6 Tips For Quality Run Training

6 Tips For Quality Run Training

Tips for Quality Run Training Train no faster than one pace quicker than the race you are training for. For example, 5k pace is good for an Olympic-distance race, while half-marathon pace suffices...

read more
Goof Review: Altra Torin 2

Goof Review: Altra Torin 2

I have been a fan of the Altra line for a little while now, so I was so honored to be given a chance to review the brand new Altra Torin 2.  I reviewed the 1.5 version when it first arrived, and it became my shoe of choice for long runs.

What I love about the Torin 2

Zero Drop

One of Altra’s significant differences in the complete line of shoes is their zero heel drop and since my coaching methodology includes an emphasis on our body’s natural movement while running this is obviously one of my favorites. (I have included a explanation of what “Zero Drop” means in my previous Altra Torin 1.5 review.)

Wide Toe Box

The other difference between Altra and their competition is the wide toe box, or as Altra calls it, a “FootShape” toe box.  The ability to splay the toes plays a significant role in injury prevention and the strength of the feet.  This allows the runners body to support itself, rather tan relying on a shoe for support.

Upper

The upper has been improved in the 2.0.  The Torin 1.5 was made with a thick upper which added unnecessary weight and reduced flexibility of the shoe.  The 2.0 has been upgraded with a much thinner mesh material that breathes better and allows for more flexibility.

 Outsole

Here is where some of my favorite changes were made.  First, they moved from the heavier EVA to their lighter proprietary “A-bound” material that for me seems to add a little more spring to the ride of the shoe.  When my foot strikes the ground the material seems to not only protect from the natural impact, but reacts driving me forward.

The weight in the previous show was 10.1 ounces which was up from the original Torin which was 9.5 ounces.  The Torin 2 comes in at 9.1 ounces which is one of the lightest in this category, if not the very lightest.

Midsole

Altra added what they call Innerflex which are groves in the outsole and midsole that bend with your foot allowing substantially more flexibility than the previous models.  This too me was the single most important change they made.  The Torin has always classified as their High Cushioned shoe which most companies have traded flexibility for cushion.  Altra has found a way to give runners the flexibility I love with the cushioning I want and without giving up any of proprioception.Torin-2.0-2 sole

The have now included a Foot Pod technology which maps the bones of the foot with the Innerflex so the shoes flexes where the runner needs it to, allowing a near customized fit.

Removed

Altra went ahead and removed the toe guard and heel rudder as well.  In my opinion this not only allowed them to shed some weight, but also added to flexibility and comfort.  In a road shoe I never really thought either added any value.  These two advantages are best left for trail specific designs.

What I don’t like about the Torin 2

Obviously, not much.

The new Abound foam tends to soak in water and sweat which makes the shoe feel a little heavier during training and racing.  Even with the mesh material the shoe does not seem to drain well.  I would love to see a version of this shoe with drain holes, but of course that is the triathlete in me talking.

After about forty miles the new Abound material started to squeak while just walking ,and only in my left shoe  This does not seem to happen when I run in them, but it is a little noisy when walking through the store.  I think it may be just a problem with this pair, but nonetheless it is something I dislike.  However, it did not change the performance of the shoe.

The price of $125 is a little high in my opinion.  A better price point would be the $100 – $110, but of course that is very minor for shoe of this quality.

Let’s see how the Torin 2 ranked on my scale:

Quality – 4/5

Upper  – 4/5

Outsole – 4/5

Flexibility – 5/5

Comfort – 5/5

Appearance – 4/5

Cost – 3/5

Overall – 4/5

The Altra Torin 2 is available in men’s whole and half sizes 7-12.5, whole sizes 13-15 and in three color patterns.  It is available in women’s whole and half sizes 5-10.5, whole sizes 11-12 and in three separate color patterns.

Purchase the new Altra Torin 2.0 Now

Have you ever ran in a pair of Altra Torins (any version)?  How did you like them?

Please feel free to comment on your feedback.

Goof Review – Newton Energy & BOCO Running Shoes

Goof Review – Newton Energy & BOCO Running Shoes

Here it is again, a long time since my last post.  Life happens and when it does, watch out.  It can really mess up the things you want to do versus the things you must do.  I am learning to prioritize what is absolutely important to me versus what is important to everyone else.  I hope to soon have that under control, but I digress.

Newton was nice enough to send me both a pair of the Newton Energy and the BOCO.  I am reviewing them together since I have found they are the same shoe with the only difference being the BOCO has a tread that is made for the trails and the Energy is made for the road.

