Aside

I have just realised that I’m running a 10K in four weeks – two of which will be limited in terms of how much running I can fit in. This is not going to be one for a pb attempt!

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Last minute?

Adidas Response TR Boost Shoes

toe of Adidas Response TR Boost Shoes

I have been meaning to write a review of these for quite a long time now. Actually I’ve had them over a year now so they’ve been on quite an extended test!

Response Tr Boost shoes

When the shop suggested these I was quite dubious. I’d gone in looking for trail shoes but after discussing it with the assistant, they suggested the type on on/off-road running I do meant a bit of extra padding would be worth trying.

I pulled them on and laced up. The neoprene fabric hugged my foot in a snug embrace quite unlike anything I’d felt before and the sole unit looked HUGE! They were also quite a striking blue and orange (the mud has subdued the colours somewhat).

The assistant gently urged me to try them on and suggested I try running on the treadmill. I felt very self-conscious. At least I was wearing a sports bra! But as the machine picked up speed I could feel that these were supremely comfortable shoes so I refused to look my credit card in the eye and bought them.

The next day I took them out for a 16K run. I didn’t actually intend to go that far. Behind the house I was staying in is a hill (the slope up from the housing estate is called “Killer Hill” on Strava) and I thought it would be fun to bob up to the top, take in the view, then run back in time for tea.

Getting up was pretty easy. The fancy Champion rubber compound on the soles meant they gripped even on slightly damp tarmac despite having trail lugs. The route up was mostly on gravel forest tracks with a bit of grass as I ran across the top of the hill to the viewpoint.

Getting down again was not so straightforward. But not because of any failing on the part of my shoes! They remained impressively comfortable, even when trudging round endless bramble bushes and muddy puddles looking for the way through a field (which wasn’t there – I’d taken a wrong turning and had to backtrack).

I finally made it down the hill and the last section should have been a flattish amble across fields around the base of the hill. Unfortunately I’d forgotten that, outside national parks, it can be pretty hit and miss whether or not you can actually find field paths so, after being confronted by three lines of barbed wire in a hawthorn hedge, I retraced my steps again. This meant I needed to climb over the shoulder of the hill to link up with the route I’d taken on the way up. My feet were wet and muddy from long grass, my water was running low and I was immensely grateful that some inner voice had suggested I throw a banana in my pack before setting off. This time the terrain was mossy tarmac interspersed with rocks as I followed a BOAT that had at one time been metalled but was now gradually sliding into oblivion.

I finally arrived back, had a long cool drink, a long warm shower and then ate pretty much a whole pizza.

Throughout the whole shenanigans my feet were very well cushioned and I thought to myself “If I ever get round to starting my blog I shall have to write a review of them”

400 miles later I’ve actually found time to do so. I love these shoes and I’ve actually got a second pair sitting in a box in the wardrobe that I bought in the Boxing Day sales.

white Adidas Response TR Boost Shoes

As you can see the new ones are white. Which is how you can tell that I haven’t yet worn them. Anyway, the fact that I bought a new pair ought to indicate how much I love these shoes and I’m fully intending to try a pair of road focussed Boost shoes for my next pair.  If I can get my credit card to agree that is…..

I like:

  • the snug neoprene webbing that allows the shoe to flex as I run but holds it all together. It’s like wearing slippers!
  • the sole. It grips on pretty much anything I’ve tried it on (except mossy cobbles but then people in Innov8 and Salomon trail shoes were slipping too)
  • the lifespan. If you compare the two shoes you can see that the blue ones are worn (and muddy) but they still clearly have quite a bit of life left in them. Some trail shoes only last a couple of hundred miles but not these ones – and because of the Boost cushioning they’re happy on road too.
  • the fit. I have never, ever, had one of these shoes even slightly come off my foot. Even when two feet down in a deep pool of mud. My leg returned black and my shoe – which I expected to be buried forever – came up with it (but that’s another story).

