Monday, October 14, 2019

Week Commencing 7th October

Monday Morning: 5 miles at 10:00mm - Easy in with Bob - left ankle a bit tight. Glorious light this morning from the start.

Tuesday Morning: 5 miles at 10:00mm - Super easy in.
Tuesday Evening: 8 miles at 8:15mm - Fartleky Tempo session between bridges on the way to Danny's birthday. Fun to try and do it with a rucksack. 6:30mm ish for tempo sections.

Wednesday Evening: 5 miles at 9:15mm - Easy run on treadmill

Thursday Morning: 5 miles at 10:00mm - Recovery in with Rob

Friday Evening: 8 miles at 8:30mm - Easy hour with Gaby on the Mitcham loop

Saturday Lunch: 5 miles at 6:00mm - warm up, Surrey League XC, warm down

Sunday Morning: 21 miles at 7:30mm - First chunky 20 miler in a while.

Totals: 9 hours and 7 minutes, 66 miles


I was easing off the second half of the week planning to have a good run at the Surrey League - sadly that didn't develop as I had a bit of a shocker. The first 6 or 7 minutes I was feeling pretty good, from the start I felt I had myself in a good position and was running fluidly. Breathing was totally fine. I felt a bit jostled around but on the whole was okay.

Just gradually my legs were going on me. Aerobically I felt absolutely fine, not jogging around but certainly not in any sort of distress, just going through the motions in third gear as people went past me. The choice of spikes probably didn't help as on the wooded sections I could really feel the 9mm spikes going against the stony ground - my X-talons would have been a better shout.

Looking back, post-break I've put a really good sequence of training weeks together. I think right now I'm just a bit fatigued from that and that a few easy days probably wasn't going to be enough to get my legs back into nick. Probably should have done some strides on the Thursday as well.

Really pleased with my Sunday long run, first half all at low 7mm with a decent group. Second half a bit easier but then picked up the effort through the Oaks on the muddier stuff and uphill before closing well feeling really strong.

I think that's the bit which has me the most optimistic. 2 years ago before going to see Eddie and John, I would have done a XC like Saturday and have been limping for a week. Now I'm walking pain-free in the morning, out the next day and doing a quality 20 miler. That leaves me very enthusiastic for the future.

Week Commencing 30th September

Monday Evening: 3ish miles at 10:00mm - messing around running to and from stations to try and get back home. Basically a rest day.

Tuesday Lunch: 5 miles at 8:45mm - Lunchtime canal - bit faster than I thought I was going which is good. Struggling a bit running in the Altra Torin - not good grip in the rain but maybe I just need to roughen up the surface of the shoe a bit.

Wednesday Morning: 4 miles at 8:15mm - Easy in - moving well at the end
Wednesday Lunch: 7 miles at 8:30mm - Ravens loop reversed - wrong day though so didn't see anyone though!

Wednesday Evening: 5 miles at 8:30mm - Trundle home

Thursday Morning: 5 miles at 9:30mm - Easy in with Bob
Thursday Lunch: 7 miles at 7:30mm - Intervals with Ravens - 6 * sort of a km at sort of 10km pace - 3:17, 3:23, 3:17, 3:12, 3:18, 3:16 on a 5 minute loop.

Thursday Evening: 5 miles at 9:15mm - Easy home - first run in Altra Escalante 1.5s. Felt pretty good.

Friday Morning: 5 miles at 10:00mm - Easy in with Bob
Friday Evening: 5 miles at 8:45mm - Date night - loop around Sutton

Saturday Lunch: 9 miles at 8:30mm - Easy Mitcham loop with Gaby

Sunday Morning: 13 miles at 7:30mm - Progressive long run at Kingston Half with Gaby
Sunday Lunch: 5 miles at 6:15mm - East Surrey League XC - good hard effort ahead of next week

Totals: 10 hours and 57 minutes, 78 miles

Summary: Good week, nice volume and was very pleased with the interval session which I'm doing very controlled and is a significant improvement from a month ago. Good progress. Nice to combine both the Kingston Half on Sunday and a run around the East Surrey League which wasn't particularly impressive but was good to get me back on the mud and prepping for next week.

Week Commencing 23rd September

Monday Morning: 6 miles at 9:00mm - Easy start to training camp! With Martin and Gaby.
Monday Evening: 8 miles at 8:30mm - Easy 8 along the Thames Path to finish off day 1

Tuesday Morning: 7 miles at 8:45mm - Morning womble in what we thought was a gap in the rain... got a bit soaked.
Tuesday Evening: 9 miles at 7:15mm - Four eight minute reps off a two minute jog recovery - just focusing on effort. 8 minute reps at about 6mm.

Wednesday Morning: 7 miles at 8:45mm - Easy hour with Gaby
Wednesday Evening: 8 miles at 7:45mm - Pacing Gaby through her 4 x 8 off 2

Thursday Morning: 7 miles at 8:45mm - Easy hour in unexpected sun including impromptu dog rescue
Thursday Evening: 8 miles at 7:30mm - Six lots of five minutes tempo with a minute jog in-between in Henham. Again, about 6mm.

Friday Morning: 7 miles at 8:30mm - Easy hour with Gaby
Friday Evening: 7 miles at 8:15mm - Deja vu - carbon copy of this morning but with six short strides

Saturday Morning: 8 miles at 8:30mm - Easy running before wedding with Gaby in Henham.

