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Monthly Archives: November 2020

Dynafit Feline SL, Tried and Tested

The Feline SL from Dynafit is the first in their new trail running range. It’s the combination of a shoe for high alpine terrain too rough and muddy peak district slopes. Striking colorways isn’t the only reason they will have you turning your head for a second look. While still a relatively unknown brand in the UK, Dynafit has a big presence in the European sky touring seen. We are seeing some exciting things coming from them in the coming season not just in the new shoes they have but also in their high-performance apparel. Ultramarathon runner and Accelerate community Lee has been putting the Feline SL through some of the Peak Districts boggiest bogs.

  1. I bought my Dynafit Feline SL in July and have run around 150 miles in them so far. It’s been a mix of local tracks and trails, on the fells of the Peak District, and the Scottish highlands.
  2. My first impressions, straight out the box. The Feline SL is a good looking shoe, its bright contrasting colors make it really stand out. A great all-round shoe.
  3. I normally run in Inov-8 X Talon Ultra & the Salomon Fell raisers. I would say the Dynafit’s are a slightly heavier shoe than the others. However, once you have them on your feet they feel equal if not a little bit lighter.
  4. It’s a nice snug feel compared to what I am used to. It gives you a good secure lockdown. As soon as you put them on your feet it feels like your wearing slippers. No rubbing or blisters at all!
  5. The midsole is firm to start with but loosens up after a few runs. They have a responsive feel, which is great for the short fast sessions and long slow plods in the Peaks. A really comfy shoe.
  6. The lugs are super grippy on both wet and dry rock. They have good traction on wet and muddy ground. perfect for the bogs of the Peak District.
  7. The quick lace system is good, very secure, and easy to use.  The little pocket to tuck the end in to stop it from flapping around is really helpful.

There you have it if you are looking for a new pair of do it all trail shoes and want to change it up. Why not take a look at the Dynafit Feline SL. A great all rounder with good cushioning and great grip. See the Men’s shoes here >> and the Women’s shoes here >>

Running with Music, To Tune or Not To Tune.

The do or don’t, the divider of runners everywhere. Running with music is a lifesaver for some it’s a distraction that can get you out the door and keep you going when it gets tough. For others, it’s a terrifying thought, the disruption of your flow or not feeling connected to nature.
All of us here at Accelerate are in the no music camp. So to get the inside sweep of why you might want to run with tunes we had a chat with one of our community members who is often seen running with a pair of headphones, Jason Ward.
Accelerate “Have you always run with music?”
JW “I rarely used to run with music, and never ran with music if it’s a session, I used to run with other people a lot so never listened to anything. As life changes and I begun to run a bit more on my own and with time constraints impact that lifestyle I started to use it more especially as technology improved, especially wireless.”
Accelerate “Why do you run with music?”
JW “I run with music as I get bored very easily and have to keep my brain occupied. Sometimes I’m not even sure what I’m listening to it’s just background noise which helps me switch off. Music also helps on some of the runs when I’m not feeling it and helps me switch off from aches and pains. Running with music is a mental training aid for me, it stops you from thinking about what you are doing too much on the runs where you’re not trying to push it too much. I think people shouldn’t do it all the time as it can become a need. The biggest reason for me is just to shut the brain off for a bit.”
Accelerate “Do you always run with music?”
JW “Not always, wouldn’t run with music in areas with heavy traffic, as I don’t trust traffic. Never in a race or speed work as it’s too distracting. Definitely never when running with others, that’s just rude.”
Accelerate “What’s your favourite song to run to?”
JW “Don’t have a favourite song, my playlists consist of a varied selection, dance music, rock, and some chart stuff. Sometimes I have to be careful as I can increase in pace with different types of music. I also, listen to a few sports podcasts”
There you have it, sounds like there is a time and a place for running with music. Do you run listening to your favorite tune? Does it help you through those long runs? Let us know in the comments below.

Team A, The A Team

I’m writing this after a tough, dark and windy solo session. Just a getting it done session.

It’s the first proper session I have done since we have gone back into lockdown. This has got me thinking about how much value a team brings. If you have always been solo or always been part of a team, you may not be fully aware of how valuable it is. However, having been a member of (in my opinion) one of the best training groups out there to then having to go back to training solo is very weird.

