What the Pros Wear – Spartan Race World Championship

After the recent Spartan Race World Championships I had the opportunity to catch up with 3 finishers and ask them a few questions. Of that I made sure to find out what gear they were wearing and how each piece was chosen and mattered to them.  Read on for what Jon Albon, Ryan Atkins, and Cody Moat wore on their way to the finishing the Spartan Race Beast (Warning, link heavy post):

Jon Albon – World Championjon-albon-running

Top: I wore the inov-8 Base Elite™ Merino LS – a long sleeve tight fitting merino wool shirt. I chose to wear the merino wool base layer because I was concerned about being cold. It didn’t hinder me too much and retains very little water whilst keeping you warm. As the race got underway I didn’t feel cold at all and the water was no where near as bad as previous races in the UK, I’m not sure if it was necessary but it didn’t hurt.

Bottom: As usual I wore my Race Elite Trail Short, a no fuss lightweight short that retains little water and has space for gels in the rear pocket.

Under my shorts I wore Compressort Compression Trail Underwear Short. These compression shorts retain very little water whilst providing compression. The shorts also have gripppy patches to aid the use of hands on thighs when powering up steep climbs.

Feet: As for most obstacle races I wore my Inov-8 x-talon 212’s these have unrivaled grip, are lightweight, retain next to no water and are very endurable- most importantly they are comfy as hell though. I put on a new pair for the race and with no breaking in whatsoever they fitted like a glove and didn’t give me one blister. I also taped my laces to stop them coming undone – a trick learnt from orienteering.

And for socks I wore the Inov-8 Race Ultra™ Mid sock. Retains no water and really comfortable even if grit gets in the shoe.

Watch:  The Garmin 920xt Garmin 920xt is a great choice for Spartan race as it is made for the rigors of triathlons which involve swimming and other harsh conditions for long periods of time.

Additional Gear: I have my Dryrobe for post race warming up and changing in. These are amazing pieces of kit and essential for any but the hottest of OCR races. However, even on summer day it allows you to change with ease without flashing anyone your modesties.

My pack was the Inov-8 Race Ultra 1. This minimalist waste pouch sits really tight to your body so you forget you are wearing it. I used one of the inov-8 ergonomic bottles allowing me to carry 500ml (16.9 oz.) of water and filled the other pouch with my energy gels.

And as part of my breakfast I had a Clif Bar and ate some of the Clif Builder’s Bars post race for recovery. The sustained energy from the Clif Bar at breakfast helped power me through the race and the protein post race went a long way for recovery.

Ryan Atkinsryan-atkins-running

Top: I wore a Salomon Men’s Start Tee. It has a zipper in the front (no longer available to purchase), to vent a bit better, and the shirt gave me a little protection from any abrasion on obstacles.

Bottom: Salomon trail shorts and the Salomon EXO Calf Sleeve. These shorts have lots of pockets, they are light, and dry fast. The calf compression feels nice on the jarring descents.

Feet: Salomon fellcross and for socks the Dissent Labs long socks. I wanted a shoe with maximum grip, and minimum weight, but good durability. I love Dissent socks.

Watch: I wore the Suunto Ambit Suunto Ambit. It is a full featured watch that shows all the data you would ever need during a spartan race.

Additional Gear: I ran with Roctane energy gels, and clif shot bloks for food. No pack or water of any sort. I knew there would be lots of water on the course. And I didn’t want a pack getting caught in any barbed wire!

Cody Moatcody-moat-running

Top: My shirt was a black compression shirt that Spartan gave all it’s elite athletes. I liked it because it kept me warm early in the morning then later in the day it stayed slightly damp, thus keeping me cool.

Bottom: My shorts were the same, compression bottoms from Spartan. I don’t really have a good reason why I wear these other than they feel good and look like a uniform. I guess they also keep me warmer than regular running shorts. Then they stay damp like the shirt keeping me cool throughout the race.

Feet: I wore the Inov-8 X-talon 190’s, I really like these shoes because they have incredible traction and are very light. I have never seen a shoes with that good of traction and still be that light.

Additional Gear: I wore an Inov-8 fanny pack, it is very similar to the Inov-8 Race Ultra 1 but it is mesh (previous model to Ultra 1). I really like using this pack because it was mesh thus retaining no water. It also holds two bottles and has a pocket for whatever else I might need. I chose to only take 1 bottle and fill the other pocket with my nutrition.