Sunday Evening: 15 miles at 8:00mm - Long run including four eight minute tempoish efforts off a two minute recovery jog - wasn't running great towards the end of this and feet a bit sore by the end from overtightening shoes.

Totals: 13 hours and 17 minutes, 97 miles

Summary: Really good training week in the bag. Bit longer than probably sensible but was making up a bit for the previous low week. Happy to get a few sessions in albeit still not fast.

Week Commencing 16th September

Week Commencing 16th September

Monday Morning: 8 miles at 8mm - Easy
Monday Evening: 3 miles at 9mm - Easy

Tuesday Morning: 4 miles at 9mm - Late morning shuffle
Tuesday Evening: 2 * 10 * 40s hills off 65 jog down recovery, 4 minutes between sets

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest

Friday Evening: 9 miles at 8:30mm - Easy Mitcham loop

Saturday Lunch: 7 miles at 8:30mm - Easy hour + strides

Sunday Lunch: 6 miles at 8:30mm - Easy 50 minutes post supporting Gemma at Half Ironman Weymouth
Sunday Evening: 9 miles at 8mm - Warm-up, 20 minutes AeT @ 6:25mm, wd - absolutely tipping it down and into the wind for the last 10 minutes along Weymouth seafront.

Totals: 7 hours and 27 minutes, 53 miles.

Summary: Got caught up with work mid-week and lost out on two training days. Pleased to start getting something a touch faster in on the Sunday albeit showed how relatively unfit I am. It really was flipping wet though!

Monday, September 16, 2019

Week 3 post-break - time on feet and sports update - 9/9/19

***General Thoughts***

Last week was an interesting one. My office moved from individual offices to open plan. Not great in and of itself, but it has meant that I now have an adjustable desk which lets me stand whilst I work. I've been quite an enthusiastic adopter of this but need to carry on remembering that actually spending an additional 6 or so hours standing each day on my feet is quite hard work. I've now gotten a couple of massage balls for my plantar fascia and a nice foam pad which is much nicer to stand on and far more comfortable.

I have noticed the difference in both a bit of tiredness generally in my legs but also, by using the foam pad, I'm working my ankles a lot more, doing more time standing on a single leg etc. I think in the long run this will be more beneficial than sitting down for hours at a time but I do need to remember to switch it around at the moment.

As we moved to open plan I also tried to get in a bit earlier for the first time which meant doing a run with the Bastards (so called because we run up a Bastard of a hill, Banstead Road South) at 6:15 followed by heading back home, picking up my bag and running the extra 5 miles in to Morden along the Wandle for a nice 8 mile commute. Still getting used to this as it is an earlier start but its good to get a big chunk of daily mileage done first thing.

Generally, this week felt good. I was getting back into a bit more a running routine and the "oh god I'm just starting running again" feeling and wheezing has gone. I'm starting to feel fitter and moving better.

***World of Running***

More widely in the sport, it was interesting to see some fast times last week. Bowerman track club knocked it out of the park at their own custom meeting with the fairly unheralded Woody Kincaid bashing out a sub 13 5000m with his two more illustrious team mates, double US champ Lopez Lomong and reigning Olympic 1,500m champ Matt Centrowitz clocking 13.flat.

This race was a fantastic example of where top quality pacemaking from their team-mate until 2 laps to go and good, quiet conditions led to a fast race. It's amazing how much of a difference this can make.

Separately Geoffrey Kamworor set a new WR in the half with 58:01 (initially reported as 57:59). With this WR, we are starting to see the prospect of a sub 2 in IAAF race conditions look more likely. Double and add 4 minutes is a very challenging and difficult conversion (usually indicating underperformance over the half marathon) but is not totally unfeasible.

On that same point, some of the most exciting news has come out of Team NN ( where it was announced that Bekele has been forcibly removed from Ethiopia and forced to eat right, run lots and do physiotherapy.

Kipchoge has been nigh on unbeatable in the marathon in recent years. There aren't many who can standa toe to toe, let alone genuinely have a chance. Even as dominant an athlete as Farah on the track has been found unable to close that gap.

If you were looking at athletes who might actually be able to race him at his best, and win, Kamworor is probably second on the list with the first a fully fit Kenenisa Bekele. After all - how many of us can run 2:03:03 whilst unfit and out of shape?

***The Training***

Monday Morning: 8 miles at 9:04mm - Bastard warm up followed by commute run in, 1156 BPM.
Monday Evening: 5 miles at 9:21mm - Easy home with Gabster, 1234 BPM.

Tuesday Morning: 8 miles at 8:47mm - Awful start to the run with socks and shoes combining to rub something fierce and create a lovely little blister, felt better after changing shoes and socks, 1145 BPM.
Tuesday Evening: 5 miles at 9:27mm - Sutton Runners: 4 * 200, 4 * 400, 4 * 200, 1321 BPM.

Wednesday Morning: 3 miles at 10:09mm - Bastard with the bastards, didn't run in afterwards as I was feeling a bit knackered from 3 eary 1262 BPM.
Wednesday Evening: 5 miles at 10:03mm - Shuffle home stopping at the kebab shop, 1301 BPM.

