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Race to the stones 100k – Virtually

On July 6th 2020 Accelerate community member Simon headed out what can only be described as a monumental challenge both physically and mentally. Keep reading to hear what crazy feat he attempted.

 

The alarm goes off and I rush to silence it because I don’t want to wake my wife up: not at this hour. I creep through to the bathroom where I find my running kit piled in the corner ready for me and then I make my way downstairs to grab a quick bite to eat. I unlock the front door and in the porch I pull on my trail shoes and look out at the weather that awaits me. It’s raining, not enough to need wet weather gear on a normal day… but this isn’t a normal day. I put a rain jacket on and dig out a pair of waterproof trousers that I’ve never even considered running in before. They are far too heavy for the job but the clock is ticking and I need to be on my way. Already, momentum is everything. I quickly add a pair of gloves and a fluorescent beanie hat to complete the look and at 04:54 I push the start button on my Polar watch as I head down the road on my way towards the Redmires reservoirs. I look at the sky and am amazed at how light it is already – despite the gloom of the weather – and I hope it is still light when I finish… whenever that may be. As I begin my journey down the lonely street, I have time to think about how I ended up here.

It was probably about a year before that I signed up to do the 2020 Race to the Castle, a 100km event from Kirkharle to Bamburgh Castle. I’d run a couple of marathons previously and managed

to run/walk the Dig Deeper 50km as the sweeper back in September 2019 but this was a chance to go beyond double figures! I convinced myself, as I often do, that it wasn’t as far as it sounded. ‘It’s only a 10km run done ten times, isn’t it?’, I would say to anyone who asked. I began training in earnest under Stu’s eye at the start of 2020 and everything was on course until Coronavirus hit. It was inevitable that an event involving over 1000 participants would be cancelled and so in early April we changed the plan and settled down to a more ‘routine’ form of training.

 

However, as lockdown continued and I ran my regular route round the reservoirs I kept hearing that voice in my head saying ‘It’s only this 10km run ten times, isn’t it?’ By late June it was no longer a question of IF I was going to try this, it was WHEN… and then Threshold Sports announced their Virtual Race to the Stones. The running stars had aligned and I had to break it to Stu what was going to happen. In fairness he took it well and within the week I was starting my first of what was planned to be ten laps of Redmires.

 

The first lap was uneventful, other than losing a glove on the way round, but I realised that the mix of a head wind, my height and the wet weather gear was going to be a problem… it was like running with a parachute on. On the second lap I decided a fast walk in to the wind was more efficient and used the wind to help me on the way back… I also found my glove! For each lap from then, it was always a fast walk out and as much running as I could manage on the way back… which was very little after about 60km!

My porch served as basecamp between each lap, with a box of provisions placed there the night before. The routine was to write up my time and distance on a backboard, take a photo to send out on social media, plug my watch and phone in to recharge and then eat and drink what I could. Bananas, apple juice and chocolate featured highly and I aimed to get through all this and back on the road in under 20 minutes, which I usually achieved.

 

I was out of the waterproof trousers after lap four (a marathon in those!!) and after lap six I had a change of socks, shoes and top. I also switched to my road shoes which were kinder on my tired feet when I hit the tarmac but I felt every stone through their softer sole on the off road sections of the route… ouch!

As time passed, so did the kilometres and before I knew it I was well beyond my previous experience. I felt worst on lap eight but by then I had a few running friends joining to keep me going and for laps nine and ten I had quite the posse along… all socially distanced of course. In the end lap ten didn’t need to be the full 10km, as each previous lap was actually 4-500m longer than planned leaving me only 6km to do, so I never made it round the reservoirs the tenth time.

I passed the 100km mark just before I got home, making it back at just after 21:30, 16 hours and 44 minutes after I started… and it was still light! I had done it.

Running and walking 100km on limited training may not be easy or even sensible but it isn’t impossible. It’s amazing what we can achieve if we put our minds to it… and have friends helping too. Fancy doing 100km? Want my advice? Go for it… it’s only doing a 10km run ten times after all!

Scott Supertrac 2, Making the fast, faster!

Accelerate-Scott Team member Harvey has been lucky enough to get his hands on a pair of the new Scott Supertrac 2’s and over the last month has been putting them through their paces. Keep reading to hear what he has to think about this iconic shoe from Scott.

