In Which Jenn Gives Her Running Shoes Funny Names

Gear tracker

My favorite feature of the Garmin app is the gear tracker. No more guessing whether or not I should replace a pair of sneakers – the app calculates exactly how much mileage each pair has! EEE! … I am easily pleased.

But then you may wonder – what if you, like me, have multiple pairs of the same brand and model of shoe in rotation at the same time? How do you differentiate? No problem – in addition to designating the make and model, you can give each shoe a name.

The easiest way is of course by color, but what if the colors on two pairs are similar? Also, what if you realize after a time that simply doing it by color is boring? Why not make like your own whacky aunt and have a little fun with it?

NO, nothing dirty… today. But I’ve had some fun ones, I think. P!nk, that one was easy, because I already had some shoes that were factory designated as Peach Frost (and the catalyst for discovering that going by color wasn’t a foolproof plan). Captain EO, for obvious reasons (not the same pair but the colors were similar). Blue Steel because I like to free associate and the shoes in question are bright blue.

(Bonus scavenger hunt mode: all but Captain EO can be seen in blog photos over the last couple of months.)

But the best name? Obviously the best name was the one YOU GUYS picked.

A couple weeks ago I threw up a Twitter poll asking you what I should name my new sneakers. They look like this:

And I gave you three choices: Naval Academy, Mr. Blue, and Threat Level Midnight. Well, I think we have some The Office fans in the audience, because Threat Level Midnight got 100% OF THE VOTE. Threat Level Midnight it is! I’ll think of you all every time I lace them up.

My new purple Nikes I’m naming myself, though. They’re called Princess Amethyst, because The Ordinary Princess is one of the best books ever. Read it! I’m sure you’ll be 100% on board.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Brooks Ravenna Sneakers… Are Launches Now?!

I wrote a blog post a week or two ago. I was going to post it today, and it was going to go like this:

There are many reasons the Brooks Ravenna is my GOAT shoe, but none of them would be any help to me if they weren’t so darned consistent. My first Ravennas were model #4, and I have used every version since up to the current #11. Every version has been a winner.

But that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been any changes from iteration to iteration. In fact, I noticed a pretty obvious change between my old #10s and new #11s. Can you spot it?

Brooks Ravennas

Brooks sorts their running shoes into four categories, or “experiences” as they call them: cushion, trail, energize, and speed. For as long as I can remember, and per the insole, the Ravenna has been an “energize” shoe, defined by “springy and responsive cushioning.” But the #11s are now “speed” shoes, designed “for race day performance”! 

I’m still digging my pair, but I was curious as to why the Ravenna shifted categories. Naturally I asked Brooks Running’s Twitter account, and they delivered!

Brooks tweet
Brooks tweet

END OF ORIGINAL BLOG POST

Why? BECAUSE IT’S NO LONGER RELEVANT.

Why? BECAUSE BROOKS HAS ELIMINATED THEIR STABILITY LINE AND THERE ARE NO RAVENNAS ANYMORE.

WHAT.

All I did was try and go back and double-check the product page to make sure I hadn’t missed something obvious about the switch, only I discovered there IS NO RAVENNA PRODUCT PAGE ANYMORE.

Apparently what they’ve done is paired all their old stability shoes with their neutral lines, and you can get those shoes now either with or without stability guiderails. The Brooks Ravenna is now the Brooks Launch GTS.

REPEAT: THERE ARE NO MORE BROOKS RAVENNAS. Perhaps you think this is an awful lot of capital letters for such an announcement. But THERE ARE NO MORE BROOKS RAVENNAS. No more of the Brooks Ravennas I’ve been using since 2013. Somebody hold me. I’m scared!

I went back to Brooks for comfort:

No more Ravenna

(By the way, whoever runs their Twitter account is 100% on point. They almost always reply when tagged.)

