SportsShoes Blog

Athlete blogs and sport technology news

11 miles Sunday Long Run, GNR Prep

August 18th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

Run 17th AugustNice steady 11 mile run through the forestry tracks this weekend in preparation for the GNR. The weather is definitely cooler now, which makes things much easier for us runners! Considering this is the furthest I’ve run in a while, it didn’t go too badly at all and felt quite comfortable. My aim after last year is to just relax and enjoy the GNR this year, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a drink in the pub at the finish with the other runners. Having said that, it’s too easy to get carried away and really go for it…so I’ll see how I feel on the day.

3 weeks to go!

Bookmark and Share

GNR 2014

August 11th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

GNR2014 1

A little something arrived in the post this weekend…my GNR number! This will be my fourth Great North Run, and it never stops being exciting. 4 weeks to go!

For everyone else who got their race numbers this week, be careful before posting them up on social media – there are apparently issues with people cloning race numbers. You paid for your entry, don’t let someone else steal it! See you all on the start line….

 

Bookmark and Share

Annoying People In The Gym

April 28th, 2014 by Dan

I am sure you all have a few of these kinds of people at your local gym, whether it humours you or annoys the heck out of you! Here is a list of the most annoying people that I have experienced over my years of working out.

1. Mr (not-so-perfect) Universe

‘Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the vainest of them all?’ Checking themselves in the mirror, before during and after every set. Making sure that they look epic and that any (non-visible) gains are checked regularly.*

*For anyone that doesn’t know, any difference you see immediately after a set are going to be gone in a few hours anyway.

2. Grunters

Where I train there are 2 main types of grunters;  there are ‘pushing-through-limits’ grunters, where people are genuinely trying to push that last repetition, where a little grunt here and there is fine, and in my case sometimes comes subconsciously.

But then there’s what I like to call the ‘pet monkeys’. Grunting and screaming as loudly as possible, regardless of what weight or movement they’re doing. If they put as much effort in to focusing on their workout, rather than their vocal cords, they would no doubt make greater progress.

3. The Entourage

The clan of ‘pretty boy’ youngsters, standing around the same machine, talking about nothing.  Stop it, split up and plan your workout. Surely you spend enough time talking in school anyway

4. Talk, Talk, Talk

Seriously, go away. I go to the gym to work out, we can talk about things you ‘need’ to discuss afterwards, not midway through my 5km run on the treadmill.

People that try to make small talk during a set or routine…if  my headphones weren’t a sign of ‘I AM BUSY’ do not ring loud enough, then I don’t know what does!

5. Unwanted Teacher

If you’re not a personal trainer, or built like Arnie, please don’t critique my workout. That person who goes around actively looking to give quick, usually useless tips, on how to improve other people’s workouts. Stop it now, I pay the gym and its personal trainers to advise me, not you.

6. Mr Nudity

So, some people are confident with their bodies, that’s great. However what about everyone else in the changing room?   Others and I do not come to the gym to be exposed to prolonged periods of nudity, and having a conversation with you post-shower. Please do us all a favour and put your clothes back on in a timely fashion. Not after discussing the recent football results or news scandals.

7. The Mayor

Spending 99.9% of his workout talking to his or hers ‘friends’ which just happens to be everyone and anyone. They must design their workout as a circuit around the gym, just to make sure they say hello to everyone.

Anyone else experience this?

Bookmark and Share

London Marathon Ballot 2015

April 22nd, 2014 by Melody Vasey

Feeling totally inspired by last week’s coverage, I stayed up to enter the ballot in the early hours of the morning. I had been planning to enter first thing this morning, but then had a text from my running partner, Tay, warning of the dire consequences of not entering As Soon As the Ballot Opens. There are apparently only 125,000 ballot places, of which only a small fraction will be lucky enough to actually get race places.

So, armed with a glass of wine, my debit card and a pounding heart, I sat down and waited. Checking in on Facebook, it seemed that the entire running community of Great Britain also had the same idea and we all counted down the minutes together, continuously hitting the refresh button on the VLM website, until midnight. At which point the ballot did not open. We speculated on Facebook if we had got the date wrong. Would we have to stay up all night? Who was committed enough to stay up all night? Were the organisers playing with us?

Then the ballot opened. Everyone went quiet, ruthlessly trying to enter their details before anyone else. Then the website started crashing (undoubtedly because of everyone trying to enter at the same time). Tay sent me a panicky text saying she couldn’t register. Made several attempts resulting only in an error message. Got angry and despondent. Then we registered!

