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Team Accelerate Create A Heatwave in the Cold North

The first weekend in November some of Team Accelerate headed north to race in the Wooler Trail Half Marathon. The latest addition to the team Paddy sums up the weekend.

I don’t need much persuading to travel to new places, so when a trip to Wooler Trail Half Marathon was suggested, I immediately put my hand up. Five months later, I’m on my way to the far North East of England with Team Accelerate, racing in Scott kit for the very first time, with teammates Harvey, Chris & Hugh.

Over the years, I have been on many away days and weekends playing rugby so I knew to expect some banter from the lads! Light hearted shots were fired before we even got on the road, team bonding had begun.

How much kit and pairs of running shoes would 4 people require for a simple 3 day trip and race? I had guessed at 2. One pair to train/warm up in and another to race in. How wrong was I?! Between Chris and Harvey there were 10 pairs with enough kit for every possible weather condition. As for food, we had enough pasta and rice to feed EVERYONE racing on Sunday! Genius move of the weekend? Harvey brought his coffee machine!

With all our bags shoehorned into the back of Chris’ Land Rover and some new age punk playing on the radio, we hit the road for the 4hr journey ahead. The weekend had begun!

I have been training alongside Harvey, Chris and Hugh for a few months now, under the wise tutelage of Stu. I began this journey wanting to find out if there was still opportunity to improve in my early 40s. I regard Stu as the best Coach I have met over the years and as a Coach myself I wanted to learn more about how I can improve the Coaching I provide, whilst sharing my own knowledge and experience with the Team.

I firmly believe in living everyday like it is a blank page and being willing to learn, change my mind about opinions I have formed over the years as an Athlete, Trainer and Coach. Many training sessions and a few races later, my confidence has grown.

I know I’m not completely there yet, but I also know I am now in a place where I can run well, run happy and begin competing at the front end of races again. Being part of a team that encourages and supports you on your journey is key. Travelling to Wooler to race as part of Team Accelerate made me feel proud of what I had achieved so far and actually took all the pressure off how I might perform on race day.

Harvey was returning to Wooler as defending Champion having made the journey North alone a year ago. This time he came with friends, and it seemed to provide an extra layer of confidence from the second we set off on our recce of the route. Despite the route having been marked out ready for the weekend, with a big yellow arrow directing us along the road, Harvey was certain we were to go off to the left along a well trodden footpath towards the woods. Apparently, he hadn’t read the race info that stated there was an alteration to the publicised route due to tree felling in the woods. We found our way to the route thanks to the little yellow flags and arrows put out by the organisers, checking the first 3k and the final descent where a discussion about vaulting gates would give us food for thought over the next couple of days. Shoe choice? The ground was still relatively firm and with the finish now a longish stretch of road would it be plausible to change to carbon road shoes to finish in? Fortunately, that was a decision we didn’t have to make as out of all the shoes we had brought, those weren’t on the list.

Route check complete, we went to find our accommodation for the next few days. Driving out of Wooler into the middle of nowhere, overlooking the very hills we would be racing on. Cracking job Harvey! Now to settle in and relax, with only one tricky decision ahead of us. What film do we choose?

We had decided to go to the route again on Saturday to watch the leaders of the marathon descend to the finish. It also served as a little leg stretch ahead of Sunday. It was definitely going to be a fast one with the ground firm and overhead conditions looking good.

There are many similarities between Northumberland and the Peak District. Sleepy towns, rolling hills and runnable trails that can take you anywhere.

We all certainly felt very much at home in our surroundings and even though we hadn’t dedicated much racing to off-road this year, we all felt quietly confident about performing well on what appeared to be a fast course.

Race day!

The weather was set to be kind to us which was a relief. We arrived at the race HQ, Wooler YHA at 7.45am. Numbers collected, mandatory kit checked and plenty of time to warm up and prepare our bodies and minds for racing.