The Team Momentum: It’s not that training with a group is any easier physically, more that, the load is shared. The momentum is carried by everyone instead of just you. If you have only ever trained on your own then this is a feeling you will not have experienced. It makes everything better, sessions smoother, sharing the load, easy runs more fun and long runs more enjoyable. The days you have where everything feels light and easy and yet you’re flying, it’s like that even if you are having a rough day.

The Right Team: I am incredibly lucky in being a member of Team Accelerate. Now I’m going to butcher this and it won’t sound as good as I want but here goes. It’s not that it is the best of the best, don’t get me wrong there are some incredible runners who have represented the country at a world stage. More that every member will go above and beyond to help each other out. Whether that’s in a training session, cheering on from the sidelines, being there for each other when life gets tough, or just to have a laugh with. An unquestioning mutual respect for each other, the work ethic they put in, and a willingness to push each other when the time is right.

Finally to our coach, Stuart Hale. There is no one quite like him anywhere else. From his bubbly energy to his passion for sport and the betterment of his athletes by always having a plan to get better. He is so much more than just a coach, he’s a mentor, a counsellor but most of all a friend.

So to the best team in the world, thank you for taking me in and always helping me strive to be the best I can be!

You are so much more than just a team, you are a family.

Written by Harvey Martin, one of the newest member of Team Accelerate. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed training with the team, A lot.

Maximum Heart Rate? Forget It…

It keeps on coming up on social media. Plus, I am continually asked about maximum heart rate and how to calculate it.
The reason it would appear is to calculate those all important training zones that help maximise folks training, yet the question should be asked if there is a better way?
I hear about some new amazing formula all of the time, yet the truth is they do not work for that many people.

Formulae Do Not Work, OK!

There is no one size fits all here, merely normal ranges of what we would expect.
It all started with this:
Men – 220 – Age = MHR.  Women – 226 – Age = MHR.
So popping that in reverse against my known max I am 22 years old. Yay!!  I wish…
The roots of this formula lie in a study carried out on people recovering from open heart surgery of one sort or another. The age range was teenagers through to the elderly, with around a total of 60 participants.

Clearly this has no relevance on fit runner types.  It is however a very safe way of getting very poorly folk back into exercise. So this does have some relevance. Just not for us.
No formula I have seen works for everyone. Nothing I have ever seen on a sports watch works for everyone.  There are just too many physiological differences between us all.  Yes, there are ‘mean’ parameters that we would expect for where training zones fall.

So What Does Work?

I have always been reliant on a couple of methods. Both are very reliable and I have years of practice looking at heart rate, graphs and lab results The key to these results is also extremely reliant on the athlete being in a recovered state when the race graph is reviewed or the test undertaken.

  1. Get a Lactate Test…
    Well, that may not be so easy right now. We would normally offer them here at the Accelerate Performance Centre. If you are less local, when you can, find somewhere with plenty of experience. Universities, with a sports lab can usually oblige.
    Simply you run on a treadmill. Thankfully, you do not go to your maximum heart rate. That would be daft as you’ll probably fall over and fly off the back, plus there is no need.
    Every 3-minutes, sometimes four, a blood sample is taken from either your finger or your ear. Each time the speed is then increased and the process repeated around 6 times.  From here the blood sample is analysed to determine the amount of lactate that is present. This will rise as your put more effort into the test.
    The results are then plotted onto a graph alongside heart rate and it is from this that your training zones can be determined.  The lactate volumes will be different per person, and again no one size fits all. Too often I hear that 4mmols of lactate was used to determine the top  training zone.  Wrong again as we are all different; it’s a little like saying we all have brown hair.
  2. Study and Analyse Those Race Graphs.
    You’ll need to find someone who knows what they are doing. Yet it is possible to determine that top L4 Heart Rate Zone from good consistent race graphs. From there you can work backwards for the other zones.  I have done this loads of times and have preceded to predict the zones pre lactate test and to everyone’s surprise…
    5 mile and 10k graphs, or any sustained hard effort over no more than 45 minutes max should do it.

All of this has to be so much easier and safer than a ‘Bucket Test’ – so called as you may need a bucket following a maximum effort to achieve a max heart rate.
I have been using heart rate for over 30 years. As a coach it is my preferred weapon of choice, even with the arrival of ‘power’ for runners, I still believe it is the better option. Track, road and even mountain runners have all benefited from heart rate training weather to help develop lactate tolerance and buffering or to ensure adequate recovery. I have worked with runners from newcomers through to the very fast, triathletes and duathletes too.  The results these athletes have achieved using heart rate as a training tool speak for themselves.

