I’ve had to set the parental controls to block my own access to QVC as I have a tendency to fall prey to a hard sell. In fact, if they pick the right product range I’m a pushover for an extremely soft sell. My particular weaknesses are cleaning products and running gadgets. Cleaning products promise to clean the house for me and running gadgets make me feel as though, one day, I may finish a 5k in under 30 mins. Good money has followed bad and yet I still have dust on the shelves and an ancient 5k PB the wrong side of 33 mins.
I’ve spotted another experimental running shoe and I’m struggling to resist.
I can see that they would make me look like one of the shoemaker’s elves but they might also increase my running speed. I think the Swedish inventor is claiming a modest 1% improvement and although that won’t take me very much closer to the 30 minute target – every little helps as they say.
The Airia One has been 20 years in the making, which is a phenomenal length of time to spend obsessing about a pair of shoes. It is designed to mimic the motion of a wheel so the foot rolls away in the perfect Pose form. With their strange upturned toes the shoes do look a little like they’ve been carved out of a car tyre but nonetheless I would love to try them out.
The Airia One is currently available for pre-order if you are prepared to back the production.
I’m a confessed gadget snob, always chasing the next best thing in the running world (*). In contrast, Lynn is from the make do and mend side of society. I’m a little jealous, it’s the right way to be, but I seem unable to resist the lure of sporty bling.
She has however, caved in to the lure of statistical gadgetry and bought a GPS watch . While I’m lusting after the latest £360 running gadget, Lynn ignored all my advice and went for a bottom of the range Forerunner 10 – the model doesn’t even hit triple digits so it’s got to be duff, surely?
It arrived, and looked decidedly basic. I had a little play around and sneered as I didn’t require a manual to suss out the screens. Basic with a capital B.
Today we went out for a “round the block” run. Me with my Forerunner 910XT (Triathlete super model), Lynn with her play school style 10. Both gadgets locked onto satellites within seconds, they synchronously beeped at km intervals and at the end of the run we were within 2 metres of total recorded distance.
I sat down, content with a run completed when the cheapo watch let out another chirrup and declared “Fastest Mile achieved”. My watch remained silent on the subject. On further investigation the Forerunner 10 revealed itself to be a mine of personal statistic heaven. There were records of the fastest km, mile, 10k and the longest distance achieved. I flicked through the myriad screens on the 910XT but to no avail – personal statistics were not available.
Of course Lynn’s watch is not multisport enabled – my forerunner was able to tell me that I haven’t swum in about a year and haven’t cycled since I received it last xmas. You can’t get that sort of info on a forerunner 10!
* Should Santa be listening, this is currently the Garmin Forerunner 620 and I’m happy to announce, this model does include personal statistics!
This weekend I reasserted the joy of doing the same thing in the same place at the same time.
It was our anniversary weekend, which for the past 4 years has meant a trip to a West Sussex Yurt where we run a bit, get muddy and then get warm in front of the log burner.
I’ve grown to love the familiarity and routine of our groundhog weekend. This time round we inadvertently drove past a school fete that housed the same plant stall we visited on our first anniversary. I bought the self-same plant from the very nurseryman that sold me the ill-fated, tender, plectranthus from the first year. I’ve pre-warned him now and he’s promised to propagate an extra one, just in case, for next year.
One thing I do like to shake up is my run routes. I’d plotted an 8k loop around Weir Water reservoir but as we pulled up into the car park the relentless downpour left us rather less than eager to leave the car. Circumnavigational loops require guts. They suit adventurers who are prepared to burn their bridges and just venture forward into the unknown. I like an obvious escape plan, preferably with a short cut option.
We returned to the warmth of our log burner and as the weather had calmed down ventured out again for an out and back route directly from the campsite. The Sussex Ouse Valley path runs straight through our campsite and turned out to be a delightful route.
It was wet and boggy but the scenery was inspired and so varied that you couldn’t resist the joy of the run. We very quickly got into the spirit of playful trail running and bounced and splashed our way through gulleys and streams.
The sun was setting as we left, and as the route took us through clumps of dense forest we were nervous of the night sealing us in. We went as far as we dared before turning back and attempting to retrace out steps.
The previous weeks storm had laid down a few hazards for us, so it formed a perfect training run for next springs Wolf Run.
This Sussex Ouse Valley Way is relatively new long distance route, covering 42 miles from Lower Beeding to Seaford. We completed 6 miles but we will definitely be back next year to add a few extra miles to a very welcome new routine.
