As we are getting into the fall and goal races are coming up, I gave a talk at my local marathon clinic about race preparation. Training for a race takes a huge effort and commitment – a bit of planning can help ensure you get to the start line prepared to run your best. This list comes from ten years of both running and inline skating races. It’s a bit OCD, but I try cover all the bases.
I had the opportunity to try some of the current New Balance 2015 shoe line-up. Most of these were runs from my local Running Room, on demo shoes provided by New Balance. Last one is a pair I purchased at retail. These are my quick impressions.
The TomTom Spark Cardio+Music is one of the few GPS watches with both optical HR and Bluetooth music streaming (as of fall 2015). It’s very easy to use but has limited customization. The GPS accuracy is very good and the HR accuracy is ok. It’s hampered by some usability flaws, especially during a workout. It’s suited to an athlete who wants something easy to use and wants both built-in HR and music and doesn’t care too much about tweaking and configurability. The mobile app and website have limited functionality, but this can be mitigated with the Strava or MapMyRun integration. It’s important to match it with BT headphones that are on TomTom’s compatibility list. The price is extremely competitive at $249 USD/$299 CAD.
Its main competitors are:
- Adidas Smartrun (HR+music)
- Sony Smartwatch 3 Timex Ironman One GPS+(Music, no HR)
- Garmin FR225 and FR235, Fitbit Surge, and Casio 810 (HR, no music)
New Balance brought a number of their models to BlackToe Running. For these reviews, I ran a few miles in each shoe, while not an extensive months-long wear test, it was definitely enough to get a feel for the characteristics of the shoes. Today, I test two cushioned New Balance shoes – the 890v4 and Fresh Foam 980.
I purchased these shoes after seeing a few positive reviews and needing some trail shoes. Throughout this fierce winter and spring, I’ve run over 300k on these shoes, over snow, ice, mud, dirt and slush. This is one versatile shoe, at home in marginal grip conditions and yet feel fine on the road. The water-resistant uppers shed off most weather conditions. They are responsive, flexible and at 8.7oz, light enough for those go-fast runs.
I regularly give a talk about GPS and other electronics for my local Running Room marathon clinics. This is the content of my presentation, for those who missed it, or want a bit more information.
Last week, I had the pleasure of testing a number of shoes during the grand opening of Black Toe Running. No less than four shoe manufacturers were present with their demo fleets. What a perfect opportunity to test a few shoes back-to-back, on exactly the same course! I tested the shoes strictly for my own benefit, to learn about them and whether any of them would be candidates to add to my (admittedly numerous) shoe collection. I wasn’t really intending to test them thoroughly, as one might expect for a proper shoe review, but afterwards, I felt it would be useful to share my experiences. Continue reading
One thing I’ve noticed about shoes is that there is a symbiotic relationship between the runner and the shoe, and one can’t really talk about shoes in a vacuum. Clearly, everyone is built differently, with a variety of body types, gaits, foot size and shape and running dynamics. So really, I can only share my experiences in relation to my own running. Hopefully, that will give you some perspective and reference point for my specific comments on each shoe and allow you to apply the right filter in relation to your own needs. This post has those gory personal details.
When I woke this morning, it was a fairly cold 0C, but I was happy it was sunny and dry. The rain over the past few days were a bit of of a concern, but not today. Another bonus was that I got enough sleep, a pre-race rarity, thanks to the switch away from daylight savings time, which effectively made the 8:15 start feel like 9:15. This looked to be near-ideal conditions.
After 10km of rolling hills and one very steep climb, I’m left at the top of Hamilton with a clear shot at Copps Coliseum. Passing the 27k marker, I check my watch. 2:42. This race is going to end in 18 minutes; I get to choose whether I’m crossing the finish line or stuck out on the course. Continue reading