Tag Archives: running shoes

New Shoes

As Paulo Nutini, that great Scottish bard sang ‘I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right’. He wasn’t wrong.

Despite being a physio of fair experience, a physio who often reminds clients about the importance of changing your trainers at the appropriate intervals, I appeared to have dropped the bollock on that myself. And the only thing I can put it down to is not writing down all my training runs and totally underestimating how much running I had actually been doing.

Last year I replaced my Saucony with an identical Saucony. I was focussing on the London Triathlon so in my mind my training had mainly been cycling and swimming, my two weak points. Running when it happened didn’t seem to be as important in the training diary that I kept. It was all about water and wheels. After the triathlon my regimented diary keeping seemed to tail off and again in my head so had my running.

About a week ago I started to have severe pain in my left foot, right under the big toe. I could hardly put my foot to the floor. I mentioned it to my other half, and when I suggested I needed new trainers he laughed and said ‘Nah, you’ve only just got those’. I felt like that too (although I’m sure he’s trying to stop me shopping) but the foot pain was telling me something wasn’t right. I looked at the tread and they didn’t seem overly worn. I did the squish test and they still seemed fairly robust. I then put my hand inside the left shoe and found a huge dent that was the size of my big toe, not just a little put of wear but almost worn through the trainer. How the ‘eff had I missed that?

I then went back through my training diary again up until I had stopped recording runs. I scrolled through Strava and discovered a fair few runs that I had completely forgotten about. But I had managed to convince myself I wasn’t doing that much running, because many of the runs had been so short that I had taken them for granted perhaps? So note to self…..

ALL RUNS COUNT. ALL RUNS ARE WEAR ON YOUR TRAINERS KAT, WHETHER THEY ARE THREE MILES OF THIRTEEN MILES.

When I totted it all up I had about 300 miles on paper (good old pen and paper). That’s not including runs that have completely left my memory altogether. I must completely switch off for some of those runs and I really believe that. The Sauconys went in the bin and I found myself some neutral Asics at an outlet store (Macarthur Glen Asics store in Bridgend, what a discovery!). First couple of runs and all the weird aches and pains in my feet and calves have eased off. Funny that *head butts desk at own stupidity*

So the moral of the story? Keep your training diary up to date. It all counts. Slow, fast, long or short, those runs all contribute to improving you and wearing out your shoes. If I make a resolution to keep my diary and a note of the date I start running in new shoes I might avoid total shoe disaster next time. And in new shoes the Reading Half Marathon might actually be alright.

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Summer Running And Rain with Helly Hansen.

A few months ago Beki from Helly Hansen contacted me to enquire as to whether I would like to review their running products. I don’t tend to do a huge number of reviews but I was intrigued to see what their products were like, especially as an alternative to the larger ‘all powerful’ brands more commonly known to runners.

I really had no idea which items to review as everything looked really attractive to be honest. The obvious pinks were there, which for some reason running brands feel obliged to include when making clothes for women, but there was a fair bit of blue, purple and the staple black too. Beki helped me pick out the items and she sent through a few items of clothing and a pair of their running shoes.

As I mentioned I’ve had these items for a few months so that I could give them a decent review.

Loke Jacket £85.00

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I live in Wales. There is a lot of rain. I’m out a great deal with the kids and the dog so I am always in need of a decent rain jacket. I have to say I was pretty pleased with the Loke Jacket. It’s light weight and attractive. It has a nice feminine fit and it didn’t drown me. The colour I was sent is called ‘Pink Glow’ but it doesn’t scream out and out pink to me. It has a bit of a red/orange glow to it.

It’s not massively warm, I would definitely layer up underneath on colder days or if you know you;re going somewhere with a lot of cross winds, like the side of a rugby pitch perhaps! The pockets are nice and deep but there are only your standard two which is fine for a basic rain jacket. If I was going further afield hiking I would like a few more pockets.

