Monday, 25 May 2015

Airia One Running Shoes Review Part One

My new, bright white, Airia One shoes
I have some exciting news. I have been sent some new running shoes to test out from the people at . They are a Swedish company and quite new to the running market, hence why you probably haven't heard of them yet (I know I hadn't). Their new shoe, the Airia One, is designed to alter the way you run and make you anywhere from 1 - 7% faster. To put that into real terms, my most recent half marathon time was 2:25, so they are claiming their shoe could take anything from 1 min 27 to 10 min 09 off my finishing time. That is a pretty impressive claim, especially as I have been unable to beat my half marathon record of 2:11 and it's becoming more and more annoying each time I fail to beat it. If this shoe can help, I'm willing to give it a shot.

So lets start with the basics. It feels pretty light weight, like most racing shoes. The sides are basically a light mesh to allow plenty of airflow to those hot sweaty feet and probably help reduce the stinkiness of your shoes after training. They have a sole made by Vibram, who you should have heard of - they are the ones who make the barefoot running 'shoes'. The ones I were sent a bright white, which is not my favourite colour in a shoe given the amount of mud I always seem to attract on a run, with orangey details on the sides. Some people might like the simplicity of the design. I would prefer bright neon pink though or luminous yellow. I'm weird like that.

Observe the skyward pointing toes
When I first read the leaflet inside telling me to take it slowly breaking in my new shoes, as they were designed to change the way I ran, I thought it was a load of marketing bollox....or at least I did until I tried them on. As you can see from the pictures, unlike most shoes, the soles are not perfectly flat on the ground and if you rest the shoes on a flat surface, you can see that the toes stick up in the air. When you have the shoes on this feels quite strange. When you try and stand normally, all your weight is balanced on your heels and your toes are pointing skywards. I really did think that this was going to make for some very uncomfortable runs.

It does say that you are supposed to get at least 6 miles on the shoes before you make a judgement on them. Having done 3 tonight I have to say that running in them feels hard work because I'm used to landing on my heels and rolling forward. These shoes make that feel completely unnatural though. I know because I tried on purpose to land like I normally would, and it just doesn't feel right.It feels a lot more natural to land on mid foot and roll forward. This type of motion is, according to a lot of running articles, associated with fasted running times and is probably how Airia thinks it's going to make you faster. Please note that if you want to have a go at changing your running style, it should be attempted with a lot of care and preferably the guidance of an experienced running coach so as to avoid injury.

The big question I am sure you will all want to know is did the shoes actually make me faster? I can't answer that for sure just yet. Yes I did run a 5k at 10:13/mi which is quite speedy for me. However I can't conclusively say it was the shoes, as it's not unheard of for me to run that speed over short distances, regardless of what shoe I'm wearing. The proof will be how fast I race in long distance runs, and I have been asked to race long distance in them and then evaluate them based on that. But I couldn't wait, so I'm doing a 2 part review. My initial observations can be found here and then part two will be posted in July after completing my next half marathon in them, which will be the black county half marathon.

Do I think they will make a difference? Honestly, if I can get used to running in these shoes, then I think (and hope, and pray) that I may just beat my pb. Keep your eyes peeled for part two of this review.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Moody Cow is in the house.

Isn't it funny how your body works sometimes? Yesterday I was grumpy as hell. I'd been for a 4 mile run the day before, so I was still tired from that, and despite stretching afterwards, my back ached. No matter how much I wriggled, fidgeted and tried to alter my sitting position, I just could not lessen the ache. I was having to exert a considerable amount of effort to behave normally and not snap at people for daring to interrupt me. I also had a run to do later with my newbie recruit that I wasn't looking forward to. It was cold, wet, windy and I soooo wasn't feeling it.

Then I went for the run. It was pretty awful weather-wise, but I felt much happier afterwards. I didn't stretch afterwards as grabbing a hot chocolate and diving under the blankets was a much bigger priority for me and I thought I'd probably suffer for it today. I have every other time I've neglected my stretches. Weirdly though, I seem to be absolutely fine. No aches, no pains and I don't even feel all that tired.

Bodies are strange. Just when you think you have it figured out, they go and confuse you. Your training can be going great, but then one morning you might wake up with muscles that feel as if they're made of concrete. Or you might cope brilliantly on 4 hours sleep on one day, only to struggle when you get a full 8 hours on a different day.

 Or, my personal favourite, they can make you run 10 min/mi over your first half marathon, which was based on a training plan of one run a week, which was a run/walk where you probably never made it past 13 min/mi in training, which will give you a PB that you have been unable to beat since, despite running more, having a better understanding of how you're supposed to train and now owning a very expensive Garmin.

I think I might have mentioned that before...maybe once or twice....or a million times because it is a source of great personal annoyance. Grrr. Oh dear, moody cow is back.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Playing Drill Sergeant and New Years Resolutions

Recently my running group started their beginner programme again. My friend from work decided to come, which surprised me because she's always been adamant before now that running hurts her knees and ankles. I've got to hand it to her, she's doing really well at the moment. I've been on 3 runs with her so far and despite the fact that she was convinced she couldn't do 5k, that's exactly what she managed to do yesterday. It was a run/walk workout, with me giving instructions with when to walk and when to run. I have to admit that it's a lot of fun playing drill sergeant. It's also a nice feeling to see your recruits accomplishing something that they were sure they couldn't do only a few hours ago.

