Finding my first 100 Miler – January Update

So this is where we really get started. Race day is in 8 months. It’s 100 miles non stop and I’m, to put it simply, bricking it a bit. I know I’m hardly in it to win, and frankly just surviving without crossing the finish line dead is my goal. But the stubborn person in me wants to run as much of those 100 miles as I can, wants to finish sub 24 hours and wants to be proud of more than just completing the distance in the cut off time.

January Training

The Training plan for January consisted of Weeks 13-16 pf the Krissy Moehl 100 miles training program from the book Running Your First ultra. I think it’s a great book and worth a look if you want guidance and training plan advice for 50Km to 100 mile ultras.

Weeks 13-15 are speed training. Weekly speed sessions based on 5 minute intervals at 80% effort with 1 minute recovery. Thats then pairs with a midweek long run of 10-14 miles and back-to-back weekend long runs up to 30 miles.

Week 16 is a recovery week before the next training block starts in Feb.

Week 13

Building good sessions with the speed session throwing up 7 x 5 min intervals. Overall this session gave me the big surprise I wasn’t;t expecting a new 10K PB and my first sub 40 minute 10K. Absolutely stoked. These session are not about PB’s they are about fundamental fitness and strength, so getting a good session in and finding I had broken one of those real barrier times was just brilliant.

Week ended with 3 long runs 12, 20, 12 miles on consecutive days. The first time the miles have piled on like this.

My fitness level is such that this was OK. 12 is a comfortable distance (as long as I’m not trying to hammer it home!) and 20 is a good endurance day.

These are the runs I really feel are building my strength, as much as I love the speed sessions, training for a 100 mile race was always, for me, about the build up of the long runs and the back-to-back training.

Week 14

This was a big week. Step up in mileage and a second week with three long runs at the end of the week. Life meant I had to shuffle the runs a little so I planned 14 then 13 then 25 miles in back to back to back sessions.

The weeks speed session was as Week 13, with an extra rep. Not great weather conditions and so the speed was not so good. But every workout can’t be better than the last, especially when doing outdoor winter training.

My 14 miler this week was a time constrained run so I had to motor that more than I would like. Was expecting to pay for that in my next 2 runs, but felt good. I think the strength is really starting to build. 14 then 12 then 25 is not a walk in the park but I felt good Sunday afternoon. Like properly bouncy!

Week 15

Recovery after the weekends runs was key. A lot of miles in the past 3 days so effective recovery is key for what is my biggest week yet. Rest day was good. No aches from the weekend. Good hydration and refuelling done and some light stretches to ease the week in.

This weeks speed session is going to win no prizes. Weather was awful so jumped on the dreaded treadmill. Worked it hard, with 8 reps of 5 min at 6:10 min/mile. But given the non-smart nature of my treadmill the strata data is just a pile of rubbish. But I know I pushed hard.

Highlight of the week was my Sunday Long Run. 30 miles is in itself great, but the added bonus of 3 inches of snow falling from miles 16 to 30. Great fun.

That wasn’t the goal though. 30 solid miles with my focus on eating well. I am building up my focus on eating on long runs (>10 miles). Roughly speaking 40% of calories burnt should be consumed during the run. This time I burnt approximately 2500 Calories and consumed 2 x Chia Flapjacks, 2 x Stroopwaffel 1 x KMCNRG energy gel and around 300mL of tailwind. So I got in about 1200 calories which is pretty close. Pretty happy with that, and the fact that I didn’t stop moving to eat. A skill I’ve been working on. These foods are great for this, but I need to try more to give me a variety for my longest of runs – and especially my 100 miles!

Overall the week was good. Fitness based on my Strava data shows continued improvement.

Week 16 – Recovery Week

Well, recovery week is the week I dread. Simply because my mind tells me that progress only comes from effort. Recovery week is not in that category. That said everything you read indicates this is wise, especially to the ultra newbie! I think the challenge really lies in knowing what effort really is recovery, what is not enough and what is simply not easy enough. Following the training plan meant this time that the whole week my Garmin told me I was in recovery effort. Yes, it’s not scientifically accurate I’m sure, but it must mean that the effort was a pretty good approximation of a recovery effort.

In review

January was great. Really pleased with progress. Got some great mileage in. Challenged by some tough conditions and not to mention the challenge of a national lockdown. Sticking to local routes and not venturing 10’s of miles into the countryside.

February

Training block this month is endurance. back-to-back long runs at the weekend with 2 workouts mid week. This will be a tough month, but hopefully I’ve built a great foundation in January to move on from.