If however you end up in a torrential downpour for a fair amount of time expect the rain to start to come through. It’s fine for showers but not the valleys monsoons we sometimes have this way.

Overall though, really nice comfortable rain jacket which I have found perfect for dog walking, summer showers, beach visits and attractive enough to wear day to day. Plus at £85.00 I think it’s a reasonable price to pay for a rain jacket and really good value.

Aspire Flex Hoodie Usually £55. Heather colour now reduced to £33.00

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I LOVE this hoodie. I have practically lived in it since I got it. It’s essentially a training top but I tend to wear it for cool downs. It’s also become my go-to hoodie when I went something to throw on to head down to Porthcawl beach or with a pair of jeans on the school run. In fact I’m wearing it right now. It has become a wardrobe staple for me.

It’s made out of their X-Cool quick dry fabric which I assume means it is a wicking fabric. Whatever it’s made of, it’s soft and comfortable and I love the heather colour that I was sent. It’s also got those thumb holes that you can pop your thumbs through if you’re a bit cold or just feel like snuggling. Will be interesting to see how it fairs for training runs once the weather starts to turn a bit. It washes well and it hasn’t bobbled or become smelly (as I said I’ve worn it A LOT). No pockets though but I can forgive this particular hoodie.

Aspire Jacket Currently reduced to £54.00.

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When I first saw this jacket I wasn’t sure if I like it. It’s not your typical running jacket. The lining is a what I would describe a silver foil lace pattern and the jacket itself is not opaque. Initially I thought it was reversible but it’s not. But when you put your colorful running tops on underneath it, the appearance from the silvery lace lining against the colour is quite effective. It’s definitely a fashion item as much as it’s a running jacket, reminding me a bit of cat walk ‘sports luxe’ clothes.

I’ve had to run in this jacket a few times since summer began due to Welsh rain and I can honestly say it keeps you nice and warm. It definitely kept out a down pour at the track one session.

The drawstring gives it a nice fit but…….there are no pockets. I’m a runner that needs pockets. If you’ve got pockets in your tights or shorts then fine but if that’s not the case I need a handy pocket in my jacket for my phone and keys. That’s the only negative I have about it otherwise it’s really nice, comfortable, attractive to look at and definitely suitable for running in the wind and rain.

Wicked Pace R2 Running Shoe

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I’ve been wearing this running shoe and alternating it with my usual Saucony shoes. Helly Hansen refer to it as having stability and responsiveness. It is definitely light weight and not in the least but bulky. As stability goes I’m not so sure. I find that I get a little bit of foot pain when I’ve been wearing these for distances over 3 miles. I think that is purely down to the fact I’m used to a little bit of lateral stability in my shoes. I have used them for speed sessions though and they are light as feathers. I think if you were used to minimalist shoes then these might be good for you.They’re also not bad to look at and I’ve teamed them with jeans and summer dresses, something I wouldn’t do with my bulky running shoes, so they’re definitely versatile. However if you’re used to a little bit more support I wouldn’t necessarily recommend them. Definitely a shoe for neutral, mid to forefoot runners who are used to minimalist shoes. 

Overall I think Helly Hansen are ones to watch in terms of running gear. It is tough for any company to find a place in that market with the obvious behemoths who monopolise that section in sports wear. However if you’re looking for good quality running clothes with a great variety of colours for women, away from the standard ‘pink’, then it would be definitely be worth visiting the Helly Hansen site for a browse (the hoodie, the hoodie….who said that?)

Helly Hansen are also the extreme weather specialists so I look forward to seeing what they come up with for us runners for the Winter.

Sorry about the lack of ‘real photos’. Struggle with selfies and don’t always get the chance to get family to take pictures.

I was sent all the items above to review. I have not received payment for this review. All opinions are my own and I have been honest in my views about the products. 

Positive Spinning and Letting it Go.