Additional Thoughts: Underwear and socks don’t really matter much to me. Half the time I throw my socks away after a race because they are so dirty.

 

Other articles that will interest you:

Best Shoes For Obstacle Course Racing

Best Gloves For Obstacle Course Racing

 

Hoka One One Clayton Review

Hoka One One Clayton
3.7 / 5 Overall
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I purchased the Hoka One One Clayton shoes prior to running A Race For The Ages (ARFTA) when I realized I would be on my feet for potentially 32 hours. In the end I only ran for about 11-12 hours before calling it quits but it was a great initial test for the Hoka One One Clayton’s.  Leading up to the race I had run about 20 mies in the Hoka One One Clayton’s to break them in and since then I have put around 200 miles on them prior to this review. These are not obstacle racing shoes, they are shoes you would run in to train for an Obstacle Course Race. 

hoka-one-one-clayton-review-2

Taking in the view prior to ARFTA

Hoka One One Clayton Features

Lightweight Breathable Upper  – The upper material on these shoes is so thin and transparent that I was very nervous about it’s durability when I started wearing them. It turns out they just got the material (No-Sew TPU Lattice) perfect.

Lightweight Everything – I could go through each element of the shoe but they made everything light. The shoe weighs in at a shocking 7.3 oz. The only area I was a little concerned with the weight cutting was the heel cup. I’m guilty of not untying my shoes between wears and when I slide my foot in I can easily crush the heel area. No problem here, just an observation for some people that may need more shoe support.

Wide Foot Base – Hoka calls this feature – Oversize Active Foot Frame – what it boils down to is the sole of the shoe has a wide footprint. I think this provides some stability that makes up for the shoes general lack of structure. It’s not an often used concept and I wouldn’t want to wear shoes with this feature on a trail run but it works here.

Hoka One One Clayton Usage

As I stated in my intro, I wore these shoes initially for two training runs of around 10 miles prior to 40 miles at ARFTA. One thing I didn’t mention in my intro was that when I ordered them I bought my normal size of 9.5 and a size 10. I did this because my last Hoka’s that I bought felt very short at 9.5 and were constantly rubbing my toes. I tried them on and ended up returning the 9.5’s, this is the first time for any shoe ever in 15 years that I have bought a size up. I was immediately nervous about buying a size up but after running in them I realized it’s the the way I need to buy Hoka’s from now on. My old Hoka Clifton’s have the outside area of both toe boxes cut out so I can wear them on occasion.

hoka-one-one-clayton-review-3

Hoka Clifton with Cutout

When it came to actually using the Hoka One One Clayton I found them to be surprisingly supportive with their stripped down weight. I mean, you are running in shoes that feel like road racing flats but they have 24mm of cushioning in the heel and 20mm in the forefoot. The break in period was not noticeable (for my body/sore muscles) and pretty much seamless going from Inov-8 Ultra 270’s to these. What I did notice was the very cushioned feel in comparison, these feel like pillows like the rest of Hoka’s shoe lineup.

I have worn them only on packed trails/ road and that is the only surfaces I would suggest because of their wide base. The base of Hoka’s used to make me nervous because it was so built up tall that you can roll your ankle easily in them since the fulcrum point it creates and these are similar but in width instead. They width does feel safer than the platform like style of the other Hoka One One’s.

The only real issue that these shoes have is that the grip is very soft and as a result not durable. They are using a new type of material called RMAT and it trades off durability for performance. After about 200 miles the heel has almost worn through to the cushioning. I’m a little annoyed here because they are such expensive shoes ($150) and it looks like I can maybe get 300-350 miles out of them which is a poor investment for running shoes. I’ll be emailing Hoka to see if this is normal and to get an official response that I will update here.

Hoka One One Clayton Durability

The durability of the Upper is, as I stated previously, perfect. Hoka managed to get a super breathable and thin upper that shows no signs of ripping. The sole is the main area of concern and I would love to hear from other people that have worn these if their soles have worn down fast. Leave Comments and Reviews!

hoka-one-one-clayton-review-4

Hoka One One Clayton Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very Light weight 7.3 oz
  • Breathable upper
  • Great Cushioning

Cons

  • Expensive – $150
  • Not durable sole

Hoka One One Clayton Conclusion

The main question that matters – would I suggest you buy the Hoka One One Clayton? Yes – but be aware you may need to replace them sooner than you would like. If you are trying to keep you running habit to a bare minimum as far as costs are concerned, don’t buy these. What the Clayton’s bring to the table is a high performance shoe that is on the expensive end of shoes. Like many thing in life you get to pick two – Good, fast, or cheap – Hoka chose good and fast for these shoes and that’s what you get in the Hoka One One Clayton.

