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Treadmills, the Saviour of Winter Training.

Love them or hate them, come the cold mornings and long and dark nights of winter they can be incredible in keeping your running mojo going. As the age-old saying goes, winter miles = summer smiles. Here at Accelerate, we are lucky enough to work with Noble Pro and have both the Elite 8.0 and Elite E8I, If you are looking into getting a treadmill this winter pop down to the store where you can try both out!

We have put together a top 5 list of the best reasons to hop on a treadmill this winter.

  1. Running in the Warmth: In my opinion, the worst parts of running in the winter has to be the cold. With a treadmill though, you never have to leave the warmth of your home. When everyone else is piling on tights and jackets while you can be happily trotting along in shorts and a vest. No fear of the cold creeping in and a reduced risk of pulling a muscle due to the cold.
  2. Consistent footing: If you are, like me, a fan of getting out early for your run, then you may have noticed frost and ice creeping across the pavements turning smooth tarmac into an ice-rink. Jumping on the treadmill and there is no chance of slipping on ice.
  3. Lighting: Night’s drawing in, and many runs in the cover of darkness. Running at night is a valid safety concern. The opportunity to run with others isn’t always an option. No longer do you have to worry, the treadmill is the answer and much safer than running alone at night.
  4. Training benefit: Let’s not forget the training benefit you can have from training on the treadmill. Program in the speed you want to run at and no longer do you need to worry about having to slow for other pavement users or stop at traffic lights. Broken intervals and stop/start runs are a thing of the past.
  5. Entertainment: Boredom, this certainly isn’t the upside to treadmills. With the great Noble Pro Treadmills and their built in TV’s. Why not make the most of it and catch up on your favourite TV show, film or podcast, even pop on an album you have been meaning to listen to. Checking your watch to see if you are almost done is a thing of the past, and runs getting longer is the new norm.

And finally, hop off and you are already home, winner!

Don’t be mistaken, on a sunny winter’s day I love getting outside to run, but come wind and rain the treadmill is the place to go.

After reading this do you think a treadmill will help take your winter training to the next level? Pop down to the store and try one of the Noble Pro treadmills.

The Accelerate Running Store is working in collaboration with Noble Pro Treadmills, acting as a local showroom.  You can get in touch to make an appointment to see, try and find out more about their range.  Call 0114 242 2569 or you can start your research Here >>

 

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.

On CloudBoom review – Tried and Tested

Team Accelerate member and On athlete Andy Shelton has been putting the new On Running Cloudboom through its paces.

Heel-toe drop: 9mm

Weight: 225g

Best use: Road Racing

Price: £170

The CloudBoom is On running’s adventure into the world of carbon infused running shoes, The CloudBoom has been engineered for fast marathons and road races.

Straight out of the box

When you pick up the shoe, you immediately feel how light it is compared to On’s other long-distance, race based CloudFlow and CloudSurfer running shoes.

The CloudBoom is very distinctive. Many design hours and fine-tuned running tech have gone into creating an absolutely gorgeous shoe. As On say – this is definitely “Swiss engineering at its finest”

You will be pleased to know that the CloudBoom retain On’s signature cloud shaped sole. However, it is certainly fair to say that aesthetically they are rather different to On’s regular shoes. It is the only time I have seen a shoe and said “it looks fast”

When you push off for your first run, you appreciate Ons carbon infused speedboard. This flexible, but not pure carbon, speedboard offers a good balance of both rigidity and robustness, so every

step feels light, fast, and responsive.

The materials used in the CloudsBoom tick every box. The upper consists of super quality, ultra-thin and breathable engineered mesh to keep the weight down. The forefoot is reinforced so it can handle all types of turns.

The CloudBoom is well cushioned yet very different mainly due to the exciting set-up of the sole. Side on you can clearly see the different structural layers. In between the top section of the sole, (which incorporates On’s Helion™ foam to aid comfort), and On’s fabled CloudTech™, sits the carbon infused speedboard.

The rubber sole is noticeably different from On’s normal road shoe models. This is to offer you, the runner, enhanced traction and grip in the wet – which could provide increased acceleration and confidence. On have also made some other tiny changes such as the shorter tongue, which minimises weight and shows how On are trying to maximise the efficiency of this shoe.

