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    5 Essential Accessories for Runners

    When you lose yourself in an invigorating run, you feel like there is nothing but you and the terrain. Whether your chosen course is the buzzing hive of city streets or the lonesome silence of wooden nature trails, you push yourself to your limits, build stamina, hone muscles, and burn away troubling thoughts.

    It is a solitary endeavor, but you need not do it alone. You can—and should—bring some useful gear with you to improve your experience and keep you safe. The sections below discuss each item in detail.

    1. Calf Support Tights

    Calf support tights are a compression garment that helps prevent uncomfortable chafing and rashes that form due to friction. The gentle “squeeze” they provide helps runners avoid post-run muscle soreness and stiffness. They also minimize recovery time. Moreover, they keep runners warmer during cold-weather runs. Many brands also feature reflective materials to improve runner visibility during low-light situations.

    If you are not wearing calf support tights when you run, you are missing out on all of these benefits, as well as increased flexion and muscle extension, which reduces hamstring strain and other tendon damage.

    2. GPS Wristband

    A GPS wristband is especially useful when you run in unfamiliar neighborhoods or twisty trails that fork and branch. It keeps you from getting lost, and lets you think about your training instead of your location. Moreover, many GPS bands made especially for runners have other useful features. Some can measure your heart rate and track your fitness level. A few can make predictions about the time it will take you to complete certain common race distances, while others make suggestions as to how long you should wait during recovery before you resume exercise.

    Many brands let you upload your data to an online fitness log to track your progress and share your stats with an online community.

    3. Waist Pack

    A waist pack is a convenient carryall for your stuff. If you run in light shorts and a t-shirt, you may not have a place for your phone or keys. A waist pack lets you carry all your necessities, and some things you might not have considered.

    The right waist pack should be lightweight, load balanced, and designed to ride just above your hips for greatest comfort. The pockets should be large enough to carry your phone, your keys, a wallet, and even an energy bar. Many brands feature one or more bottles, so you can carry up to 32 ounces of water or a sports beverage. My personal favorite is the SPI Belt (which we will feature in a separate blog post).

    4. Reflective Gear

    Reflective gear keeps you safe and visible during low light situations. “Low light,” in fact, need not mean complete darkness. Even at dusk, visibility declines dramatically, and unless you are wearing bright or white clothing, you may not be as easy to see as you believe. Reflective jerseys, trunks, and shoes improve your chances of being seen, and thus keep you safer during your run.

    5. Runbell

    Runbell is a stylish, durable runner’s bell that lets you signal your presence to distracted drivers, cyclists, and other pedestrians. Whether you run on city streets or backwoods trails, you are sure to encounter others, and these people might block your path, step in front of you as you pass, or let their dog lunge at you should you startle it. A polite ching of your Runbell alerts others that you are near, and gives them time to get out of your way or get their dog under control.

    Runbell is finely crafted, and designed to fit any hand. It comes in men’s and women’s sizes, and comes with smooth, circular silicone inserts that let you fine-tune the fit for greatest comfort. The bell rides atop your knuckles, so your hands are free for reaching into your waist pack, tugging up your calf support tights, or pressing buttons on your GPS wristband. Runbell produces a bright, clear sound that cuts through ambient noise and politely warns others that you are drawing near.

    If you are a runner, these five accessories are essential. Each can improve your experience dramatically, and thereby help you stay fit, exceed your exercise goals, and enjoy your run to the fullest.


    What to Wear When Running in Rainy Weather

    Rainy weather doesn't necessarily have to force you to run on the treadmill or lay out on the couch. If you don't mind getting a bit wet, running in the rain can be an intense, yet enjoyable running experience.

    Running in the rain forces you to exercise more muscles as your body compensates for the slick conditions and helps you develop mental toughness... not to mention, you'll probably have the roads and trails to yourself, which can make it all the more enjoyable to go for a run while it's pouring.


    And because the majority of races don't get cancelled just because of a bit of rain, we've decided to compile a list of gear that'll make your run in the rain that much more comfortable.

    Read more

    Spartan Race Comes to Malaysia - Enter to Win

    Spartan Race and Runbell

    Spartan Race is coming to Singapore and Malaysia!! Best part is that you can win a free entry! Spartan Race is the famous mud obstacle course that is taking the world by storm. Imagine military style obstacle course made for everyone. Spartan Race is similar to the Sasuke Challenge in Japan, known as Ninja Warrior in the US. I love this show and always wanted to join their races. Spartan Race gives you a chance to be a ninja, marine, or whatever you dream to be. Runbell is teaming up with Spartan Race to offer one lucky winner a free entry into the race plus a free Runbell. All you have to do is enter at the end of this page. The free entry is for the October 10th race in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 1-3pm time slot. The race has two distances: 6km and 22km. Both with plenty of obstacles. Check out the race you could win a free entry to here - Spartan Race October 10th. I think ultra marathon runs are tough, but I haven't tried a 22km obstacle course! High five to all that do! Need help training. Download their 30-day training kit. You still have six weeks to race day! http://spartanrace.sg/30-day-training-plan/ Get your sense of adventure salivating. Check out their promotional video:


    Obstacles vary from race to race so sign up and prepare to be surprised. What happens if an obstacle is too hard and you can't do it? Just take your 30 burpee penalty and move on.