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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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Spartan Race to Drug Test at World Championships?

spartan-race-drug-testing

Spartan Race has announced that they will be partnering with USADA to provide “anti-doping education” at this years Spartan Race World Championships (SRWC) in Lake Tahoe. From what we know about the testing that USADA provides, this testing is very thorough. A few OCR athletes are known to hedge around the question about performance enhancing drugs and it should be very interesting to see if any of them are no shows at the SRWC based on today’s announcement.

There are a couple of problems with today’s news, however. First, there is no clear designation on whether the athletes will be tested at this year’s event or not. Let’s assume for a minute that Spartan’s intention is to test at Lake Tahoe. Then, this press release serves as a warning, which leads us to our second issue. This type of “scheduled” drug testing almost never amounts to much more than an IQ test. If you know you are having a drug test you can easily cycle out of the drugs you are using based on the type of test you will be receiving. Hopefully, this is the start of what’s known as “out of competition” drug testing as well, not just on race day.

There are many more questions that we can’t wait to hear the answer to…

Will it be for top 5 finsheres? Top 10? Potentially All athletes?

Why did Spartan chose USADA over WADA? (WADA is the association that The OCRWC has chosen to partner with).

Blood test or urine test?

Out of competition testing?

The questions go on and on, we will keep you updated as we learn more. The complete Spartan press release can be read below:

We at ORM support drug testing in the sport of obstacle racing. What’s your take on this announcement?

Boston, Mass. (September 21, 2016) – Beginning at the 2016 Spartan Race World Championship in Lake Tahoe, Calif., Spartan Race is pleased to announce the creation of a joint educational initiative operating in conjunction with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that will help provide athletes with a baseline understanding of anti-doping regulations and best practices. For many athletes, this will be their first chance to learn how anti-doping helps protect the health and wellness of athletes, as well as the integrity of sport, while also ensuring that athletes are able to compete clean and win.

Prior to the start of competition, USADA will deliver a 30-minute educational presentation at 3:00 p.m. on September 30, which will cover topics like the World Anti-Doping Code, performance-enhancing substances, the risks associated with dietary supplements, and the sample collection process. Athletes will then be able to interact, ask questions, and learn more about anti-doping throughout the weekend by visiting with USADA’s representatives. Friendly experts will also direct athletes to USADA’s various anti-doping resources, such as the Athlete Pocket Guide and Wallet Card.

“By introducing athletes to USADA and anti-doping, Spartan is fully supporting the concept that clean competition is crucial to growing a sustainable and globally recognized sport,” said Spartan Race COO Jeffrey Connor. “This step also illustrates Spartan Race’s continued commitment to the preservation of a level playing field.”

About Spartan:

Spartan Race is the world’s leading obstacle race company and the first of its kind to feature timing and global rankings. With more than 170 events in 25+ countries planned for 2016, Spartan Race has more than 1 million global participants, and offers open heats for all fitness levels as well as competitive and elite heats. With over 5 million passionate social media followers, health and wellness products, as well as the popular NBC television series, Spartan Race has made obstacle racing one of the fastest growing sports—and lifestyles— in the world. Spartan Race features races at three distances, 3+Mile/20+ Obstacle “Sprint,” 8+ Mile/25+ Obstacle “Super” and 12+ Mile/30+ Obstacle “Beast,” culminating each year in the Spartan Race World Championship. Visit http://www.spartan.com for more information, a schedule of events, and to register for a race.

About USADA:

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is recognized by the United States Congress as the official anti-doping organization for all Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American, and Para Pan American sport in the United States. In addition, USADA is recognized by the UFC as its official, independent anti-doping agency. USADA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of competition, inspiring true sport, and protecting the rights of athletes. Learn more at www.USADA.org.

How to Replace Battery in Garmin Forerunner 405

The Garmin Forerunner 405 is a classic GPS watch by Garmin. You can find many of them available for sale on eBay for a steal. The great thing about old GPS watches like the Garmin 405 is that they still track GPS just as well as the new ones. The only thing that has been added to improve tracking accuracy is the GLONASS integration on a limited selection of  GPS watches.