I mean, obviously I’m going to try the Launch GTS. Who knows; maybe I’ll love it just as much and it’ll be okay. But in the meantime, I have two more brand spankin’ new pairs of Ravennas in my arsenal, plus a pair with less than 100 miles on it in the current rotation. I shouldn’t need a new pair for a year or so. Although they are $10 cheaper now, so that’s something I guess.

Thus I shall make the most of what time the Ravennas and I have left together. I hear it’s better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all, so… WE’LL SEE ABOUT THAT.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Suffers A Garmin Emergency

Garmin Forerunner 235

Okay, so, my Garmin Forerunner 230, greatest Christmas present of all time, developed a crack in the watch face a few months back. It was a little concerning, but the watch continued to work fine, so I assumed it was superficial. This theory was borne out by runs in the rain and even a couple dunks in the ocean (the Forerunner is rated up to 5ATM for swimming). It had a cosmetic defect, sure, and it was getting a little behind on the tech, yes, but basically my Garmin was working fine.

… Until last Sunday, when I was once again hopping about in the Atlantic. I splashed about in the waves for about twenty minutes and then intended to come in – but then I thought, what the hell, I’m having fun; I’ll stay out a little longer.

I think we all see where this is going, and yes, you’re right: ten minutes later, I did indeed look down and see my watch screen had gone blank. My watch. My GPS watch. The GPS watch I rely on for my training. The same GPS watch I needed for my 17 miler in two days.

Kuzco
Here’s your cadence.

“By this point you know how long it usually takes you to run a certain number of miles,” said Pat. “Can’t you just do it without GPS?”

“HAHAHAHAHA!!!!” I said in return, dumping my watch in a bowl and pouring rice over it in a time-honored ritual of desperation.

I didn’t have a great feeling about it, but after a night hopefully drying out in the rice I tried to plug my watch back in. BZZZZZZZ! was what it had to say to that. I hurriedly unplugged it. It was also seeping salt.

Okay, time to get a new watch. I wanted it to be a Garmin again, because I like the app and I feel like they do a good job on running-specific metrics. The Forerunner 245 seemed the modern iteration closest to my current model, and it had excellent battery life. 

Unfortunately, shipping to Puerto Rico can be a bit of A Thing. We get Amazon Prime down here, but only in that the shipping continues to be free. Two day shipping is out the window. Actual ship times are variable, and what Amazon tells you is the estimated arrival date may or may not have any bearing on the reality. Sometimes it’s quicker than expected, but other times packages been known to arrive in a Miami sorting facility and then just kinda hang out.

All that is to say that I found the Garmin Forerunner 245 on Amazon, but the estimated delivery date of a full two weeks from then was not comforting. 

I could get a Forerunner 235 for half the price and half the time, but that was an old model, and did I really want to buy a watch that was 5 years behind the technology? And anyway that’s still not in time if I wanted to keep my training plan intact. If I wanted that, I needed something almost instant. How could I get my watch instantly?

In the end, it was a real, retail storefront to the rescue. Who says malls are dead?

Walmart had no stock. Best Buy had no stock. I was distraught. But then I had an idea that should’ve occurred to me first: I looked up, y’know, running stores in my area. I discovered there was a Fit2Run in the mall less than ten minutes from my apartment. Not only that, but they showed the Garmin 245 in stock! I called to confirm, and that night I double-masked up and went to the mall to pick up my treasure. (Oh, what a strange world we live in that I miss the mundane comfort of a mall!)

So here’s my new baby, the Garmin Forerunner 245. It has like a million new metrics and I am 100% in love with it. 

Garmin Forerunner 235

We went out together the very next morning and enjoyed a successful 17 mile run that was by some miracle 10 seconds/mile faster than my 16 miler a few weeks before. I have named it Louis, as in Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 

Casablanca
Middle name “I like to think you shot a man. It’s the romantic in me.”

My old watch lasted me more than four years before I inadvertently drowned it, so as they say: FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn WANTS To Love UA Running Shoes, But…

Tape and sneakers

You know how sometimes you jump into a series of love affairs but just end up getting hurt? Yeah, that’s me and Under Armour running shoes.