The short walk to the start line helped settle any nerves that we had and with the relaxed starting process of ‘I’ll count you down from 5 and you can go!’ we were off

Harvey took the lead and it is fair to say no one was going to catch him. Chris settled into a solid position, I eased into the race keeping myself controlled having not raced over this sort of terrain in a while, giving it the respect it deserved focussing on keeping my effort even and sustained. Hugh was sticking to his race plan of staying easy.

By the time I got to the turn around point, Harvey had opened up a sizable lead and as we passed each other on the hill into the checkpoint he was looking strong. A simple cheer of encouragement both ways was appreciated especially as I still had to come back up the hill I was descending. Chris had settled into 3rd and as I reached the checkpoint I found myself in 7th with 8th place trying to close the gap. Hugh was showing his versatility on the trails as I saw him in 9th place as I began my ascent.

Now the ascent! Up to this point the uphill sections had been, relatively speaking, a breeze. This final climb would prove the most challenging. Time to dig in and sustain the effort. If you are feeling it, then those behind and in front are too! Once at the top there were some free flowing trails to stretch out on, an opportunity to get the effort level back up and keep the legs turning. There was a short hill up to a final gateway and as I climbed it I allowed myself a quick check to see how far ahead of 8th I was. It gave me the kick I needed for one final push down the descent and onto the finish I needed! There was no way I was giving my place up now! A shout of ‘Focus, keep the effort up’ and ‘You’ve got this’ from Stu was the extra bit of encouragement to stay ahead. Time to empty the tank, which is exactly what I did down the hill and onto the road. By the time I had got to the finish the gap had increased. Seventh place was mine, greeted by Chris who had given all he could give only to be pushed back from 3rd to 5th in the final stages. Still a positive result for him having had his build up disrupted through illness and a niggle. Harvey was looking pleased with himself and after congratulating me for a strong run, he was pleased to announce he’d continued on for the win in under 90 mins breaking his own course record in the process. Hugh was next across the finish line in 9th having hardly broken into a sweat. The wonder of youth!

All in all, a fantastic weekend building relationships as a team and putting in individual performances that we can all be very proud of.

What a team and what potential we all have to look forward to reaching together!

As for The Wooler Trail Half Marathon, Trail Outlaws have put together a great race. A challenging, but manageable route for all abilities with some really fast sections to get your teeth stuck into. Thanks must be given to Scott Sports for their continued support of Team Accelerate, it was certainly a proud moment for this 41 year old to race wearing their kit. Thanks to Stu & Debs for their support on and off the course and for everyone at the APC for support with niggles of body and mind.

See you next year?

Ps…Our films of choice for the weekend? It had to be James Bond Skyfall on Friday & Spectre on Saturday!

Tried, Tested and Abused, the On Cloudgo

Team Accelerate’s resident marathoner Andy Shelton has had the chance to test out the newest in the On Running lineup, the Cloudgo. Andy admits to being a big On fan and has had “possibly every running shoe they have released since the brand started.” Keep reading to hear his thoughts on their latest creation and if its a thumbs up from him.


The On brand has continued to grow and develop its range of running, hiking, and lifestyle shoes over time. I am constantly surprised at the innovation that they have been putting into their new shoes. Each year On Running manages to design a running shoe that exceeds expectations and consequently shuffles my ranking of On best shoes.

So far this year, On has already overdelivered with 2 new running shoes that have wildly stood out. These stand-out On running shoes include the Cloudmonster (for running long and comfortable), and now the CloudGo (for easy training and longer runs)

So here is what is going on with On’s latest addition….

It’s most certainly an understated running shoe from On. When I opened the box I didn’t really expect much from it just by judging the exterior of the shoe.

Well after using them, I was wrong!!! OK, I was partly right in my judgment because the Cloudgo really doesn’t have one stand-out feature or unique selling points that target it to a specific type of runner. Surprisingly, this is exactly what makes the Cloudgo one of those shoes that, put simply, does everything well without trying to be too much.