When I initially heard Scott were updating the Supertrac i was very sceptical as they have easily been my favourite trail and fell shoe for the whole 2019. Weather it was racing or training, short or long it worked for it all. Thankfully Scott follow along the lines of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And wow, I think they nailed it. Everything I loved about the Supertrac 1 has remained with some very subtle tweaks to push it to the next level.

Straight out the box and I knew that they hadn’t changed too much. The main changes are an update to the outsole and a redesigned upper and lacing system.

Redesigned – The Upper
The biggest and most prominent change has to be the update to the upper, it now uses Schoeller’s Coldback fabric for better breathability, heat protection and increased comfort. Something I found with the Supertrac 1 was that the upper always felt a little tough and restrictive. Now however the Scheoller fabric hugs your foot allowing it to move but still maintaining a lock down feel you can trust. This could also be due to the update on the lacing, with an extra eyelet to help when using a runners loop to further lockdown your foot. Perfect for those steep technical descents where you need to be able to trust in your shoes. In terms of longevity with the new material, I have done just over 100 miles in mine and they aren’t showing any signs of wear.


The Outsole
The next change you can see is to the pattern of the outsole. The lugs have been spread out to help reduce the amount of mud that can get stuck in them without losing traction. When you are running this isn’t something you are likely to notice straight away. It certainly doesn’t hold them back. I have taken them on some pretty rough descents and not once did it slip or give me any reason not to trust them completely. Weather it was wet rock, deep mud or long grass they just didn’t budge. Just what you want from a trail shoe that can easily cope with a little open ground and fell.


The Midsole
The finally change they made is to the feel of the midsole, it is, to me, feeling a touch softer than its predecessor. This is due to the grooves which have been added to the midfoot area of the outsole allowing more flexibility throughout the shoe. For me this is no bad thing and I know of a few people saying the 1 was a little to firm at times. With this slight change it makes them feel even more lively when you hit a hard packed trail or road section. They continue to feel responsive, with the advantage of also feeling more nimble through more rugged terrain.

After 100 miles, they are showing hardly any signs of wear, very true to scott.

This is definitely an upgrade for the Supertrac while keeping most of the features that made them the shoes people love. If you liked the 1 then the upgrade is worth a look or if you are after a new pair of trail or fell shoes then these could be a big contender for you.

Get your pair now, Mens here >> Ladies here >>

New Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

If tScott Kinabalu Ultra RC here is one thing we can be certain of with Scott Running is this: “If it ain’t broke leave it alone”. This day and age that is a rare thing. Too many shoe brands update their shoes every six months or just bring in a new fresher colourway.

Not Scott. Yes, as a shoe gains traction (Yes, that was intended :-) ) they will change the colour or the upper annually. Not a guarantee though.
What you will see is the successful elements of one shoe taken into the next newer shoe. This plus something different and improved to ensure we do have a new shoe.

In this case the new Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC.  Launch date: 15th June 2020.

Take the midsole from the highly popular Supertrac range. It is responsive, protective and extremely well cushioned. Plus it is resilient, it just runs for miles and miles.
Add in the outsole from the existing Kinabalu RC 2.0 that is perfect for summer trails. Grippy, surprisingly so on wet rock, plus it’s holding power up and down step terrain and you get the idea this is going to be a superb shoe.

With an 8mm drop this is a shoe that should suit a wide range of folk. Add in the ‘Scott Rocker’ and you have a shoe that feels like it just wants to be run in. So we have traction and grip, a resilient, protective midsole; all known factors and pretty much guaranteed that we know what we are going to get.

Wow!Except for one major change the upper.  This we did not expect. It is lighter in feel on the new Kinabalu Ultra yet retains the same essential caressing fit that so often typifies the RC range. Straight out of the box and onto my feet. WOW!
That I did not expect, so very very comfy. Definitely a step up in both fit and comfort.

So for a quick run. I normally prefer anything lower in drop than 8mm. Yet, these did not feel like 8mm, if anything more like 6mm. Was it the rocker?  I felt immediately at one with the shoe.  I wanted to run in them. All the characteristics I love about Scott Running shoes were there. The traction, responsiveness and protection. Yep, reckon I could run all day in these. The big step up is in the level of comfort and fit offered by the upper.

