There was never a truer word spoken in the history of running than: “Don’t try new kit on race day.”
And hands up, I’ve been there and done it, and have the disappointments to prove it.
But I’m going to expand this statement to: “Test the combination of race kit you intend to wear before race day.”
Why? Well trying odd bits of clothing is good but putting them altogether might not be as successful.
Here’s my experience…I have a running top, it’s a nice trail top, I like wearing it as it’s got a breathable mesh panel on the back and under the arms to allow for air to circulate (every little air conditioning option helps in the desert). It’s a comfortable t-shirt to wear.
With a juicy long run coming up, I picked out this t-shirt as the one to wear. As we’d be running a long slow distance, I’d be pairing it with my Salomon S-Lab 5. I’d never done this combination before, but didn’t think anything of it. Out we went, ran the 40 odd km, no issues. It was only afterwards, on jumping in the shower when water hit shredded flesh, that I discovered the bottom of my pack lined up exactly on the seam of the mesh back panel and regular fabric, leaving a nice little wear mark – on me!
Or so I thought this is what was happening. Setting this t-shirt aside, I wore another one with no seams, and 20km in I felt a little soreness again. Either I was turning into an X-Men inspired creature with spines down my back or something wasn’t quite right. This couldn’t be happening with every top.
What had changed? Was my posture different? And then I remembered. I was wearing my hubby’s heart rate monitor. My strap had expired and as he doesn’t use his much, I’d commandeered it – it’s exactly the same make a model. The difference being it’s slightly crumpled and folded. The bottom of the S-Lab 5 was catching the rumpled elastic and rubbing me.
Okay, so this wasn’t exactly life threatening, and I didn’t even feel it while running, but if this had been the first day of a staged ultra I’d be in a mess. Several days of rubbing away and I’d look and feel like a lawn-mower had detoured over my back potentially preventing me from completing the race.
So there you have it….test, retest and mix and match your running gear before race day.