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Monthly Archives: May 2022

Is Interval Training Something for Every Runner?

“I feel the need for the speed”, so let’s hit those speedy intervals, or perhaps the cinema beckons…

Yet is interval training for every runner and I guess the question is should you be doing them?  If so how and where to start.  So let’s take a look at what they are and the variations.
Interval Training, or Repetition sessions are so often misunderstood and when purely executed they become ‘junk miles’ and in doing so rapidly increase the risk of injury or over training.

Good examples of an Interval session would be to visit your local athletics track and start running reps.  So a straightforward example would be

6 x 400 meters with say recovery of an easy jogged lap.

The more experienced and fitter will be adding sets.

Two sets of 6 x 400 meters, with 45 secs recovery between reps.  The recovery between the sets could be 4 mins.

Some Common Misconceptions

Let’s start with the biggest mistake. Intervals should not be run as fast as you can.  Run till you drop sessions are a waste of time.  The second, mistake many make is an assumption that because they can say, race 5k then they can go straight into a set that equates to that same distance. Again, this is likely to induce fatigue something that is not your friend.  If you teach your body to run into fatigue then it will learn to recognise the signs of what’s to come and protect itself.  It does this by slowing you down – what good is that?

Intervals are also about you, so in trying to keep up with someone faster than you is again not such a good thing. Believe it or not a sub 16 minute 5k runner can run the same session as a 25 minute 5k runner – one will just finish sooner.  (That has it’s advantages as they can get the kettle on!)  So it’s really important to run your pace.
For me, if you plan your session correctly then yes, interval training is something for everyone.

Why Interval Train?

There are clear benefits.  Yes, if run correctly with a little planning they help develop speed or your ability to keep speed going for longer.
They also help with your running form, especially towards the end of a race when let’s be honest, even the best can get a little raggedy.
Part of this speed development comes from the fact that you are also developing your bodies ability to be effective in utilising and clearing lactate acid.  All of these things the body will adapt too.  It takes a little time though.

The body’s adaptation process takes place on recovery days and during rest time, including sleep. An exhausted body will not adapt as quickly as one that is only a little fatigued – something that should always be remembered.  So interval sessions that leave wanting more, with only a little fatigue can be a good thing. This will ensure your body will learn and train itself to recover and adapt effectively.

So all in all in you may not always feel quicker finishing an interval session, yet your body is adapting. Therefore your efficiency improves and you are faster!

Is Interval Training Something For Everyone? You don't have to be a youngster to benefit either.

How Fast Should Intervals Be?

Here’s the thing.  No faster than your current known race pace. So if you run 20 minutes for a 5k then that would be 2 minutes for 500 meter intervals.  Conversely, if you are looking to develop a 50 minute 10k race time then that would be 5 minutes per kilometer, or 2:30 for each 500.

There is no point in running intervals at a speed your body cannot yet run over a given race distance

The rule here is fairly straightforward only run intervals at a given and known race speed that is current.  There are plenty of charts and phone apps to help you calculate your race pace from a known time and distance.  They are reliant on your fitness being spot on for each distance that you are predicting though.

There is a growing argument and in fairness something I have always believed in. This is that running your intervals a little slower than race pace can also be highly effective.  There is so much less fatigue.  I would also add that you can run your intervals to heart rate, although for this I would definitely recommend a Lactate Test.  (Check out AcceleratePerformance.co.uk)

So How Many Intervals Should you Run?

This very much does depend on your experience and also how much you currently train.  You also have to remember if you are not used to running weekly session at your race pace then your body will find these hard. As a result you will be moving quicker so pushing harder. Your range of movement will increase so stretching things out a little more.  So some caution is a good thing.  Fartlek, is a great precursor to hitting the track.

If this is your first interval session then play safe.

Consider your first session to be half the distance of the race distance the session is designed to help.  Perhaps a little less for 10k specific training.  You can build the distance every couple of weeks. In addition start with one session per week, no more.  You are looking for progressive adaptation not progressive speed!

What About Recovery Time Between Each Interval?