If you are in the market for a summer training come racing shoe then I suggest the new Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC should be on your radar. It could be a surprising treat for your running paws.

Out of the Box review by Stu. Photos’ are our own, with a very excited Harvey.

To get your pair now follow the link here >> for Mens and here >> for Womans

Scott Kinabalu Ultra : Traction Matters

New Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC

My personal fitness regime in lock down.

Harry who regularly runs with running past 50 on a friday and attends parkruns every saturday shares how he has stayed fit when all of his normal outings are gone.

Week 8 and have not been outside the gate. This not because of Coronavirus phobia but because my wife is on the government extremely vulnerable list for the virus.

I do not have dumbbells or a yoga mat but what I do have is a furnished house and a garden. You do not need a gym to keep fit. So how have I managed?

Daily routine consists of 10-minute workout in private in the bedroom. Starts with spinal stretches. Can nearly touch my toes. Hamstrings are held taut and stretched by placing a foot on a chair. Hips are swung without shoulders moving. Shoulders swung with hips held firm. Dressing table is pressed into action for bicep and triceps dips. Even though it is only 08.30 am out comes the gin bottle. A litre bottle of Tanqueray Gin weighs 1.602kg. (at the start of the week.) Useful for developing upper body strength, mainly bicep curls.   The bedroom rug doubles up as a yoga mat for sit ups. 

Walking around the garden I can resist re-enacting a scene from John Cleese the Ministry of Funny Walks sketches. High kick walk. Then opening and closing the hip gate as I progress down the path. Amuses the neighbours   whom I am sure wonder if I am losing sanity as isolation continues. To add to their entertainment, I run a mile around the garden each night. 30 to 40 m of ascent depending on route. So many twists and turns that it takes at least 22 minutes of strenuous effort. PB 20.05 all comers welcome after lockdown is over.

Add to this routine Sunday I act as house fairy. Hoovering is a brilliant exercise. Use those Abdominal muscles. Move furniture, Weight lift on the stairs. Put in the occasional star jump. Bee bop to music whatever but the job gets done. Windows are washed, requiring step aerobics as well as upper body work out. Even watching TV or working at the computer induces the odd chair squat

Twice weekly 2 kg of bread dough are kneaded. Shoulder ache after this 20-minute workout.

The outdoor gym AKA the Garden then becomes my focus of activity most days. A wealth of equipment here. Electric mower that needs pushing. Hedge cutter waiting to be used.  Barrows of compost to be shovelled and lifted. Land drains to be dug up, unblocked, and then relayed. Essential tree surgery using hand saw and loppers from the top of a ladder. Seemed as if every muscle group was used as I soaked my aching body in the bath.

I just have strength left for the final exercise of the day. To lift and then extract cork from 1.134kg bottle of Chardonnay.

Hopefully, lockdown will finish soon, and I can resume my normal restful exercise routine namely a daily 2-mile walk, The Over Fifties Running Group on Fridays, and Park Runs Saturday. Despite all the above or perhaps because of it time flies past and I feel FIT and EXHAUSTED

Arty Running

Urban or Street Art is appearing in most cities. I’m not just talking graffiti.
In Sheffield we are blessed with the likes of Pete McKee and Phlegm, among others, who have taken the opportunity to redecorate our streets.  Love it or hate it, Sheffield is getting a real reputation for the quality of street art and in around the City; there is plenty to be found.

During Lock-down what better time than now to go discover the street art that the City has to offer.

The process is fairly straightforward and it all starts with finding out where to look and then to plot a route. There’s plenty of art to be found on the canal, just down from Victoria Quays, Kelham Island and then the City itself along main pedestrian areas to the back streets. It just needs hunting out.
Running, following our predetermined route-map was good fun. Navigation on the hoof is always enjoyable and then stopping at each arty check point for a picture makes for a different and refreshing run. Pace is your own, taking time to admire (or otherwise) the art work you find an inspiration to find the next. Some are fun, others more surreal and there are those referencing distant planets and lifeforms.

