Friday, 11 December 2015

Newton Distance S IV - Review

Distance S IV
Tech Specs
COLOUR - White / Orange/ Yellow / Red
WEIGHT - 204 g
INTENDED TESTING - Free run, sprint session, long runs
SURFACE TESTED - Treadmill, Track & Road

Thank you to the team at Newton for sending me a pair of Newton Distance S to test out and report back on how I got on.

I moved to Newton stability running trainers back in 2012 and haven't looked back, I used to have big problems with my calf muscles but Newtons have really helped with sorting this problem.

I said this in my last review but these trainers are great and they keep getting better, a better fit, better stability feel and they look great, Newton are always bringing out bright coloured trainers so you always get noticed. They are also reflective so its the little things that help you get seen at night when running in the late evenings. They are very quick to dry to so even if you wear them in the rain they will be dry for your next session, which helps as there is nothing worse than running in  wet kit!

I use them on a treadmill also indoors so my feet tend to get hot and with the lightweight material and outer mesh it helps keep your feet cool as it ventilation like system with the fabric on the shoes.

The trainers feel unbelievably light on your feet, and you expect stability shoes to be thick, chunky and even with the added support on the base you don't noticed the weight. They do feel a little funny at first when you put them on and start running in them as it feels like your running with studs on your feet but you soon forget. This extra support helps reduce the impact onto your joints, I suppose every little helps with muscle fatigue.

I plan to use my Newtons for the 2016 race season, which includes 2 marathons and 1 Ironman and I am very confident they help to get me to the finish line. I'll be purchasing a few pairs as I plan ti use them fir my training also. I find it important when you find the right pair of shoes you buy a few so you can keep continuity with your training.

I decided against using the quick fit laces in these as I haven't used them for triathlon yet, but they are light enough for me to use so i don't think I'll require a race shoe.  the tongue in the shoe is thin but it gives you enough padding to wear the shoe sock-less which is great for a quick transition and gives you less irritation in sensitive areas on the top of the foot and less chance of friction to produce sore spots. Its hard enough running never lone running with sore feet!

My feet fitted well in the shoe and it didn't slip or move about in the trainer which means less chance of blisters.

The curve in the sole of the trainer definitely helps keep your running stride fluid and with the footfall I definitely notice it aiding rolling to lift off.  The trainer feels really stable and with the cushioned sole it feels like its got a built in memory foam for your foot as it very comfortable.

If your looking to get fit in the new year or just looking to change your footwear for the new season then look no further than these (If your after a stability shoe, If your not still go to the Newton site and see what else they have to offer)

You can find them on the Newton website HERE so get buying.

Thanks again Steve...

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Race Report - Bournemouth Marathon 2015

The past 13 weeks have been leading up to this race, I had learnt a lot from Brighton and I wanted to put in practise what I had changed from April. I was really looking forward to this this race.. Until 3 days previous I got hit with a stomach virus (and to save on details) I was sat on the white porcelain phone for most of the 72 hours pre race.

Not a great start to my race day weekend, I drank lots of water to keep hydrated and went through my pre-race meals, along with some imodium to help me out, I woke up 05:00 Sunday morning as my wife was running the half marathon so it was an early start for me as my race didn't start till 10:00. I lied in bed, and nearly said I'm staying here, but I thought people run marathons with serious illnesses and I'm complaining about a stomach bug, man up and get out of bed and get into your running clothes.


We jumped in the car, an hours drive and we were soon parked up and walking to the start line, I waiting with my wife till the half marathon started, gave her a kiss and wished her luck. I wondered back to the bag drop, and sat down for a while to save my legs. I put my sun glasses on and zoned out for a bit, watching people walking back and fore to the toilets and getting last minute supplies from the coffee shop at the start line. 

30 minutes to go, I stripped off, sorted out my hydration belt, switched on my Garmin, dumped my bag at the drop point and made my way to the starting pen. It was really cold in the shade so I made my way there trying to say in the sun to get that extra bit of warmth. Final wee in the portaloo on my way and I was ready, and I started to feel really low. I know the 3 previous days had been hard as I was so geared up to do well and its never a nice feeling "should I pull out of this race" I was close to tears, I don't know why, I just wanted to see my supporters and get them to tell me everything was going to be fine. The 2 minute warning came out over the loudspeaker, I checked my Garmin all was set.. "I can do this" as my chin started to wobble..

GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! We were off, I wore my printed running shirt so my name was very clear on the front and the 1st 200 meters a little boy shouted to me "Go on MARTYN" it gave me a reality check, I was running a marathon your going to be great, you've done done it all before and you've done the training your family are proud of you, they are waiting for you.. You best not let them down.

After the opening mile I found my stride and got into a really comfortable rhythm, I wasn't going to fast I felt good, no sign of the past 3 days illness all was forgotten.  I ran with the same group for a good 8 miles, I think we had a good pace and everyone dragged each other along. We started to break up after that and the stronger club runners kicked on and I was soon on my own but still going strong and picking people off.

I saw my wife as mile 13, a lump in my throat, she waved, shouted, and gave me all the encouragement I needed, I knew I'd see her on the way back and I shouted to her "Where are the children" she replied "On the way don't worry - I love you" Just what I wanted to hear! Out and back to the furthest peer, and a turn back into the crowds and hopefully to my family in the town centre.  I saw my wife again at mile 16.5 miles and she told me the children, mother and sister inlaw were just on the turn after 17 miles, I couldn't wait to see them. As you run onto the 2nd peer the wind hits you in the face, I stopped, I was walking, the 1st time in the race, then I saw a figure in the distance on the beach, it was my wife waving to me, I kicked on, she was there for me again! Thanks Vicki!

I was in town again and close to the point where my children were waiting, I saw them and it took my breath away, by the looks of there faces they didn't know who this sweaty man was jumping the railing to kiss them. It felt amazing and I was so pumped to see them and it made me stronger to finish the race. If only they could bottle that feeling and use it whenever you felt down...

I moved on to the killer hill of the course, I decided that I was going to power walk the hills in the race and save my legs for the flats and down hills. This tactic worked.. well I wasn't going to run the hills so it had to work. I started to notice that I had caught up with some of the group I had run the 1st 8 miles with as I noticed the club shirts and the names on the backs of them. I was feeling good again and stayed with the group. I had noticed though by now my mile pace had dropped considerably but I did really care about time it was all about completing what I had started.

I saw the sign for mile 21, I was starting to feel it on my legs, I knew I was going to have to dig deep, my stride length had shortened and it was going to be a tough remaining 5 miles. With one eye on Ironman Wales in 2016 I was going to try and split today's race into 4 x 10km-ish efforts, which worked in my head, so that's something I can take forward. As I got closer into town the crowds started to build, and more and more people called my name, which is great, I gave numerous thumbs ups and thank you's to strangers who gave me that boost. Miles 22,23,24,25 felt like took forever, I was run walking the land marks, I was telling myself run to the red holiday flat then you can walk to the yellow one and repeat. This helped me break down those final miles.... and then I saw it... The sign for mile 26 and in the distance the "end of the rainbow" the finish line.

I kicked on and made my way home, and who did I see about 200 yards away from the finish line but my loyal supporters! What a sight! I high fived my son who was on my wife's shoulders and pegged it towards the finish line, I heard the commentator call my name and it led a bunch of spectators chanting "GO MARTYN GO!" what a feeling, I high fived the finishing crew as I passed the finish line in a time of 04:49:11 not a PB, but I didn't care I had finished. I was told to keep walking to the finishers area, I had to stop and lean again the wall, I was drained physically and emotionally, it had been an experience... a pleasant one... Even though they put stairs in at the finishers area after you'd picked up your medal, that was harsh!

What next? 2 months off a training plan so I plan to chill out, buy a new bike and get in the pool, test out some kit and report back.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

I'm Done... Am I Ready...?

Well that's it I've done my training train, the past 12 weeks has finished...

Was it hard, was it easy, was it long enough, was it focused in the right areas...?

I ran Brighton Marathon in April, it was my 1st marathon "only" race, (I did Long Course weekend which was the Wales Marathon)  and I learned a lot from the day. The biggest lesson I learned is that it hurt, I wasn't conditioned enough for the race after 14 miles so the last 12 miles hurt... a lot! I could go out an run 8/10/12/14 miles with no issues and often my shortest runs would be in the 8-12 mile space.

