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Tag Archives: Fell Running

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.

Scott Supertrac 3: Tried, Tested and Abused

Meet the new and improved, do it all, mountain shoe from Scott the Supertrac 3. Team Accelerate Athlete and all round shoe nerd Harvey has been busy putting them through their paces.

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 >> 

Get to know the Supertrac 3

  • 320g in men’s 8UK 290g in women’s 6UK
  • 8mm drop 29mm in the heel 21mm in the forefoot
  • 6mm deep lugs providing All Terrain Traction

Let’s start with a few specs, the new Supertrac 3 comes in at 320g for a men’s 8 UK and 290g from women’s 6 UK. The 8mm drop combined with Scotts new AeroFoam+ midsole and iconic eRIDE rocker results in a fast and poppy turnover. A new ripstop upper solves lots of the durability issues that have appeared in older versions.

First impression:

Out of the box they have a sturdy and well built feel. The fit through the midfoot feels a little narrower than other Scotts but eases after the first few uses. A padded tongue and heel counter gives the shoe an extra plush feel, ideal for spending all day in them. New for version 3 of the Supertrac is Scotts Aerofoam+ midsole, the same as found in their RC lineup. Boasting better weight to cushioning ratio and having increased energy return is certainly something you can feel. I never got on with the older version they felt heavy, clunky, and cumbersome. Well, all that’s changed, they now feel poppy almost helping your legs to turn over at a faster cadence without trying. Flipping the shoe over is where it gets exciting, chunky 6mm chevron lugs make light work of muddy trails, however, thanks to their larger volume don’t lose out on harder trails or connecting roads. The All Terrains Traction Scott claim certainly fits the bill.

How are they holding up:

After around 90 miles of use, amazingly. I have to admit that I’m not the most diligent with cleaning my shoes. And still, these beauties are showing hardly any signs of wear. I have used them in a real mix of conditions. From hard packed trails, gravel, loose dirt to deep soul sucking mud, the outsole still looks in great nic. A shoe designed primarily for the mud and tougher going trails then I have been blown away by how well they handle themselves on longer road sections. Traditionally with a shoe that has deeper lugs, you sacrifice its ability to run on the road, the Supertrac 3 doesn’t! The upper and in particular where the little toe sits still looks solid, this is very reassuring as this is where previous models have failed.

Who is the Supertrac 3 best for:

If you are after a grippy trail come fell shoe with a good amount of cushioning that can tackle running on the road for a prolonged period. Something you can spend all day in, then the Supertrac 3 could be just what you are looking for.

Sold on them and want a pair right now? The men’s are available here >> and the women’s are available here >>  Or if you are not quite convinced, pop down to the Accelerate Running Store and try a pair out now.

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 >>

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!

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!

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