Before we start, I want to make it very clear that I am not disparaging UA or their products. They make great stuff. I love my long sleeve Baltimore Marathon tech tee with the thumbholes and my polarized sunglasses and the pair of running pants I tragically tore a hole in. Pat likes my rain-resistant jacket so much he bought one of his own. But for whatever reason, I just can’t make the running shoes work for me – and what’s more, every time they don’t work for me, I turn around a try again.

Round 1: I get the original Sonic Hovrs. I LOVE THEM. They make me feel speedy! I get two pairs. But I notice after a 17 mile run that my inner knee bugs me the next day. Not the same day as the run, but the next day. Huh. It happens again after the National Capital 20 Miler. It is worse. I have a marathon coming up. I am nervous. I switch to my tried-and-true Brooks Ravennas and make it through okay, but it’s a close one. I sadly give up my speedy Hovrs.

Round 2: UA comes out with the Guardians, which are support shoes. While I have one neutral and one support foot and have run in both types successfully, I think – maybe the Hovrs were too neutral? Or something? Maybe their support version will work?

And maybe they do, but it’s hard to tell – I never run more than 10 miles in them, because I discover that after four miles I am increasingly at risk of developing a blister on my inside right heel instep (this is my neutral foot). So these seem to be a bit too supportive. In addition, the Guardians just feel kinda stiff and clunky to me. I am not a fan. I never run a race in them.

Round 3: UA debuts a NEW version of the Sonic Hovr – and they come in PINK! (They call it peach, but whatever; it’s pink). Perhaps this latest iteration corrected whatever it was about the first edition my knee didn’t like? 

I buy a pair and once again, I love them! So speedy! I run a race in them, and it goes pretty well. A couple weeks later, I start experience heel pain. Weird. Then I go visit family for a couple weeks. I’ve only packed a pair of the Ravennas since I don’t anticipate any long runs, and indeed never go above four. The minimized mileage, I figure, will let my heel… heal. Heel heal. Yeah.

It works! I come back home and do some long runs, several of which are in the pink Hovrs. The heel pain comes back…? I do a little research and it seems to be the dreaded plantar fasciitis. Weird – I’ve never had that problem before! It waxes and wanes, seemingly unrelated to mileage… until after an embarrassingly lengthy amount of time, I finally figure out that my heel flareups correlate to long runs in the Hovrs.

Damn.

They’re so cute, too.

Oh well. It was nice while it lasted. But I think I’m gonna have to break up with the Under Armour running shoe line. If you can trust me saying so – I’ve gone back on my word before. Heck, just a few weeks ago I said I wouldn’t be picking up any Nike Vomero 14s and now I think I might because I like to have at least two models of shoes in rotation. I hear it (ha!) helps prevent injury.

John Mulany

All the same, if you see me tweeting or whatever about buying some UA sneakers again, make like the other drunk girl in the bathroom and yell “DON’T DO IT!” I’ll thank you later.

P.S. I look forward to writing the post in the future when I say “I know I told you guys I’d never do this, but…”

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Plays Fast & Loose With Shoe Sizes

Running shoes

I’ve been a loyal user of Brooks Ravenna running shoes for around eight years now, but I like to sprinkle in other models into my routine just to give it a try. For a brief period I was running in Nike Air Zoom Vomero 10s, which I liked a lot, but when Nike released the 11s I fell out of love.

Still, the Vomeros have hovered in the back of my mind – those 10s just fit so beautifully. Sometimes I wonder – what about the newer versions? Would they feel good again? They’re on the 14s now, so I looked up some reviews. 

The Vomero 14 seems to garner mixed opinions, so for now I think I’ll hang tight and see how the 15s fare. But I did notice something interesting in the Runner’s World review: “The tongue stops at the top of the collar, so too-tight laces can cause irritation at the front of the ankle. If you tend to wear your running shoes tight, try a slightly looser fit with the Air Zoom Vomero 14 and let the new fit system do its job.”