The Cloudgo is a neutral, medium-width shoe, and the toe box feels airy – so if your midfoot, and toes are average width then the Cloudgo should feel great in the toe box. It’s a similar feel to the Cloudsurfer.

It has a medium arch that sits ever so slightly more towards the front of the shoe than I’m used to with On running shoes but they feel extremely comfortable right out the box like On shoes generally do. If you’ve worn On’s before and enjoy the feel, then the Cloudgo won’t disappoint, it will likely impress because On has made some great improvements to the cushioning around the heel, and tongue area.

The Cloudgo feels similar to the earlier updated Cloudstratus, in terms of padded cushioning and comfort in the upper, and also the cushioning underfoot to some degree.

That’s a good thing by the way because in both these shoes I enjoy running long distances on concrete and asphalt. The outsole used for the On Cloudgo is quite unassuming but the multi-directional micro-tread patterns mean they can hold their own in wet conditions very well, trust me as they offer plenty of grip, when the conditions aren’t good. The Cloudgo works well on mixed terrain too, including gravel, hard-packed dirt, and very light trails.

I wouldn’t recommend wearing them on technical trails as the tread just doesn’t have the lugs to support uneven terrain., but they have even changed the depth of the lugs underneath, so they aren’t stone grabbers anymore.

This isn’t the bounciest, most fun ride of all the On Running shoes, however, that title still belongs to the On Cloudmonster. Check out the previous review I did here if you really want to turn up the fun while running.

The Cloudtec pods in the Cloudgo are large and as supportive as the Cloudstratus , although the Cloudgo is a lighter shoe with a bit less cushioning in the midsole, and a lot like the Cloudsurfer in terms of how they feel underfoot.

This understated performance makes it tricky for me to put a finger on what actually makes this shoe so good. The only thing I can really say is that they just work well, without trying to be anything ground-breaking. On have gone back to basics and have ultimately created a relatively simple yet effective running shoe that JUST WORKS WELL!

On a personal note, I love the design. As I said earlier though, there’s nothing all that flashy about them, they are comfortable and perform extremely well.

On Cloudgo upper is made with sustainable recycled materials. I really like the little details on these running shoes, from the streak of white lines that run all around them, to the almost camo pattern in the mixed weave/stitching pattern that you can see in the orange parts of the upper. The mesh material used for the On Cloudgo upper is quite thick, comforting, and surprisingly breathable. The shoe is made with 30% recycled materials while the upper is made with 90% recycled polyester. The material used for the interior is very soft on the top of your feet which is so important if you’re planning longer runs in these.

There are areas in the upper that have been protected with strips of ‘no-sew foil’ which will firmly hold fabrics together without the possibility of materials fraying. Everyone will appreciate every move the On brand makes to help improve sustainability in the manufacturing process.

My final conclusions are these, how do I describe the feeling of the Cloudgo: unassuming, reliable, and comfortable!

This is one of those running shoes that you can rely on, is unassuming, yet performs to very high standards.

It’s a workhorse you can rely on which allows you to get in plenty of training miles in total comfort.

PROS

  • Very comfortable out the box.
  • One of those shoes that JUST WORKS. I like how they haven’t been over-engineered.
  • Unassuming yet a high performance shoe – I find myself running faster than usual.
  • Medium cushioning gives them comfort and responsiveness – this makes them great for half marathon and even marathon running.
  • Very reasonably priced for such a workhorse of a shoe that just does it all well!

CONS

  • The design looks a bit unassuming – some will love that; others may prefer something else.
  • I’d like to see more daring colourways. But this is a personal thing.

Get here pair today you can find the Men’s here and the Women’s here

 

Scott Pursuit, Tried, Tested and Abused

My name is Will and I have been running with the Accelerate team for around 4 years now. I enjoy all types of running but am currently studying in Manchester, so do a lot of my training on tarmac and in parks and will be reviewing the Scott Pursuit. Keep on reading to find out my thoughts!