This is always a tough one.  For 5km and 10km pace try halving your interval time. So if you are running 2-minute 400’s then start with a minute easy walk / jog / walk recovery.  Yes, as you become fitter and more used to this work load you can drop the recovery time.  You will find fitter athletes will require as little as 30 seconds.

What About Over-Distance Sessions?

These can be highly effective. Simply this means that you are going to run a total interval distance greater than the race distance the session is designed for. In doing so you will build into this style of session over time.
It is also worth considering dropping the target time a little and / or increasing the recovery time. Another option is to split the session into two or perhaps three sets, ensuring plenty of recovery time.  The key is to not just to keep the pace the same, also the effort. This is where a heart rate monitor can come in handy. As your effort increases so does your heart, as with fatigue towards the end of a set.

Are Multi-Paced Sessions a Good Idea?

Yes! They are also good fun.  Again another type of session to build into.
You could start with two sets. The first set at 10km pace and then the second set at you 5km, with shorter distanced intervals.
Another way of using multi-paced sets is to run a longer rep at say 10km pace and then a shorter rep at 5km pace, alternating these as you go through.

Multi-Paced Session:
4 x 1km @ current 10km pace, 60 seconds walk / jog / walk recovery
4 mins walk / jog / walk recovery between sets
6 x 600mts @ current 5km pace, 60 seconds walk / jog / walk recovery

In Summary

The key remains don’t become overly fatigued from these type of sessions as there simply is no gain.  This is the human body we are talking about not a racing car. As long as you plan ahead and for each and every session you should see improvement. This really does mean ensuring the correct current pacing is utilised, not your ‘wish’ pace.  With newcomers to Interval sessions using differing race paces as your target at different sessions is a great way to start.  Then you can focus in on your race specificity.

Yes, I do think that interval training can offer something for every runner.

Interval Try Out Time: If you would like to join in a session for the first time, then why not come along on the 2nd June 2022. We will be running a coached session that will be tailored to every attendee based on experience and their current racing pace.  You can also test a pair of Carbon Shoes should you want too.  Details HERE >>

Carbon Shoe Test Day & Interval Session

Getting the Most from Using Carbon ‘Super’ Shoes.

Carbon ‘Super’ Shoes. The latest and greatest in running technology. They are most definitely in demand.
We see social media full of Elite Runners training and racing in them daily.  Yet guidance on their use remains pretty scant and many do ask about getting the most from using carbon ‘super’ shoes.

What Are Carbon Shoes?

Carbon shoes are quite simply a shoe that has a carbon plate sandwiched into the mid-sole.  It’s purpose is two fold.  Firstly to provide stability in an increasing world of soft foams (cushioning).  Secondly, and the real selling point, is that it helps to propel you into your next stride for less effort.  Almost a spring like effect, if you will, resulting in a variety of claims for helping you to run faster.  The plate whilst acting as a propulsion board, is backed up by a variety of new super foams.  These are often, not always though, very soft.  Soft, is not always good for the human.  Without the plate you are definitely losing ‘push’ to the foam as it absorbs this force.  Soft, has also been shown under scientific testing to be pretty poor for stability which can cause injury. This is always off set by claims that soft saves your legs from excessive shock and pounding from the roads.

Combined with a Carbon Plate and things are definitely different. Certainly in longer races there is growing anecdotal evidence that post race recovery is much improved.  Additionally, and perhaps more importantly that reduction in pounding is resulting in athletes being able to run faster for longer. Ideal for the marathon, yes definitely.

Breakdown of the Scott Carbon 'Super' Shoe

When Should You Wear Carbon ‘Super’ Shoes?

OK, let’s get this one out of the way.  These new Carbon ‘Super’ Shoes are not for everyday training.  They are racing shoes. There are some down sides to wearing these shoes and this you have to consider.  One of the key differences is that they can change running mechanics. This is more noticeable with those that are perhaps less strong than their elite counter parts.  They certainly do not improve running form, nor do they make you fitter.  That still has to come from you.