To be transparent and honest, I am a certified Newton Coach, so I am a little biased towards Newton.  However, I rarely train in Newtons, as running is very personal I have my favorite running shoes to train in.

I do however, love the methodology behind them.  For those that do not know, Newton running shoes have 5 lugs in the front of the shoe directly under the ball of the foot.  The lugs have a higher or lower profile depending on the shoe.

The lugs serve as a reminder for running form by automatically driving the foot to land on the fore or mid foot, reducing the impact dramatically.

When paired with Newton Natural Run training, the shoe will decrease the effort level of transitioning to a mid or forefoot runner.

In my experience, after the runner has developed the habit, they no longer need to be running in Newtons, but most do not only due to muscle memory, but they also last about 4 times longer than other running shoes.

Prior to the release of the Energy, the core products Newton produced were the Motion, the Isaac, the Gravity and the Distance.  These models needed a transition period for the runner to get used to the way the lugs lifted the heel causing some calf soreness.

The Energy now has a lower profile of lug, and a transition plate which actually allows the athlete very tiny transition period, if any, before the comfort of the shoe settles in.

The EVA foam that makes up the sole of the shoe is extremely comfortable and highly accommodating to the road.

The only conflicts I have heard is the heel cup is a little shallow for some, causing some slippage during long runs.

Since one of the core beliefs of natural runners is that shoes should be tied just tight enough to secure the heel, this could be a problem.  I have always taught, the athlete needs nothing to support but themselves.

In other words, if the shoe is tied too tight, the shoe ends up supporting the runner.  By tying the shoes very light and only tight enough to secure the heel, the feet, the calves, the ankles are strengthened with every activity.

I personally have not found an issue with the heel cup even without the help of a runner’s lace, but I have heard of the issues.

I did get an eleven-mile run on the trails with the Newton BOCO and was I surprised at how well the tread grabbed the terrain.  

The trails I was running were meant for Mountain Bikes and that meant steep climbs and steep downhills and there was not a moment I did not feel secure.ZOE_0005.jpg

For new runners or for athletes transitioning to more efficient technique, I believe the Energy is the perfect shoe.  They are the perfect shoe to transition with before trying one of the core Newton models.

The BOCO is a great trail shoe for anyone wishing to start or continuing a journey into trail running.  They are comfortable, supportive and made me feel completely secure on the trails.

That’s my opinion and I am sticking with it.  Happy Running!

 

Carpe Viam!

Goof Review – Jaybird Sportsband Bluetooth Headset

Goof Review – Jaybird Sportsband Bluetooth Headset

When I am not running in a group, or during a race when I know the course is not the most scenic, I do enjoy running with my iPod.  There is something pretty cool about zoning out and just letting the beat take over my feet.

The problem I face, is comfort in headphones.  I have tried just about every headphone out there and my personal preference is not ear buds that are placed inside he canal.  I keep going back to the earphones I received with my iPod, that just fit above the lobe where the speaker sits on the concha and faces the canal.  Of course, they do not last, and the sound quality has a little to be desired.  Not to mention, the inconvenience of those wires.

JB1

Enter Jaybird with their Sportsband Bluetooth Headset.  Jaybird was nice enough to send me this model, which looks like the older headphones that fit over the head instead of around the back of the neck or just sitting in the ear.  They are extremely light, which does not cause any neck pain or strain and due to the fact they are Bluetooth they are wireless.  I ran the entire Sarasota Half Marathon without them sliding off my ears, or hear any hesitation or disconnect from my iPod.

 

The controls are located on the right ear and have nice size buttons that are easy to access and allow you to skip forward or back, pause and control the volume.

JB4-1

The sound quality is probably the best I have heard in a Bluetooth headset.  The sound is rich, clear and responds well to the sound controls on my iPod.  Needless to say I really enjoyed wearing this headset during the race.  JB6-1

 

As, I was looking at the pics…well…the profile is pretty low, but they do look kinda goofy if your looking for them.  It figures, look who is wearing them.

Capture1a-1

I did test them with two different phones as well.  The Droid Razor Maxx and the Samsung Galaxy Note II and they responded quick and as expected to Pandora, Spotify, the built-in music apps and the phone.

A friend of mine, that didn’t know she was a part of this review, stated she thought I was using my handset.  Most of the time she could tell, when I had a headset on, because the sound quality was usually pretty poor, but with the Jaybird Sportsband this was not the case at all.  The sound was clear without static or hesitation.

