Review Of The Buddy Pouch

Jannine Myers

Several weeks ago one of my former clients asked me about the possibility of reviewing a product that she had seen at a race expo, a product called the Buddy Pouch. My first thought, when I saw pictures of it, was that it was similar to the various types of running belts that are sold with zip-up pouches, and since I am not a fan of running belts I wasn’t impressed. Upon closer inspection however, I realized that the pouch had no belt attached, and so I agreed to test the product and write up a review on it.

I contacted the company that sells the Buddy Pouches – therunningbuddy.com – and they generously agreed to send me their medium size pouch to test and review (thank you Katey Warren). Below is a summary of the pouch specifications, and my thoughts after running with it:

  • Dimensions: 6” L x 4” W
  • Water-resistant inner pocket
  • Made with dri-fit material; keeps everything dry and sweat-free
  • Made to fit most popular phones, including the iPhone 6™ and Samsung Galaxy S V™
  • Available in Black, Black/Yellow, and Black/Pink

The Buddy Pouch has a back flap, which slides down the backside of your waistband, while the pouch sits on the front side and secures itself with powerful magnets that are built into the material. Since it has no belt or band, it should, in theory, not bounce.

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The morning I ran with my pouch, I decided to load it up with my phone (yes, that is an old-school flip phone you see; I’ll upgrade one day………), two Hammer gels, my ID card, and my house key.

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The pouch, stocked with several items, felt a little heavy and bulky at first, and my immediate assumption was that even if it didn’t bounce it would still feel uncomfortable. To be honest, it did feel uncomfortable when I first started running, but that was because I realized that the magnets were not aligned on one side of the pouch. Once I readjusted the pouch so that all the magnets were aligned, it felt much more secure – though still not entirely comfortable.

I started my run downhill and although there was no bouncing, I was initially bothered by the bulky feeling – that is, until I settled into a steady pace and actually forgot that I was wearing it at all. A couple of miles into my run, I reached a hill and proceeded to do a series of hill repeats, all the while still unbothered by the pouch sitting on my waistband.

After completing my hill repeats I made my way back home, and ironically, my cellphone started ringing. I never take my phone with me on runs (since I have no way of carrying it), and even though I only took it with me that morning for the sole purpose of testing my new Buddy Pouch, I did not anticipate anyone calling me at 7am in the morning. As it turned out, the call was relatively urgent, so my Buddy Pouch earned itself a bonus rating point!

All in all, I’d say the Buddy Pouch is a reasonable product that would suit runners who don’t want to carry their items in a belt bag, but who would prefer a storage option that’s larger than clothing and other accessory-type pockets. The Buddy Pouch is also very versatile, in that it can be adapted to other non-running functions and activities (cycling, walking, gardening, shopping, traveling, etc.), and it comes in two other sizes. Compared to other similar products, the price is competitive and shipping to Stateside addresses is fast and free.

Check out all of the Running Buddy’s products here, and leave a comment if you already own a Buddy Pouch.

Do You Start Your Races Too Fast?

Jannine Myers

We’re told over and over again that a negative split is preferable when it comes to racing, and yet, over and over again we start out too fast – and, finish too slow. So why, when we know it’s better to keep a conservative pace at the start of a race, do we often run our first miles faster than our last?

I think there are several reasons actually:

1. Performance Anxiety – leads to a rush of adrenaline and in worst-case scenarios, seriously impaired performance. If the anxiety is minimal, an athlete might still be capable of running well but he or she may make a few minor mistakes, one of which is losing focus and taking off from the start line at too fast a pace.

So, how do runners control feelings of anxiety? A few strategies include:

  • Visualization – sometimes it can help to spend a few minutes actually visualizing yourself running your race and keeping a well-controlled pace from start to finish. I often practice this the day before and the day of the race; it helps me to stay calm.
  • Deep Breathing – this is crucial for anxious runners. It works best when you momentarily remove yourself from the “stressful” environment, so if you’re at the race grounds already, try and find a solitary spot, or if that’s not possible just close your eyes. Take calm, deep breaths, inhaling at a count of 4 or 5 seconds, and then holding for a few seconds before slowly exhaling at a count of approximately 7 seconds (repeat 10 times). http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/treatment/breathing-exercises
  • Focus on the things within your control – forget about all the stuff that you can’t control, for example, the weather, or the performance of other runners. Get your mind focused on “you,” and remind yourself that no matter how nervous or anxious you are feeling, you have trained hard and your body is physically prepared to run a good race.