After this was far too excited to sleep. Now the long wait until October to find out if we’ve made it. The odds are against it, people wait for years before being lucky enough to get a place, but you just never know….fingers crossed.

Bookmark and Share

Running and Bad Drivers…

March 13th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

This is something which comes up for me on nearly every run, so I am going to have a bit of a Meldrew-style grumble. I often end up doing a good part of my runs on country roads without pavements, and road safety is a real issue.

I find some drivers are brilliant, and very considerate to runners on the road. These are the ones who give you a wide berth, the ones who even slow down and wave you on to let you get across a road safely and quickly. Once a driver even stopped to check I was ok when I stopped at the roadside with an injury.

Then there are The Others. These are the ones who speed around country bends with no knowledge of what is around the next corner. They then often have the audacity to then beep their horns at the runner they have almost mowed down, as if it is somehow their fault. These are the same drivers who fail to stop at zebra crossings and don’t bother to indicate when they come off roundabouts.

These drivers I am sure are the reason why the Highway Code tells pedestrians (and therefore runners) to walk or run in the direction of oncoming traffic where there are no pavements. This means that I am often able to jump onto the verge out of the way of people speeding and mitigate probable death. It really isn’t an ideal situation though, and I often wonder about cyclists who might not be able to get out of the way so quickly.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much to be done about these drivers. For the moment it seems it’s up to runners to be extra vigilant, wear hi viz clothing and run in well lit areas wherever possible, and to be cautious and careful at all times. It’s probably also worth losing the headphones where blind bends and lots of road crossings are involved too. Hopefully this will help avoid any nasty accidents –grumble over!

Bookmark and Share

Rider 17 With Love

February 28th, 2014 by Dan

Afternoon team,

It’s been a cardio-heavy week in the gym unfortunately, but I do love the feeling of your PBs slowly dropping down, setting a new benchmark on the treadmill every other day is definitely the way forward as far as staying motivated!

I also got the chance to break out the brand new Mizuno Rider 17s. I must say I was a little cautious after slipping them on, they felt quite firm underfoot. How wrong could I have been, after a mere 30 seconds on the treadmill I changed my mind completely, they are perfectly cushioned! They offered just the right amount of cushioning and spring, I have used them all week in fact, they seem remarkably stable for a cushioned shoe. Plus I think they look pretty classy in the clean white/red colurway!

I have never tried a shoe from the Rider series before, but I can only imagine that the 17 is the best one yet! So from this experience I can thoroughly recommend them to any neutral runner, I am looking forward to piling on the horrible cardio miles in these!

Have a good weekend all, hope the weather is kind to you.

Bookmark and Share

Running without Music

February 19th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

So as you may have guessed from the above, I managed to break my iphone this week and I am currently running without music and without a running app.

When I first started running, I didn’t need modern technology. Nike Plus and running to music was a relatively new concept, and one I scorned at, because “real runners focused on running” and didn’t need such distractions. But then I bought an iPhone and discovered playlists. Followed by the Nike+ running app which motivated me, played my power songs and tracked my runs. I started off just training with it a few times, then I tried Strava, and then it all became an essential to my training, preferable even to my Garmin (which I wore alongside, just in case the app went wrong).

So, it came as a bit of a shock to realise this week, how dependent I’ve become on it. The prospect of running with no music and no running app was pretty uninspiring. Even worse was the realisation that none of my running would be logged, so my mileage would look lower than it actually was. Briefly considered not running at all until my iPhone had returned, but I quickly put aside this shameful thought.

So, for the first time in ages I ran alone, with no music and no running app counting down the miles.  There were positives and negatives. I was much more aware of the general sensation of running, of my surroundings and scenery, and did feel more connected to them. I also wasn’t persistently waiting to hear next mile countdown, and it was nice running through the woods listening to birdsong and thinking about life in general. I did find it harder to motivate myself during tough parts of the run without music, and missed the motivational feedback and not being able to share my runs.

So, when I get my iPhone back, I will go back to running with it. However, I still don’t feel it is totally positive that my training is dependent on it. What I will start doing  is taking my headphones off every so often, and just enjoying the sensation of running and appreciating my surroundings without distraction. I really enjoyed this pure, unpressured aspect of running…and sometimes it is good to remember what running is really all about.

Bookmark and Share

Eating, Sleeping, Gymming, Repeating!

February 12th, 2014 by Dan

Guess who’s back!

Well Winter has finally arrived, just as everybody’s spring training is about to commence. A lot has changed since my last post, I am now half a stone lighter, feeling much fitter and working much harder both in and out of the gym!

