SportsShoes Blog

Athlete blogs and sport technology news

Autumn Trails!

November 4th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

Autumn is my absolute favourite time of the year to run. Although it’s been unseasonably warm this year, we’re just starting to see the beginnings of those lovely cold, crisp winter mornings. This, twinned with beautiful sunrises, beautiful colours, falling leaves and mist makes Autumn running truly magical for me. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been loving splashing through muddy trails and breathing in the scenery – totally exhilarating and makes me feel lucky to be a runner!

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GNR 2014 – Heat, crowds and incredible atmosphere!

September 29th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

A tough but great day at the Great North Run this year, despite a disastrous race. This year was a GNR with a difference, in that it had its millionth finisher and, being a week early, the temperature was pretty hot. As always, the atmosphere was fantastic at the start, and full of runner camaraderie. It was also nice not to be shivering in the rain for the first time in 3 years!

I wasn’t sure how I was going to find the race this year, but I quickly found this out when after the first mile I was already feeling sick with the heat and wondering whether I was actually going to make it through the 13.1 miles. At the start we had been warned this was not a day for PBs, and I am terrible at running in the heat. From mile 1 onwards, I decided I was going to have to nurse myself round. The main thing, I decided, was to run the whole thing without walking and to actually make it to the finish. I took on water at every stop, and with a brief respite when the sun went in behind some clouds at miles 6 and 8, I managed to plod through it. By the long incline at mile 11 however, I felt as though I was literally dragging my exhausted body along, until I finally saw that glorious sight of the sea before dropping onto the sea front.

I don’t know why the last mile of the GNR always seems so long. I know this isn’t just me as every other runner says the same thing. This is a painful stretch along the sea front where I usually find myself willing the 800m marker to appear. This seemed to take a long time this time this year. Luckily the crowds at the finish were just brilliant and helped keep me going until finally crossing the line – with my second worst half marathon time ever, a full 13 minutes behind last year (and that was with Shingles).

I still felt proud to have just finished the GNR this year. It was a struggle from start to finish, and given that right from the start I had my doubts about finishing, it felt great to finally cross the line and my medal was hard won. Already looking forward to next year!

 

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13.1 Miles Long Slow Run & First Ever Interval Session

September 1st, 2014 by Melody Vasey

A busy week before tapering down to the GNR. I had been in two minds about running the full distance before the race, but for peace of mind I ran a hilly 13.1 miles last week, just to be sure I could definitely still manage it!  I also went along to my first ever interval session at my local running club. This was so tough! Alternating periods of fast running (effort) with slower recovery periods was definitely a shock to the system, especially one like mine which is perfectly happy trundling along for miles at a steady pace. The idea is that I will gradually improve and be able to run faster for longer. Very sore legs afterwards.  The plan for the rest of the week is to take it easy until race day.

 

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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!

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GNR 2014

August 11th, 2014 by Melody Vasey

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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….

 

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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