Back to the December Update

Back to the Start of my journey

Hydration Focus

Nutrition Focus

Finding my first 100 miler – Hydration

We all need to drink. There I said it. Though I think we already might have worked this out. When you’re a runner you need to make sure you maintain hydration. Now this isn’t any special news to anyone, but I think we often underestimate the importance. I for sure haven’t really though enough about it. I need to correct to get me through a 100 mile event this year. Otherwise I’m going to fall short far from the finish line.

I recently started reading the Jason Koop book ‘Training Essentials for Ultrarunning’.

It was reading this that really got my brain working and made me realise that this is something I need to address before tackling my 100 mile race.

Its true that you need fuel and you need hydration to run endurance events. Eating gives you the fuel (though obviously you can get limited carbohydrate fuel from some drinks) and drinks/gels give you the fluid/hydration. What I ignored was the rate of impact these two types of intake have on your body. In the case of fuel, eating something gets sugar/carbs into your blood stream and fuelling your body pretty quickly. Therefore whilst you want to avoid a calorie deficit if you can (or as minimally as you can in an endurance event) you can take fuel in at aid stations/crew stops and the process of recovery begins pretty quickly. It’s not the same for hydration. Once you reach a point of dehydration, even if it is not severe, recovery is much slower. if dehydration starts affecting you during an event you will be hard pushed to recover during the event. You will continue to be dehydrated and if you continue there’s a good chance it will get worse. Severe dehydration can be a serious problem and ultimately can be fatal. Now I’m not suggesting that every runner risks death every time they put their shoes on, of course not. But I for sure need to take hydration more seriously.

Signs and symptoms of dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration include:

  • feeling thirsty
  • dark yellow and strong-smelling pee
  • feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • feeling tired
  • a dry mouth, lips and eyes
  • peeing little, and fewer than 4 times a day

Dehydration can happen more easily if you have:

  • diabetes
  • vomiting or diarrhoea
  • been in the sun too long (heatstroke)
  • drunk too much alcohol
  • sweated too much after exercising
  • a high temperature of 38C or more
  • been taking medicines that make you pee more (diuretics)

So what to do.

We are all different and a long run for me is far too far for some and just a quick potter around the park for others. What works for you and the points at which you do it are yours to determine. So the below outlines my plans, others will need to baseline on their own level of running.

My approach now is that as a minimum I take fluid on runs of greater than 10 miles. My body doesn’t reach a point of thirst in that time, but thirst is the sign you need fluid and are already at risk of dehydration. And it’s too late. Drink BEFORE your body starts asking you for fluid!! So my aim here is to ensure that even on modest distance training runs I keep good hydration levels and avoid extending my recovery by having to battle post run dehydration.

Any runs of the 20 mile distance up I aim to monitor my hydration in the very basic way of weight pre and post run. It’s a rough estimate but it gives an idea of water loss. You then the the change in weight, add the approximate volume of fluids taken in (1ml = 1g) and the total is your fluid loss. You ideally want to be net zero with no weight loss during the run. But for sure you want to keep that number low. If I feel that the weight loos overall is high and I sense some of those symptoms of dehydration I have to push myself to take on more fluid. If I’m running 100 miles and getting partially dehydrated on a 20-30 mile run, I am making the challenge of 100 miles much greater. My aim is to finish these long runs in good shape.

I also aim to drink little and often during my runs, not waiting until I’ve done 5 miles to down half a bottle. Keep the fluid intake steady.

What to drink

Millian dollar question, and one that has no right answer. Plenty of wrong ones, but not one perfect answer that works for all.

My choice currently is Precision Hydration electrolyte tablets, Tailwind, Active Root and I’ve used SIS and Hi5 successfully. I tolerate all of these and quite enjoy most of the flavours.

I currently prefer Precision Hydration as I am a pretty big sweater and they offer different strength options, so I use the PH1000 and PH1500 tablets. Taste fine and do a good job of maintaining hydration, or speedily rehydrating when I do slip into a dehydrated state.

I will continue to use these products and vary them so as to not stick with one particular drink. I often take two on a long run. I think that over extended long runs 40/50 miles for example that intake of the same drink might risk upsetting the gut a bit, so I want to rely on a blend of drinks, giving me the electrolytes I need, varying flavour to avoid me getting sick of the same taste. To avoid a nausea risk I also like Active Root, that contains ginger which is good at settling the stomach, and a taste I really enjoy. So Active Root features on the later parts of my long run hydration plans.