Amazingly I kept my eating habits in-check over the Christmas period, resisting the traditional chocolate luxuries and keeping my head firmly on my fitness goals, knowing that a ‘moment on the lips, is a lifetime on the hips’!

So an update on where I am with my training, I now training more frequently usually 6 times a week, but in a much more structured way, incorporating different types of workouts and exercises – keeping my fitness levels increasing and my motivation sky high. I am finally feeling leaner and lighter on my feet, for all those gym/fitness junkies out there is my current shape.

13/2/14

Later this week I will be blogging about the new Saucony Guide 7‘s to see if the recent updates really have made this into ‘The Best’ Guide ever!

Check back soon,

Dan

Bookmark and Share

Winter Running :-)

February 11th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

Really enjoying my winter training at the moment. As someone who really struggles in the heat, I find running in the winter so much easier. Yes, there is the dark, the rain and the wind to contend with…but there are also beautiful sunrises over frosty fields to admire, late afternoon runs under a sinking sun, and running through the elements can be pretty exhilarating! Now that it’s lighter in the mornings again, I’ve started running in to work again (it’s fairly impossible in the dark as my route involves a busy but unlit main road).

I’ve also made sure I’m properly kitted out this year which helps massively. I’ve found it is actually possible to have a fun and comfortable run in icy cold wind and driving rain – as long as you are properly prepared for it! My new thermal headband and gloves are turning out to be a lifesaver this winter…having warm ears without the bulk of a hat (which I find annoying sometimes) makes all the difference. I’ve also dug out my awesome brushed Asics tights from last year with Windstopper panels, which have been brilliant in icy gales.

It’s also nice to be running without the pressure of an imminent race. I only have the GNR booked so far this year and still haven’t decided about doing a marathon. For now, I’m just enjoying my early morning steady runs…although there is snow forecast for tomorrow morning. Secretly quite excited about running in it, thermals at the ready!

Bookmark and Share

Vivobarefoot Neo Trail – Review

January 6th, 2014 by Andy Nicoll

No heel, no midsole, no arch support, no gimmicks!

These shoes talk a lot about what they are not – so what exactly do you get for your money?

I bought these as I’d been training in some cheap zero drop shoes through the summer months that were useless once the ground became wet and muddy – I like the theory behind barefoot running and I am old enough to remember wearing nothing but ‘pumps’ for all sports at school so thought I would continue to do my morning dog-jogs ‘barefoot’ through the winter.

The neo trail offers a totally flat sole (zero drop – heel to toe) but with a heavily lugged almost stud like grip – just the thing for staying upright on wet grass.

The first point to note is that they only come in full sizes, a fact I find odd considering their price. Next comes the issue of sizing – I usually take a size 9 so that’s what I ordered but when they came they were huge so back they went to be swapped for an 8. The 8s arrived and seemed to fit quite well although to be honest had an 8.5 been available I would probably have gone with that.

The customary walk around the house went without hitch and I was intrigued to find out what they were like on a real run – in the wet and in the mud. Thankfully, since buying the shoes at the end of November, our wonderful UK weather has provided ample opportunity to find out and their grip has been well and truly tested.

To give you an idea of what they’ve done, I’ve used them pretty much every day through December on my morning 3 mile steady run but to test them further I’ve also done a local 10 mile off road run and then last week an 18 miler around 2 of the Yorkshire three peaks.

Overall they have performed very well. They are comfy and do provide a decent level of traction – whilst not up to the level of a fell stud, they are as good if not better than most trail shoes. They also offer a sensible level of foot protection which I think is necessary if you are to use them as a true off-road shoe. I read reports of the laces coming loose and although they have the fat worm like laces, double knotting them has meant they’ve never come undone on any of my runs.

The sole is very thin – Vivo say 3mm (+ the tread) and this does make you think about where you’re putting your feet and encourages you to adopt a natural running style – i.e. run properly. If any mountain bikers read this I would liken using barefoot shoes to riding a hard-tail bike compared with a full suspension bike – you need to pick your line carefully but if you do you’re rewarded with a very fast and light ride.

The only real downside is that I think these shoes have been built more for dry and dusty off-road trails than the wet and sloppy tracks that I use them on. The uppers are very ‘enclosed’ meaning that once water enters the shoe it tends to stay there and make them feel a bit like a water shoe. The smooth material also seems very reluctant to release mud once it’s been applied so my shoes continually look like they’ve just been dragged out of a swamp.

Overall I would give them a 7 out of 10 and for them to be improved I would like to see half sizes, a mesh material used on the upper and a cheaper price.

Andy

 

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share