This concept intrigued me – the idea of purposefully going up a size in running shoes. I mean, most of us wear a larger size in our sneakers anyway, since the foot needs more room to expand during our physical exertions. Indeed, a shoe fitter once told me that soccer players and dancers tend to wear their street shoes tight anyway, and as a member of the latter category I found that interesting. I was already going up a size from street shoe to running shoe, but what if I added an extra half size on top of that, for insurance?

So I did just that. My next pair of Ravennas I ordered in an 8.5 instead of my accustomed 8. I have a pair of size 8s that’s still in my training rotation, and they fit fine, but I wanted to see if that extra bit of room felt good or just floppy. Sometimes my toes get sore after a long run, and while I’ve never felt like my toes were bonking against the shoe, I thought some extra space might help.

Running shoes

And the verdict is: it feels good! I find I enjoy having extra room to spread my toes. I don’t feel insecure in the fit at all – no slipping or sliding. After all, a half size isn’t that much bigger, and there are other elements of shoe design that help keep the fit secure. I ran a 16 miler last week, and I haven’t noticed any toe soreness, either.

In short, I’m calling this experiment a success, and intend to continue buying a half size up in the Ravenna for the foreseeable future. I’m no fit professional, but if you’re having a bit of trouble with your shoes and you’re not sure what the problem is, maybe try a half size up and see how you fare. It might just be extra space you’re looking for!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Flouts A Major Running Rule

Running gear

Hi, my name is Jenn, and I like to play fast and loose with an inviolate running rule. Which running rule, you ask? This one: thou shalt not use new and/or untested running gear on race day. Which you shouldn’t. If you haven’t tried it out thoroughly before, how can you be sure it’ll agree with you! You don’t want to find yourself fighting with your supplies during a race!

Oops:

Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2016: I purchase my first Minnie ears the night before the race. I think to myself, you know what would be cute? Running in my new ears. I did. They did. Worked out fine.

Baltimore Marathon 2017: Bought some new running capris the week before the race. They had a ZIPPERED POCKET. I was so enamored of this zippered pocket I ran the marathon in these new pants completely untested. Not a mile on ’em. Turned out fine. 

Wrightsville Beach Marathon 2018: Bought some new running capris a couple weeks before the race on clearance. These had TWO SIDE POCKETS. I think I did do a couple shorts runs in these but nothing in even close to marathon distance, which is a big chafe risk. I just really like pockets, y’know? Turned out fine.

Wine & Dine 10K 2018: Decided on a whim to run in my Cheshire Cat dress. Didn’t feel like braving the cold of Maryland’s fall to test it out in advance. Turned out fine.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2020: Wore the sports bra I used for only a handful of short runs. It was the right color for my Sally costume, okay? Turned out fine.

There may be others; the truly frightening thing is that this list is just off the top of my head. I’m sure I’ll pay for it someday, but so far, all my gambles have – wait for it – turned out fine!

Except for one, it it should have been fine – I ran the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon with sneakers that hadn’t been tested past a 5K or so, but they were the exact same model as I usually used. Why this particular pair only bothered the tops of my feet so much is a mystery for the ages, but I had to stop four or five times to adjust them. Oh well, live and (don’t) learned.

In conclusion: don’t use untested gear on the race course, kids! But if you do, I trust that it will turn out fine.

Have you ever tempted the race gods with new gear on race morning?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Finds A Cheaper KT Tape Alternative

The KT Tape adventures continue!

I’ve been a pretty loyal KT Tape user over the years. I found Rock Tape to be pretty much the same but harder to get, and the CVS off-brand version, while not unusable, didn’t have enough stretch. I’ve been sticking to KT Tape only for a couple years now.