I dislike:

  • the colours. I’m not overly fussy so I got blue and orange because that’s what the shop had. And being more concerned with comfort than looks I’m not that worried about my new pair being white. But neither colour really catches me.
  • time to dry. Sometimes they get really, really soaking wet and then the thick neoprene can take a day or so to dry. But wearing them slightly damp isn’t actually a big deal as they don’t rub. Even when I’ve stuck my foot in an extremely deep mudbath and had to hose myself down before being clean enough to get to the shower.

So there you have it. My not-quite-a-review-not-quite-an-anecdote. (And needless to say these are all my own views – I’m not famous enough to endorse products)

 

Aside

Weekends are tricky for me to do much running. And I know that in advance so I pack my shenanigans into the week, running whilst the kids are in school.  But I still suffer pangs of envy whenever I see a runner enjoying the weekend or see your tweets about races and Parkruns. Oh well. I’ll just have to run past your office windows….

Do you get running envy when you can’t run?

Running Jealousy

Link

Could you bare all?

Over the weekend it was brought to my attention that the City of Preston is intending to host a Nudefest 5K. In November. On the 26th. Route TBC.

I shall not be attending.

There are several reason’s why I shall not be attending, however the biggest one is simply it is in Preston. In November.

I’m not a fair weather runner. Pretty much the only weather that I avoid is icy conditions, but I do like to have a little bit of protection from the elements. The thought of stripping off (sports bras and trainers are permitted in case you were wondering) and running on what is likely to be a cold, damp, autumnal day is already bringing out goosebumps.

What about you? Are you intending to run? Have you run in a Nudefest?

winter-blues.jpg
Not Preston. Moscow. But it’s what I imagine running naked in Preston would be like.

Route 1 – Bramhall Park, the Golf Course and the Hall

Bramhall Hall

Running in an urban area need not be a boring slog along busy roads. As this route around Bramhall Park will show, you can spend plenty of time off-road if you choose the right route!

I prefer to avoid doing this route in the middle of the day as it does cross a golf course, and just before it dives under the railway line it crosses a fairway. If that doesn’t bother you, wear bright clothes and enjoy your run.

 

The run (green line) starts from the main Bramhall Park car park. If you can’t get parked there you can start from the smaller car park you passed on the way in. In this case you will need to run up towards the café and then turn right to get to the start point.

Route 1 - Sketch Map

Opposite the ticket machine is a gravel path. Follow this a short distance until it meets the corner of a fence. Follow the fence round to the right then, still following the boundary it will turn left again and head for Carrwood Road.

Once you reach the road the path across the golf course should be easily visible straight ahead. Follow the path as it winds round several holes before crossing a fairway and, slightly improbably, goes under the railway line.

When you emerge back onto a road turn left. You will cross a side road then merge with another road on the right just by a house which appears to have been built in the ruins of a castle. Keep left here to go up to Ack Lane and then turn left by the carefully hidden telephone box to go down Robins Lane and back under the railway line.

A short distance further on a cobbled path heads up on the left. Just after it kinks round to the right you go through a gate into Carr Wood. The path is clear and after most of a kilometre comes back out onto Carrwood Road not far from where you crossed it previously.

The path ahead looks tempting, and in fact will take you back to where you started, but to finish we are going to loop round the park a little, taking in the views so instead turn right then almost immediately left down the muddy path along the side of the houses on the other side of the stream.

This path winds round to the right and you need to follow it until you have no option but to turn left then take the steps a little further on your right. If you turn left too early and don’t go past the bowling green and pétanque court just turn left and head down the hill when you reach the surfaced track.

Bramhall Hall

If you’ve reached the right place you should cross a wide track and take the path along the side of the Ladybrook. As you run along this track the trees open up framing a lovely view of Bramhall Hall. Turn right over the stone bridge then run along the side of the long lake, avoiding the geese (and duck poo!) then take the path on the left when you reach the smaller lake and head up towards the entrance.

As you reach the car park you will see a white gate on your left. Go through this and when it turns right run straight across the Archery Field back towards the Hall. You can either call it a day and stop here, grabbing a coffee from the cafe, or turn right and head back to the car park to complete the loop.

