Sunday, 24 November 2013

inov8's or Walshes...

Ultra Tour de Matlock Bath : Just !

4,500ft of climbing don't sound too much. 29 miles doesn't sounds THAT silly. Do em both locally round Belper though and those slippy slidy muddy climbs will always ensure you finish absolutely exhausted! 

I like to sling this one in over the winter for several reasons. Firstly, it's a stunning route - loads of top local viewpoints. Secondly, it's from my front door - no petrol. Thirdly, it's a good test piece just to see how tired I am running up the final hill through Nether Heage.

Yesterday was a bit more of a challenge though. Ever since last Sunday's lakes run in my new inov8's I've been getting very very bad heel pain. Tuesday and Wednesday I was unable to walk normally. This did get slightly better during the week to a point on Saturday where I hardly noticed it, so I thought I'd go for it anyway. I was opting to run in my usual Walshes as I never get pain in those.  Sadly, leaving my front door and running down the terrace was substantially trickier than I'd hoped for. It was a shuffly hobble at best. What now ? Well, I never like to give up without a proper battle, so thought I'd start off on the route and see how it was at the top of Alport Heights. As it happened, only Andy turned out and seeing as his van was dropped in Matlock Bath ready for halfway rendezvous, I felt obliged to navigate him to his van at least ! 

After about 30 mins the pain had eased a fair bit. Thankfully, the lack of any training in the week meant my legs were fully charged, with the first proper food around Hearthstone lane (20 mile mark 3.5hours). This was an unusual feeling, but one I might try in the future - even the Fellsman, I think I train on the Thursday before the race on the Saturday - probably not wise after how good my legs felt with a week off.

Overall a great day out, Andy certainly enjoyed the first half, but as it's hard all the way through this route - found it hard going not surprisingly ! Moving time was 4h50 and I certainly wasn't pushing it. 

This now means that I've potentially got a pair of fell shoes which are of no use. I'll try them again in a month or so for 2-3 hours, but frustrating to say the least...

5h Coniston to Ambleside Run : Lads weekend

Last weekend was our second annual winter weekend away in the Lakes. Returning to Coniston, mainly due to the YHA and the decent selection of pubs more than anything else ! It was great to meet up and have a good ole chin wag, but it's always a balancing act between too much beer on Saturday night and the quality of the run on Sunday too !

Thankfully, neither were compromised this year and after too many beers on Sat night, I headed up into the gloomy murk hanging over the lakes last Sunday. Picking small trods up Wetherlam, the going was good training. Sadly, the descent off NNE was very slippery on rocks so I was reduced to less than a walk. Over Blea Tarn, up to Stickly Ghyll, up to near Seargent Man, then down Blea Rigg to what I thought would have been Elterwater kind of area. Sadly, I'd headed too far left, so was surprised to see the far end of Grasmere lake which meant another mile or so. Legs felt great so that wasn't really a problem. Met up with the others in the best tea shop in Ambleside by a mile - Rattle Gill.  I had the best salad (yes, salad) I've ever had along with the most chocolatey Rocky Road ever too. What a top spot. Run was just under 20 miles and 5,000ft, but due to the slippy nature felt a lot more. Shoes were fine ... ON THE RUN. Read onto next blogpost to find the sting in the tail of my new inov8's...

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Inov8 Trailroc 255 vs Walshes - Initial Impressions

I think I've always run in Walshes - they were the first fell shoes I owned way back in about 1999. Since then, I've tried Inov8's (a very very early model which I never wore), Mizuno and Adidas and never found any of them outstanding.

The thing I love about the Walshes is how you can easily get them resoled at Pete Bland for £30. I've had some Walsh uppers go through about 4 soles before I've had to buy a new pair of shoes

Over the last few months though I've done a couple of long runs in Snowdonia and couldn't help but think that I needed a little more cushioning around all those rocks. My feet felt especially battered after Saul and me did the 10h jaunt back in August. So, last weekend on the way to the Lakes, we popped into those very nice folk at Accelerate in Sheffield which is just off J34 of the M1. Accelerate was I think recently voted the UK's no1 running shop and for good reason - massses of shoes and some gear - generally focused on the outdoors, but also touching on road and track. Last time I was there I went up specifically for my New Balance Minimus minimal trail shoes which I've loved from day 1.

This time's visit was no less successful. Although I didn't get to use them in the lakes last weekend, I've given them a thorough session yesterday and today clocking up just under 4 hours in them.

Initial impressions in comparison to the Walshes
Note that all these comments refer to the Inov8's without their footbeds in.

Heel to Toe Drop - feels better than I expected - very akin to Walshes. These are stated as 6mmdrop but I'm not sure what Walshes are. These certainly do not tend to heel strike.

Resistance to Rocks - Proved very good and the main characteristic I'm looking for in this shoe. Quarry trails with rubbled descents weren't even noticed.

Stability - No issues again although not properly tested. I expect them to have better side stability than Walshes as they are wider. I struggle in walshes with rolling over sideways on my ankles, so am keen to find out how these turn out.

Grip - Muddy descents were in abundance this weekend and these only faultered on stuff that Walshes would have come unstuck on. Generally good, but I need to test them on rocks more.

Feeling Fast - More padding under foot than walshes and at the end of both runs I felt springy despite no food. I've not run for nearly two weeks, so neither shoe was actually fast in practice! I love walshes and they feel great in short fast stuff. It remains unclear for now whether I'd go for the Inov8's when running down the running track over the Walshes. At this moment - I wouldn't.

Ultra Running - I expect the underfoot cushioning and rock protection to prove superior on the Inov8's when your feet really do get a battering and you can barely walk to the car afterwards.