12 January 2009

Off Road Running Shoes - Saucony ProGrid Xodus

I know that I've been saying that I would start doing product reviews on my blog, so here we go!

Hello. My name is Rav and I am a running shoe junkie. I've run in everything from track spikes to paper thin racing flats. This season, I've been doing various events on a pair of Nike Vomero+3 shoes. I love them so much as they are really comfortable to run in. I'm currently training for an ultradistance marathon that is purely off-road, so I needed something more specific to multi-surface running. I already have some off-road shoes, but they are flat and uncushioned. After about 10 km you'd be hard pushed to go any further. About 10 days ago I ran some of the Grand Union Canal with road shoes and found that they really didn't really suit the surface conditions as they were just too soft. So I decided to go out and get some new shoes...

I did some shopping around and decided to go for a pair of Saucony ProGrid Xodus shoes. My first impression of them was whoa look at those shiny things! Saucony has really started to design some nice looking shoes. I got the grey and yellow ones from my local running shop Up and Running in Watford. They are surprisingly light when you pick them up, but they are made of some seriously durable materials. With the ripstop material on the top and the Vibram soles, these things really looked the business. Ryan at the shop (who happens to be a very accomplished trail and ultra-distance runner himself), offered these up as I told him that the GUC (Grand Union Canal)really tore up my legs whilst wearing road shoes. The Xodus seemed to suit my requirements as they are neutral and cushioned while at the same time stable enough for uneven multi-surface running. I decided to take them out on my run the very same day as I wanted to break them in a bit before my long run on Sunday.

On my first run (the maiden voyage) I took them out on a short circuit of 6 km though local trails and they seem to respond well to the twists and turns that this particular loop consisted of. On my second run I kept mostly to the trails and did my hill session in them. The hill repeats were actually on a paved section close to the Arsenal training grounds. The cushioning in these shoes were certainly adequate for paved downhill running as I didn't feel too sore afterwards. This is important as I've had offroad shoes that really don't have enough cushioning to do very much on the road. Finally, I took them out on my long run on the GUC, which consisted of a 52 km out and back run along the footpath that runs along the canal. Unfortunately, as the surface was still frozen in the early hours of the morning, it was a hard and uneven slog to get the first 32 km in. This absolutely tore up my legs. I don't think that it would have mattered what shoes I was wearing at that time. As the sun came up and the temperature rose, the frozen mud on the footpath actually started getting mushy. It was like the difference between night and day. After about another 10 km or so, my legs started feeling better, but not great. I finished about 10 minutes faster at 50 km than 10 days before, so that's a good thing. In order to tell if these are the right shoes for long distance trail running is still up in the air, but it's certainly looking positive. I'll be back in a few posts to give you a more definitive review of these shoes...

11 January 2009

Another week in the bank

I don't usually do training updates, but I thought that I'd do one this week for a change. I'm currently training for an ultramarathon this winter which kicks off on the 31st of the month. Anyway, here's my week:

Monday - 10km - straight run, 2400m - aerobic swim
Tuesday - 11km - interval session
Wednesday - 6km - steady run, 2600m - speed swim, weights session
Thursday - 11.5km, 30km indoor cycling
Friday - 6.5km - steady run
Saturday - 17km hill session, 3400m - long set swim
Sunday - 52km - canal run, 35km - indoor cycling

Scores on the doors: 8400m swim, 65km cycle, 114km run (woot), weights x 1

It was a good week indeed. I came up short on missing a weights session, but made up with an additional swim and a few extra runs. I'm really pleased with hitting 70 miles this week even with the weekend being a bit bottom heavy. My run today was awesome! It hurt, but it puts me in the right place physically for the run in a few weeks. I'm also getting in good shape for my triathlon base training. I'm a bit concerned about the lack of cycle training, but I should be fine come the end of February.