Bramhall Hall

You can view the route map in mapmyrun.

Reasons you should run

Whether you’re trying to burn off Christmas excesses or training for that marathon place you never expected to get, January a traditionally time to start new training plans.

With around 1 billion pairs of running shoes sold per year you’re not alone in your ambitions. The running community is very supportive and will welcome anyone who identifies as a runner whether their aim is to reach 5K or 5000K.

“Lapping everyone on the couch”

It’s a common phrase to motivate runners who have lost their mojo to get out for a run. According to Swedish research, going running makes you 60% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s too.

“A 10 minute mile is as far as a 4 minute one”

Another piece of stock motivation, this time aimed more at slow runners. Even super slow runners burn around 10 calories per minute meaning a 30 minute jog could burn off that bar of chocolate or slice of cake.

“Have your cake and eat it”

It’s a bit of a myth that running lets you have your cake and eat it. Most cake is very high in sugar and whilst a bit of sugar when you’re struggling at the end of a race might get you across the line fuelling on sugar is usually a bad idea. A diet with complex carbs, fats and protein avoids sugar highs and lows and just like the Duracell bunny will keep you going when the others have burnt out.

Of course a bit of cake every now and then is part of every healthy diet and in this case a little of what you fancy does you good.

“If I collapse, pause my Garmin”

Most people will say the big attraction of running in the first place was the lack of equipment. All you need are your shoes. Deep down in many runners lurks a gadget freak and nothing meets that desire better than a modern GPS watch. From basic ones that record pace and mileage to all singing and dancing ones that have WiFi and Bluetooth, virtual running buddies and programmable training plans there’s a running watch for every budget. Maybe running will give your inner geek another outlet?

“SOIDH – Strava or it didn’t happen”

The alternative, or in a lot of cases companion, to the running watch is the smartphone app. Whilst Strava has a huge market share there are several to choose from and most watches can sync their data to them. Often running with virtual buddies can motivate you when running with real people would put you off.

Reasons I run

I’m a runner.  I’ve been running for around two and a half years now and am a member of two running clubs – one virtual and one real life.

This year I’m taking things a bit further than previously. I’ve signed up for a challenge to run 1,000 miles over the year. This gives an average of 2.74 miles per day that I need to run. I’ve also got 7kg to lose (that’s about 15.5 pounds or just over a stone – I’m British and I’ve lived overseas so please forgive my inability to stick to one system of measurements).

legsrunning_by_gaborfromhungary_via_morguefile
Photo by GaborfromHungary via Morguefile

How did I start?

In 2014 I booked a place on the 2015 Great Run Manchester. A 10K route from the city centre, past Old Trafford and Coronation Street (the gates were closed) and back again. At this point I was two or three weeks into a C25K (Couch to 5K) programme and at the end of September I finished my first Parkrun. I’ve now clocked up a pretty poor total of 14 Parkruns but that’s mainly because 9am on Saturday keeps clashing with things the kids are doing. I’ve also done a few more 10K runs although a sub-60 minute 10K still hasn’t happened.

trailrunning_by_gaborfromhungary_via_morguefile
Trail runner (not me) by GaborfromHungary via Morguefile

Trail Running

For me the short runs and road runs have one goal only: to improve on my fitness for trail running.  Before I was a runner I was a walker. Trail running gives me the best bits of walking (getting to the top, enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside and eating cream teas in little cafes) without the boring bits (trudging along roads and tracks).  I’ve actually got to a stage now where if I do go for a walk I feel like I need to run and get quite annoyed at my walking boots for being too heavy and stiff to let me (although I’d get more annoyed if I turned my ankle and couldn’t run!)

What next?

I’ve got another 10K race booked for March.  Last year I was a shade over the magical 60 minutes so I’m really hoping this time I’ll get a PB.  I go out with my trail running group every Tuesday and my long run – where I aim to clock up most of my miles – will also be in the countryside if at all possible.  Running not only keeps me fit but it keeps me sane.

parkrun-race-finish_by_thesucess_via_morguefile
A Parkrun finishing funnel by thesuccess via Morguefile