And for the last year or so, I’ve needed to use rather a lot of it – I’ve been plagued by very minor injuries that KT Tape can absolutely handle, and even render runs pain-free. But it does mean going through rolls at an uncomfortably fast clip, and as you’ve no doubt noticed, that stuff ain’t cheap.

Sometimes, if you’re not picky about color, you can find rolls cheaper on Amazon. I was picking through my options the other day when I saw in the comparisons something called OK Tape, and despite the somewhat eyebrow-raising name, the reviews were pretty good. They offered regular and “pro” versions a la KT Tape, with the key difference being a roll of OK Tape Pro runs about $7(!). That’s less than half the usual cost of KT Tape Pro, so I figured, what the heck, let’s give it a try!

My new tape actually arrived two days earlier than the initial predicted delivery date, and first impressions were good – the box looked legit, and while the tape inside lacked KT Tape Pro’s plastic casing, it did have a protective wrapper.

OK Tape

OK Tape

One odd thing is that as far as I can tell, OK Tape Pro only comes in one continuous uncut roll. Luckily it has guide marks on the paper backing, and I compared those against a strip of KT Tape to determine what would be a comparable amount. Then I just rounded the corners with scissors and I was good to go.

OK Tape backing

The only thing left to do then was take it for a test run! Application felt no different than KT Tape, from the amount of stretch to the texture of the non-adhesive side. In fact, it almost felt a little more secure.

Unfortunately, during my first trial I accidentally pulled off too much backing while applying my last strip of tape and it rolled in on itself and stuck. Boo. I was able to smooth it down but I knew that would negatively affect the adhesive and render the experiment void. 

Curiously enough, despite this setback, the precise same amount of tape peeled at the same time KT Tape does during my 5K (see my previous KT Tape Extreme review). That boded well for at least being comparable, but I wanted to give it another shot.

Round two, before shot:

OK Tape

And after:

OK Tape

OK Tape

As you can see, it actually worked really well! I was surprised. The tape is starting to come up a little bit on one side, but under normal circumstances all but the bottom layer would’ve come off fully around the second mile of the run. Again, see my last tape review for reference. For a low-budget option, I’m impressed!

The funny thing is, OK Tape reminds me of Rock Tape. I tried Rock Tape at least five years ago, so it’s been awhile, but I remember the roll I got wasn’t precut and I even vaguely recall at the time the pattern was similar? I don’t know. But I can’t shake the feeling that this is almost like those cases where it turns out the brand name and the generic version are made in the same factory…

Whatever the case, for the price, OK Tape performs very well! It’s not a total game-changer but I think it’s a great dupe, maybe even for KT Tape Extreme over Pro. I might keep a roll or two of KT Tape around just in case, but when I can get two rolls of OK Tape for the price of one KT for similar performance I think the choice going forward will be clear.

Of course, there’s always the question of product consistency over time, so I’ll update you if I feel like OK Tape’s quality diminishes, but in the meantime, you can’t beat $7!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Gets A New GPS Watch Band

A month or two ago I noticed that my GPS watch band was starting to crack. Now, I’m an adult, so I did the adult thing: I slapped some masking tape over the affected area and carried on with my life. Problem solved!

Unfortunately, a few weeks later, the band legit just fell right off my wrist, so a new plan was needed. Now, this watch is almost four years old and has a mysterious crack in the face, but otherwise works great and has plenty of battery life. I didn’t think it was time for a new watch just yet, so I set about fixing it.

First I needed a stopgap measure. Enter: an old shoelace! Why did I have this shoelace? Um… I think it was for a pair of running shoes that came with multiple laces? Or something? I don’t know. But I found it in my box o’ extraneous running stuff. I cut off some of the broken brand, wove the shoelace through the holes in the remainder, and bam – I had a fashion masterpiece.

Shoelace watch band

Shoelace watch band

Kinda cute, no? But I had to admit it wasn’t a permanent solution, what with the shoelace’s proclivity for soaking up liquids (sweat, rain), the difficulty of getting the watch face portion to stay on the right bit of my wrist when running, and the minor annoyance of untying and retying it every time I showered.