Thursday Morning: 5 miles at 9:49mm - Easy in with Rob I guess? I don't remember a thing about this run, 1250 BPM.
Thursday Evening: 8 miles at 7:09mm - Sutton Runners - 1000 then 5 * 1400, 2ish minutes recovery 3:13, 4:48, 5:00, 5:00, 5:08, 4:39, 1098 BPM.

Friday Morning: 8 miles at 9:20mm - Long Morden loop as on the train in the evening, 1205 BPM.
Friday Lunch: 5 miles at 9:34mm - Canal plod followed by picking up a wedding present. Impromptu trip to McDonalds as well, 1205 BPM.

Saturday Morning: 6 miles at 7:55mm - Pre Wedding run going up a big hill midway and trying to catch Gaby on the way back, 1146 BPM.

Sunday Evening: 15 miles at 7:40mm - Warm up, 7 times a mile thresholdy off half a mile recovery jog, warm down, 1135 BPM.

Totals: 82 miles / 11 hours and 57 minutes with an 8:45mm average

I joined Sutton Runners for a couple of sessions this week as my local club. The short session was good on Tuesday giving me a little bit of speed in my legs in Rosehill park and Thursday was a great tempo session. Top group was doing 6 * km off about 3 minutes recovery so I tucked in with them (everyone taking 200m in the lead) through the km then added an extra 400m. Didn't worry about pace but it was comfortably threshold. Maybe a bit too fast.

They seem like a really friendly lot so I'll probably join them for more sessions going forward.

Sunday I incorporated another threshold session into my long run. The paces weren't great but I started around 6:40, got down to about 6:20 then went back up again. Nothing special but gave it a bit of variety.

***Next Week and the Future***

This next week will be focused on getting a decent little hill session in, followed by some tempo / MP efforts on Thursday and Saturday. I need to get racing again at some point so will have a think about that. I've penciled in the Kingston Half now which might be a good one to try and knock out a sub 75.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Week 2 Post-Break (2/9/19)

The second week back and after last week's 76 miles this was a decent 80. Slightly unexpected with a slow start to the week but a single triple day is quite handy for punching up the mileage and I was feeling particularly good over the weekend so managed to get a more substantive second run in on the Saturday than I was originally planning.

Towards the end of the week I had a good km session with the Ravens where I started relatively easily but bashed out a good 6km in total. Through-out the session I was trying to remember my current mantra that the purpose is to do *something* fast but not to strain or push these sessions. On the last rep my achilles was just starting to feel the work so I'm glad I kept it at that level. Nice working with Arif as well as he keeps a good steady pace.

Saturday was my 50th Parkrun. Now, 50 isn't a big milestone for many but given my first Parkrun was in February 2010 this has been a long time coming! My attendance at them hasn't been great and its only recently I've started to feel a real community at Nonsuch which has meant I've been doing them more regularly this year. It's such a good way to get a nice early run in with folks.

As a tempo effort it left something to be desired though. Realistically I wanted to get about 8 miles of threshold in this week but what with having to distribute prosecco and Colin the Caterpillar cake after my parkrun that wasn't going to be feasible. Reading up about how the Ingebritsens often do double session days to split the threshold work into two, I decided to give it a shot and do a very relaxed tempo session in the afternoon with Kev.

On the grass, I didn't fuss and we started the 5 x 6 minutes very easily at mid 6:30s and gradually progressed down to sub 6s. Nothing ground-breaking but it felt really good and honestly less fatiguing than I think a  5 mile death shuffle might have been which was the alternative.

It worked well and I think that I'll be incorporating more of that into my schedule.

Sunday was very hungover and I had a proper temper tantrum with about 4 miles to go as my feet were sore and I was *done* (that should be bolded). This was entirely Martin's fault as I had bought a bottle of lucozade at 10 miles and he was meant to drink half of it but didn't want to so I'd had to drink it all myself so was feeling a bit sick as well.

When it started to come up I decided to stop by the side of the road, give my feet a good rub and then get going again after a good 5 minutes. Luckily Martin didn't object too much.

Monday Morning: 5 miles at 9:33mm - Easy in with Rob, 1198 BPM.
Monday Evening: 3 miles at 9:55mm - Easy plod home - love a good plod, 1340 BPM.

Tuesday Morning: 4 miles at 8:10mm - Little bit of tempo as Rob went to the wrong meeting place, 1104 BPM.

Wednesday Lunch: 3 miles at 8:27mm - Aborted run - left achilles struggling in Zoom Fly, 1126 BPM.

Wednesday Evening: 7 miles at 9:11mm - Hour very easy, 1228 BPM.

Thursday Lunch: 7 miles at 7:27mm - 6 reps of a km on a 5 minute loop - 3:35, 3:28, 3:26, 3:22, 3:19, 3:21, 1143 BPM.
Thursday Evening: 4 miles at 9:33mm - Easy home after long day at work, 1308 BPM.

Friday Morning: 6 miles at 9:17mm - Easy in with Bob - bonus loop of Morden Hall Park, 1187 BPM.
Friday Lunch: 8 miles at 7:51mm - Ravens Lunch run - 2 runs out of 3 done. Just a shuffle home now!, 1165 BPM.
Friday Evening: 3 miles at 10:15mm - Shuffle home for run number 3, 1350 BPM.