We would advise you to use your carbon shoe for in the main race day.  This can be backed-up with the occasional training runs, perhaps a tempo session, to get used the feel of the shoe.  This, as with any racing shoe, makes a lot of sense.  We would also suggest you consider the mileage that the shoe is designed for – some really do cost a lot per mile!

Getting the Most from your Carbon ‘Super’ Shoe Whilst Training

This is what we would do.  It actually works pretty well.  Taking the advice from the section above we do as follows.

Training in a carbon shoe should ideally be kept to a minimum. I think we can all agree, we really are looking for that difference (we hope!) on race day.
We complete the warm up run in our favourite everyday shoes, before running through a mobility session. Run Technique is something we always advise and we do as part of a focused within this session.  Perhaps at the track we switch into the carbon shoes mid way through the interval set to get a real feel of the shoe.  Often we do this a few days or a week or so before that next race.
It also a nice idea to run part of the course in our race shoes (where possible), to get a feel for the day.  It can have a very positive effect on both confidence and on race day awareness.

Carbon Shoes at Accelerate

So in summary…

Carbon ‘Super’ Shoes are race day shoes.  This is where and how we suggest they should be worn for the most part.
Amongst many runners, the debate rages as to ‘are they faster?’  I would suggest like most things the answer lies with you.  If you feel you are getting a noticeable improvement then well, why not.  For others, it is less clear.  One thing is for certain though, is that no one wants to get left behind once they are on the start line.

For anyone who would like to test a pair of Carbon Shoes, beyond a run on a treadmill, then put June 2nd in your diary.  Scott, Saucony, Hoka will be along with their ‘Test Shoes’ and we will be running a series of Led Runs and a Coached Interval Session.  This is all happening from the store.
Plus, TORQ Nutrition will be along to talk sports nutrition and getting the most from these products in training and on race day.

Test pool will include:

Saucony Endorphin Pro, Speed & Shift
Scott Carbon RC & Pursuit
Hoka Carbon X

Plus, for those more traditionally minded and looking for a comparison we will also have True Motion along.

True Motion Nevos and Solo

More details can be found Here >>

You may also find our Review and Look at the Carbon Shoe Options available to you Here >>

CArbon Shoe Test Day

Saucony Xodus Ultra, Tried, Tested and Reviewed

Accelerate Community member and Accelerate Trail Runners run leader Graeme has been lucky enough to get his hands on a pair of the new Saucony Xodus Ultra. Now available from the Accelerate store, to find the specs of the shoe Click Here >>. Keep reading to hear how he got on. Spoiler alert, they are good!

I’m not normally a reviewer and I won’t go into too many technical details. I’ll just concentrate on how they feel to run in.  I normally wear the Scott Supertrac Ultra, so this was my main comparison.

 

Straight out of the box

My first thought was that they were a bit big for my usual 10UK. However, slipping them on I realised they could easily be tightened up. The springy laces, along with the super stretchy upper, moulded to my odd shaped feet straight away.  Lots of lovely room for my forefoot and no heel slippage.  So all held in place but would it be too tight?  Well no, the upper stretches where it needs to: around my feet’s lumps and bumps — all good and no ‘squeezing’ of the forefoot even when the foot bends.

 

First run thoughts

So off for a swift 7k run around my local loop. The first of 4 runs in them from 7k to 29k. All on a mix terrain, from mud, packed trails, gravel, tree roots, wet rock and even some quite long tarmac sections.  Nothing bothered them.  On all the runs they felt very plush; especially in the heel. This felt very soft and forgiving.  Would I get the control my iffy feet and ankles need?  Yes again, all felt very stable, so soft and stable. I have no idea how that works, but it does.  The cushioned forefoot, lacking in some shoes, now also became noticeable whilst running. Lovely, and no aching, which I sometimes get after a while wearing a firmer shoe.

With such a high stack height I started off careful making sure not to slip or twist an ankle.  I soon realised I didn’t have to bother, I just didn’t notice it.  With such plush cushioning there can sometimes be a loss of ground feel, however, not in these and they have a rock plate.  The balance between ground feel and ground intrusion seems well balanced.  I even deliberately ran over some sharp rock edges and while I could feel them, they didn’t intrude or hurt.

