Thursday, October 30, 2014

Running safely: LED Reflective Vest

It's October! So when I run alongside my youngest son to school, it's almost dark. My son is on his bike with a headlight ánd a taillight. And I make him wear one of those bright yellow, reflective vests.

So my son is well lit up. But what about me?

Unfortunately us runners don't come equipped with a head- and taillight. We have to get creative.

Passive versus active visibility

As a runner there are two ways to make yourself visible in the dark. Passive visibility means wearing a bright yellow vest with reflective elements. That way when  a car shines its lights on you, you light up like a christmas tree.

But active visiblity is even better. Because then you don't need a car to shine on you to light up. All you need to do is wear a vest with led lighting.

UGLOW: very expensive

I think the most wellknown brand providing these kind of vests is UGLOW. Unfortunately they're very expensive. They cost a whopping 99,90 bucks!

So you can't blame me for trying to find a cheaper alternative. And I did. On I found a LED Reflective Vest for only 19,56 USD.

led reflective vest
This is the one I found
But did it work? Read on to find out!

LED Reflective Vest: my review

Well, there's good news. And there's bad news. Let's start with the good stuff.

The LED Reflective Vest works. It makes you very visible. Thanks to the two batteries you put in. (They're not included by the way).

Add batteries!
After adding the batteries you put the whole thing in a handy little pouch
And then you get this:

This is me! In our front garden on a Saturday morning.

Now on to the bad news...

  • The LED Reflective Vest is quite heavy. I even weighed it. It's about 250 mg.
  • It's a one size fits all, but it's best suited for heavily built men. You can adjust it a little bit with the velcro straps, but not enough. It kept wanting to slide off my shoulders. 

Summing up

Even though it's a bit heavy and very big, I'm still going to wear the LED Reflective Vest. I'm going to use a clothes peg or something to make it fit me better. Because It does make me very visible. 

And I think being visible as a runner is very important.

But the UGLOW version is probably more comfortable to wear.

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Running calories per mile: how many do you burn?

running calories per mile

Running calories per mile.  How many do I burn?

That's a question that's in the minds of lots of runners. Especially those who've started running to lose some weight. Lots of people take up running to lose a few pounds. To burn calories. Running and burning calories go together like a horse and carriage.

Or do they?

Most people are disappointed with the amount of running calories per mile they burn. Let's say you have a nice Big Mac. In order to burn those calories you have to run for an hour. Because a Big Mac is about 500 running calories.
Fact: in order to lose 2 lbs you have to burn, give or take 7.000 calories. That's more than 25 hours of walking!

Running calories per mile: influencing factors

  • The number of running calories per mile you burn is influenced by several things.
  • Your weight. The more weight you carry with you, the more running calories per mile you'll burn.
  • Your stamina. The worse shape you are in, the more calories you'll burn. Which just goes to show: there's a silver lining everywhere.
  • How much effort you put into your running calories per mile. The faster you run, the more calories you'll burn.
  • Do you do long runs? Or tempo runs? The way you run affects the number of running calories per mile.

The answer to your question: running calories per mile

But let's skip to the good stuff.

You want to know how many running calories per mile you're going through right?! 

Luckily there are several free tools available to check you running calories per mile.

Online calculators of running calories per mile

Tables and lists

If you're not into calculating, you can also use a table or list. There are several lists that tell you have many calories you burn with an activity.

  • Nutristrategy table: look up running, and how much you weight, and find the number of calories you'll burn.
  • Harvard Health publication: same as the previous table. This table uses your weight to tell you have many calories you'll burn.

Heart rate monitor

These online calculators and tables are not as specific as a heart monitor can be. So if you really want to know the number of running calories per mile you burn, use a heart monitor. Before you start running you have to fill in your gender, age and weight. And then your heart monitor will do what its name promises: it will monitor your calories. I use mine even when I'm pulling up weeds. It makes gardening much more bearable knowing I'm buring 250 calories while I'm suffering.

Summing up: running calories per mile

Lots of people start to run because they want to lose weight. To burn those calories.And they will, but usually not as many as they had hoped for. It's important you know this. So you won't get discouraged. Running and burning calories is a great combination.

 If you want to burn more calories add some strength training to your routine. Muscles burn calories!

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