Saturday Morning: 5 miles at 7:01mm - Warm up, 5k tempo @ 5:46mm, warm down, 1059 BPM.
Saturday Evening: 9 miles at 7:26mm - 5 x 6 minutes thresholdy off 1 minute jog, 1095 BPM.

Sunday Morning: 16 miles at 8:11mm - Hungover long run post Rogers Nuptials, 1146 BPM.

Totals: 80.2 miles, 11 hours and 15 minutes (675), average pace = 8:25mm

So - all in all, a very good week. Nice to see a low BPM figure for the threshold work on Saturday at 1059 BPM. Things are progressing well.

This week the aim is to keep the mileage high and build up the threshold work a bit further.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Training for my first week back (W/C 26.08.19)

Looking forward to recording my training back on here for the next few months in the lead up to Valencia marathon. This was my first week back after 2 off to end my season. Starting back up again I've felt a bit portly and off my game for the first few days but gradually perked up towards the end of the week.

I'm mostly running in Altra shoes at the moment - the zero-drop platform seems to be fairly good for my achilles issues which in retrospect appear to be more PF subsequently restricting the ankle joint. It's now working through a much wider range of motion and more of the impact seems to be going to my quads which are tired but can take it.

So - training for the week...

Monday Evening: 4 miles at 8:10mm - Easy loops around the Common with Gaby - puffing a bit more than I would like, 1198 BPM.

Tuesday Morning: 5 miles at 9:52mm - Easy in with Rob - Wandle looking beautiful this morning, 1223 BPM.
Tuesday Evening: 6 miles at 8:08mm - Easy track session, ***Km tempo at 3:30 then 10 x 400 off 60 - starting high 70s and finishing low 70s*** - in retrospect should have kept this at 80s and run with group 2, 1222 BPM.

Wednesday Evening: 8 miles at 9:55mm - Very easy miles home - 75 minutes, 1272 BPM.

Thursday Morning: 5 miles at 8:37mm - Doughnut Club is back! 40 easy minutes with Chris before a doughnut stop. No doughnuts were harmed in the making of this run, 1190 BPM.
Thursday Lunch: 5 miles at 9:28mm - Lunch shuffle along the canals, 1248 BPM.
Thursday Evening: 7 miles at 8:54mm - 6am route in the evening with Kev finishing at the pub - nice mix of hills, 1237 BPM.

Friday Lunch: 5 miles at 8:37mm - Easy lunch shuffle - legs feeling heavy, 1196 BPM.
Friday Evening: 4 miles at 9:57mm - Easy home after a surprisingly long-feeling 4 days week, 1305 BPM.

Saturday Morning: 5 miles at 7:10mm - Warm up, ***5k tempo at Dulwich Parkrun at 5:53mm***, wd, 1067 BPM.
Saturday Evening: 6 miles at 8:44mm - Easy hour with Gaby - legs feeling surprisingly okay, 1182 BPM.

Sunday Morning: 15 miles at 9:54mm - Easy 15 on the trails from home to Boxhill, nice to get 2:30 on my feet, 1345 BPM.

Total: 76 miles / 11 hours and 31 minutes / 9:06mm average pace 

Summary: A good first week back. Session on Tuesday was a little early but glad I did it. Overall volume was slightly higher then planned boosted by a triple day on Thursday.

Two light sessions got me moving again. Sunday's trail long run was fairly challenging on the legs but it was nice to get on my feet for two and a half hours and feel strong.

Next week will see a slight bump to 80+ hopefully and another couple of light sessions. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Nike Shoes - Which one?

So there are a whole range of Nike shoes now out - but which one is the right one for you? Luckily. I've managed to go through most of the range and can advise you on the differences...

