Monthly Archives: March 2015

Today I Was One of THOSE People

On many of my outdoor runs I have run past gyms.  When I am fighting rain, wind or snow I understand why I see so many people running on treadmills indoors.  But when it is nice out I always wonder why on earth someone would choose treadmill running over the great outdoors.  What is with those people I always wonder?

Well, today I was one of those people.  The temperature actually went above 0C today.  We have been waiting for that for months.  And there I was heading to the local rec centre to work out on a treadmill.  I actually purposely took out all of my outdoor running gear from my gym bag before heading to work today because I knew that if I had a choice I would be heading outdoors.  So why rob myself of a fun run outside?  I need to make sure I can run in warmer temperatures.  At the moment the predicted temperature in Prague on race day is 12 C.  In many ways I consider that to be an ideal temperature.  But it is worth considering that 12 degrees is 20, if not 30 degrees warmer than what I am currently used to!  I’m not even used to drinking water on my runs – really there hasn’t been any point in carrying it since it would just freeze solid.  So treadmill it was.  I may even hit it one more time this week.  My hope is that running in the stagnant, still, warm air of the gym will make a spring day in Prague feel perfect.

On a different note, my Nike Tempos passed the long run test, completing 19 km last weekend.  I have now run in them 4 times and no blisters to be found.  I think I might be a little stiffer in my calves with them, but I am putting that down to just adjusting to the lower drop and change of shoe style.  I am going to switch back and forth between them and the heavier Nimbus, again with the idea that running with a heavier shoe for some runs will make the lighter shoe feel like nothing.  I’ll take every slight advantage I can get!

 

 

Charlie and my glowing shoes!

Charlie and my glowing shoes!

 

Nike Lunar Tempo Shoe Review

I have raced most of my half marathons and both marathons in Asics Gel Nimbus 14’s.  Of course the 14’s are three models back in Nimbus history, but when I tried to move to the 15’s the shoes had changed shape so much they no longer fit me properly.  As a result I never even tried the 16’s and instead opted to keep ordering the 14’s online.

My favourite pair of Asics Gel Nimbus

My favourite pair of Asics Gel Nimbus

This winter I have done much of my running in Salomon trail shoes and was amazed not only at the traction they offer but how light they are.  Lately, I have gone back to my Asics, knowing that I would not be using the Salomons with their serious treads for the Prague Half Marathon.  I didn’t realize though that I had become accustomed to the light weight and flexibility of my trail shoes.  Suddenly my Nimbus shoes felt a little stiff and bulky.  They are still comfortable shoes, but I started dreaming of something lighter.

One of my pair of Salomons.

One of my pair of Salomons.

My new Saucony Speedcross 3's with Climate Shield

My Salomon Speedcross 3’s with Climate Shield.

I have a pair of Asic Gel Lytes that I have used for a couple of 8k and10k races.  I have always loved them but unfortunately bought them about a half size too small.  They are just tight enough that I have never gone past 10k in them, nor have I used them regularly for training, for fear they might become uncomfortable.  I have tried for a while to get another pair but they seem hard to come by around here and with the new models out now I didn’t want to go through the hassle of buying them online only to find they didn’t fit properly.

When it comes to brands outside of Salomon and Asics, I have had little luck.  I’ve tried Brooks, New Balance and Mizuno, but nothing has given me the comfortable fit I was looking for.  Nike was a brand I had yet to try.  After reading Karla Bruning’s review over at RunKarlaRun of the new Nike Tempos, I decided I should head to a local sports store and try them on.

The salesperson actually gave me two other Nike shoes to try first, saying they would be better for distance.  He seemed to be of the opinion that only heavier, more structured shoes could be used beyond the 10k race.  One style of Nike didn’t fit at all, the other was o.k but little more.  Then I tried the Tempos.  First of all I was impressed with how incredibly light these shoes are.  Compared to the Nimbus these shoes feel like they are made of air.  I’m pretty sure my summer sandals weigh more than these shoes.  Somehow though this shoe still has comfortable cushioning, easing my worries that I would feel like I was running barefoot – a movement I have had no interest in joining.  The upper hugs my foot perfectly, I am guessing this is due to a combination of the lacing style and the flexible, lightweight mesh.  But of course it is rare to find the “perfect” shoe and I found the toe box felt a little tight at first, even with me going up a half size.

Knowing that I loved the feel of the shoe, but slightly concerned about the toe box, I decided to buy a pair and try them out on a treadmill.  I will say having these new shoes in my gym bag actually made me feel a little excited about a treadmill run, an unusual feeling for me.  I tested them for 6.5k at various paces and I knew by the end that the Tempos would become my 5 to 10k racing shoes, even if I decided against them for the half marathon distance.  I was also reminded once again how much I hate the treadmill, even flashy new shoes could only keep me keen for so long.