I haven’t worn a standard running shoe in years. Nowadays I tend to favour the more extreme ends of the market, oscillating between the uber cushioned Hoka One One to the minimalist Vibram FiveFingers. The closest I come to normal is my current treadmill shoe of choice, the Cloudsurfer On but even these have a gimicky cachet.
In the old days when Asics Gel Kayano was my staple running shoe , I used to look forward to the new shoe high. I could rely on that first, out-of-the-box run to be a highlight of my running year, full of cloud hopping visualisations and moon bounding strides.
I’m afraid to say, the Puma Faas 600S was an entirely underwhelming shoe. It may smack you in the face with its brassy colours but on the foot it was all a bit too meh. Neither cushioned, flat or minimally stylish it just sapped me of all new shoe joy.
It didn’t help that the fit was a little too snug for me. There is an extra padded strip around the heel which feels like you are being pinched between finger and thumb and while some may enjoy the structured feel, I just felt a bit trussed up and constrained. As Susan Partridge describes in the video, the Puma FAAS 600 are stability shoes, designed specifically for women who should have sleeker and slenderer feet than our male counterparts. I clearly have tomboy feet.
The Puma Faas range of running shoes have a sliding scale of structure and cushioning from the Faas 100 super minimal speed shoes to the Faas 900 aimed at those that seek comfort over speed. The Faas 600 are therefore in the middle ground, light, nippy and with a modicum of cushioning to remove the harsh ground feel so favoured by the barefoot types.
In summary, I think a narrow heeled speed demon with a penchant for bold colours would love these shoes, a more sturdy, back of the pack plodder would do well to hunt out a pair of Hoka One Ones.
Two years after starting the course at the Running School, I am finally in a position to share the results.
I had my last session on Monday and while I expected to nip in, take a quick video and escape, I was actually taken through a gruelling interval session honing my posture while sprinting up a mega incline. I’m surprised I had the energy for the after shot.
Last time I went to Battersea Running School I attempted (without success) to bluff my way through the stability tests. This time there was a noticeable improvement, I could raise my hips without my pelvis rocking too and fro and that can only be down to the weight training sessions with Julia Buckley. Marvellous.
It’s been a fascinating experience and well worth the £200 outlay. Comparing my running stance I can see that before I used to run from the knees with very little hip extension. In order to cover any distance I would flick my leg forward from the knee and take a long stride, landing with my heel well out in front of my centre of gravity.
As you can see very clearly from the after shots, I am now cycling with my legs, showing an impressive heel and knee raise and managing to land almost under my centre of gravity. I could do to loosen my hip flexors a bit more to encourage an even straighter posture but as it is, I am still amazed to see myself running like a proper runner.
All I need now is an improved bra and the running world could well be my oyster.
As an urban runner and more accurately, an urban, treadmill runner, I am rarely troubled by darkness.
I have occasionally driven through the unlit countryside and experienced darkness from the safety of my car. With limited footpaths and minimal street lighting, outdoor running becomes an extreme adrenaline sport in the country and I’m not sure I’d have the guts for it after the clocks go back. You wouldn’t catch me running in the dark country lanes without full body day-glo and a set of xmas lights wrapped around my arms and legs.
I was sent a flashing water bottle from H2Glow last week that could be just the ticket for night runners that want to make sure they are seen. It’s a simple design with a flashing LED in the lid which lights up the fluoro bottle. It’s pretty jazzy and remarkably bright. I’ll be stashing mine away for next years attempt at the London2Brighton, it will be perfect for the night stages.
They make similar bottles for cyclists which is an excellent idea for commuters.
Many people will have been inspired by today’s heroic efforts along The Mall and for those not tempted by the full marathon distance you can still enjoy some of London’s finest sights in a more manageable distance. This guest post from Bupa, highlights the Bupa 10,000 and provides tips for 10k training. Summary: From beginners […]
Back in 2007, at my first Bushy Park Run I was introduced to two women who exposed me to the joys of sophisticated running. I’ve never been a stranger to the pleasure of a post run Stella but these two raised the bar with their post run champagne and canapes. When you get invited to a […]
Apologies for the alliteration but the title just landed in my lap. I’m always on the look out for short cuts, particularly of the fitness variety. I have books on my shelves with title’s like “7 mins to commando fitness” and “train less, run faster”. Despite the books I’m still a slow poke and excepting […]
Just over 18 months ago I enrolled myself on a crash course at The Running School determined to overhaul my running style and evolve into an efficient, faster, pain free runner. Back in the summer of 2011 I was racked with plantar fasciitis pain and experimenting with barefoot running as a potential cure all for […]