Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Form when running with a pram...

I say pram but I mean super running buggie.... I'll keep this one brief!...

On Sunday I met my friend Leanne and her "baby" (who is growing so fast I think she has become a toddler... but anyway)... Scarlett, who wasn't running with us but would be snoozing (hopefully) in her super-buggy thing... This was one mean machine I have to say... lightweight - with both a hand leash and a brake... I think it was one a bit like this;

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Now I had a 8mile base run in my plan and Leanne had a 5 mile - so I went early did my 3 then met Leanne for the next 5. We met at a place called Dinton Pastures which is a lovely country park with a couple of lakes and plenty of paths (mainly non-tarmac) to run around... one of the best things about this place is the coffee shop by the car park - the best home made cakes to give anyone plenty of incentive to get their post workout reward (which was the main reason for us choosing this location!)

So anyway - having done my 3 miles I met up with Leanne and Scarlett and off we trotted. I was well impressed with the buggy - it coped very well with the terrain (mainly dusty and some stony footpaths). Scarlett was soon fast asleep, rocked by nicely by the motion and vibrations and cooling air (it was a very hot morning)....  I was also well impressed with Leanne's running with the buggy - one hand alternating on the hand rail to keep it moving (whilst attached via the leash)... we had a couple of inclines at the end of our 2.5mile out which meant a bit more effort mind - so feeling daring, at the turnaround I offered to push for a bit... now you can picture the scene.. I'm now pushing said buggy with toddler passed out in it and Leanne attached via a leash... there was no one getting in our way I have to say!!

Now - having taken control I can say several things about running with a buggy;
1. It was very easy to control - very lightweight and quite manoverable when needed
2. It coped with all the surfaces remarkably well - even potholes weren't a problem
3. Running with it does effect your FORM but I think in a very positive way (you do have to concentrate a bit on the up hills to make sure you don't slouch into a pushing stance though). The shape of the buggy meant it is quite unlikely you will be able to overstride and heel strike... and ... now I don't quite know physiologically why - but it does also give your glutes a really good workout! It's quite common in people who run but who sit all day to get lazy glutes - but BOY oh BOY running with a pram certainly makes them fire.. I found overall my running form improved with the pram - and when I swapped off again I felt like I was running on air.
4. You can't stop whilst running with a pram - the toddler may well wake up - this is not to be recommended!!

... I made it about 2miles into the return leg before I began to struggle a bit (well not only am I not used to running with a buggy I had by now ran 7 miles) - so I handed back the handrail to Leanne (which increased her workout!!) and felt very light and breezy running afterwards....

Scarlett woke up just as we reached the end of our run - we were both knackered - so her encouraging shouting of  "more" and "faster".... err was entertaining but frankly not going to happen!! We ended up in the cool garden of the coffee shop; cakes, warm banana and coffee as reward for our outing!

All in all a really enjoyable experience - my butt cheeks are still aching now two days later - just goes to show how weak they are!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Choosing Running shoes...


I need some new running shoes and sort of know what I like but also like to check things out.... and this seems to take an age! Whilst I like going into specialised shops invariably if you go in on the "off chance" they rarely have more then a couple of pairs of shoes in my size I want to try on.....

I used to always wear Asics Gel Cumulus - this was in the days when I wore orthotics - so cushioning was the order of the day because the orthotics gave me the stability. However, when I was studying for my Sports Massage qualification a few years ago I decided that actually the orthotics were unnecessary if I actually tackled the cause - which pretty much was relating to a weak core. By strengthening myself functionally I managed to completely get rid of the orthotics and actually felt my running felt an awful lot smoother as a result..... so now I go for cushioning as I seem to be a neutral runner (if anything I slightly supernate but that is what you are supposed to do I believe when you first make contact with ground??)

Anyway - this lead me to trying out different types of shoes over the last few years;
The Asics Cumulus basically were ok but felt heavy
Mizuno Wave rider I liked but then they changed the model so significantly I rapidly disliked them!
K-Swiss KONA - I loved - but my calf muscles don't and I get a hot spot on the side of my right ankle bone (no idea why), these are good for shorter runs but not longer then an hour.

Whilst we were travelling we both needed to but new trainers and happened upon the New Balance 890v2 - these have been brilliant!... so why not just buy some more?

Well two reasons;
(1) I've got one annoying blood blister (which is hard skin with the blister underneath).. and I'm not sure it is because of the shoes or because I was wearing flip-flops a lot of the time!!

(2) I have been keeping an eye on line and my size seems to have been stocked out... although I could have ordered directly from New Balance..... hence the research into alternatives.

So this morning I spent hours - literally HOURS... doing some more research!! My short list became (in no particular order);

Asics - DS Trainer
New Balance - 890v3
Saucony Ride 5
Brooks Ghost

I've noticed that manufacturer's are keen to establish some basics; type of shoe (cushioning, stability, minimilist), offset (from heel to forefoot) and weight

I've liked the New Balance for several reasons; the weight of them, the cushioning and I guess my default (as I hadn't realised) the offsett (8mm)

So having done the research I hit some on line stores and got myself a bargin on the Saucony Ride 5 (well they are last years model, this years look similar but who was I do refuse a 50% discount).... and then surprise surprise but my favourite on line store (Wiggle), literally before my very eyes, put up some New Balance 890v3 (although they are stating they are expecting them in at the end of the month - I just hope they get them in because I had by this stage found them in two other places - but I'm a loyal Wiggle customer, so order them there I did!!)

Both pairs of shoes are cushioned, neutral shoes with an 8mm drop. The Ride 5s are heavier then the 890s (although if I had spent more money and got the Ride 6s they would have been about the same)

These seems like a whole lot of effort for a couple of pairs of trainers .... but the good news is whilst doing my research I managed to clip the relevant pages into Evernote so I should never have to spend that time again!!!