The main difference is the specific material being used in the midsole and whether there is a carbon fibre plate. With that in mind, lets look at each of the shoes that are part of the main line:-
  • Vaporfly 4% V2 - Carbon-plate, Pebax (Zoom X), Flyknit upper
  • Turbo Pegasus - No carbon-plate, Pebax / TPU (Zoom X / React), Standard upper
  • Zoom Flyknit - Carbon-plate, TPU (React), Flyknit upper
  • Epic / Odyssey / Legend - no carbon-plate, TPU (React), various uppers
  • Pegasus - No carbon-plate, EVA foam, standard upper
  • Free - No carbon-plate, EVA foam, standard upper
That's just a load of jargon though... What is the real difference?
Lets deal with the first one on the list...
The Vaporfly 4%
Alleged to give you a 4% improvement in running economy (no... that doesn't mean a 4% improvement in your running times).
The Vaporfly for me is a transformative shoe due to the combination of the Pebax foam (which is incredibly light for the level of cushioning) and the carbon plate (which adds significant stiffness). This combination allows you have a very light shoe which is still stiff with good energy return.
The carbon fibre plate or the Pebax foam on its own is not that effective. Plenty of shoes over the years have tried to use a carbon fibre plate and they haven't been game changers. The carbon fibre plate adds weight and when combined with heavier foam results in a shoe which doesn't have the same feel as the Vaporfly.
This is essentially the Zoom Fly Flyknit. It's a great shoe (more on it later) but as the React foam is both heavier and less responsive than the Zoom X (Pebax) foam, you don't get the same response from the shoe.
By contrast, without the carbon fibre plate, a shoe purely with the Pebax foam feels almost sloppy. The foam absorbs a huge amount of energy and your foot strike ends up feeling dull. Great cushioning but not much zip.
The combination leaves you with a lightweight racing shoe, with loads of cushioning, a decent size heel-toe drop and plenty of zip.
Now, I've had the question, particularly for shorter distances:
"Why wouldn't you just wear a racing flat?"
My answer to that is that a true racing flat (or pair of track spikes) has the same if not more rigidity and so you get a similar level of energy return. But most people cannot race in a pair of full-on racing flats for more than 5k / 10k. There are a few odd exceptions who can do a marathon in them (mostly featherweight elites) but for most people the additional protection and cushioning means that as you're entering into mile 10 of a half marathon or mile 22/23 of a marathon your legs are still in decent nick and able to push hard.
Rather than thinking about the Vaporfly as the evolution of the racing flat, it's the evolution of the Hoka. Maximalist but truly fast (and one of the reasons why the Hoka Carbon Rocket is going to be a very interesting shoe).
Why wouldn't you want to race in the Vaporfly? Well, if you are one of those featherweight runners you might be just as well off in a pair of racing flats or if you're running a track race then you may want to be in spikes but for the most part there's not a good reason. These are the main concerns:-
  • Performance in wet conditions isn't ideal as the structure of the midsole can feel pretty spongy almost creating a suction effect on the ground in the wet with sub-optimal grip.
  • The shoes don't corner particularly well. You're high off the ground and your fit sits on the top of the midsole so there's a degree of torque there.
  • They are very expensive (although the general inflation in the price of running shoes has been fairly obscene and you can now pay £150 for a very mediocre pair of trainers).
  • The exposed Pebax foam is relatively soft and can be worn away very quickly. You're unlikely to get hundreds of miles out of these. More like 100.
I have two final caveats - firstly, as they wear away quickly *and* are expensive, unless you're an elite, you won't be wearing a pair of these on a regular basis for training. I have an original pair which I now use solely for track workouts or races with a small off-road element and a pair of the Flyknits which are used for races.

As they have a very different feel to a pair of traditional racing flats I wouldn't jump into them immediately as you will be at risk of an injury. You need to get used to them first of all which is difficult with an expensive pair of fragile racing shoes. My strong recommendation therefore is to buy a pair in conjunction with the Zoom Flyknit and use them to prepare your legs.

There is a psychological point about the Vaporflys... As they are relatively fragile, you only wear them to race. You get the same "pick me up" that you get when you spike up for a track race. I've never had this before with road racing shoes. When you put them on - it's go time.

The second caveat is that if you are a "pure" forefoot runner (e.g. one of those featherweights I mentioned earlier) then you'll get less of the benefit as you don't "roll" through to activate the carbon fibre plate. That in itself isn't a huge issue but I've found that landing square on the forefoot (which I do when sprinting), I can feel the carbon fibre plate through the foam and that could create issues over a long race.

As my final aside ... I have particular love for the Vaporfly name as I ran my 10k, HM and M PBs in the original Nike Vaporfly. Nike developed the May Fly as a revolutionary light weight racing shoe that would only last for 100 miles (hence the name). The Vapor Fly was its big brother with slightly more cushioning for exactly the same reasons set out above. I still miss my pair which eventually fell apart after much stitching.

I've not spoken much about the upper - the initial version had a mesh upper, the newer one has moved to Flyknit. I'm pretty ambivalent. On a wet day, I probably wouldn't go with Flyknit. If you have lots of money then you can get the special 3D printed version.

I've yet to see any pair on sale. Limited drops of the product and high demand has meant until the last few months they would sell out as soon as they "dropped". The current colourways leave something to be desired. The navy and red highlight version looks nice but the rehashed Bright Crimson (for the third time) with a slight blue highlight is uninspired after some fantastic early numbers. Maybe if Bright Crimson was really crimson and not orange I might prefer it... The best at the moment is the limited edition Gyakusou (not available in the UK) in a dark purple and yellow.

You should be aware that Nike has started to do a fashion version of the Vaporfly without the carbon plate. Don't get confused!

Okay, that's it for the Vaporfly which really does sit in a class of its own. Let's move onto the Turbo Pegasus.

Turbo Pegasus

The Turbo Pegasus is misnamed in my opinion. A better name would be the Lunar Racer Mark 4 (I think that's right...). It has far more in common with the old Lunar Racer in terms of purpose, feel and design than it does with the Pegasus line. Henceforth I'll call it the Turbo in this review.

The Turbo isn't designed for racing in the same way that the Vaporfly is. Whilst the rubber on the sole doesn't extent the full length, the whole outsole is flat therefore encourages you to roll through the foot more and adopt a less aggressive foot position. Think less track reps and more rolling long runs.

The midsole is a combination of the Pebax foam we mentioned above (Zoom X) and the React foam. This wasn't made *that* clear in the initial marketing material which certainly gave the feeling that you were purchasing a Vaporfly without the carbon sole but hey, you should read the fine print.

The only real objection I have to the use of two different midsole materials is that they have been glued together so you need to take care when taking them off not to split the two layers (yes, that means undoing the laces and not just stamping on the heel).

The combination of the two leads to a ride which is light, not particularly responsive and fairly durable. These work well as everyday trainers to do all your running in. Particularly tempo runs and long runs.

