Disclaimer: I received an Orange Mud Gear Vest 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!”
As your runs get longer, you require more “stuff.” The more stuff you carry, the more weighted down you are. The more weighed down you are, the slower you will run. But without your fuel or water, you are less likely to have successful long run. It’s a conundrum every runner faces.
My solution, so far, has been to use a hydration belt with some additional pockets that I Frankesteined together over the years from a few different brands. Although I do feel the weight around my hips, I have gotten so used to it does not bother too much. However, over the years, the belt has started to fray. When I went to replace it a few months ago – I realized that style has been discontinued! The horror! As any seasoned runner knows, when a product he or she likes is no longer available, it is a crisis. While I was able to find a new one on Amazon to hold me over, I also knew I had to start looking for a replacement.
Enter Orange Mud. I have never tried a hydration pack before over fears that I would find it uncomfortable, but my close friend Izzy swears by them, as well as her very speedy husband. So when I was given a chance to try out their latest Gear Vest, I jumped at the chance.
When I first unpacked the vest, it looked super light. The soft hydration pack was so lightweight, I was actually confused at first, and didn’t think it even came with the vest! When I tried on the vest without any water in it, it was so light, I didn’t I would even notice running with it at all. There are two large front pockets to stash fuel and a phone, and then two smaller pockets on top of them to stash trash. Genius -I never know what to do with all my empty fuel bags!
When I took the soft flask out of the vest, the drinking straw was already attached. Because I am lame, I thought I would have to stick the whole drinking straw in the fridge, but I quickly figured out everything easily pops off. Phew! Pictures below, in case you are lame like me. I filled the flask with water, let it chill for a bit, then I was ready to rock.
Although I felt sort of lame carrying a liter of water for 5 mile taper run on a cool day, you gotta do what you gotta do to test a new product, right? When I snapped the vest on, I did notice a difference in weight once the flask was filled with water. When I first started running, I’ll admit, my first thought was “ehh….I don’t know what about this.” It wasn’t uncomfortable per say, but it was different sensation then carrying the water around my waist. And I am a runner of habit.
However, as the run went on, I was starting to notice the vest less and less. Although I really didn’t need to drink all that much on this particular run (I probably wouldn’t of even carried water with me to begin with), I did make a point to try and sip more to test our the straw. I noticed it was much easier to drink directly from the straw then deal with grabbing a bottle around my waist, which made me actually want to drink more throughout the run. Not a bad thing during a normal run, and it would be an awesome thing on a longer run! I definitely do not drink enough on long runs when it is not hot out.
And as far as if I felt the weight of the vest impacted my run? At the end of my run, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my run for my normal 5 mile route was about a minute faster than it has been this winter. The past two weeks I have started to feel like my legs are starting to come back finally, and it’s nice to see the pace continue to drop. Hopefully this trend continues. Either way – I definitely think it’s safe to say the vest did not slow me down!
Although I am very much looking forward to taking a break from marathons after Boston, I still will have some long runs over the summer as I train for my third 70.3. I absolutely plan on using this vest as part of my training plan to replace my hydration belt. I also can’t wait to test it out on the bike. My current situation is I can only hold two bottles on my bike, so if I want to carry water and sport drink, I run out of room, fast. I think this vest may just do the trick for me! Unfortunately it is still too cold for me to bike, so that test will have to wait a bit. I am a total wimp when it comes to cold weather and biking!
Want to try it out for yourself? Save 15% off the Orange Mud Gear Vest using code BRGV16.
Tell me – how to manage to carry your water and fuel comfortably during long runs?