How much to drink

Like the ‘What to drink’ question , this is personal. It’s important you drink enough to avoid being thirsty and avoid the symptoms and signs of dehydration (see above). Its also important you keep intake below the level that you get stomach slosh as I like to call it as this can be unpleasant and lead to GI problems that can totally derail your event. Training runs are really key to trying the strategy for what, how much and how often.

How to drink

No I’m not asking a stupid question. We all know how to drink, but how we carry fluids on our runs and how we actually take them onboard can affect our experience of our run.

For me I run with a hydration vest.

For 10-15-ish miles I take 500mLs (at the moment) in a single soft flask and drink whilst running.

For 20 + mile I take 1L plus (depends on time of year). If I can I stick with soft flasks front mounted on a running vest.

The benefit of flasks is it is easy during your run to judge how much you have run, A bladder is helpful for larger volumes and if I am running far without the option to top-up on the way I will use one. But you can’t judge consumption rate. So flasks win out for me. I used 2 x 500mL flasks on my longest 100Km ultra so far and never felt I was struggling for liquid – though an aid station every 8-12Km does help!!

Again it’s personal preference.

Hydration is something we all need, but how we go about it is one to try out on the way. Its easy to get wrong, but with a little bit of thought and preparation it is also easy to get right, and remove one of the issues that can really take an event and make it a disaster for you, no matter how much you might feel prepared for it.

Motivated?

Really! It’s wet and it’s cold and it’s windy and and and …

Oh blimey. I think of myself as a motivated person but at 5:15 when my alarm starts it’s infernal beeping I really question it. What am I actually trying to prove to anyone, including myself! I’ve proven I know how to walk fast or run – whatever you wish to call it. I’ve proven I’m able to be quite speedy or run a long way. Is there anything else I need to actually do? Like really do?

Winter is always a time when the motivation is tested to its greatest. Dark mornings, dark evenings, cold, windy, wet, snow. Every form of weather to dissuade you. That along with an inviting warm home, and a cosy warm bed – why would you ever step outside.

Sometimes you just need to think about it and remind yourself why.

Running keeps me fit and well. It keeps my mind clear and fresh, resetting things from the stresses and challenges of life – and god knows right now we all have more than our fair share!! It challenges me every time and there’s always a positive feeling afterwards – even if the run didn’t meet with my hopes, expectations and plans. Ultimately running makes things better in many ways, and it makes me a better person. Physically and mentally.

And there can still be goals and targets to achieve and to succeed at. Sometimes they are small, sometimes large but every hurdle you set gives a feeling of achievement when you go past it and turn around to see it still standing. Yes!!

So when I cannot find the way out of the house to start a run early on a winters morning, sometimes I just need to remember these things.

Motivation is all in the mind, but I get over it on the roads and trails.

Keep motivated.

Finding my first 100 miler – December Update

OK, so this might be a little late, but lets gloss over that and think about where we are at.

December started in lockdown (due to COVID-19) but quickly saw restrictions lifted, random tier systems in place, and Christmas looming on the horizon.

December from a training perspective mostly looked like speed work. Weekly workout sessions focussing on the 5 minute workout sessions. Krissy Moehl (whose training plan I am following) has the 5 minute workout plan as a key speed session component. Running at 80% ash of maximum ability for 5 minutes with recovery. In December this was mostly 1 minute recoveries, and replication was 5 reps, 6 reps and then 7 reps. The month ended with a recovery week. Now with Christmas in the month and the things that go with it – even with COVID – I knew that I would probably drop a few sessions and so it worked out. Im a frustrated runner when I don’t run, I know I’m also bad at hiding that – I must work on it!! So missing a few sessions tugs at this and annoys me. But it was only a couple and a few sessions don’t destroy a training program that last bet part of a year!

What did December bring. Well it took me just over 200 miles (by a smidge).

So happy with that.

Speed session info:

Session 1 – Pyramid session 1,2,3,4,3,2,1 minute with recoveries. Good session and achieved some good sub 6 min.mile pace on the downward number.

Session 2 – 5 minute reps – 6 reps 6:10 – 6:25 min/mile pace range

Session 3 – 5 minute reps – 7 reps 6:10 – 6:33 min/mile pace range

Overall I also achieved my 3rd fastest 10 Km time and this was a nice surprise.