My blog has been a spilling over with woeful tales of being ill and trying to be mindful. It’s not always fun to read and after all who wants to read about a runner being miserable? Running and miserable shouldn’t even be allowed in the same sentence.

Towards the end of last week I was feeling a bit better so I decided that I should make a concerted effort to make myself feel a bit more positive rather than sitting in the corner sulking.

When I’m injured or ill I stalk social media rather than interact and then get all huffy because I can’t share an amazing run or race that I’ve done. In the last week I took a different approach and had a few giggles with Twitter people and commented on some brilliant blogs. I’ve uploaded a few more pictures to Instagram and shared a new recipe that I discovered on another fantastic blog.

Talking about recipes on blogs, the recipe I have been raving about is a  Sweet Potato and All Spice Muffin recipe from Stephanie’s blog Magpie In The Sky. Stephanie’s blog is full of beautiful posts about running and gorgeous recipes that I want to try. She’s given me a few tips and I hope to make these muffins again with some powdered and stem ginger instead of the all spice.

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I have never tried vegan cooking but this recipe is really yummy and my kids have loved them! There is a satisfaction from giving your kids something they like, especially when you’ve put something in them that you know they wouldn’t normally like. Score for this Mam! Baking is something that I enjoy and you have to be ‘in the moment’ and mindful when you are doing it. And in my efforts to put more of a positive spin on things I really should find more time to bake.

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Another positive thing that I did last week as I was coming out of the fog of illness was to go and buy my new trainers. I need to write a longer blog about this subject, but like a great big penny falling from the sky on to my head, I realised that maybe some of my problems have been down to persevering with running shoes that weren’t quite right for me. I had worried about the fact I had been paying lots of money for shoes and I was determined to make them work. In fact they have been badly badly wrong but instead of whinging and moaning I went and discussed it with a nice staff member at Run and Become in Cardiff. I now have a pair of Saucony Phoenix 7’s. Sorry Brooks, it’s not you, it’s me!

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And then last night I went for a little ‘jog’ just to see how I am feeling after the chest infection of doom. It was laboured but I managed nearly 20 minutes. I ‘allowed’ myself a walk break because I felt fatigued and I didn’t beat myself up about it. My chest felt wooden, it didn’t feel like it was expanding the way it should but I know that’s because I’m only just getting over whatever it me like a bulldozer last week. I was kind to myself throughout the run/jog/walk and had the added joy of discovering that braided hair is pretty awesome for running and makes you look a bit like an Eastern Bloc athlete from the seventies and early eighties. When I wear this style  for running from now on I will be known as Katerina Walkerova (I just need to teach myself how to do it).

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Finally as I was driving the boys to school this morning, all three of us singing Let It Go at top of our voices, I realised that just a week on from finishing my Mindfulness course, being ill and making an effort to be less anxious and more positive I feel slightly more content than I have in a long time. I was told on the Mindfulness course that it’s not an easy thing to do, changing entrenched thought patterns and that you have to make an effort to do it every single day. That is what I have been trying to do this week and I’m going to try and continue to do so.

As we were pulling up towards school the boys were quiet and as Idina Menzel continued to sing some of the lyrics jumped out at me.

It’s funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can’t get to me at all!

It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!

If you listen to the song it could easily be a manual for Mindfulness. Letting go isn’t easy when you’ve been gripping on to things for so long. Bit by bit I’ve started to prise the tight fingers of anxiety that have been grasping my head and heart. A few weeks ago I would have been giving myself a hard time for not running and my lack of races and training but I can’t help the things that are out of my control.

I want to enjoy running, I don’t want it to be a chore and for that to be true running can no longer be my emotional crutch. I want to be running for the love of running not because I feel I need or should be running. I want to be a happy, contented runner, not one that is frustrated and angry and complaining about how unfair it all is that I haven’t achieved the things that I wanted to. So I need to make positive spinning a habit and on a daily basis just let go of the things that can’t be helped. Then I can run free.