Straight out of the box

Straight out of the box the shoes felt plush and cushioned. The soft tongue and laces made it easy to get a good lace lockdown in the shoe, stopping my feet from slipping around. The 30mm stack height and rocker shape of the shoe did feel unique, especially after running in more minimal shoes like the Saucony Kinvara before, but I quickly got used to this and liked it. I run in a UK size 10 and have found the Pursuits fit true to size. I also like the different colourways (grey-black-lime green, blue-orange and dark green in men’s sizes, and navy-yellow, green-red and purple in women’s sizes) which is always a bonus!

First run thoughts

For my first run in the shoes, I did an easy 6-mile loop from my house. The soft midsole of the shoe was really comfortable running on a mixture of tarmac and dirt trail. Despite the cushioned feel of the shoe, they felt snappy and responsive. The rocker shape of the shoe helped me to promote an efficient midfoot strike and by the end of the run, I had no aches or pains which I sometimes suffer from with inefficient foot placement. The shoes felt snug and secure throughout the run. They were stable and grippy on slightly wet tarmac and soft trail but wouldn’t be appropriate for a muddier trail. The shoe is designed primarily for road running but can handle dry, non-technical trails.

Despite running less than 50 miles in the shoes so far, I have done lots of easy runs, an 11-mile long run, a fast Parkrun and a 12 x 400m session in them. The shoe is not designed as a racer but it has nevertheless felt comfortable and fast for all the types of running I have thrown at it. The shoes were also quick to break in, any initial stiffness alleviated after two runs in the shoe.

Conclusion

The Scott Pursuit is the best all-round running shoe I have used. From fast sessions to long slow runs, this shoe fits the bill. Using the shoe, I have been able to run further and faster with less fatigue the following day.

The men’s can be found here and the women’s can be found here. Or if you are not quite convinced, pop down to the Accelerate Running Store and try a pair out now.

Tried, Tested and Reviewed, True Motion Aion Next Gen

Team Accelerate athlete and marathon runner Andy Shelton has been clocking up the miles in the new True Motion Aion Next-Gen. Keep reading to find Andy’s thoughts on the new Aion Next Gen below.

Who are true motion, and what are they about.

True motion is a German based company whose ethos is putting the runner first. No fancy gimmicks, they are using science to help people enjoy running and stay injury free.

Are the shoes different, yes, they are and for this reason they are wanting to make shoes that are as comfortable, natural, and efficient as possible.

So recently I have been asked to take the Aion Next Gen shoe and put it through it paces. As people know I’m an Ontm fan and have a large rotation of stability and carbon plated shoes.

Is this shoe going to be different, I’m not a stranger to True motion as I have a pair of the Solos in my shoe rotation, and I have been very impressed with overall robustness of that shoe. I have ignored all the sales talk about the shoe, and this is what I think.

 Straight out of the box

They look neat and tidy, looks a well-made shoe, with nothing flashy about it, a pure shoe for running.

Love the colourway as it is nice and understated.

I took the shoes on a few runs furthest was about 16km and how did the shoe feel, all I can say is that they were a joy to my achy feet. Comfort is the buzz word and comfortable they are, this is due to the more cushioned U-Tech midsole which offers up a really soft landing.

The 3D MotionBridge structure also extends around the heel of the shoe for enhanced security and support. The outsole incorporates rotated TrueFlex flex grooves in the front of the shoe which enhance comfort when you push off from your toes. The sustainable Regrind Rubber outsole offers excellent traction and durability, so it gives confidence in the wet (it was raining heavily during the test)

The fit of the shoe was excellent, it felt stable and really secure on my foot, and it nice to know that the material used in these shoes is from sustainable resources.

Who do these shoes suit, in my opinion anyone, if you going to buy the shoes, I would go up ½ a size as this will help your feet and toes, with the little upsizing you will benefit from the extra cushioning. U-Tech Aion (Next Gen) is True Motion’s most luxurious, premium feeling shoe and is an excellent addition to your running shoe rotation, it is excellent for any runner looking to treat their feet kindly on easier or steady-paced runs.