This picture doesn't quite capture the true "Volt" colour of the shoes. My kids did ask if they would glow in the dark!

This picture doesn’t quite capture the true “Volt” colour of the shoes. My kids did ask if they would glow in the dark!

Yesterday I took my Tempos out for a run on pavement and they didn’t disappoint.  The only downside – these lightweight, airy shoes are definitely not made for -20 C!  Even when wearing my wool socks I was feeling a bit of a breeze on my feet!  Of course I anticipated this when I went out, but knew that if I waited until the temperature went above 0 I could be waiting until April, so out I went.  My plan was to run at a tempo pace, which according to my Running Room book would be around 5:40 min/km.  Being honest, I have not actually been doing official tempo runs, just hills, steady runs and long slow runs, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I ended up running 6 km at a comfortable 5:28, which would be my race pace if I wanted a 1:55 half marathon – which I do but am not anticipating that time in Prague.  Whether my faster than anticipated pace was due to recent hill and interval work, the cold temperature that made me want to keep moving, or these light as air shoes, I guess I will never know, but it was a good run.

The last test left?  My long slow run this weekend.  I am planning to run 18 to 20 km tomorrow so I will have a chance to see how these shoes feel when going the distance.  I am very hopeful that they will rise to the challenge, as I would love to wear them in Prague.

Of course we all know that the function of the shoe is the most important factor when choosing a pair of runners to race and train in.  But I think most of us agree that it is pretty nice when the shoes we pick come in a colour we like.  I love the neon yellow, or “Volt” colour of these simply styled shoes.  And if my Tempos work, out I have to admit I already have my eye on this colour too:

Follow me on Twitter @AverageRunnerK

 

Running for Fun

Training sometimes can drag you down.  We can get wrapped up in paces and distances and weekly kms.  It can be easy to forget that as hard as running is it can also be fun.  Throw in training in what is now officially the coldest February in Ottawa in 115 years (and not like we are warm at the best of times), and training can become something to simply endure and get done.  This winter people’s pipes are freezing solid, the plastic parts on cars are shattering with the slightest bump and school children have been kept in for enough indoor recesses that playing on the schoolyard is something of a distant memory.  The canal skateway, the longest skating rink in the world, has been open a record number of days, though many of those days saw few skaters due to the bone chilling cold.

Last Friday though Mother Nature gave us a bit of a break.  By mid afternoon the temperature was around -10 and there was virtually no wind.  Minus 10 may not sound particularly warm but when day after day after day has been well into the -20’s and often in the -30’s with the never ending wind factored in, Friday seemed like a little bit of heaven.  The best part was for the first time it was possible to actually feel a little warmth from the sun.  You had to concentrate a little, but it was there.

With this weather break I went out with the idea of simply running for enjoyment.  I didn’t care what pace or distance I achieved, though I admit I am still a little too anal to go without my GPS watch – no matter what I do I like to record it.  My plan was to run until I didn’t want to run anymore, maybe 5 or 8 km, or if I really felt good go for 10k.  I headed out on one of my favourite routes, one I have been avoiding because of its tendency to act as a wind tunnel.  From memory I was pretty sure that the turnaround point I wanted to get to was about 6k from work.  Only when I got to that point did I realize it was actually around 7.5.  Happily I realized that I was going to do a minimum of 15 km.  By the end I threw in a little more and finished up at 16.4k, and every km was truly enjoyable.  What a treat to not be fighting the wind, struggling through sand-like snow, or watching for oncoming traffic because of the impossibility of running on unsafe sidewalks.  If fact the only things I had to watch out for were these little bodies of water…I think they are called puddles!  Wow, water outside in its liquid form!

Today the temperatures stayed warm (relatively speaking) but it was a grey, damp day.  Once again I really didn’t have a plan.  It should have been my long run day, but since I had already done that 16.4, it didn’t seem necessary.  So, despite only being one month away from the Prague  Half Marathon, I once again went out with no goal in mind and once again was pleasantly surprised.  I split the run into two parts.  The first 7k was a steady tempo run (actually a little faster than needed).  A five minute break was followed by a slower recovery run for 6.6 km.  This run was based almost entirely on what my body felt like doing.  Running at a strong pace felt great until the 7 km mark, when I knew I was tired.  The recovery run also felt right, though I was a little surprised to find that I actually sped up in the last 2 km.

Sometimes it is just good to run 🙂

That said, if you are having troubles motivating yourself, you have to check out this:

http://www.theonion.com/video/new-nike-running-app-tells-you-what-youre-really-r,36669/