 

I’ve even run a tarmac Parkrun. Admittedly bobbing onto the grass wherever I could.  With no sense of dragging a big and heavy shoe around, they felt light and easy to run in.  No doubt the shorter distance, ‘fast’ shoes would feel lighter but I don’t normally run in those, I need cushioning, it worked for me.  In all the runs I have done there was no rubbing, or blistering from the off even with wet feet.  The Saucony’s felt much more cushioned and possibly lighter than the Scott though I’ve no idea of the actual weight of each.

 

Conclusion

Pros: well everything; a highly cushioned straight out of the box shoe that can do just about anything bar extremes of terrain (I suspect – but who knows!).

Cons: Nothing except possibly that they run a bit big, but if you’re running long distances and need that extra room then maybe don’t bother going down a half size — it didn’t get in the way for me especially when I ran a longer distance using thicker socks.  Oh, and mine are bright yellow – not a colour I’d normally pick but I’ve worked on that and they now are a muddy, mottled yellow/brown!

 

Has the all new Saucony Xodus intrigued? The Men’s can be found here >> and the Women’s available here >> Or you can pop down to the Accelerate Running Store to try a pair out.

Carbon Racing Shoe, What’s your options

If you have stepped onto the start line of a road race in the last few years you may have noticed the majority wearing brightly coloured, high stack height, cushioned shoes. This is the latest in a wave taking over the running world, Carbon fibre plated racing shoes. Gone are the days of lightweight minimal racing flats and in their place are highly cushioned, springy racers. Keep reading for a rundown and review of the different options available here at Accelerate.


Saucony Endorphin Pro 2

The Softest Cushioning

Specs

Designed use: Road Racing from 5k – Marathon + distances

Drop: 8mm, 35.5mm in the heel and 27.5mm in the forefoot

Weight: 213g in men’s size 8UK and 197g in women’s size 6UK

From its initial launch in the summer of 2020, the Saucony Endorphin Pro has been a stand out performer. Saucony spared no expense in designing them. Starting at the bottom, they created a new midsole foam, PWRRUNpb, their lightest and, most responsive ever. An S-shape carbon plate runs through to push you forward and a super light mesh upper holds you in.

Running experience: Wow, to say these shoes feel great is an understatement. They feel light on your feet, responsive to run in and they certainly keep your legs feeling fresher for longer. The upper is secure yet minimal with very little in the way of plushness, they are designed for speed. Once up and moving you notice the slight roll forward from the combination of carbon fibre plate and Speedroll technology.

For the men’s click Here >> and women’s Here >>


Scott Speed Carbon RC

The Most Responsive Ride

Specs

Designed use: Road Racing from 5k – Marathon + distances

Drop: 5mm, 30mm in the heel and 25mm in the forefoot

Weight: 240g in men’s size 8UK and 220g in women’s size 6UK

Scott is famous for testing its products before launching them and the Speed Carbon is no exception. After a long-anticipated wait, they did not disappoint. Scott teamed up with carbon fibre experts CARBITEX in creating the plate for the shoe. It uses a dynamic carbon plate which stiffens with the more force applied, the faster you run the firmer it gets, genius really.

Running experience: Firmer than most carbon shoes but a whole lot more responsive. With the combination of Scotts Kinetic light foam and Carbitex DFX Plate, they take some getting used to. But when you do, blimey they feel quick. Scott also uses their ER2 rocker which helps to keep you on your toes with a high cadence. The upper is noticeably stripped back, with just a thin layer of cushioning around the heel to keep you secure. The rest of the upper is made with a new super-light water-resistant fabric. Ideal if you are racing in wet weather!

For the men’s click Here >> and women’s Here >>


Hoka One One Carbon X3

The Great All-Rounder

Specs

Designed use: Road Racing

Drop: 5mm, 37mm in the heel and 325mm in the forefoot

Weight: 222g in men’s size 8UK and 188g in women’s size 6UK

The kind of shoe you could wear all day. Hoka has nailed the fit and comfort of the Carbon X3, most of this is down to the upper. Using a knitted one-piece, sock-like design, it’s easy to slip on and moulds to the shape of your foot almost instantaneously. Hoka has also updated the midsole and is now using a new energised foam for even more energy return.