The Aion Next gen specs are as follows:

  • Weight: 270 grams (slightly lighter than previous models)
  • Drop: 10mm
  • U-Tech structure centres forces applied during the gait cycle
  • 3D MotionBridge structure helps transfer energy and offers a smooth transition

Overall conclusion

You aren’t going to go super-fast in these shoes, as they aren’t the lightest of shoe as they aren’t designed for this they are for long easy steady runs, these are definitely a road shoe.

For comfort and running enjoyment these are definitely for you, and you will not be disappointed as you will get lots of happy miles running in the Aion next generation.

Are you sold on them and want a pair right now?

The men’s can be found here and the women’s can be found here. Or if you are not quite convinced, pop down to the Accelerate Running Store and try a pair out now.

More information about the True Motion and their range can be found Here. Or watch the video below.

 

Dot Kesterton England Masters Athletics Home International Bristol 10k road race

Team Accelerate runner and Steel City Strider Dot Kesterton has recently raced in the Bristol 10K road race organised by the England Masters Athletic Keep reading to hear how she got on.

Stuck out on Higgar, can’t get back in time.

Forgot to fill in the entry form.

I didn’t tell the family I’d be away.

It’s the hour before the alarm goes off and all the anxiety half dreams are swirling crazily around. A dozen reasons why I won’t make the start line. With emerging consciousness comes a breath of relief. I’m in the right place at the right time with the right kit, well prepared and have done my homework as thoroughly as I can. Despite the nerves I’m looking forward to it.

Bristol, a bit hilly like home and made rich on the back of slavery sits in late summer sunshine with a breeze off the sea as I walk to the start. I do wish the ‘England’ on my vest sat as comfortably as the ‘Wales’ on the other home international athletes, proud of their heritage. There are times when I’m simply ashamed to belong to a small island nation with small, minded leaders.

The race was organised by England Masters Athletics. The qualifier was Leeds Abbey Dash last October so here I am 11 months later in my new V70 age group to pound city centre streets in search of a new title. The route, snake like in the route map, winds around the Avon, through a small park, over unfriendly cobbles and finishes in Millennium Square, a large pedestrian area overlooking Spike Island and the river. Around 240 England Masters 35+ years old were at the head of a large group of runners looking forward to the Great Bristol 10k.

Tim Rafferty, fellow Sheffielder warming up for the half marathon after the 10k calls a greeting. it’s so good to see a familiar face among a sea of strangers.

My race goes well in that I find my pace in the early stages and settle to around 4.40mins per k. That should bring me in among the leaders without blowing up. Breathing is manageable and my legs are strong. Through the 5k point at 23.22 minutes so if I can hold onto it, I’ll be in around 47 minutes. It would be good to magic up a sprint finish but that eludes me, so I stumble in breathing hard in 47.30 chip time. At that stage I don’t know if I’m leading the age group or not, so it comes as a great relief to learn that I’ve led the group from the outset. Friend and rival, Anne Dockery, a formidable duathlete is next in around 50 minutes with the remaining V70’s a little after.

We relax and chat over the post-race presentations as people from far and near celebrate their achievements. The Masters winner was Matthew Rees, M35 in 31.33. First woman was Helen Gaunt, W40 in 35.41. Full results can be found at Here>>

Dot Kesterton, W70

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.

Dot Kesterton 2021 yearly round-up

Team Accelerate runner Dot Kesterson has been busy racing and training throughout 2021. Keep reading to find out how she got on and plans to move forward and up her game for 2022.