I needed to plan my time better, as this was the main reason I didn't get over the 14 mile marker as I had other commitments to the family, work etc, so when I entered my next marathon I knew I had to get the planning sorted.

I did enter the Wales marathon but due to a family emergency 4 weeks out I knew I wouldn't get to the start line, so I took my foot off the gas and eased up on the training, I had to re-plan again and Bournemouth came into the season schedule.

When I raced Bright I followed a 16 week plan, I was coming into this cold so I needed that base training for the 3/4/5/6 milers. When I booked my Bournemouth slot I was already conditioned to do the shorter mileage so the plan went to a 12 week training plan to be honest its worked pretty well. I managed to get the long runs (17/18/21) in this plan and not skipped to many sessions like Brighton. I feel fitter and my knee has held out well just doing the 3 sessions a week.. Only time will tell I suppose...

Wish me luck for Sunday.. and if your racing it Good luck to you, keep an eye out for me in a bright orange top with my name, twitter handle on it marts2smooth and of course the words #BEASTMODE on the other side...

See you soon...

Monday, 14 September 2015

I've Done It..

I've gone an done it... I've entered ironman Wales 2016. It's something I've wanted to do since the 1st year in 2011, and with now the full support of my family I've gone and entered it at 15:04 (entries opened at 15:00 on Monday 14th September).. I was very keen...

Fingers crossed I hit that red carpet next September before mid night.

Roll on the 1st week of May as that's day 1 of the training plan (20 weeks) and it gives me 2 weeks off to rest after racing Brighton Marathon in April. YAY!

I cant wait to start planning my 2016 season and it will all lead to my A race, Ironman Wales... I'll get printing out the year planner and attack it with some highlighters to plot the year. At least I'll have post September 2016 off which I'm sure I'll need!

Now lets get planning!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Where has 2015 Gone...?

Well where has 2015 gone, the year has gone lightening quick!

I know most of my focus has been on training for marathons this year but I think I'll be happy for the break after Bournemouth marathon. I have pencilled in a off road race but I'll see how it works out in November.

I'm currently in week 7 of 12 for my Bournemouth marathon training plan and I'm feeling fast im progressively putting out 6.30 / 7/ 8 minute mile pace on 8 mile runs which is great. Not sure this will help me on the 26.2 distance but the weekend long runs seem to be getting easier.

I've had to reschedule how I train during the week now as I've changed jobs so a lot of the mid week session are on on new routes or the treadmill which could be worse, but I'm also tried to track my cals in/out which is hard when your eating in restaurants 3/4 nights a week.

I've entered Brighton half again to get a new PB it was a great race, so I wanted to go back and my wife wanted to run the 10 km again. After that its full on tri mode as I take on the 2016 Ironman Wales race...

New bike purchase required... I'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Race Report - Brighton Marathon 2015

The day arrived after 18 weeks of "sort of" committed training since Christmas week I was race ready, I could have been in better shape but its been a long 18 weeks, and by the end of the race I could tell I could have done that little bit more.

We (me and my wife) arrived in Brighton on the Saturday, collected our race packs, did a little bit of shopping in the expo and ended getting my name printed on my shirt, if I ever needed support it was going to be at mile 16+... so I got this done..

I didn't want to hang around to long on my feet on Saturday so did the social "hellos and hows sales going" with my mates at Runbreeze & 2XU and then off to check in at the Premier Inn in Crawley. (which was about 25 minutes away) I decided to get out of the hussle and bussle of 16000 athletes and not have to worry about parking fees and queueing all night for a restaurant table. It also was far cheaper than staying in Brighton too.

I slept great for a strange bed and I woke about 3 hours before the race start to get fuelled for the run, I have choice to 2 breakfast when I was doing long runs, 6 Weetabix or porridge, both with banana. They have enough time to digest and I can get the bowel business done and dusted pre race. A tried and test approach for me on race morning fuelling.