They have nothing really to do with the Pegasus...

My main objection with these shoes is the price-point. At £160 I would say you're better off getting another pair of Vaporflys or a pair of the Flyknits which both represent much better value. You've not got the expensive carbon plate here and the technology isn't exceptional. The only reasoning for the high cost would be the cost of the ZoomX foam which I guess could be a licensing issue as the actual quantity of it used is a lot less than for the Vaporfly.

Basically, I see these shoes as going for more like £120-£130 RRP and on sale at £80-90. At that price point I think they're a buy.

If you're careful taking them off, then the React Foam does last a long while so maybe they're worth an investment as a non-carbon fibre plate shoe. They then run into competition from the Epic / Odyssey / Legend range though as well as the Pegasus itself.

Zoom Flyknit

This to me is the hidden gem in the whole range. I put them as a hard buy particularly when you can now get them on sale for less than £90 at certain retailers.

The Zoom Flyknit is basically what the Pegasus Turbo was marketed as. A budget and durable Vaporfly.

It wasn't always good news though. The Zoom Fly was launched at pretty much the same time as the first gen Vaporfly as the cut-price cousin. With a plasticky plate (nylon infused with carbon from memory) inserted into an EVA midsole it was clunky, heavy and had very little response. If you were being kind you could refer to it as a Pegasus plus but in reality it was probably a Pegasus minus. The Zoom Fly (and Zoom Fly SP) are both still being sold so make sure you don't buy one of these.

The second iteration is possibly one of the biggest jumps I've ever seen between version 1 and version 2 of a pair of shoes. The introduction of Flyknit, the change in the midsole to the durable and lighter React foam (not as light as Zoom X but you can't have everything) and the change in the plate from nylon to full carbon fibre revolutionised the shoe.

The shoe is now a budget Vaporfly. The React cushioning is good but (like the Pebax) can still be a bit dull without the carbon plate. With it, you now have a light(ish) weight, responsive trainer which keeps your legs in good nick.

I've found the best environment for the Zoom Fly to be long runs. It doesn’t mind a slower start but almost inexorably gets you pushing faster throughout the run. If you were going to design a shoe for “steady” runs it would be this shoe. It’s not perfect for intervals or for jogs. But steady runs all the way up to tempo it is pretty much perfect.

The most noticeable thing I’ve found since doing my long runs in it have been a) how easily I slip into a faster pace for the second half and b) how fresh my legs feel afterwards. For once I’m not hobbling after a long run but wandering around normally.

The one caveat here is that the carbon plate, if you’re a forefoot runner, can be sometimes felt through the foam but that’s rare.

The shoes have gone through several hundred miles for me so far and I’ve noticed almost no difference in feel. My friend who is very picky about his shoes, runs without socks and retires them to the pub the second he thinks they’re going (to be fair they still get a *lot* of use there) points out every morning we run in that they feel pretty much the same as when he first got them.

What’s the biggest selling point though? They unlock the Vaporfly. There’s no question it encourages a slightly unusual gait and foot strike with the carbon plate. For those of us without unlimited resources the Zoom Fly lets you do your long runs and tempos in a shoe that has the same, almost unique feel and foot position, as you get in the Vaporfly without burning through a pair each week.

Epic / Odyssey / Legend React

I’ve lumped these three in together because functionally I see them as very similar.

These shoes are what I see as the response to Adidas’ Ultra Boost series. They each have a full length React foam midsole with no carbon plate so the ride is relatively similar. There are differences in the amount of React and the uppers (some are Flyknit, some not) but on the whole these shoes are all going to fulfil a similar purpose in your arsenal.

The comments above for the Zoom Flyknit apply equally for these shoes in relation to the React foam. It’s hard working, has an almost pillowy feeling whilst still giving a decent response back. It’s probably more useful for slow long runs, easy runs and recovery runs than for faster steadies and speed work. That said, the weight and the response is such that if you wanted to race in it, particularly longer distances, you probably wouldn’t have any complaints.

One of the main reasons to wear these is if you are a forefoot striker and the carbon plate on the Zoom Fly Flyknits irritates you.

There’s nothing *wrong* with these shoes. They are just stable workhorses for pounding out the miles. Equally, there’s nothing particularly sexy about them.

Wear these if you find the cushioning on the Pegasus a bit harsh and want something a bit more relaxed and accommodating whilst still light.

The Pegasus

What can you really say about Nike’s long standing mainstay of their running collection?
The Peg is the first one of this collection that uses EVA foam in comparison to Zoom X and React. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (it’s been a mainstay of running trainers for decades) but it certainly feels a bit dated.

The Peg has a firmer ride than any of the trainers above. That’s got good and bad points. It certainly makes it versatile. The combination of a reasonable amount of cushioining and a very firm ride means that conceivably you could use it for both slow runs where you want the cushioning and for faster sessions where you want the shoe to feel a bit more snappy.

It definitely feels like hard work though. Perhaps that’s more a sign of how running shoes have evolved. 5-10 years ago the Pegasus was referred to for its pillowy cushioning. That’s definitely not the case anymore in a world of Zoom X, React and Boost.

The latest design iterations are *good* though. The pulled back heel collar (allegedly driven by Mo Farah) means that the shoe doesn’t dig into the Achilles as previous versions could be be prone to do so. The upper is relatively light-weight all in all, this is a good shoe and a decent all-rounder.
The question is, in a world of specialists, can the all-rounder still survive?