Date Name Distance Time Position Comments
23.06.21 Rother Valley relays 5K 23.20mins 1st F50 team 93.86% AG
26.06.21 Round Sheffield Run 23.6K 01.48.11 F50
24.07.21 BMAF North T&F 1500m 06.31.17mins 12th of 12

1st F65 of 1

93.24%AG
08.08.21 NMAC Preston Road race 5 miles 38.06mins 2nd F60 91.69%AG
29.08.21 Dig Deep Trail. 12.12miles 02hrs 17mins 1st F60 600m elevation
11.09.21  EA Rep race, Kew Gardens 10K 47.34mins 1st F65 of 25 Gold medal

93.03%AG

19.09.21 Sheffield Way Relay 15.2K 1hr 35mins Leg 1
03.10.21 Cusworth 10K 10K 47.20mins 1st F65 93.49%AG
10.10.21 Ten10Ten 10K 50.32mins 1st F60
17.10.21 SYCC league

Longley Park

5.9K 30.22mins 1st F65
24.10.21 Abbey Dash

 

10K 48.10mins 1st F65 England qualifier. 91.87%AG
30.10.21 BMAF CC relays, 3x3K 15.07mins 1st F65 team Long Eaton

Gold medallists

31.10.21 SYCC league, Penistone 6.32K 33.59mins 1st F65
14.11.21 Derby road race 10miles 77.16mins 1st F65 of 7 93.67%AG

3rd UK ranked.

5.12.21 Percy Pud 10K 46.16%AG 1st F65 95.64%AG

4th UK ranked

12.12.21 SYCC league, and SYCC Champs, Graves Park 6.43K 32.23mins 1st F65 SYCC F65 Champion.

 

Annual Review 2021.

This is my last year in the F65 age group. Coach John Rothwell and I agreed it could be a time to enjoy running for its own sake before beginning more focused work for the next age group in 2022.

The first half of the year followed the same pattern as much of 2020 with a solitary run program punctuated with virtual races of different distances and terrains from 1500m to half marathon. I used the time well to increase my long runs as planned. Speed and interval work suffered because of a lack of opportunity to run against others.

The first race with other competitors was the Steel City Striders inspired Rother Valley relays, 23rd June. Teams of 3 runners x 5K. After 15 months since any races with actual people, it was both exciting and daunting. As an F50 competitor with Kate Morris and Kate Scott, the pressure to perform well was as keen as any race. We each ran well to win the category, though it was clear my 5K time at 23:20mins was around a minute slower than before lockdown a year earlier.

Attending the England Athletics Representation 10K race in Kew Gardens gave me a chance to wear my England vest, last worn in Birmingham in May 2019. I had no expectation of winning the age group since I was six months from the end of it but trained and prepared according to my goals and was delighted to win the gold with a relatively slow 47:34mins, 93.03%AG, just four seconds ahead of my nearest rival. An autumn series of 10K races finished with Percy Pud in December. 10K times were regularly around 47-48 minutes so a time of 46:16mins, 95.64%AG was very pleasing.

The South Yorkshire Cross Country league resumed in October, a series of 4 club races in the county, finishing with the SYCC Championships at Graves Park in December. Despite being ill and unable to race at Campsall I won the age group and Championship for the second time, 2019 and 2020. The BMAF Cross Country relays at Long Eaton gave my team of Carol Beattie, Sheila Woodhead and myself victory over the two competing teams in the age group, our second BMAF Cross Country Gold medal.

With the resumption of Parkrun in 2021, I have used the opportunity to work on my 5K and 10K pacing.

Planning for 2022.

Goals:

My main goal for the year is to attend the World Masters Track and Field Championships in Tampere, Finland in July. The pandemic is still rife with the Omicron variant affecting fixtures but if the WMA fixture goes ahead, I will enter the 10K road race and Cross Country. I will be 70 in April and will compete against a new group of women at an international level. To achieve success at Tampere I will

Train well over the next six months

Prepare well for races

Race smart, pace judgment

Aim for 95%AG in all races.

Process:

Raise distance of weekly long run-up to 23K

Raise weekly mileage over the winter up to 50K

Focus on recovery including active recovery

Attend two-speed sessions per week except in recovery weeks.

Revisit Mental Prep modules for stimulus.

Races entered to date.

06th Feb 22: Alsager 5mile race.

