Posts Tagged ‘running gear’

 Disclaimer: I received a sample of 2Toms Stink Free Sports Detergent and 2Toms Stink Free Spray to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

2Toms

As a runner, I go through a lot of gear – sweaty t-shirts and hats, shorts and underwear – and it all ends up in the laundry basket.And on those days where I mix in a yoga class or gym workout, I end up with even more dirty clothes. Because we have shared laundry facilities in our very-conveniently-located-downtown-but-amenity-sparse condo building, and because every load costs money, it tends to pile up. And even though I try to air it out, it still stinks.

I’ve also discovered that some technical gear, much beloved and full of memories, tends to retain a certain ‘scent’ even after washing. My better half has commented on this on more than one occasion. Is there a solution?

Enter 2Toms Stink Free products!

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Disclaimer: I received a pair of 2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

NOTE: I’ve edited this post since it was originally shared on December 27…because I’ve fallen in love (with these tights!) – updates are in BLUE.

2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

Running in Vancouver generally means running in the rain, rather than the cold. But there’s a chilly dampness in the air that means even on days where the temperature is hovering above zero, it’s still pretty darn wintery. I have a pair of tights that I bought a couple of years ago, but I’ll admit I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to try and review a new brand as a BibRave Pro!

There was a brief debate among BibRave Pros about when the tights would arrive, and the very next day I got a package at my office. Given that I’m one of the few BibRave Pros in Canada, shipping can either be ridiculously slow or remarkably fast. This time, it was a latter (and better!).

2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

The first thing I have to remark on is the name: HYOPTIK. I flashed the box at a few people, who immediately thought it said ‘HYPNOTIK’. I think it’s kind of a neat name, though, and captures both the imagination as well as the reflective qualities of the tights.

My first trial run was 2 days later, heading out for a 16km run with my running group from Forerunners. I struggled with a couple of things:

  • What do I wear under my compression tights?
  • How do I get these things on?

In answer, I have since tried my tights both with and without underwear. I don’t know if there is a definitive best practice – and would welcome feedback on this point. I have concluded that a good pair of athletic boxer briefs (SAXX, to be precise) is the best under layer for these tights!

In terms of getting them on – my other tights have zippers at the ankles, making them easier to fit over my feet, but I’ve also noticed that they’re getting a bit ‘flappy’. The HYOPTIK tights have very tight ankles, so it takes a bit of doing to get them on – but once on, they’re snug and comfortable.

[Tweet “2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights: What you need to know #runhyoptik #bibchat”]

I’ve taken these tights out for several a whole bunch of runs now, including one in very low-light conditions (i.e. Stanley Park in the dark).

What I like:

  • Snug, comfortable fit – I selected my size based on the detailed sizing chart on the 2XU website, and I feel like I made the right decision
  • Thermal material, but not bulky – the ‘brushed interior thermal layer for added warmth‘ does its job, but doesn’t add thickness to the tights – and as the weather got colder, I stayed warm!
  • Cool design – I just like the look of these tights – kind of fun and funky
  • Compression seems to make a difference – I’m not fully bought in to the value of compression garments, but I’ll admit that my legs have felt pretty good both during and after my runs in these tights. During the runs, I feel like my muscles are supported, and my tweaky knee has felt better; afterwards, I don’t feel the fatigue I sometimes do.
  • Wearable shorts-free! I have always been a bit shy/modest and have a few of my own body issues. Whenever I wear tights, I always wear shorts over them. BUT – there’s something about how these tights fit and feel that make me think that it doesn’t really matter. I’ve been out, running, in public – shorts-free! This is awesome, because it’s way less cumbersome and makes me believe that I’m more aerodynamic!
2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

Shorts-free tights!

What I like less *with some key caveats*:

  • Sub-par reflective quality – I have some other gear that truly shines in the dark, makes you stand out; the HYOPTIK logo seems like more of a matte finish, and I don’t feel it does its job as well as it should. Upon further experimentation, I think they do a pretty decent job – just not as ‘shiny’, but still visible.
  • Hard to get on and off – but as noted above, this is a challenge offset by the positive effects of the compression. But no quick changes when I have to sit on the floor to get them over my feet! I changed out of these at the gym this week – a bit challenging, but I’m getting the hang of it.
  • Material bunching at knees – during my runs, I was aware of the material behind my knees, a bit like elephant ankles. It’s probably something I’ll get used to, but during my first couple of runs I found this distracting. I’m used to the fit now – this doesn’t bother me at all.
  • Lack of pockets – there is a tiny pocket inside the waistband, maybe enough space for a key. Is it feasible to have a back zippered pocket and still maintain compression? Not sure about this one. Not practical to have pockets in these tights!