    What are some of the common obstacles?

    The Fire Jump is usually at the end of a race:

    They also have ramps with mud at the bottom. I don't recommend going head first. Looks like someone lost their step.

    Another challenge: Lift this huge tractor tire a few times.

    A particular hard challenge is to pull yourself over this wire without falling into the water below. Do you want to be on top or below the wire? That is your call. Try it! What happens if you fall in the water? Take your 30 burpee penalty and move on.

    I would probably find the wall scaling a tough challenge. I am runner that needs more upper body strength. Can you do it?

    Spartan Race welcomes teams and what better way to enjoy a race! Get some good friends together and do the Spartan Race together.


    The beginning of the race can get crowded but people spread out pretty quickly. The race has running blocks to allow more people to join the race without overcrowding the obstacles. Our free entry in this giveaway is for the 1-3pm time slot.


    Success is awesome. Enjoy the race and remember to bring a change of clothes. I am sure you will get muddy.  WallScaling

        a Rafflecopter giveaway  Please know that Runbell is no way affiliated with Spartan Race and that we have received zero compensation for this post (except the free entry that we are giving away). We love the concept and are happy to support Spartan Race coming to Singapore and Malaysia. Kevin

    Best Running Shoes for Beginners

    Best Running Shoes for Beginners

    With today's running shoes coming in different shapes, sizes, and levels of stability, it can be difficult to choose the right pair for you. You'll find shoes that provide almost no support to those that are designed to provide maximum support. All of this can be overwhelming for a beginner looking for the best running sneakers. To help you figure out the right choice for you, check out our following guide.

    How do Your Feet Move?

    Neutral/Pronation - This type of runner's feet turn slightly inward as they hit the ground. Basic pronation is actually a good thing as it's a trait of neutral, biomechanically efficient runners. This allows your body, particularly your knees, to absorb shock. Overpronation - This type of runner's feet roll too far inward, which means the foot and ankle cannot properly stabilize the runner's body. This type of running gait can leave a runner at risk of knee pain and injury as shock is not efficiently absorbed. Overpronators typically have low or flat arches and the best shoe for them are typically either a stability shoe or a motion control shoe depending on the severity of their overpronation. Supination - Instead of rolling inward, the runner's feet roll outward which causes the impact of the heel striking the ground to be concentrated on a smaller portion on the lateral side of the foot. Supinators typically have high arches. The best shoe for a supinator are neutral cushioned shoes.

    Types of Running Shoes

    Running shoes fall into the following main categories - minimal, neutral, stability, and motion control. Minimalist shoes, also known as barefoot shoes, have the least support and cushioning. They allow your feet work naturally, encouraging a midfoot strike unlike traditional running shoes which encourage a heel strike. The main difference between barefoot shoes and minimalist shoes is the drop or difference between the height of the heel and the height of the toe. Barefoot shoes have a zero drop from heel to toe, where as minimalist shoes have a heel drop of 4 - 8 mm. Neutral shoes are designed for runners with neutral pronation as well as supination. These shoes are often lighter than other models, have midsole cushioning, with little to no medial support. Supinators will want a neutral shoe with maximum midsole cushioning to provide additional shock absorption that's lacking for a pronation gait. Stability shoes usually have some medial support as well as good midsole cushioning which allows the shoe to support the foot, ankle, and arch to prevent overpronation when running. Motion control shoes are designed for runners with severe overpronation. These shoes provide maximum cushioning and have a dual density midsole to provide extra support on the medial side. These shoes are also good for heavier runners who are looking for extra support and durability.  

    Running Shoe Categories

    From running and hiking to Crossfit and cycling, running shoes can fall into the following categories: Road shoes are generally lightweight to encourage speed and responsiveness while running on pavement or surfaces with slight irregularities. The treads are usually thin as the need for tractions while hitting the pavement is minimal. Trail shoes are typically heavier than road running shoes and designed to support and protect the foot on rugged terrain. These shoes usually feature durable soles with aggressive treads for stability and support while you run over rocks, roots, sticks, and other outdoor obstacles. Cross-training shoes are built around providing stability to the ankle for better protection during forward and lateral movement. These shoes are for the gym and cross-fit enthusiast, looking to seamlessly transition from doing a light jog on the treadmill to squatting and lunging.