New Balance 890v3

Saucony Progrid Ride 5 (I ordered the red pair)

Will let you know what these shoes feel like once they arrive! I'm hoping at least with the 890s that I've found a shoe and brand I can stick with for a while - once you know what works it makes it a lot easier - until the manufacturer changes something of course!!

Incidentally - I also want a pair of Nike Free's but they are not a necessity I just like they way they look!!!! I like the 5's and at some point wouldn't mind giving them a go but I think I've spent enough money now on running shoes!!!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Last week summary

Unlike an action packed Juneathon week - this week that was was, well, rather action less..... but that was kind of my intent.

... although I didn't do any of the stuff which is easy and kind of important... you know like stretching and yoga.. .but hey ho... I did get my three runs in, although one of those wasn't the prescribed interval but an easy run instead.

Weekly Summary;
Run 2hrs 25mins and 14.2miles travelled

I did however participate in that great British tradition of sport watching at the weekend as was amazed to watch;
1. Lions victory Vs Australia - an epic third test. The Lions roared and Australia had no answer (well ok they did come back to a few points but we did end up thrashing them - which is unusual)
2. Tour De France - what an amazing couple of days in the Mountain. Saturday saw Team Sky rip it up with Froome and Porte ending the day 1st and 2nd in the overall classification.... then Sunday the pack (especially Movistar) took it right back to them, Team Sky suffered, Chris Froome however held on to the coat tails of the lead pack and thus retained the Yellow Jersey...
3. All I need say about item 3 is ANDY MURRAY WIMBLEDON CHAMPION.... Breathtaking... The whole nation cheered that one (well I say whole nation but I'm sure there are some Tennis or Andy haters out there who couldn't give a stuff....but still).... what a reward for someone who, yes is talented, but whom you can see has dedicated and worked hard to achieve his dream. I'm hoping that in two weeks time Froome can get the same result in the TdF.

As for this week,... well I've already packed in a bike ride (yesterday) although suspect when I come to do my run today I shall be feeling that in my legs! Focus for the week continues to be running but also want to get some core, yoga and stretching sessions in.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Friday thoughts

I miss Juneathon!

As I have been slightly slack this week I am basically giving myself a mini recovery post Juneathon week... I'm kind of getting my runs in but not much else.

I say kind of as yesterday should have been a 4.5mile run including some sprinkles (intervals) but through phaffery and busyness I didn't do this during the day - I was contemplating moving it to today (Friday) but then The Pope got home and suggested we go out for an evening jog to catch up with each other on the days events before dinner. So we took to the local country park and did an "easy" 3.5 miles run... whilst everything which I was monitoring said I was in the "easy" zone (breathing, pace, HR)... this actually felt like quite a hard session... why is it that perceived exertion can sometimes be so off? I'm blaming it, on this occasion to some hayfever, a bit of Asthma and a day of little movement, I had also not eaten an awful lot during the day and my sandwich at lunchtime was about 6hours beforehand.

Anyway - at least we got out and it was a lovely evening and great way to catch up.

I'm still on plan (well I am only at the start of it) for the Henley half marathon which is mid-October.... but in July I'd like to do a bit more cycling as well (well I would say that as today it is a glorious day and I love biking in the sunshine!!)... and maybe the odd open water swim session too (assuming I actually fit into my wetsuit!)

On another note - I wonder how much blogging I will get done this month?! I know I will never see the peak of last month ever again (unless I participate in Janathon next year - as there are more days in January!!)

That's it for now - Have a great weekend people!

Monday, July 01, 2013

Juneathon - Summary

Just to wrap it up I thought I'd summarise what I got up to....

Run      53miles in 9hrs 31mins
Bike     90miles in 5hrs 32mins
Yoga     3hrs 04mins
Core Stability 1hr 25mins
Stretching     36mins (seriously!!?? GOSH I should have been doing more of that!)
Swim    0.5mile in 22mins

Total of just over 143miles and 20hrs 32mins of exercise.

Hopefully I've re-found my exercise HABIT!

Juneathon Day 30 - The LAST DAY!

Well well well..... the last day of Juneathon and on the agenda was "do something in order to collect reward of coffee and slice of cake".... So I arranged to meet a friend at a coffee shop - she had running on the agenda and as I had ran on Saturday I had biking!

I took a rather circuitous route to the coffee shop and happened upon the only bike TT course in the local area which I know - which is just short of 5miles.... so I thought it would be wrong of me on such a gorgeous day not to hang on to my pants and give it a go... a put foot to pedal and tried with all my might to get myself around the course PDQ... I had done this route once before about 18months previous... and yes that may have been in winter and the weather may well have been awful... but that besides I did, rather surprisingly, do a Personal Best by over a minute!! .... not that I knew that at the time... anyway.. having blown myself to pieces I was even more determined that a coffee and cake were next on the agenda!

So, once I recovered my breath, I pottered back towards the coffee shop, pacing a lovely, typically English Country Fayre at Hurst - I think it was the "Hurst Horse Show" now that I google it. What a splendid day for a Fayre I have to say!

On arrival at the coffee shop I had a text from my friend who had been running a few moments late - but no matter... she soon arrived looking about as good as me (ie very hot and sweaty) with her daughter passed out in the runner baby pushchair thing!! We had a good catch up with a Cappocino and in my case a big slab of Coffee and Walnut cake... Ummmmm ummmm,...

The only thing left to do after that was to cycle the shorter way home!!

Total for the last day of Juneathon;
Bike 25.2 miles in just over an hour and 30.