#UrbanArt : That's The Spirit

Inspired by the most recent #RunSolo Photo Competition this idea was born. So we have teamed up with Saucony for the next lock down photo competition. We think it’s a good idea and fun way to explore, not just Sheffield, any City.  So why not give it a go and see what you can discover.
It can be graffiti, a Rainbow, chalk art, a carving, a sculpture or as we saw last year stone towers in the River Don – imagination can be a key representative of what we call art, so anything goes. Well mostly!
Swipe to the bottom of this Blog for a few useful links.

Details of the Accelerate and Saucony #UrbanArt #RunSolo Competition Here >>
Visit Sheffield: Street Art and a list of artists to discover Here >>
The official Street Art Sheffield website Here >>

 

Running and Music, a perfect harmony by Will Burton

Will Burton is a member of Team Accelerate-SCOTT, and regularly trains with the watchful eye of coach Stu. However Will is also incredible when it comes to playing the Tuba, so amazing in fact he made it to the finals for Young Muscian of the Year for Brass instruments. Post competition Will has put pen to paper with his thoughts on the correlation between running and music.

With music, just like running, I feel it is always important to push yourself. In both disciplines, finding new challenges brings about the greatest improvement.

 

I was certainly nervous before the competition, but following previous weeks, months and to some extent years of preparation I knew this was a challenge I was ready to tackle. Performing to a panel of professional musicians and an audience in the Dora Stoutzker concert hall in Cardiff was a great experience. Perhaps the best thing about the event was being able to put my name out not only to people who attended the performance live, but all the viewers at home too.

Like with running races my performance wasn’t perfect – there were things I wish I could have done better. But no performance, be it musical or athletic, is ever perfect. However, these mistakes always serve as something to learn from, allowing us to improve.

 

Given the current pandemic it can be difficult to summon the motivation to tackle new running challenges; after all, there are no races to train for! However, there are plenty of goals to work towards as runners despite the current situation. For example, time trials are a great way to test yourself over a set course or distance, providing point of focus in your training. Now might also be the time to double down on strength and plyometrics, or perhaps cross-training to keep your exercise interesting and alleviate stress on your knees and feet. There is plenty to go at, you just need to find what works for you.

 

Good luck with your training!

Reasons to run, The Health Benefits of Running

The second installment from Harry Smith in our Reasons to run series, a retired GP and keen runner who regularly attends Running Past 50 on a Friday morning here at the Accelerate store. Harry shares the medical benefits of exercise and how it can keep you healthy and strong whatever your age.

Thomas Edison 1847 – 1931 said “The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will involve the patient in the proper use of food, fresh air and exercise.”

Running is one of the best ways to keep fit and boost your overall health. It is a social activity enjoyed in an outdoor environment by thousands.

The Health benefits are numerous.

1. Cardiovascular System ‘A runner must run with dreams in his heart.’ – Emil Zatopek

The heart is a muscle and like any other muscle in the body benefits from regular exercise. Exercise lowers blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major causative factor in heart attacks. Good HDL cholesterol transports fat away from the arteries and back to the liver for processing is increased by exercise which may also reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol which causes arteriosclerosis,  Arteries therefore retain their elasticity.

This increase in cardiovascular health is asso ciated with a decrease in the incidence of strokes, heart attacks and coronary heart disease

2. Respiratory System “Just breath.” Author unknown

Our lung capacity naturally declines with age. Exercise can increase lung capacity by 5 -15% (lung capacity is the amount of air your lungs can hold after one inhalation). Running thus leads to increased efficiency of the lungs better facilitating transport of oxygen to all body cells leading to better stamina and more work for less cardiorespiratory effort.

3. Muscular Skeletal system. “Be fluid and elegant in your movements.” Anonymous

Running and running coaching especially can improve joint strength, mobility, and function. Muscles are strengthened and bone loss reduced. Core exercises train muscles in the pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen to work in harmony, leading to better balance and stability in daily activities.

Sufferers from arthritis also benefit from appropriate exercise reducing pain and increasing range of movement. The incidence of falls is reduced.

4. Weight Loss. “Sweat is just fat crying” anonymous.

Exercise is the key to weight control. Running for one hour can burn 400 calories. Running is the second-best exercise for burning calories, only second to cross country sking. However, for losing or maintaining a constant weight a balanced diet is also required. Exercise also lowers the incidence of diabetes by 50% by allowing muscles to better process glycogen, afuel for energy. Impaired processing of glycogen leads to excessive blood sugar and thus Diabetes

5. Psychological “Exercise equals endorphins. Endorphins make you happy” Anonymous

Beta-endorphin is released into the circulation from the pituitary gland during exercise,This improves mood and promotes a feeling of wellbeing thus boosting confidence and self-esteem.

