do with something else and I found an AfterShokz Bluez 2 Bluetooth headset that works by bone conduction:
“Unlike conventional Bluetooth headphones and earbuds that use the eardrums to transmit sound, Aftershokz Bluez headphones utilize patent pending bone conduction technology to deliver sound through the listener’s cheekbones to the inner ear. This enables anyone using them to make/take phone calls and stay connected to both what they are listening to and the outside world – from warning sounds outdoors while walking or driving to a nearby colleague in an office setting.”
That way the safety aspect of being able to hear what’s going on around me can coincide with listening to music. I just hope it drowns out the panting! We’ll see when they arrive. I’ll pair them with my iPhone 6 and listen to my music from that.