Running experience: The Carbon X3 is the goldilocks of the 3, it’s firmer than the Endorphin Pro and Softer than the Speed Carbon, A great blend. Running in them you almost forget they are even on. With just enough of Hoka’s meta rocker to propel you forward.

For the men’s click Here >>


Do you like the sound of them?

Well, now is your chance to try all of them on the run. On the 2nd of June, we are hosting a Carbon Test day. A chance to try all the carbon racing shoes we stock side by side along with their training counterparts. For more information on the event follow the link Here >>

Dot Kesterton Race Report from the Rotherham 10K

Team Accelerate runner and Steel City Strider Dot Kesterton took to the roads of Rotherham this weekend competing in the Rotherham 10k supported by the Accelerate Running Store and Scott Sports. A challenging course full of twists, turns and hills, this didn’t slow Dot one bit. Keep reading to hear how she got on. Sunday 15th May 2022.

An invitation from Accelerate Store in Attercliffe to run a road 10K they were sponsoring in Rotherham dropped into my inbox a few weeks ago. Well, why not, I thought. Nice to be asked.

Still a bit dizzy from last weekend’s Lakelands Trail race, Staveley,  I donned my Striders vest and number this morning and headed for Clifton Park. Rotherham Radio, Accelerate and Scott Running were all there to greet the 376 10K runners of all ages alongside hoards of primary school-aged children who ran a fun one mile race while the rest of us panted post race.

The course leaves the park and does a circuit of the town centre on a flattish route before rising a little at the 6K point on Broom Road towards Wickersley Road and home via the Herringthorpe playing fields giving a total elevation of 104 metres.

I do like a nice hill. it breaks up the race and gives you the impression when you summit, lungs busting, that you can go really fast over the descent. Even better is that Rotherham hills aren’t quite as steep as Sheffield hills so it’s worth a little trip out to the east for a change of scene and terrain.

I’d had a disappointment racing in Falkirk a few weeks ago so my aim today was to recover by running a faster 10K and improve my UK ranked position as well as a Striders 10K record.

Once the communal warm up and loud shouts of encouragement were over we were away from the museum in Clifton Park. A tour of the town, well marshalled and with road closures so we had a safe run and then the climb towards Middle Lane began. By that time I had run consistently well, felt strong and was enjoying the race. The final stage into the park gave us a 400m climb up to the finish which I relished as a final challenge before the end.

Happily, I managed to knock a good 35 seconds off my Falkirk time to come in at 46.22 gun, 46.20 chip, 67th runner of 376,  5th woman after some very able Harriers, first FV65 and second fastest vet woman regardless of age. John Rothwell, coach, promptly reported a 96.98% age grading and top of the UK F70 rankings. That’s a very pleasing result.

Slightly annoying then for the results to completely miss me out because I’m actually F70, not F65. All the super athletes got their awards on a stage but I missed that bit and got the F65 award quietly after the ceremony. It’s not unusual for older women and perhaps men? To go under the radar when they get to a certain age. I’d love the organisers to take account of the grey brigade who now feature more in race events than they might have done previously. I wonder why 69 was the cut off age in this event?

My thanks to the race organisers notwithstanding the oversight for a lovely morning out. Thanks to Accelerate for setting the record straight and awarding a shiny voucher for a new kit.

First male was Jamie Hall, Senior, Hallamshire Harriers in 31.45

First woman was Hannah Walker, Dronfield RC in 38.03.

A Closer Look – Hybrid Running Shoes Reviewed

Hybrid running shoes are a combination of a trail and road shoe. Here at Accelerate it is a type of running shoe we are often asked for and here we take a look at some of our favourites, plus a couple of newcomers that have recently arrived in store, so here’s what we reckon.

As to the difference, if you are a little uncertain, then may I suggest you take a look at our previous blog ‘What Makes a Trail to Road Shoe?’ Here >>

So let’s get cracking and see what’s-what within this selection of shoes.  Tried, Tested and Abused by Stu and Harvey.