Amazon to the rescue – Amazon has tons of replacement Garmin watch bands under $10, in standard colors and also cute prints. I went with this one, which offers lots of colors and patterns, but there are plenty of additional options to explore if you’re so inclined.

Garmin watch band kit

My new watch band arrived without any installation instructions, but it was a fairly simple process. The only problem I ran into was unscrewing the screws on the current band. Turns out, the reason the kit comes with two mini-screwdrivers is so that you can jam one into the opposite side to prevent both from rotating together in perpetuity and never loosening. Once I got that bit from the video below, the rest was intuitive.

Anyway, dig my new watch band!

Garmin watch band

Garmin watch band

The only remnant of its original purple splendor is in the start button, but I’m quite into the tie-dye. File this mission in the success pile.

P.S. Suggestion: I saved the hardware from the original band. I just popped it back into the bag with the screwdrivers and put it in my aforementioned box o’ extraneous running stuff. You never know when something might loosen and go missing!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Reviews The Under Armour Sportsmask

The first step in reviewing any product is to remember to bring it with you for its intended activity. I was out of the building and halfway to the gate before I realized I had forgotten to don my new Under Armour athletic face mask for my morning run. Therefore this review comes at the expense of approximately 6 minutes’ lost time. Please read it!

(Also, for the record, I bought it with my own money in anticipation of potentially needing it for a race. Despite my average running performance, unpopular blog, and minuscule Instagram following, UA mysteriously has yet to offer me a sponsorship.)

Don’t forget to cut the tag out before you use it.


The Under Armour Sportsmask
will set you back $30, which is a bit steep for a mask, but in exchange it promises enhanced comfort and breathability using high-quality, antimicrobial materials. It’s also allegedly water-resistant. It’s recommended that you hand-wash it but machine-washing is supposedly okay too.

This is my good eyebrow side.

First impressions: it was indeed a comfortable material, and seemed to fit reasonably well. There’s a wire bit at the top so you can mold it across your nose. I liked that there was enough space at the middle and bottom that I didn’t feel like I was playing Suck and Blow with the fabric. (Is that a real thing or did Clueless just make it up?) 

I did not, however, feel cool – my hot breath was definitely winning that game.

This is my bad eyebrow side.

Then I took it for a quick 5k. Let’s compare my experience against the selling points one by one:

  • “Made with high-performance UA materials, designed to be worn all day & when playing sports” – It was comfortable enough. I was able to zone out and forget I was wearing it now and again. I did occasionally feel like it was sliding off my nose but every time I reached to check it was still fine. I have a S/M and I don’t think this was a function of needing a smaller size.
  • “Structured design sits up off the face & lips for added comfort & breathability” – As the run progressed and my breathing got a little more labored, I found that the fabric did hit my lips during some inhales, but it wasn’t too bad. 
  • “Water-resistant outer shell features smooth, breathable spacer fabric” – It didn’t rain during my run so I’m not sure how that would work out. I definitely sweat, though, and the mask retained its shape.
  • “Anti-microbial treatment on the inside layer to help keep mask fresh” – I noticed no funky smells. It’ll definitely need a wash every time, though.
  • “Polyurethane open-cell foam lets air through but makes it hard for moisture & sweat to pass” – I never felt like I was struggling for air, nor did any sweat drip out of the bottom of the mask.
  • “UA Iso-Chill fabric on interior lining & ear loops feels cool to the touch for as long as you wear it” – I guess. Look, I’m running in Puerto Rico in September, so we’ve already set the dial to 11 in terms of heat and humidity. The fabric never felt super hot, but it didn’t feel expressly cool either, even when I first put it on. And I definitely sweat underneath of it. 
  • “Fabric is soft & smooth for next to face comfort & moves moisture from your mouth to the insert layer” – The fabric next to my mouth never felt soggy, so that seems to work, yeah.
  • “Built-in UPF 50+ sun protection” – I can’t wait to add weird facial tan lines to my weird runner’s tan!