Buy it if you want a generalist trainer with a different feel to the others in your rotation and can pick it up on sale (often at quite severe discounts).

Free Run

I hesitated to include the Nike Free on this list because it’s such a different shoe to all of the others I’ve mentioned above but it’s definitely one to consider.

The Free changes an awful lot between generations. The most recent generation has just been subjected to a huge re-design and I’ve yet to try that version yet so I won’t comment on it yet.  This is about the Free Run from 2018 and earlier.

The Free uses EVA foam, same as the Pegasus. The grooves in the midsole though allow it to feel quite a bit softer as they let the shoe naturally flex.

The difference though comes in the sole and the upper. The Free has a totally flexible / free form heel cup made of cloth or mesh in comparison to the harshly structured Pegasus heel cup. Whilst the new lip on the Pegasus helps an awful lot to reduce the Achilles issues from prior versions – there are plenty of athletes who have found running in the free as one of the first trainers without a rigid heel cup has revolutionised their running.

In fact, a large part of modern shoe design and the retreat away from the rigid heel cups, can be traced back to the Free.

I’ve in the past used the Free as a general mileage shoe and it’s pretty darn good at that. One of the interesting things I’ve discovered though has been how effective the Free is for doing *pure* speedwork and drills. The additional flexibility lets you get right up on your toes when you’re sprinting. I doubt you’re going to see lots of sprinters wearing it to race anytime soon but as a shoe to practice your forefoot running the extra flexibility there and cushioning are a huge help.

I now await the launch of a Free shoe with React foam… fingers crossed.

Please comment below if you have any questions or found this helpful!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Training Week Commencing 10th July 2017

Training Week Commencing 10th July 2017

This week was a substantial step forward from last week with the session / strides / steady, “Triple S” formula working really well.

The week started poorly (as always) with a bad couple of days. A long trip back from Tenby in Wales meant that my evening run was relatively short although I did manage to add in my strides after the hill session on Sunday evening.

Tuesday was a total write-off – I had a tough day at work and by the time it finished I was not in the mood for a run. I’ve been moving to a slightly healthier diet over the past few weeks but today I went straight back and had a big Indian with Gaby. Definitely needed and very tasty.

Wednesday I started actually doing some training… A quick trip to the awesome Running Works to use up my voucher from the London Bridges Relays gave me a good reason to pop out at lunch and I came away with a fab new pair of very colourful socks, with nice red and black highlights for when I’m racing for HHH. The evening had a decent steady at 159 bpm for 6:34mm for 45 minutes.

Thursday was an easy lunch run at a reasonable pace. The evening I popped out with Ed for a run back and we managed to get in two Pokemon raids (yes, we are children) and then a really short sharp session on the Common. Ed and I worked really well together as we sprinted a lap of a cricket pitch (not round, more obloid and with a couple of tree branches nearly knocking us out) and then jogged a lap. We gradually ramped up the pace and by the end were going great runs as we cut the reps from 60 seconds down to 54.

Friday I enjoyed my usual run in with Jazz before heading out to Carshalton and Oaks Park to do a good hour. Rob tried to kill us all going through nettles but we survived and enjoyed the pretty lavender fields. Kev then moaned a lot about doing his strides but he (reluctantly) got them done before being allowed a beer at the pub whilst the midges feasted on his bald pate.

For the weekend we were back off to Wales (yes – we had only just got back I hear you say!) as we went to Tyddyn Llan in Llandrillo for Gaby’s mum’s 70th. A fantastic venue nestled in the Welsh hills with superb food. I was pleased to knock out a decent steady on the roads. After last week’s tough effort in Tenby where I really struggled to get my heart rate up to 150, this week I felt much better and averaged 159 over a nice rolling out and back route. I was pleased with an average pace of 6:29 heading out but the overall averaged of 6:22 was definitely a step forward from both last weekend and Wednesday.

After far too much good food and company, we came back the next day slightly hungover and Gaby boshed out a decent 60 minute effort with her broken shoulder before I headed over to Battersea Park and did 6 reps of the bigger cricket pitch. These started at 70 seconds and came down to 64 seconds with a lap of jogging inbetween. I was pleased to really push these hard and was feeling the lactic a lot earlier than I had done on Thursday’s session. I was also pleased I decided to do this very short and sharp session as I was thinking about doing a 20 minute tempo on the way over but decided to stick with the work on my running mechanics.

So – good week. Decent mileage and whilst I didn’t hit my 12 hour target, thinking about it got me to an average of 90 minutes running per day. This week I’ve got a Rosenheim league race on Wednesday night and will carry on trying to improve the speed with (hopefully) over 11 hours of running.