2. Fear of not being able to pick up the pace later on; I admit that I am guilty of this one. I often convince myself that if I take it too slow to start with, I won’t have what it takes to pick up the speed later on. It seems more logical to start out at a fast but controllable pace, and then try to hold that pace for the remainder of the race (which, by the way, is not a bad strategy either; even-pacing can get good results too). But if you start with a pace that’s too fast, you’re likely to either end up with stomach cramps that will slow you down, or you’ll eventually “hit the wall” and finish miserably.

There’s really only one way to convince yourself that you don’t need to take off like a bat out of hell, and that’s by simulating your pacing strategy during training runs. A lot of runners for example, incorporate progression runs into their long runs; a progression run is where you deliberately start our your run at a comfortable pace but finish the last miles at a faster pace. If you already know what it feels like to start out conservatively and finish strong, then you’ll go into your race with enough confidence to know that you don’t need to reach your peak pace within the first few miles.

3.You’re just wired to always be one of the “rabbits” – you just can’t help yourself. The race environment gets you so pumped up that you can almost see the adrenaline bursting through your veins; as soon as you hear the starter gun there is no holding you back. The problem though, is that the rabbit almost always burns himself out before reaching the finish line.

If you’re a rabbit, here’s what you should do:

  • Move back to a slower starting corral, if that’s possible. Or, if there are no corrals, just move to the middle or back of the crowd. You’ll be less tempted to fly across the starting line if you’re not lined up with all the other rabbits (plus, it’s hard to run fast when you’re sandwiched between hundreds of other runners)
  • Set a pace alert on your garmin, and make a pact with yourself to slow down every time you hear your garmin beeping. Or, check your time after the first mile and if you need to adjust your pace, then do so.
  • Don’t negotiate with yourself; one of the reasons that rabbits often hit the wall is because they mistakenly assume (while running their early miles faster than planned), that since they feel really strong, that they’ll continue to feel that way throughout the entire race.

Those are all the tips I have, but one final piece of advice – picture in your mind the image below and determine not to be that guy (or girl).

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A Smoothie Recipe To Prevent Post-Race Illness

Jannine Myers

Last week I ran a half marathon, and knowing how cold it would be – for me, at least – I was worried that the combination of feeling cold before and after the race, and the intensity at which I would run, would result in post-race illness. It’s not uncommon for the body’s immune system to take a beating after a high-intensity endurance race, and since I’ve experienced that outcome more than once, I was determined to take some preventative measures this time.

Nutrition has always been my key priority beyond training itself, and so for the purpose of strengthening my immune system, I searched online for “Immunity Booster Smoothie” recipes, and chose the one that I felt would deliver the most effective results. I chose this recipe from minimalistbaker.com, and I believe it may have helped my recovery.

If any of you had seen me the morning of the run (and I know several of you did, and can attest to this), my lips were a dark blue/purple color, and my teeth were literally chattering uncontrollably. By the time I got home later that afternoon and finished soaking in a warm bath, the cold symptoms had already started: the runny nose, head congestion, watery eyes, and general muscle aches. I had to take a decongestant before I went to bed to make sure I’d sleep okay. But guess what? The next morning – no more cold symptoms. The only symptoms that remained were sore leg muscles from running a hard race.

So getting back to the smoothie – I drank a full glass daily for seven days prior to the race. And here’s why I believe it helped:

  • Sweet potato – One medium sweet potato will provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, as well as 37% of vitamin C, 16% of vitamin B-6, 10% of pantothenic acid, 15% of potassium and 28% of manganese. You’ll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin and folate. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/281438.php
  • Orange juice – Vitamins A and C, Folate, and Copper – all help to promote a healthy immune system
  • Ginger, Cinnamon, and Turmeric – all great anti-inflammatory agents, and excellent for warding off colds
  • Flaxseed – contains ALA and lignans, both of which decrease inflammatory reactions and boost immunity http://www.flaxcouncil.ca/english/pdf/FF_Immune_R4.pdf
  • Almond Butter – contains Vitamin E, a crucial immune booster

Ready to try it? Here’s the recipe:

Immune Booster Orange Smoothie (modified from original version)

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 small cooked sweet potato (I kept the skin on, to preserve more nutrients)
  • 1/2 medium banana
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp each ground turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger (if using fresh ginger, use 1 tsp chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Large handful ice (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. To bake your sweet potato, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and split in half lengthwise. Lightly oil and place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until soft – 25-30 minutes. (Or, buy one that’s already cooked, from San A)
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
  3. Pour into a glass and garnish with extra cinnamon if desired.

Enjoy!

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