Heart rate training, “it’s the best thing since sliced bread”.

It is unfortunate that there is no ‘one size fits all’ to heart rate training zone calculation. There is however a very clear opportunity to maximise training outcomes using heart rate and one that for many is just being missed. Too many times heart rate monitors end up as an add on to a GPS ‘requirement’ and something I have often referred to as the ‘bottom draw syndrome’ once people have struggled to get a handle on their heart rate. In my humble opinion, it’s a missed opportunity.

Team Accelerate Scott Athlete Stuart Walkers opinion on the new Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

I have been wearing Scott shoes for a while now, and it’s fair to say they have got better and better. From originals like the Trail Rockets, they have kept what was good and thrown away what didn’t work.

My current favorites are the Supertrac RC Ultra, which has basically been my go-to shoes for everything (except rare tarmac outings) for the last couple of years. The latest release from Scott is the Kinabalu Ultra RC. These came out in June and lots of excited people have talked about how good they are in summer, but what about now we’re into the season of cold and sloppiness… will they be any good for winter?!

I recently moved from Sheffield to Cornwall. You might imagine that running down here is all flat hard-packed coast path trails and it’s basically sunny all the time? I did, but apparently not. I took the shoes out for a 20 mile training run last weekend and found almost every type of terrain. So, how were they? Here’s a quick roundup of how I found them on each type of terrain, in the order I found them…

I wouldn’t wear these for a road run, but they are really comfy. Straight out of the box these were a nice shoe to wear. Running on hard trails tends to reveal any hotspots of discomfort and I found none with these. They also feel (and are) really nice and light, which has been a legit criticism of some Scott shoes in the past.

I found plenty of mud! When the whole trail is ankle-deep sloppy mud there aren’t many shoes that are going to cope well, but the key for me is that they shed the mud as you get away from it and you don’t end up with a shoe full of gritty stuff. On this, they score highly. Something with a deeper tread would grip better, but in this stuff, you’re going to slop about whatever happens and I’d rather not have to empty my shoes out at the end!

Submerged bog:
More one for you Peak district folks than me, but courtesy of Goonhilly Downs I was able to test on this terrain to my heart’s content. Spongy bog with a foot of water on top: Check. Deep sinky bog which tries to steal your shoes: Check. Soft squishy bog with sharp gorse and brambles: Check.
I found good performance in all of these, to be honest, they were grippier than I expected. Again the mud/water shedding is good, my feet didn’t get cold, and the laces didn’t come undone despite only single knots (rubbish laces annoy me so this is a big plus!).

Well, we are in Cornwall! I’ve not yet found a good beach running shoe. These are as good as any. On dry stony beaches, they grip well. I’ve yet to find anything that does grip on a seaweed-covered rock, but I can confirm these don’t.

Coast path (hard trail):
Up on the cliffs on a dry day, trying to run fast, these are in their element. The grip works best on this type of terrain, which reminds me a bit of Derwent Edge. When you’re trying to press on a bit, their lightweight is a great advantage and they feel really stable. They don’t feel like an 8mm drop shoe!

I found the original RC with this tread liked to go fast, but didn’t work so well for plodding. The Supertrac Ultra RC are awesome and can do everything, but they aren’t the lightest.

These new Kinabalu Ultra RC seem to have all bases covered. They combine the best elements of my favourite Scott shoes into a very comfortable, lightweight and fast shoe. I’d pick them for everything from a short fast training run to a winter ultra, unless it was going to be a total bog-fest, in which case I’d go to the Supertracs.

So yes, these can be a fast summer training and racing shoe, but there’s nothing to say they can’t do the same for you all winter. Mine will be. We all have our personal preferences, but lightweight, well designed and good quality shoes are surely a good start for anyone!

A final note on longevity:
This is important these days, as we want our shoes to last for both financial and environmental reasons. I haven’t had these long enough to be sure, but I have been amazed at the lifetime I’ve had from recent Scott shoes, and these seem to combine the life-extending elements of those (particularly the RC sole and the raised edge of the outer from the Supertrac RC), so I have high hopes. One area I’ll be watching is across the top of the toe box, as this seems to be where my Scott shoes all eventually die.

Interested in trying a pair yourself. Follow the link Here >> for the Mens and Here >> for the Women’s.

To keep up with all Stu’s exploits find him Here >>

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