Log below:-

Training Week Commencing 10th July 2017

Monday Evening: Hour easy with 6 x strides  ( 73 minutes / 7:58mm / 9.23 miles)

Wednesday Morning: Station ( 4 minutes / 8:55mm / 0.51 miles)

Wednesday Lunch: Trip to Running Works to redeem voucher and buy socks! ( 17 minutes / 8:34mm / 2.05 miles)

Wednesday Evening: Run home with 45 minutes steady (159 bpm  / 6:34mm) in the middle ( 75 minutes / 7:13mm / 10.37 miles)

Thursday Lunch: Easy lunch run ( 37 minutes / 7:37mm / 4.87 miles)

Thursday Evening: 8 x 1 cricket boundary hard off 1 cricket boundary easy recovery plus 2 x Pokemon Raids - good evening with Ed! ( 84 minutes / 7:21mm / 11.54 miles)

Friday Morning: Early Morning Jazz ( 61 minutes / 9:09mm / 6.64 miles)

Friday Evening: Bryn and Bob Go For A Run - Oaks Park edition - hour easy with Rob, Kev and Dan(ny) + 6 x strides ( 60 minutes / 8:08mm / 7.02 miles)

Saturday Morning: Little shuffle with Gaby before the drive to Wales - heel a bit sore ( 30 minutes / 9:09mm / 3.32 miles)

Saturday Evening: Back in Wales! Warm up then an hour steady over rolling terrain (159 bpm / 6:22mm). Felt strong. Surprised at pace. ( 85 minutes / 6:06mm / 12.58 miles)

Sunday Evening: 70 easy with Gaby then 6 x large cricket field lap hard off a lap jog (70, 67, 68, 67, 65, 64) ( 102 minutes / 7:07mm / 13.22 miles)

Total: 10 hours and 32 minutes / 81 miles

Friday, July 14, 2017

Training Week Commencing 3rd July 2017

Training Week Commencing 3rd July 2016

Monday Morning: Jog to station (5 minutes / 10:39mm / 0.49 miles)

Tuesday Evening: Easy home in the heat (50 minutes / 7:53mm / 6.44 miles)

Wednesday Morning: Easy in with Gaby (49 minutes / 7:28mm / 6.59 miles

Wednesday Evening: Warm up for JP Morgan (46 minutes / 8:15mm / 5.66 miles), JP Morgan Challenge - hot evening. Paced it fairly well with dull legs (18 minutes / 5:25mm / 3.45 miles), Post Race Work-out - 10 x 30s off 60s jog (19 minutes / 7:54mm / 2.42 miles)

Thursday Lunch: Can't walk but I can shuffle! (34 minutes / 9:55mm / 3.5 miles)

Friday Evening: 90 hilly minutes with 60 steady at 151 bpm in the middle (93 minutes / 7:55mm / 11.81 miles)

Saturday Morning: Coastal run with Anna and Ryan (53 minutes / 10:10mm / 5.25 miles)

Saturday Evening: Welsh Hospital Car Parks Run - love my fiancee! (61 minutes / 8:29mm / 7.3 miles)

Sunday Morning: Easy with Gaby, Anna and Ryan (60 minutes / 9:05mm / 6.6 miles)

Sunday Evening: 12 x 50 second hills with jog down recovery on a nice piece of trail (60 minutes / 10:38mm / 5.64 miles)

Total: 9 hours and 13 minutes, 65 miles

Summary: Not a great week training wise with my typically poor Monday / Tuesday combination. It left my legs fairly fresh for Wednesday and the JP Morgan Challenge. I had a great race here in 2015 with a storming 18:22. Last year I wasn't as strong on a very hot evening. This year was a decent race and a good step forward in my fitness. 18:43 was considerably better than my recent race result (Parkland Relays, Bridges Relays). I was especially pleased with how I ran it with a much more conservative start than recent races, moving through really well over the second and third miles to take a few decent scalps.

I knew after the race that I'd be struggling with my achilles / heels the next day so I decided to make the most of it and added in an additional 10 x 30s of hard intervals around the cricket pitch with a minute jog inbetween.

Thankfully, after a very painful Thursday (not least because of a work social where I ended up doing far too many shots of tequila under duress at Giant Robot in Canary Wharf) we headed over to Tenby for Long Course Weekend (basically an Ironman Triathlon over 3 days).

Tenby was fantastic and the wonderfully hilly terrain made for a good run on the Friday night with a decent steady section in the middle. I really struggled on this section to get my heart rate up to over 150 despite running fairly hard.

An easy run with Anna and Ryan (who had both done the swim the prior night) was a nice recovery along the coast. Unfortunately Gaby took a bad crash on her bike on the Saturday and we ended up needing to go to A&E. As Gaby got increasingly frustrated with the delay in being seen I was sent out to do my run "There's no point both of us wasting our time here" - so did half an hour before finding out she'd gone in and then spent 10 minutes doing some strides and then running loops around the 200m stretch of carpark.

I did eventually move onto the 800m loop around the Hospital.

Sunday I decided not to do the Wales marathon - the course profile was brutal and my calves were feeling knackered even before the start. An enjoyable run with the crew (Gaby with her arm in a sling) started the morning before cheering in Martin (who had a superb run to clock sub 3 on the challenging course) and Gemma (who had absolutely smashed the bike yesterday).

The evening was a great little hill session - I jogged out of the village and found a nice little trail with a short hill, starting at a moderate gradient, moving to a VERY steep gradient and then flattening out letting me practice running over the hill.

Not a great week in terms of total training volume - a poor Monday, Tuesday and Thursday put paid to that. But I started implementing my new Session / Strides / Steady rotation and it seems to work well - with shorter sessions and decent moderate aerobic steadies.

This week the focus will be increasing the volume and continuing to work on the speed and getting back on my forefeet whilst running.

Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.