    Best Women's Running Shoes for Beginners

    Defyance 5 is a neutral shoe with a good amount of cushioning and flexibility, making it the perfect shoe for a beginner looking to protect their feet. Mizuno Wave Inspire 11 is a stability running shoe, making it good for runners with moderate overpronation. It has a no-sew breathable upper mesh with stiched-on overlays for structural support. The shoe is lightweight and provides great shock absorption due to the U4ic (pronounced euphoric) midsole and the wave plate technology Ryka Illusion 2 has a memory foam footbed and soft cushioning to help beginners ramp up their mileage. Saucony Triumph ISO is a neutral shoe that will have you feeling like you're running on air due to its signature PWRGRID+ technology which provides some plush cushioning and maximum impact protection. Saucony Kinvara TR2 is a lightweight, minimalist shoe that is great for the neighborhood park or for going off road on novice trails. The TR2 features nubs near the heel to help grip the earth for tighter navigation and traction on tricky trail terrain. While there isn't a lot of padding, the FlexFilm upper is stretchy and forgiving.

    Best Men's Running Shoes for Beginners

    Nike Zoom Vomero 9 is a good beginners shoe for neutral and supinators. There are mesh panels in the upper for breathability and a heel crash pad for impact protection. Lightweight and responsive cushioning makes these great for the road. ASICS Gel Kayano 21 comes with ASICS GEL-Cushioning technology to help with shock absorption as well as DuoMax in the midsole to help with stability and support. The Heel Clutching System will help keep your foot in place, making this perfect for mild to moderate overpronators. Merrell Mix Master 2 is great for anyone looking to get into the minimalist movement while running on trails. It has a thinner midsole to keep your foot to the ground while providing extra cushioning in the heel. They have great ventilation to let the heat out as well as let the shoe dry out quickly after running through some puddles. Inov-8 F-lite 195 is a very lightweight and flexible shoe, while still providing incredible stability via the Met-Cradle webbing along the medial and lateral arches. The shoe also comes with a shred-resistant rope tec outsole to face any extreme fitness challenges you may encounter while doing cross-fit. Saucony Triumph 11 is a neutral shoe equipped with a full-length PowerGrid midsole for cushioned comfort. There's a breathable upper mesh that comes with HydraMAX moisture-wicking collar lining to reduce any sweaty stank. With a very thick outsole rubber, this shoe is sure to last quite a while. Investing in a quality sneaker will help keep you comfortable, injury-free, and ready to transition into heavier mileage, whether that's on the road or on a trail.