Best Newcomers

Both the Mizuno Wave Daichi 7 and the True Motion Nevos Elements are recent arrivals to the store. Both brands are predominately road biased and bring their favoured technologies to these excellent Door to Trail options. In both shoes, cushioning is exactly what you would expect from a road brand. Plush yet responsive.
With both the Diachi and the Nevos-Elements, uppers are woven and provide plenty of comfort. Both shoes are excellent at shedding muck and dirt from the upper. Again, all be it with differences, both shoes look to keep the heel stabilised and to hold the foot securely onto the platform.
Grip wise the Daichi is probably the best of the two for heading onto trails away from the city. The Nevos Elements, however, will feel right at home along the banks of your local canal and along  paths through woodland and parkland.

Both offer, something slightly different, yet they really epitomise the benefits of a hybrid shoe.

Mizuno Wave Daichi 7 £120  Men’s >>  Women’s >>
True Motion Elements £140  Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Best Value

Hoka One One Torrent
Primarily designed for trail use, we however feel this is another shoe that crosses the bridge between road and trail extremely well.  Light enough for faster paced running yet has more than enough on offer for everyday use. A studded out-sole provides great grip on trails whilst having enough surface area for hard packed surfaces and pavement.  Cushioning levels are high whilst retaining a responsive feel.  It’s a great value all rounder.
We really love the fact the upper of this shoe is made from recycled materials.

Currently available for £100 instore, a Saving of £10.

Hoka One One Torrent £100  Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Established Favourites

The Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC 2.0
This is a very definite favourite here at Accelerate. This shoe has so much going for it and now in its second iteration is proving even more popular. Lightweight, well cushioned and traction that works across a variety of terrain. The upper is constructed of an engineered breathable mesh that just hugs the foot.
We have found the Kinabalu Ultra RC to be the most versatile of the shoes in this category and exceeds its original design brief of ‘suitable for man made trails’. Low and high level, hard packed to softer ground, dry and in the wet we feel this shoe just delivers. In fact this shoe was designed with Ultra’s in mind and we reckon that it is just the ticket.

Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC 2.0 £150 Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Saucony Canyon TR2
Another favourite here is the Canyon TR2 as it offers great value for both road and heading out onto to more challenging trails.  A full PWRRUN mid-sole ensure long lasting cushioning and boasts the addition of a flexible and protective rock plate. The upper will help keep out debris and provide a comfy secure fit. Breath-ability is high on the list of benefits of this upper.
We reckon the Canyon TR offers great value and a good bet for a long life everyday shoe.

Saucony Canyon TR2 £120  Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Best Hybrid Shoe Designed for Ultra’s

Dynafit Ultra 100
Yes, OK, this shoe was primarily designed for a multitude of different trail surfaces. Yet, it was soon realised that longer pavement sections were covered with ease due to fact this shoe was built for maximum cushioning and protection – something that was well liked. In addition the platform is extremely stable and the shoes really endeavours to get you locked into this. A higher than average shoe volume coupled with a breathable upper provides a comfortable fit for those looking for a little more.
The Pomoco out-sole is an excellent option for multi terrain use, coping well with the steeper slopes of the higher mountain trails.

Dynafit Ultra £135  Men’s >>  Women’s >>

Wider Fitting Option

Inov-8 Trail Talon
A higher than usual foot volume has found this shoe a firm following. Lightweight, breathable mesh upper creates a secure fit through the mid foot. An integrated tongue helps to keep debris out of the shoe. Grip is what you would expect from a trail specialist and is definitely good for pavement to more technical trail.  Cushioning, although not the best in test, is still up there and provides good protection and stability.

Inov-8 Trail Talon £130  Men’s >>  Women’s >>

My Favourite..?  Best in Test…

If you said to me (Stuart) I could only wear one shoe this summer, and that’s it, then I know which I would choose.  It’s one I have tested and have since moved onto my second pair.  Enough cushioning for road and hard packed; stable enough at higher altitudes and quite simply responsive and nimble then it would have to be the Scott Kinabalu RC 2.0. They last well, comfort is excellent and volume is above average. The grip just keeps on surprising, in dry and when it has rained. Yet, the biggest surprise for me is a high level of unexpected cushioning.  For me the Kinabalu Ultra RC just work. Harvey, also found this shoe to be his favourite, with the True Motion Nevos-Elements the surprise of the bunch.

