Running with ASICS

26 September 2015

I have been lucky enough to be an ASICS Roadtesters. One result of this opportunity is that I have thought a lot more about my running gear than I otherwise would have done; yes, I have–in the past–obsessed a little about shoes but that has been the limit of my thinking. Until now.

Let me start by saying that I think I am lucky to be a runner in Auckland. The weather is generally good (well, temperate) so I run in pretty much the same gear year-in, year-out. I do not have to have special gear for winter (unlike some of my chums in, say, Alaska).

Consequently, I have never had a running jacket. Why would I? But as a part of the ‘package’ a jacket turned up. So, I had to try it. Well, it was a pleasant surprise. I used it on my runs to the O’Hagan’s fun run each week. It kept me dry and warm, and I did not feel like I was in portable sauna. I am a convert. I have not had the need to try the jacket ‘at pace’ or for anything longer than a few Kilometres, but I am locked in to using each week (at least until the summer arrives). Score one for ASICS.

Socks. I run whatever the weather. Rain, shine, storm, or fine. When it is wet I get wet. Being something of a urban/road runner, puddles hold no fear for me. Indeed, they are an opportunity for my inner child to come out and splosh through them. The ASICS soaks are a mixture of polyester and cotton, and that turned out to be a bit of problem. On one very wet 32 Km run (and despite liberal amounts of good old Body Glide), I ended up with a couple of blisters from the soaks. It has been a long time since I got blisters :( They do offer a nice degree of padding, but I think I will be sticking to all polyester socks.

Actually, I figured out what I value most in running gear. When I am running, I want to be totally unaware of my gear. When I run, I tend to “go into myself”, so I do not want any distractions. I remember after the first time I did the Huntly Half, someone asking me, “Did you run along the lake?” Lake? There was a lake? I did not notice it (I looked up my GPS trail afterwards, and yes, I did run along the lake).

So, the ASICS hat is outstanding. I never notice it. No matter the weather (and in particular, the wind) it stays solidly on my head. It is truly the best hat I have ever run it. Score another one for ASICS. Likewise, the shorts just work. Good stuff.

The technical-tee probably deserves a special mention. First, it fits well. It is not too big (and hence prone to chafe) and not too tight (and also prone to chafe). Even on the longest of my runs (32 Km) when absolutely drenched and when wearing pack, there was not chaffing. That is exactly what I want. Usually, the combination of distance, rain, and a package causes some kind of rubbing, but not with my current ASICS shirt. Yay!

A so to the ASICS Gel Kayno. I run in ASICS before, but never in this model. It took 100 km, or so (two weeks), to settle into them. Comfortable; yes. Do they do the job; yes. Is there a but; yes. I am a slightly hefty runner so the good padding they provide should suit me, but for me (who used to be in love with the ASICS Sky Speed, whilst you could get them) they are a little to plush. Yes, my body does not feel so beaten up after a long run, but I feel like I am working just a little harder … and I start to notice that around the 26 Km mark. That said, I am locked into using them for all my short runs (7 to 21 Km). I am using something a little more like a racing flat for my 5 Km runs/races at O’Hagan’s. For my long runs, I am trying to hunt down a pair of ASICS Gel Hyper Speed–I have heard such good things about them.

So far, this experience has seen me stocking up on ASICS technical-tees and hunting down a pair of Hyper Speed shoes (report on that to follow once I have racked up some distance in them).

All in all, a great experience.

#ASICSNZ #GoRunIt @asicsnz