In addition to my mission to get my work friend from couch to 5k (running all the way), I also have some resolutions of my own that I made over the New Year. Traditionally, I have either forgotten about or quit all of them by the end of January. This year feels different somehow though, so I'm quite hopeful that I'll make it. This is what I've committed to:

1) Go to at least 50 SRC (my running club) runs this year

2)Go to at least 1 parkrun every month (which is really hard because I so despise getting up early on a Saturday)

3)Run 1000 miles this year (approx. 20 miles a week)

4) Equal or beat my Leeds Half Marathon PB time of 2:11:08. If I fail at Leeds, then another course will be acceptable.

If I'm consistent in my training then there is no reason why I can't beat my Leeds PB. I'm thinking positive. Also, if I keep my mileage up, there is a chance that I might actually have a flat stomach on holiday this year. You never know!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Triumph Over Lazy Brain

Last Wednesday I did a midweek run of 8 miles. I did not want to do it. I did not enjoy it. I endured every minute wishing that I could get it over with soon so I could go home and plonk by bum back on the sofa. The important thing is though that I did it. I actually wrote a pros and cons list of whether I should run or not. I had virtually no cons on the list. The best I could come up with was that I had an hour or so longer to sit on the sofa and watch TV. I was so disgusted at how pathetic that sounded that it galvanised me into action.

Afterwards I though I'd feel pleased that I had triumphed over lazy brain, increased my fitness, and got another entry to write up in my blog. Funnily enough, I wasn't. I didn't regret going for the run or anything. I'd just hated every minute and was glad that it was over.

It can't just be me that has runs like that? Please mojo fairy, would you mind sending some enthusiasm and get-up-and-go my way? It would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Why is it so hard to get out the door?

I would like to start this post with a shout out to my boyfriend, who very kindly responded to my appeal for people to kick my ass (verbally) into actually getting out on my training runs. It is mostly thanks to him that I got changed into running gear and went out and completed 12.25 miles a couple days ago. I'd wanted to do 16, but my Garmin battery died and I didn't see point in running aimlessly with no idea how far I was going.

One thing I will never understand about running though is why it is so damn hard to get out the door in the first place. Surely, the hard part should be in keeping going? I suppose,in fairness, once your muscles start to hurt then it is, but up until then it feels easy. Once I am out the door, I'm usually quite happy to jog around until I run out of time, get hungry or start to hurt. It's the making the initial move to get outside that I struggle with. I dread it. I think things like oh God, not another long run or OMG, it's gonna take ages. Then I proceed to make a whole host of excuses as to why I can't do it. It defies logic, it really does.

The run itself was quite nice actually. I saw all the resident duck and swan families on the pond, I got some hills in, I got to crunch through a load of pretty coloured leaves that had fallen from the surrounding trees and then once it got dark I hit the streets and from the top of a massive hill I saw all the twinkly street lights stretching out for miles and even some early Christmas lights adorning someone's hedge. I must remember to take my phone with me next time so I can try and take some pictures, it's hard to describe how nice it looks with just words.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Need a rant. Need it now.

OMG Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I am so damn frustrated right now. You want to know why? Good, cuz I'm gonna tell you!

Today I was back marking with some beginners. No problem there. Most beginners are very slow and walk quite a bit, which is fine, because everyone starts somewhere. I don't mind running/walking with people who actually want to get better and are trying to get better and improve. But the person I got stuck with today didn't appear to even want to try. She literally refused to run. Whenever I tried to push her to attempt it, all I got was a load of whiney excuses. She couldn't breathe, she had a cold, it was too hard, she was dying, she had a stitch....and on and on and on. We might have jogged for maybe a metre in total. 

I know this sounds really judgmental, but this person just pissed me off. I don't care how slow beginners go as long as they try. All the beginners I've ran with before have been slow, sure, but they've been huffing and puffing their lungs up with the effort. They're struggling to breathe, but still apologising for not being as fast as the others. This person tonight wasn't breathing any harder than if they were walking through the supermarket and didn't appear to care. It really felt like they were just wasting my time, but even worse they had brought a friend with them, who clearly wanted to run but felt guilty about leaving her friend behind, so they were holding their friend back too.

Sorry if I seem like a horrible person for writing this, but It just pissed me off that I could have been trying to support someone who actually wanted to be there and instead was stuck with someone who actively wanted to avoid running.

Ran the half mile home as fast as I could, I was so frustrated. Clocked a 8:49/mi speed. That was the only good to come out of tonight as far as I could tell.

In other news, I'm now signed up for the Bridlington Easter 5 Mile Dash and the Leeds Half Marathon as well as the Wakefield Marathon. Yay!!!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Janathon day 15 - Uh oh!!!

On the plus side, I did run today. On the minus side, it was only for a mile. My calves felt really tight and I could feel it pulling at my Achilles tendon, so I thought that it was better to stop and live to run another day, rather than risk pushing it and hurting myself, especially given my recent shin soreness.

Another plus is that my run today was only 11 minutes long. Maybe I should reconsider this marathon running business and concentrate on trying to run really fast miles instead. It's gotta be a lot easier to motivate yourself to run for  10 minutes rather than 4-5 hours at a time.