I wonder what your favourite will be?

Article compiled by Stuart following testing from Stu and Harvey.

What Makes a Trail to Road Running Shoe?

We are often asked for Trail to Road Running shoes. These can also be referred to as ‘hydrid’ shoes. We are talking about a shoe that has the combined properties of a shoe specifically designed for trail running (grip and traction) with the cushioning of a road shoe.  Let’s be honest living in and around Sheffield this makes so much sense.  The question: is a compromise a good idea and what should we be looking for?

So What’s the Difference?

Primarily, the difference between a specifically designed trail and a road shoe is the out-sole and how much harder wearing the upper of a trail is. A running shoe is made up of three parts.

  1. The upper – the slipper like section you put your foot into.
  2. The mid-sole – this is the best that provides the cushioning and protection.  It is made to differing degrees of hardness.
  3. The out-sole – this provides grip and traction between the shoe and the ground.

The key differences between a trail and a road shoe are fairly distinct.

  1. You will find the upper of a road shoe is often softer and more slipper like.  Whereas for a trail shoe the materials used will be more durable to abrasion and much more protective against knocks and bashes. Yes, there can be a small compromise on comfort.
  2. The mid sole on a trail shoe is often firmer than a road shoe as this increases stability. Coupled with a rock plate this also helps in protecting the foot against pointy, sharp objects on the ground.
  3. When it comes to the out-sole, a road shoe is often flatter in profile to provide better contact on man made pavements. Clearly, a trail shoe will have differing degrees of depth to the grip. Studs are more pointed for soft ground and flatter, squarer shapes for dryer condition.  Trail grip has special additives to help grip rock and hopefully to increase the life (wear) of these softer ‘studs’.
What Makes a Good Trail to Road (hybrid) Shoe?

Now that’s a good question and sometimes the lines are pretty blurred.  A road shoe company making a hybrid often keep to their winning formula of prioritising comfort. Trail specific brands look for a more protective approach in the upper. Mid-sole technologies are thankfully extremely similar these days, with the mid-sole cushioning often earring to towards a more protective approach. Many are firmer and some will have that little extra protection by offering a rock plate.  In all cases the out-sole is definitely more open so affording more grip across a variety of terrain. From shallow studs to a grippy tooth-like out-sole, there is a seemingly endless range of options.

In recent years, the slipper (upper) has gone through something of a renaissance. They are definitely more pliable and plush than those from a few years ago. Vinyl overlays help protect the foot and often they are quicker drying and definitely hold less water.

More than anything else, the best hybrid running shoe is the one that is comfortable to wear and fit’s your foot properly.  Above all else, you’ll want to run in your choice.

How Long Should a Hybrid Shoe last?

This really does depend on you! Also, how you look after a pair of shoes will also make a big difference. Shoes that are continually used when wet will not last as long as you would hope as the upper will often fail through no fault of its own.  If you repeatedly run off-trail then again the upper (and stitching) is not designed for this and will take a bashing. Shoes that are continually used on road as opposed to trail will see the grip wear away quicker.  So please do not expect your hybrid shoe to do everything and survive, it won’t!

If you are hard on your shoes then 300 to 400 miles is not unreasonable, whereas those lighter on shoes may see a little over 500 miles of use.  This of course assumes the shoes are not taken to the extreme of their design on a regular basis.

How to Care for your Hybrid (or Trail) Shoe?

Let’s get this one out of the way. Washing machines are a big No-No, as is drying them out right next to a heat source.
To clean your new favorite shoe you should remove the excess mud from the upper with a soft brush or cloth.  Then give them a good rinse with cold water using a decent Footwear Cleaner such as from the Grangers range. This helps protect the fabric and the cleaning agents do not attack the glues that help hold your shoes together. . This is especially a good idea after a trip onto the main trails around the low levels of the Peaks.  Peat is a good way to rot a pair of shoes rather quickly.
In drying them, remove the sock liner and yes, stuff them with newspaper or equivalent.  Air drying them is then the way to go.