I setup all my race kit and post race bags the night before so it was a simple get breakfast down me, get my kit on and out the door to the park and ride. We arrived at the P&R which wasn't the best organisation from Brighton Marathon as by the time we got parked it didn't leave my wife (a 10km runner) much time to get to the start after a 20 minute bus ride. perhaps they could look into making it a bit slicker as we spent the best part of 60 minutes at the P&R. 

My wife left me at the baggage drop off, kissed me and wished me good luck and that was it, I was all alone and running the race was all that was left in my head...

I made my way to the start line, well my coloured corral and I started to need a nervous wee, I saw a porter loo by the start line so I made my way to it no queues straight in, some of the poor runners had been queuing in the main park for a good 30 minutes, I was well lucky even though I probably could have just jumped in a hedge or run a few miles into the race an used a porter loo on route. I decided to stay by the start line and not go back to my coloured corral as I would have to waded through the masses of marathon runners for what... I waited for about 5 minutes next to strangers, I looked around to see any familiar faces, but nothing "2 minutes"for the start was heard over the PA system.. I was ready.. I could have trained a little bit harder but I was there in Brighton ready for the marathon. I have a thoughts of sub 4 hours but part of me just wanted to finish,


The first couple of miles breeze through and the spectator support is great, in fact it was great the whole course, one of the factors of doing a popular race, people didn't know me from Adam but all I heard was "C'mon Martyn" or "looking Strong Martyn" it was great to hear that all the way around the 26.2 miles. 

As the morning went on and the miles grew the temperature got hotter, and my pace starter to get slower. I saw my wife at mile 14, I heard her shout "Go on Martyn" I saw her and gave her a thumbs down, I was starting to slow and over heat, I took the foot off the gas, my half marathon time was 2hrs and I knew a sub 4hr marathon had gone out the window...

Was I disappointed... No not really.. my 2nd objective was to finish and that's what I was going to do. At every aid station I walked to make sure I took on enough water and tipped 2 cups of water over my head to cool down, this was working a treat.

The support at the "tough" miles was amazing, people giving you sweets, water and most important encouragement which I really needed. At mile 20 you entered a quiet part of the course, you had passed all the supporters in town and now you heard race commentators saying "its only a out and back to go, 6 miles if your on your way out, 3 if your on the way back" I found it hard to get my rhythm back and ended up run walking some of the remaining miles which made my time out in the sun even longer.

The turn for the finish line, 2 miles to go... The sea front was packed with people, it was a long straight finish, but I couldn't see the finish line, so I kept my legs pumping and clocked in 2 x 10 minute mile efforts, this was a whole 3 minutes quicker that mile 23. 

There it was in all its glory.. The finish line and above it was my time, 04:43 my PB for Brighton Marathon... I crossed the finish line not as gracefully as crossed the start line, but I had do it.. I had finished. The emotion of finishing was amazing if only you could can that emotion and sell it you'd make a fortune!

I stopped and sipped a bottle of water, my ankles hurt and i put this down to the angle of the roads as the roads aren't flat, they have slight angle on them to help with drainage.. well that's what I think anyway.

Lessons Learnt / Observations
  1. Although I got my food intake before the race, was it enough to keep my energy level high? I had gels which I took ever 40 minutes but was a slow because I was zapped of energy?
  2. Did I skip to many session - I only completed 70% of the training plan, this definitely told I thought from  mile 17 onwards.
  3. Do we need to be closure to the race start so we don't turn up late/close to start times?
  4. Stick to my pace from the start and then kick on if you feel good..

I really enjoyed the race, i really enjoyed the experience, I enjoyed the whole thing that much I've enter 2016.. See you again Brighton I've got a time to beat!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Its Been A While...

2014 is now well and truly over and 2015 is here..

What does this mean for me.. well not Ironman Wales.. which is gutting for me but there is always next year.

I've decided on running marathons this year and so far I've entered Brighton, Edinburgh, The Wales Marathon and there is room for 1 more at the moment and its still to be decided.

I'll report back one the plans have been firmed up..

Ironman Wales 2016 - Race Report

Ive been a while writing this one.. Nearly 2 years but its still fresh in memory, like it was yesterday, so grab a cuppa as your in for a...