Setting and achieving goals can give a sense of empowerment that leaves one feeling happier so fighting depression and stress.

Running is good at increasing social interaction since the running community has many supportive individuals and clubs.Aging is delayed as brain cognitive functions are maintained and decline prevented. New brain cells (Neurogenesis) are also created. There is an increase in vocabulary retention. with better decision making and learning.Miscellany Exercise has also been shown to have the following effects

  • The immune system is boosted.
  • Reduction in risk of breast cancer.
  • Better sleep pattern
  • Increase production of growth Hormone which is required for cell regeneration and growth and maintenance of healthy body tissues.

In summary. Running is incredibly beneficial to the body and the mind. It can leave you feeling more energised, fitter, more focused and better able to enjoy all life has to offer.

Promoting regular running will bring us nearer to Thomas Edison’s prediction.

Movement Matters, A reason to run

Thanks to Laura Hogg for this amazing buzz post, she is a sports therapist for the Accelerate Performance Centre and a keen runner and cyclist. Hear some of her thoughts on the benafits of regular movement.

Like most at the moment, I am incredibly grateful that outdoor exercise is considered essential activity. It’s hard to imagine life without it. But even while we have this luxury, movement matters the rest of the time for the health of our mind, joints, muscles and cells.

Personally, I’m hoping not to slip into sedentary habits whilst working and living from home – even whilst we can run. It’s tempting to think an hour or so of exercise is enough to offset 8 hours of loafing around, but unfortunately not.

Movement Matters is the name of a book by my favourite biomechanist-writer Katy Bowman (I don’t actually know any others). I’ve enjoyed her writing for a while – it’s fascinating and entertaining. Bowman is best known for her book Move Your DNA and her online blog Nutritious Movement.

We might be used to going out of the house for our exercise, and be starting to feel frustrated with a lack of it. But movement more, and more important, than exercise. In Move Your DNA, Bowman explains why your heart and cells needs your body to keep moving in a variety of ways:

  • Blood isn’t only pumped round the body by the heart. Muscles have an important role to play too. The heart pumps blood into arteries, but it is working muscle that draws it into the capillaries through the opened walls of the arterioles (also muscle). By moving, our muscles deliver blood to the tissue that needs it.
  • This blood doesn’t go everywhere in the body though, just where it is needed for the activity. Regular exercise doesn’t guarantee good blood flow to the cells in all of your muscles, only those that are working. For our blood to nourish all of our tissues, we must move often and in varied ways.
  • When we are sedentary, our muscles don’t help our heart. The heart must do all of the pumping by itself – possibly for hours at a time. So by jumping up from a sedentary afternoon at the laptop and heading out for a run, we are asking the heart to work harder than we might realise.
  • Our cells adapt to the way we use our body. Our body responds to the load created by our movement (or lack of it) to create tiny changes in our cells. By standing, walking or running, we create load on our body as it carries our weight. That’s why the bone density of runners tends to be higher than that of cyclists, because runners bodies support their own weight, creating more of a load on the body than sitting on a bike.

I’ve seen lots of ideas recently about how those with spare time in isolation could use it to paint the spare room and read all of the books. But this is an anxious time, made harder for lots of us because our outside hours are limited. Who needs pressure to emerge from isolation with a headstand, a massive brain and a shiny house?

There is loads of moving to do at home, such as standing up from the sofa (that’s a squat, right?!), following pets round the house for attention, hunting for the remote control…

Personally, I’m just trying to not sit for too long, especially on a chair. If I sit on the floor I end up in loads of different and awkward positions, but at least I’m moving! This article about why we sit like we do in the West has a cool image showing different resting postures of the world: https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/your-position-in-life/.

Stay safe everyone!

Accelerate Lifestyle Limited

Accelerate UK: The area's largest Running Store for road, trails, mountain and fell. From parkrun's through to ultra marathons. A wide range of shoes and running items that is backed up by a knowledgeable and experienced running staff. At Accelerate we love our running, and we believe it shoe.

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