Overall, I’m pretty happy thrilled with my 2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights! Throughout the upcoming winter months, I expect they’ll get a lot of mileage.

2XU HYOPTIK Thermal Compression Tights

I’m pleased to note that the Canadian 2XU site has some pretty amazing Boxing Week sales through until January 3, 2016. Over at the US 2XU site, there are some good post-Christmas deals.

Follow 2XU on Twitter @2xu_usa, #RunHyoptik, and #bibchat.

Do you run with tights? Have you had any experience with compression tights?

Disclaimer: I received a UV Full BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

UV Buff

My social media-savvy Dad saw one of my posts about the BUFF® a couple of weeks ago. He couldn’t quite understand what it was all about, so I explained a bit about the product. Then he asked me, “Why is it called that?” I didn’t know the answer. Now I do.

The BUFF® was actually invented in Spain. The name BUFF® comes from the Spanish bufanda, which means bandana – logical enough!

Before receiving the UV BUFF® via BibRave, I was lucky enough to get an event BUFF® as swag from the Overlander Sports Half Marathon (click for race report) in Yellowknife. So I had a chance to try it out before ‘offically’ trying it on for review!

UV Buff

What the heck IS a BUFF®?

In case you aren’t already familiar with the BUFF®, it’s basically a stretchy tube of material that can be worn in a variety of ways for different sporting activities. A few of the styles – like the balaclava – are more appropriate for folks using it for skiing or similar ‘helmet’ sports. Not quite my speed of things! Other styles are great for people with hair – again, not something that works for me.

The product is seamless, which amazes me – apparently using some tubular sewing technology. The UV BUFF® we got to test also blocks 95% of harmful UV rays. It’s moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and made of Coolmax Extreme fibre. It’s soft and breathable.

If you visit the Buff USA website (or the websites of BUFF® in other countries), you will find an dizzying array of colours, designs and products. Seriously, the selection is ridiculously amazing! And, like my event BUFF® mentioned above, custom styles are available.

My BUFF® Experience

Due to challenges with international shipping, a lot of other BibRavePro’s were getting their BUFF® products and showing them off online. But some very helpful folks tracked down my package, and I was pleased to see my new UV BUFF® in this amazing colour:

UV Buff

Upon receipt, I did my due diligence, and researched all the different ways to wear the UV BUFF®. I found it a bit overwhelming at first, but I figured once I got the hang of things, I’d learn my favourites and become an expert. There’s a catchy ‘music-video’-type how-to video on the BUFF® website, with both male and female models demonstrating. However, I find that having an explanation makes more sense for me, so here’s the video that helped me the most:

I took my UV BUFF® out for its first trial run in Stanley Park at lunchtime. I went with the Pirate configuration. It looks a bit sloppy, but it was great on a humid, overcast day for wicking sweat and keeping it from running into my eyes.

UV Buff UV Buff

During a run around the Stanley Park Seawall, I decided to try the UV BUFF® under a hat. This time I use the Sahariane style, so I had the material hanging down and keeping the sun off my neck. The look is a bit too ‘layered’ for my taste, but it was effective.

UV Buff UV Buff

These next two photos were from the same race – the Van Race 15K. I wore the UV BUFF® as a neck gator during the race. It wasn’t a cold day, but I liked the feeling of it – honestly, once I was on the run, I barely noticed it. After the race, I changed into a clean shirt, ditched my sopping wet hat, and pulled the dry BUFF® over my head to keep off the sun. Perfect!

UV Buff UV Buff

And in the last week or so, the weather has cooled off. I have started wearing the BUFF® as a toque/cap – the first photo was during another lunch run, and the latter after finishing a very rainy Eastside 10K – again, stripping off my soggy racing gear and putting the BUFF® on as a warm recovery cap.

UV Buff UV Buff

BUFF® is honestly my new favourite brand! I have been looking for excuses to wear it on runs even when I don’t really need it (i.e. a cap would do). I’ve even taken to bringing along two – one for during the race, and one for after! If you scroll through my blog, you’ll see other photos of me rocking the BUFF® in a variety of ways!

If you love BUFF® products like me – or want to try one for yourself –  you can use code “bibrave10” for 10% off your order until the end of September! Don’t wait!!

Are you a BUFF® fan? What’s your favourite way to wear BUFF® products?