To Sum Up…

In conclusion a trail to road running shoe, is a hybrid. A combination of a good road and trail shoe.  Both road and specific trail shoe companies have an offering that will do the job extremely well. With that said if you are planning on more extreme trail running then two shoes, a road and a trail shoe, is the way to go. You will quite simply get more bang for your bucks and economically you should get more life from your shoes.

Here at Accelerate we have plenty of options in this category, available in a variety of shapes for differing feet. Scott, Saucony, Inov-8 and Brooks just to name a few of the brands that have excellent options.  If you would like to find out more about some of the specific ‘Hybrid’ shoes on offer then the ‘A Closer Look – Hybrid Running Shoes Reviewed‘ article has some great suggestions for you. Here we take a look at what we feel is the best value, best new-comer and best for longer runs.

 A Closer Look – Hybrid Running Shoes Reviewed.  Read More Here >>

Saucony Kinvara 13, Tried, Tested and Reviewed

Saucony’ s newest shoe has arrived at Accelerate Running Store, Team Accelerate athlete and technical sales expert Hugh, has given them a run for their money. His thoughts are found below.

Both the men’s and women’s are available in-store and online from Accelerate. The men’s are available here and the women’s here.

I received the new Saucony Kinvara 13 as a special surprise just over a month ago, let’s just say they do not disappoint. The timeless classic has received awell-deserved upgrade, with a lighter, better fit, and improved feel for the road. The new improved Kinvara 13 features a lightweight upper, an energetic midsole and a smooth ride. The shoe is built on a soft and responsive platform that’s comprised of a full-length PWRRUN foam midsole topped with a thin slice of PWRRUN+ for a bit of increased spring. A 4-millimetre heel-toe drop and a soft midsole give the Saucony Kinvara 13 an agile feel that’s perfect for quick running. An updated single-layer, airy mesh upper secures the foot down to the same midsole and outsole that runners enjoyed in the Kinvara 12.

The Saucony Kinvara Specs

  • 219g for a men’s 8UK
  • 184g for the women’s in a 6UK
  • 4mm drop thanks to 28.5mm in the heel and 24.5mm

Saucony labels these shoes as a racer trainer!

First Impressions

Straight out the box they felt light, like really light; and putting them on gave me the same impression. The fit through the midfoot and toe box feels slightly roomier than earlier models, but still secure, allowing a more accommodation fit for varying foot shapes. A new, softer material has been used for the tongue which gives a softer, slipper-like feel. Running in the new Kinvara felt very different to the older models, although different is good, right? A softer feel under the foot and, in my opinion, a more responsive ride has allowed me to complete a variety of different sessions and different paced runs in the shoe.

How are they holding up?
I have worn these shoes for multiple track sessions and a couple of long runs, needless to say I’m very impressed by the condition of the shoes after over 100 miles of use. From feeling cushioned enough on a steady long run, yet also feeling responsive on the track, I have really enjoyed wearing these shoes several times a week. Traditionally, with the previous Saucony Kinvara models, I have noticed that the midsole breaks down quite quickly; however, in the Kinvara 13 I am yet to feel a significant difference from when I began running in them, which is quite impressive given the amount of mileage that I have done in the shoe. For a do it all shoe, I would say that these Saucony Kinvara’s are certainly one of the best in the market and defiantly worth a try!!

Have the new Kinvara 13 piqued your interest yet? The men’s can be found here and the women’s here. Or if you are not quite convinced, pop on down to the Accelerate Running Store and give a pair a go!

Accelerate Lifestyle Limited

Accelerate UK: Sheffield and the Peak's Largest dedicated Running Store Road Running, Fell and Trail, along with Adventure Racing are all covered in store. A wide choice of product is backed up with an unprecedented level of experience and running knowledge. At Accelerate we love our running, we would suggest it shows.