Compared to the other carbon shoes on the market, the On CloudBoom is considerably more subtle, definitely not shouting out to everyone that you are out to PB, more like running in stealth mode.

After 3 weeks of testing (70 miles)

the new On CloudBoom I have noticed a few things; they are comfortable and super smooth to run in, the shoe is really snappy and provides a quick return for maximum cadence, and definitely has been easier on my legs, calves and achilles, which, for long distance runners, is a must. These shoes basically worked with my body and responded to the amount of effort I put into them. I tried them over a long distance, intervals and mixed pace runs. They responded superbly and I got the extra kick when I needed it. They are definitely now my favorite On running shoe, and most certainly a game changer!

Pros

Shoe looks good

Responsive

Comfortable

Well Made

Surprisingly hardwearing

Refined

Carbon infused

*cost

Cons

They seem to be a bit unstable in lateral motion

Pick up stones

Not for the weekend warrior ( casual runner )

Small toe box

*cost

My opinion

the CloudBoom is best suited to the road running for a decent amount of training miles. A superfast, comfy shoe to take on road races from 5km to Marathon distance and to get your desired PB’s.

Fantastic new On running shoe added to the On shoe family.

*I have put the cost in both categories as a carbon infused shoe it’s relatively cheap compared to others, but for the casual runner, it’s expensive and may not be for them.

The Saucony Endorphin Pro

I have been lucky enough to get my hand on a pair of the Endorphin Pro’s. The latest entry from Saucony in the carbon shoe battle happening right now. If you head to any busy running area you are bound to see at least a couple of people wearing carbon plated shoes.

Ever since the first few companies released carbon plated shoes and amassed a cult following, PB’s and world records started dropping like flies. Until now I haven’t had a pair, so when the Endorphins bounced through the door I was very interested to see if the hype they had built up was really worth it.

The first thing that hit me out the box was “WOW, these are a flippin good looking shoe”. Bright and bold colors just catching your eye. Yet still maintaining the same look of current running shoes unlike some of the carbon shoes out there.

Slipping your foot into them, they are comfy but not plush. They use Saucony’s FormFit to wrap around and hold your foot firmly in place. The upper is lightweight with no added extras to

maintain a racey feel. Its made with a single-layer engineered mesh upper which is highly breathable to keep your foot cool and drain any water or sweat with ease.

The midsole is Saucony’s latest and greatest PWRRUNPB foam a peba based foam. It claims to be super responsive and cushioned but with the longevity of a standard midsole (500 miles). Sandwiched in between is an S-shaped carbon fiber plate, there to fire you forward with every step. Couple this with Saucony’s new Speedroll meta-rocker and it has the potential to be a very fast shoe. It comes in a whopping 35.5mm stack height in the heel and 27.5 in the forefoot for an 8mm drop. Not quite your traditional racing flat.

To finish it off the outsole use a minimal amount of high carbon rubber compound and exposed midsole to keep them down to a featherweight 213g (UK size 9)

Just jogging up and down in them is a very odd sensation. They feel very soft however, you can feel the plate sandwiched in them as if you are running through mud then hit firm ground. Then roll onto the toe and snap forward. Very strange. But not bad at the same time just very different from anything I have used before.

The first proper opportunity I got to use them was a 3k time trial with some of Team Accelerate. I was excited, to say the least, after hearing all the stats that have been thrown about the Endorphin and other shoes like it. Were they really 4% more efficient than a standard trainer? Well…….

They are bouncy, very bouncy. The combination of soft and springy foam along with the carbon plate results in a shoe with a lot of pop. They feel fast, one of the biggest changes I noticed was how much longer I felt like I was in the air after each stride, almost floating. Now I know they are meant to be a marathon shoe but after 3k my legs felt as if they hadn’t done much not sore or tight even when coming down the small hill in the course it didn’t feel as if they were pounding my legs, still just bouncing along.

I know this was only 3k but still for longer races they certainly could come I handy to keep you feeling fresher even in the later stages of a race.

In short, if you can get hold of a pair then 100% go for it, they are an amazing shoe. They make you feel fast and want to run faster! For anything from 10k and above they are an incredible shoe. The one you pull out on race day when you want to rip it and break PB’s. Get a pair here >> today, alternatively take a look at the Endorphin Speed, a more forgiving racer/ quick trainer, here >>

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

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: 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.