So how do you change the battery on a Garmin 405? It’s easier than it looks but it requires some basic soldering skills, please proceed at your own risk. Here is a layout of the tools that I used and suggest using:

change-garmin-405-battery-1

 

1. Start by flipping the Garmin 405 over and removing the 4 rear screws with a Torx 5 (T5) screw driver.

change-garmin-405-battery-4

 

2. Once the back is unscrewed do not pull it off immediately as there is still a connector attached that you will want to use the flat head screwdriver or a spudger to remove. Disconnect carefully and separate the back from the watch.

change-garmin-405-battery-5

3. After the back is separated, carefully remove all the tape and stickers. You will also want to remove the battery which has a sticky type of glue from the rear plastic housing.

change-garmin-405-battery-6

4. Now you need to remove the old battery with your soldering iron and soldering wick. Touch the two contacts with the soldering iron, once the solder is wet, use the wick to absorb it and then separate the batteries connecting tab.

change-garmin-405-battery-7

5. Now you will start reversing the process. Take the new battery you have purchased and bend the tabs so that they will neatly wrap around the circuit board as the other batteries tabs had. **Important Note – as you can see on your circuit board there is a negative and a positive connection. Look at your battery to see which side is which before soldering on.** Then, with the help of the helping hands or real helping hands, solder the new battery onto the board. My solder connections here were very neat or clean but the important part is to not glob on too much solder and have a clean connection.

change-garmin-405-battery-8

6. Attach the stickers to the battery and the battery to the watch case rear housing. If the glue stayed on your battery and not the case don’t worry – it is snug inside of there and doesn’t require glue but you can use double sided tape if you’d like.

change-garmin-405-battery-9

7. Carefully reconnect the connector to the main watch body and screw your 4 torx screws back into place. That’s it! Charge it up and go for a run!

Tailwind Nutrition Review

Tailwind Nutrition
4.5 / 5 Overall
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There has been a lot of talk about Tailwind nutrition recently in the Obstacle Course Racing and the ultra running community. With OCR events lasting multiple hours, like many running ultra races, people are trying to figure out how to get all the calories they need for such sustained efforts. Along with having easy calories from dextrose and sucrose, they also throw in enough sodium and potassium to be comparable to Gatorade. But the one big difference between Tailwind and something like Gatorade is that as stated on Tailwinds products, “No Gut Bombs”. Which means you can take these down all day long without that sudden need to run off into the woods and to make an entry in the captains log.

Tailwind Nutrition Features

Stomach Friendly  – The No Gut Bomb statement is true. I’m not a scientist or a gastroenterologist but I have an extremely sensitive stomach that gets upset at the idea of being upset. I have drank all 7 flavors of Tailwind nutrition on runs from 1 hour to 4+ hours without any stomach issues. That passes the No Gut Bomb test for me.

Light Flavors – All of the 7 flavors, especially the “Naked Unflavored”, are incredibly smooth because of their subtle flavors. They give you the idea you are drinking something such as a nice lightly sweetened green tea without beating you over the head with the flavoring that most companies add.

Instant Dissolve – Going into testing their products I have a good deal of experience with many other sports drink powders and expected a similar experience. Usually you want to fill the bottle with a little warm water and let them dissolve before pouring in ice and/or cold water. With Tailwind Nutrition you can get an ice cold bottle of water and pour it right in. After about one minute in cold water there is no trace of it.

trailwind-nutrition-review-3

Tailwind Nutrition Usage

Using Tailwind for most of my recent running has left me spoiled. Normally when I train I seldom bring gels, water, sports drinks or any nutrition for anything under 10 miles. I know most people like to set their bar for water and gel a little lower but I try and keep it simple. While testing Tailwind for review I started consuming half a packet before 7 mile runs and loading it into my hydration pack for runs over 7 miles. It’s amazing just how much better I feel and without the worry I’ll be hunting porcelain along the streets.

trailwind-nutrition-review-2

You could attribute the better feeling to my bringing proper hydration and calories. But while infrequent, I have in the past brought water and gel on enough runs to know the difference. There is a different feeling and simplicity to just drinking liquid and not having to choke down a thick gel. With gels I always feel like I’m a little uneasy about 10-15 minutes after and 20-30 minutes after consuming. They leave me hoping that I won’t have a bad reaction even with my usually safe Root Beer flavored GU’s.

One more thing worth noting is how they all mix clear. I like the idea that they aren’t adding things that aren’t needed and it shows by leaving out the coloring. The neon like color of other sports drinks have grown old and seem unneeded.