07th May 22: Lakeland 10K trail race, Stavely.

There will be an England Home International race in Bristol, but no date had been confirmed yet.

WMA Tampere Website is not yet active.

I will enter other races as the opportunities arise, all as part of my build up to WMA 2022.

 

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 >>

 

Time to ‘Layer-Up’ & Stay Warm

Say what you like, for me there is nothing much worse than being cold.  Wet and cold is so much worse and if you are out in the hills for a long run-out then this is potentially life threatening.  A slightly different story on the streets of the city, yet the same wet and cold problem can still be relevant.  So what to do?

“Layer up! That’s the key”.

Finding what works for you is key. Not being afraid to invest in some really decent kit can also make all the difference too. Not just to you yet also to the environment as kit will last longer and has the potential to be made with less waste. In addition good quality base and mid layers can be used beyond winter – in the summer too.  Now that has to be a good thing.

A Layering System
Think ‘Angel Cake’ – base, middle and top layers.
The key for me is breath-ability of the clothing I wear, whilst offering insulation. I hate being cold! I also find that if my clothing gets too wet then I get cold. So I actually avoid waterproof jackets because of their less than adequate breath-ability. So where to start…

  1. The Base Layer
    Or sometimes referred to as the ‘Next-to-Skin’ layer – NTS. Yes, I want it all. Insulation, quick drying and breathable. Most of all I want warmth even when a little damp from my own perspiration. So I look for a micro-fiber tee or longsleeve that offers a degree of insulation and breath-ability.  Micro-fibres are better at moving moisture away from the skin. They are also less likely to hang onto any moisture, drying fairly quickly. They are versatile as they can be woven into ‘Grids’ of insulation (pictured below, right). Small squares of tightly knit fibers which are then linked together by more open and breathable channels of fiber. A blend of insulation and breath-ability, coupled with wicking and quick drying.
    Other options include a tighter woven fabric made from microfibres and for some merino wool ticks the box.
    I often find a short sleeve NTS, with a long sleeve version of the same worn over the top can work extremely well.
  2. The Mid Layer
    So the temperature is dropping below 2-3°C and perhaps there is a cooling breeze out on your run. This is the point many will pop a waterproof on.  Noooooo, you’ve just created a sweat-bath for yourself. Add another wicking, warmer layer instead.  Save that jacket for when you really need it. Here a heavier warm layer can work very well. Can help block the cooling breeze and simply provides more insulation, therefore warmth. Larger, thicker ‘Grids’ can work well, as can tops with varying panels of different fabrics that allow for greater breath-ability in high sweat areas and improved insulation in other areas.
  3. Outer Layer.
    This is very much about keeping the weather off you. Windproofs and waterproofs are designed to do this.
    Unless it is raining stick to the windproof. They are more breathable and most definitely dry exceedingly quickly. They also preserve the life of that more expensive waterproof as you will not be wearing it as much. Waterproof jackets (*See note below) are not designed for daily running use. All that movement breaks the membranes down that are designed to protect you – now that is expensive.
    The amount of times I hear of people complaining their waterproof only lasted a couple of years – then they refuse to buy a windproof… My waterproof jacket is seven years old and going strong. My windproof even older and is still like new. Now, that gets hammered!
  4. The Icing on the Cake.
    Yes, there is one, arguable it is a bit of a treat. Yet, if you are a daily runner, especially at higher or more remote locations then the icing can be very tempting.
    So called, Soft Shells. Super nice midlayers that are just marvelous to wear or jackets that blend a windproof panel or two with insulation (pictured in use, left).
    Yes, you will pay a little more for these yet they can be well worth it.
    They tend to last for quite sometime if cared for and can offer that middle ground many seek. Those that have them, swear by them, and generally find they end up with more than one. For high mountain use I personally find they are extremely good, especially when the conditions call for it. Plus,they make for a brilliant spare layer to be carried, for when the need arises. I probably have more of the warmer variety, collected over the years, and just the one windproof combo. That probably says more about me than the jackets!