    3rd Yaeyama Trail Run in Uenohara 第3回八重山トレイルレース大会2015年6月14日

    3rd Yaeyama Trail Run in Uenohara


    [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dBivj9cAU0&feature=youtu.be[/embed] Two weeks ago on June 14th, I woke up at 4:00AM. I had a quick bite for breakfast, hopped on my old mountain bike and headed to our train station. I left my mountain bike at the best spot in the bike parking (no one up yet) and caught one of the first trains into Tokyo at 4:48AM. Once in Tokyo, I took the very first train out of Tokyo. We were headed to the mountains in the west of Tokyo where the urban landscape gives way to beautiful mountain scenery. West Tokyo is popular for living and the close access to these mountains is a very big selling point. For us in north of Tokyo, we had a long trip to make. The trains in Japan run right on time and I had about four minutes to make my transfer. With the transfer done, I could slowly nod off on the train until our final stop at Uenohara which was more than one hour away. However, at Shinjuku party animals and early trail runners all boarded the train. Every seat was filled and the lady next to me reeked of booze. What a trip. We switched to a local line and made it to Uenohara at 6:47am just in time to catch our 6:50 bus to the starting line. We arrived and checked in. As a souvenir I got some cool Japanese mustard which is fun to look at but I don't like the taste. We could have gotten miso, mustard, or a standard race T-shirt. Very nice to have a choice. We changed and put our bags away. After the long morning train ride I just had to take a dump. I did not want to start the race before heading to the bathroom. I ran across the street to find a line stretching down the hill and further. Wow. I lined up. The line went slowly. I waited for 30 minutes before finally getting my turn. I finished my business at 7:57, filled up my water reservoir, and ran to the starting line. I saw my friend (who would go on to claim 10th place - Good job Eric!) lined up in front. I headed to the middle of the pack. Bang! We were off. YaeyamaTrailRunBrochure Every race start fills with me with enthusiasm as we all start this challenge - the 3rd Yaeyama Trail Run near the train station of Uenohara. Today's race was going to be an easy one, or so I mistakenly thought. The race is "just" 38km and had a couple of "minor hills". The train up to the race certainly looked like very large mountains. YaeyamaTrailRunStartingLine I started the race off keeping up with the pack at a good pace. The front line was basically a sprint and I didn't see them again. Within the first 1km we all tapered onto a narrow trail head. The trail could only fit two people side by side. Basically our position in the race was determined for quite a while now. If you are fast, you had better be up front early in the this race. Within about 2km the run slowly turned to a slow walk. We hit our first hill which I had assumed would be flat. The line slowly disappeared and we were running again up a shallow hill. I rang the first bell tower on the top of the first hill. Actually, I didn't ring it...nuts...how did I mess that up? The video below is a slight of hand movie editing. I would be looking forward to this bell tower later in the race. Once down from this hill we hit a small road and ran to the first rest stop. I had a quick drink and a banana. I was mostly fueling up on the gels that I brought with me. In any case something in my stomach was still not feeling well from the morning and I had trouble getting my energy up. As we approached the first mountain, two grandma's handed out lucky charms to everyone in the race. When entering the mountains this lucky charm would protect us runners. The touch was very thoughtful and I loved how the local community came out to support us. This mountain was one of two in the race. The race also had a series of hills that turned out to be quite tough. The race was basically all up and down with very little flat portions. The mountains in Japan are certainly tough. This first mountain completely destroyed me. I walked the entire way down, which was embarassingly slow. One racer asked me if I was actually participating or not. She mentioned we had 30 minutes to run before the gate closed. Wow...I thought I could easily make the 22km cut-off at with 4 hours into the race. This race was not going well for me. I found some energy and slowly jogged to the cutoff point. Surprisingly I passed the cut-off with just two minutes to spare. I had some sliced lemon which gave me a serious energy boost. I also added some VAM to my water reservoir which also gave me a great kick. The short course was finished at this gate and there were buses waiting to shuttle people back. I could have easily just hopped on one of these buses and called the day quits. BUT... I had a video to make. How embarassing if my video was cut short? Somehow I found the motivation to tackle the next 16km of the race. I knew having made the middle cut-off with just two minutes to spare that I had a lot of time to catch up on. I hit the second mountain hard. I didn't run but I also didn't stop going up the mountain one step at a time. I passed person after person. At the false top of the mountain people were lying flat on the ground from exhuastion. They looked like they really regretted coming on this second half and still had half a mountain to climb. I kept going with a slow but steady step. I only walked the uphills and ran every other part. I kept passing more and more people. Being in the back at least gave me the chance to pass people. I am not the fasted runner...yet. We finished the second mountain and I still had energy in me. I don't know what happened, but this second half was going much smoother for me. I rested a short break at the water stop and kept going. I asked for the time from one runner since my iPhone was in my backpack and I mistakenly thought was out of battery. . He said we had one hour left with 6km and one more hill left before the cut-off. I couldn't believe it! I thought I had been going much faster. We ran together until the trailhead for the next hill. I found some strange energy to just tackle these uphills. I can't run fast downhill, but was doing very well on the uphills. Again I passed quite a few people. I made it to the top and kept going. I knew these hills were full of false peaks and was searching for that bell tower. I asked for the time from a group of runners. My friend before was mistaken. We didn't have just one hour, but actually 1.5 hours left. We had a shot of finishing this race. I still had 30 minutes to finish the downhill portion to the finish line. I ran my slow and steady pace and started to remember the trail from the morning. I saw the hill with the long toilet line and crossed the street to the finish. I had finished with a time of 7 hours 18 minutes! I was so happy to cross this finish line!! I had just 12 minutes to spare before the race was over. I happily claimed my towel and record! I just finished a very difficult race with some steep mountains. The course is very challenging and is almost entirely on trails in the mountains. These mountains have short ridge lines, steep inclines and steep descents. Your muscles get worn out very quickly and you have trouble making up your time on the short flat sections. I thought I would easily finish this race within 5-6 hours. I was deeply humbled and will be better prepared for the next race. Trail running is awesome! YaeyamaTrailRun-Certificates Runbell was great for trail running as a bear bell that doesn't ring constantly and to warn hikers with a fair amount of warning before passing. Since this train run was a race we didn't come across many hikers, but for other trail running (especially in Japan) Runbell is definitely useful. Hikers who also tend to be older have been complaining more and more lately. Runbell will start promoting and trail races and we'll report back with results of how that goes.

    Race Overview:

    Webpage of the Race: http://yaeyama-trail.com/

    Long Course

    Total Distance Covered: 38.55km Total Altitude Change: 2635 m

    Short Course

    Total Distance Covered: 22.86km Total Altitude Change: 1443 m