Tag Archives: running made easy
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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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…
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.
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
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 >>
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 >>
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!