Clearly in all of this there is going to be a lot of mixing and matching to get the combo right for that days run. On many occasions it will not matter too much if you get it wrong – yet it is always better to be warm than cold – especially on the trails and hills around Sheffield. NTS layers often make for good summer tee’s and they don’t have to be body hugging to be effective – thank goodness.  Planning your running wardrobe carefully can in the long run prove to be more cost effective than just buying random cheap gear.

With all that said, be warned, due to the pandemic quite a lot of the clothing we currently have available, is it. When it’s gone, it’s gone. We have been told there are no restocks available and we are already running out of our winter allocation of clothing.

Oh yes and if you fancy baking your own 3-Layer Angel Cake then follow this link for some direction from Baking with Granny >> 

Some of my favorite winter clothing is as follows:
“For base layers and tee’s I can wear all year I use Patagonia Capilene tops a fair amount.  The same applies to their mid weight range.  I really like Patagonia’s environmental approach to making clothing.  I think that their mid weight tops are also worth exploring as is the Scott Trail Run Long Sleeve top…The ‘Grid’ picture above is from this top.
New kids on the block, Dynafit, also look like they will fit the bill.  One to try when I next need a top.
When it comes to windproofs I am a big fan of the Patagonia Houdini. It packs small and into the pocket of their shorts for a starter.  It just works and I have had mine for around 9 years.
I also have the Patagonia Peak Mission soft shell, It’s excellent although a little pricey. The new Dynafit Alpine Jacket has already received some very favourable comments and is better priced.  For a cosy warm mid layer I am at the moment trying the Dynafit Radical Jacket.  So far so good. This is the most up to date and available warm hoody I have.”

*Please Note: Waterproof Jackets are made from delicate membranes and designed to be worn when it is wet.  The downside to this is that they are fairly delicate and despite everyone’s best efforts are not as hard wearing as we would like. They are light weight and consequently best avoided for everyday use. Hence, the suggestion of a windproof and to preserve the life of your waterproof.

 

Scott Cruise, tried and tested

Accelerate Scott Team member Harvey was lucky enough to get his hands on a new pair of the Scott Running Cruise. The newest member in Scotts range. Read on to hear all his thoughts on them.

The Cruise is the latest addition to Scott’s road running line up. Using their latest Kinetic midsole, a single layered engineered mesh upper and their eRide technology which rolls you forward with every stride. It has resulted in an interesting shoe to run in…

First Impressions

So this is a strange one. Straight out the box they comfy and feel nice to walk around in. However, to run in I just couldn’t get one with them, they felt heavy, to firm and clunky and I felt sluggish wearing them. So not the best start. But I persevered wearing them to see if breaking them in might help with this.

Specs

Weight: 280g

Drop/ Stack height: 11mm, 15mm in the toe and 26mm in the heel

Midsole: Kinetic Foam, Claiming 14% more energy return than standard EVA midsole

Best use: Road Running

Support: Neutral

After 200 (ish) Miles

They now feel completely different, they are the shoe I reach for whenever I’m heading out on a run. So what has changed?

After around 50 miles the midsole began to break in and feel more alive and responsive, less like a boat on my foot. The upper has also stretched and moulded slightly to my foot making them even comfier than when I first got them.

After the 50 mile mark they have been a great shoe and I have started to use them for more and more of my training. Initially, I only took them out on my easy days when I didn’t want to run too fast and wanted a bit more between me and thew ground. Gradually I have started to use them for more of my longer runs and even a few speed session and they have been amazing. They just do everything I want from a shoe, feel well cushioned enough that I’m not getting beaten up and light enough that even when they are at higher paces they feel great.

There are very few shoes that I feel I can use for every part of my training, the only others are the Saucony Kinvaras.

 

If you have had Scott shoes before and are in need of a new road shoe the Cruise is defiantly worth a try on. The Mens can be found here >> and the Womens here >>

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 >>

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!

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