Obviously the ideal mask situation while running is no mask at all in a world where there’s no pandemic. But as long as we have to wear one to keep everyone safe and race (fingers crossed it actually happens), I think the UA mask is perfectly serviceable. I wasn’t blown away, but I don’t dread potentially running 13 miles in it. 

Pro tip: if you want to potentially take it off to drink water or wipe away sweat for brief periods during your run, make sure you put your headphones on BEFORE the mask. Otherwise you’re taking both off every time and it’s annoying.

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Tests KT Tape Pro Extreme

Pat would like to contribute the following: KiTty Tape!

I’m sure you know KT Tape. I’ve been using it for years. You probably have too. I tried Rock Tape once but found it to be little different for more money, and the CVS version worked okay but lacked sufficient stretch. No, KT Tape works fine for me. Hell, it once saved my IT band. I guess you could say I stan.

HOWEVER. Since moving to Puerto Rico, I have run into a bit of a problem: the humidity is so high here and the answering sweat so profuse that, well, this happens:

Yeah. And, like, ALL the damn time. If I wanna keep it on my body I need to barricade it with longer running pants, which sucks because, as I said, hella high humidity, but what can you do.

Perhaps you can do one thing. You can upgrade.

Turns out there are three versions of strip KT Tape: regular, Pro, and PRO EXTREME!!!!!!🔥🔥🔥 (Emphasis, er, mine. But how can you not???). Pro Extreme allegedly tackles a lot of the problems above, per the box below. Reviews on Amazon were mixed but since I was able to pick it up for a reasonable price I figured it was worth a shot.

Test 1: KT Tape Pro vs. Extreme

First thing I did was a one-to-one comparison with my last piece of KT Tape Pro, which is I think what they use at expo booths and as probably considered the standard when actively working out (although I’ve definitely used the original and gotten away with it). I did one knee in Extreme (black) and one in Pro (blue). I also made sure to wipe down my skin with a paper towel and then rub the tape after application. Here’s where we started:

And here’s where we ended after 3 miles. I had to yank the Pro off because flappy tape irritates me; top piece came off after about a mile and bottom piece surrendered around 2.5. Score one for Extreme, although you’ll notice it didn’t exactly come out unscathed either.

Test 2: Two Knees of KT Tape Extreme

Nevertheless, I took a leap of faith and donned two full knees worth of Extreme(!!!!!!!!) for a 10 miler. Note I used the exact same style as for last January’s WDW Marathon which was so hot and humid the course got shortened for some and as you can see from the finish line photos my Pro tape held. Here’s where we started:

And here’s where we ended. Weird, right? Both are Extreme but one stayed pretty well intact (although still showing a bit of peeling around the edges) whereas the other finally gave up the ghost entirely around mile 7.5, I think. 

In neither test did I have any trouble removing the remaining tape; it slipped right off.

So I don’t know. I’d say Extreme probably is noticeably more adhesive than Pro, but not to the point that you can 100% trust it in truly humid conditions. I will say that a KT Tape expo booth rep once sprayed me with alcohol to dry up my skin in advance and help with adhesion, so I might give that a shot. Still, I wanted to see what it could do straight out of the box first, as ideally we wouldn’t need to add anything to our sleepy morning pre-run routines. Alas.

One other note: a different KT Tape booth rep another year entirely once told me they had stopped utilizing any stretch when applying the tape. I did not like this and wound up redoing my tape myself the way I’m used to, but maybe it’s not designed for torque anymore? Feels off to me but who knows.

I wouldn’t discourage you from giving Extreme a chance if you feel like you could use it, but definitely shop around. You can get it on Amazon for comparable prices to Pro if you’re not picky about color.

Have you used KT Tape Pro Extreme? Did it work for you?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!