Tailwind Nutrition Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Gentle Flavor
  • No stomach issues
  • Easy to mix

Cons

  • Some people don’t like the packaging or mixing powders
  • You need to carry two bottles if you also want water

Tailwind Nutrition Conclusion

Wether you are just getting into consuming calories on the go, or have been, you should try Tailwind Nutrition. It is simple and has all you need for energy during your entire activity. In the future I’ll be buying more Tailwind and less gels to keep me going. Try the Green Tea Buzz if you enjoy a subtle caffeine kick during your runs!

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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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Brooks PureGrit 5 Review

Brooks PureGrit 5
3.4 / 5 Overall
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The Brooks PureGrit 5 is Brooks latest update to their PureGrit trail shoe series. This version has seen the midfoot wrap call the Nav-Band disappear but the shoes grip has remained the same. Another thing that they have left untouched is the 4mm drop which is a nice level between no drop and average ( 0mm – 7mm ). That’s enough about how the shoe is made, let’s get into the review.

Brooks PureGrit 5 Features

Hex Lugs  – The PureGrit 5 has a very interesting shape to their lugs, they are 6 sided unlike the more traditional 4 or 3 sided lugs. I’m not sure how much this affects the grip but the depth of 3/16″ for the lugs is on par with most trail shoes and doesn’t leave you wanting more.

brooks-puregrit-5-review-3

Rounded Heel Cup – The heel cup provides a very cushioned and controlling feel while not being overly restrictive. The overall feel of the heel was something I immediately noticed because of how unique it felt. Most running shoes are basically just structure with cloth wrapped around them. But the PureGrit 5 has a pillow like feel that still manages to keep you feeling locked in.

Brooks PureGrit 5 Usage

As soon as I got these in the mail, as usual, I instantly changed my plans to run later in the day and threw them on for a run down my local trail. I had mentioned just before the cushion feeling and how that was something I wasn’t sure about when I initially took them out – I like my shoes to feel wide and roomy. These are very padded and a little claustrophobic feeling at first but this does wane as they break in. Still with all things considered I’m not sure I would ever wear these for anything over 12 miles since my feet have some issues with swelling and pressure on the nerves.

After about 50 miles in the shoes I found that they still looked like new and the durability overall was outstanding. I ran on mostly technical trails and even some more bushwhacking type trails where I was just jamming my feet between jagged rocks that would have destroyed a shoe like the Reebok All-Terrain Super OR. There is a toe box coating of a rubber like material that I’m pretty sure could withstand a knife attack or be your first line of defense in a bear attack if you could coat your body in it.

brooks-puregrit-5-review-4

When the Brooks PureGrit 5 did get wet I found this to be an area that left something to be desired. I run in a rotation of Inov-8 Ultra 290’s, Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5′s, and Reebok All-terrain Thrill’s that would all outperform the PureGrit 5 as far as draining and water retention. The PureGrit 5 isn’t worse than regular road running shoes but it is at the lower end compared to trail shoes.

Brooks PureGrit 5 Durability

Durability is one area the PureGrit 5 excels in beyond most trail shoes used for Obstacle Racing. As I previously mentioned they have a toe box that can withstand small arms attacks, and the rest of the upper shows signs of where I stepped on a board with nails sticking out but no rips. The sole of the shoe also has an interesting section on the rear corner where most peoples heel striking hits. Instead of uniformly covering the bottom in hex lugs they added a reinforced section that will withstand more use than a lug as you can see in the photo below.

brooks-puregrit-5-review-2

Brooks PureGrit 5 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very Durable
  • Innovative grip solution

Cons

  • Poor water drainage
  • Narrow

Similar Products

Brooks PureGrit 5Merrell All Out CrushReebok All Terrain Thrill
Weight277g227g320g
Heel Drop4mm6mm13mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"
Metal StudsNoNoNo
Price$119.00$100$125.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYes
BuyAmazonAmazonAmazon

Brooks PureGrit 5 Conclusion

If these shoes were more spacious I would wear them more often. As it is the Brooks PureGrit 5 is a hard shoe for me to wear since my usual training runs gets near the limit of where foot swelling would become an issue. If you have average to narrow feet these shoes should be an option you look into. I enjoyed the grip and the protective nature of the shoes for when I just want to run through rough terrain and not worry about my shoes holding up. This should could be your ideal shoe, or too narrow, so it’s worth buying them if you are looking to experiment a different type of trail shoe.

 


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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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