The Jaybird Sportsband comes in two models, the original the S2 which includes the uSport universal Bluetooth adapter.  Both models are compatible with any A2DP Bluetooth device to include iPhone, iPad, iPod(7th Gen), Android, windows devices, PC and Mac.  Options include the iSport and universal Bluetooth adapters on the original and S2 models.

The company just so happened to send me apple red, but there are also a wide range of colors available.JB5-1

I really enjoy running with this headset.  It fits over my ear and not inside, which is more comfortable for and it still allows me to hear ambient noise around me which makes my music motivating not distracting.

I give this device 5 out of 5 Goofs.

 

Carpe Viam!!

Goof Review: Hoka Biondi S2 Running Shoes

Goof Review: Hoka Biondi S2 Running Shoes

Hoka One One Biondi S2

Have you ever even heard of these shoes before?  I didn’t before I met Chet “The Jet” whom was a double Ironman athlete I hosted in my home a few weeks ago.  Chet is from Hawaii and he nonchalantly mentioned these shoes as he was telling the tale of his son whom was running across the country.  He was even went on to mention that he sent a pair to a point in Alabama where he knew he son could pick them up, and the response, nothing but sure gratitude for the gift.  That was the point I had to give them a try.

Hoka One One is not well known here on the east coast, but in the community of ultra runners they have been known since their inception in 2010.  Obviously this is a relatively young company which falls under the Deckers Outdoor Corporation umbrella whom also houses brands like UGG, and Teva.  With the increased popularity of Ultra and Marathon running, I believe these will take off to even higher levels in the very near future.  Why?  Well let me tell you.

When I looked at these shoes for the first time, I reacted negatively.  The huge sole, was a Bondi_Speed_Red2problem for me, due to my belief in a more of a minimal running form, but I for the readers and for my clients I wanted to give them a try, especially after the rave reviews from Chet and his son.  I decided to take them out first for a three-mile run, and then give them a full test drive at the Sarasota Half-Marathon this past Sunday.  I was completely overwhelmed at how comfortable and responsive these shoes are.  At first glance they look really heavy  don’t they?  They weigh in at slightly under 10 ounces(9.8), which is the exact weight of my Brooks Pure Flow 2s that I love so much.  My Brooks Pure Cadence 2s, I was just sent are actually almost 0.4 ounces heavier.  (Just a disclaimer, I weighed these myself, I did not take these stats from the website.)

What also surprised me was the structure looks like a normal running shoe, like any Asics Nimbus, or Brooks Ghost which has a 12mm heel drop.  They say looks can be deceiving, and with these shoes they are.  They also have the same heel drop as the Brooks Pure Project line as well.  The flexibility in the forefoot is probably the only disadvantage of this shoe versus my own running shoes and even that is minimal, and I believe probably after running in them for a little longer even that would become pliable enough to create more flexion.

Capture1bThe sole not only provides superior cushioning upon impact, it also is slightly wider which increased the stability as well.  It seriously was like running on a cloud.  I always preach good running form, and if you have naturally good form, impact is not usually an issue due to a proper lean, raised knee, and high cadence.  I found myself not having to think about my posture and position, because the rocker-ed sole of the shoe did not inhibit, but encouraged a good strike and lean.  Just for the fact a few of my clients are still trying to get into the habit of good form, I decided to jump rope, and do some box jumps in order simulate the impact.  I barely felt anything, and I had full control of my feet.  i really thought I would end up kicking the rope especially doing double-unders, but I had complete control and I barely felt the impact doing the box jumps.  I could totally understand why these shoes are so popular with the marathoners and ultra-runners on the other coast.  The more people start wearing them here, I believe they will gain popularity pretty quickly.

The retail price of the Hoka One One Biondi S2s are $170.00 which seems even high for a running shoe, but like the Newtons, they have a much higher mileage output.  In my research I have found these shoes have been averaging over 700 miles without any degradation of the sole or cushioning.  An ultra runner friend of mine said he had 3 pair of these he was switching out, and his current count is at 3048 miles and he has no intention of getting new ones yet.  Most running shoes will get up to 350 miles, and my favorite Pure Project line rates there own shoes at 250 miles and cost around $100 retail.

They do take some getting used to.  They do feel bigger, but not heavier.  I do like that I was 5’11’ with them on, instead of 5’8″ and change.  Personally, I do not think I would use them for a half marathon or below.  I like the feel of the road a little too much, but you better believe I will be running the Chicago Marathon in them.

Capture2

I give the Hoka One One Biondi Speed 2s, 4 out 5 Goofs.

Hoka One One has several other versions of shoes, for different fits, and surfaces.  More information can be found on their web site.

Hokalogo