Not everyone thinks speed sessions are worthwhile when training for Ultras. For me I think speed sessions are about fitness, cardiac ability and recovery. These all work for Ultra training. I’m not looking to be a sprinter or fast runner, im looking to achieve the finest I can be for an endurance run. Challenging my body using pace sessions helps to developmthe strongest, fitest version of. myself that I can be. Then mixing these sessions into a training program that includes hills and endurance workouts builds the body and mind up to be ready to take on endurance events. Yes, I know everyone is individual and for some speed sessions won’t feature in their ultra training, and thats great for them, and I hope it works – I’m sure it does. However, for me these sessions give me a feeling of achievement and I have seen the improvement on things like my general ability to carry longer runs, at higher pace, and my VO2Max (via my Garmin watch) shows things improving too. Now, before anybody makes the obvious comment that there is only so much point to the VO2Max on a Garmin, I know that. But it’s an approximation that is the best many of us will get. I use a chest Heart Rate monitor so I’m doing what is reasonable to get good data.

December also had 2 races inline for me.

Mapledurham 10 – a great 10 mile trail race in hilly muddy trails local to me. A great race, but also a great trails training session.

GutBuster 10 mile – this fell foul of the COVID pandemic. Hoping to get a rescheduled February date but things don’t look great. We will see.

Planning

Im beginning to think about my race day planning. Im looking to take a support person to the race. Not decided who, but that’s a part of Q1 planning. I really want a friendly face at some approved crew stops, and know that having somebody ready with pre-planned fuel/kit/support is going to really help me through this race. I know the Robin Hood 100 is hardly the Western States, but as bigger and tougher races hopefully feature on the horizon, getting used to having support is also something I want to build up.

Hydration

Another area of thought for January. Im read the Jason Koop Ultra training manual and he has made me really think about the importance of Hydration. Being short of food in a race, low on fuel, can be quickly rectified by eating something. A pause, some food and in a few minutes the sugar/carbs start to have an impact. With hydration the recovery is slower. If you hit a point of dehydration you can take on water/electrolytes of course but the recovery is slower and it can quickly derail the event. I’ve not really thought much about this. I drink sports drink (currently Tailwind and Precision Hydration) but I’ve not thought seriously about it. I know I need to.

The key starting point is to drink often in the race and I need to train this into my habits. So all runs over 10 miles I aim to take fluids with me and drink them through the run. In reality my body doesn’t start telling me I need to. I run regularly 10-15 miles (especially this time of year) and need little if any fluid. But the reality is that if I reflect on this after I run, I am in a point of mild dehydration. It doesn’t derail a 10.15 mile run, but that habit is not good when I think 100 miles.

So training my habits to consume fluids routinely is a key objective in January.

Im also doing more research into hydration overall to see what I can do to ensure I am doing the best I can to balance fluid intake and effort, without taking onboard too much and feeling uncomfortable in a run.

Fuel

I need to eat. I’ve been more structured over the training so far to eat on long runs. Before I need to, I eat. Ive got used to eating whilst moving – mostly stroopwaffel, but this is an improvement. I like the idea that ti can eat on the go, eat whilst carrying on decent travelling speed. What I now need to do is broaden the range of food I eat on the run, and think of pitstop food. Im not sure savoury will work for me on the go, but I know I need to add some in to provide the fuel I’ll need.

2021

The new year promises to challenge me more than any other year since I started running. I know im up for the challenge, I know I can face everything the training will throw at me and I know I will do my best. I can ask no more.

Challenge yourself. you don’t know your limits until you meet them head on.

See the January 2021 Update

See the nutrition blog post

See the hydration blog post

Finding my first 100 miler – November Update

Click this for my previous blog post!

Week 7 complete and November nearly out.

Training so far has been fine.  Still feels like the calm before the storm.  Its noticeable that there are few rest days, but the 3 weeks hard effort and 1-week recovery is working out well.

The slow start in October following the Run to the Sea Ultra meant I really only properly picked up the training from the Hills block at Week 5.

With working from home, I’ve replaced the time my normal weekday commute used up with training.  Early starts to ensure I’m back before the kids go to school.  Right now it’s an alarm call somewhere around 4:45/5:15am.  That’s just nuts, but it’s the only time I can be sure to get up (though that’s the hardest part!), get out and back in good time to help with the school prep, get showered and then be ready to work by 8:30.  It’s tough, but I’ve omitted myself to hitting the start line of a 100-mile race in September 2021.  I’ve paid my entry fee and I’m damn sure I’m going to do what it takes to get to that race.  Of course, things can happen out of my control that might affect that, or totally scupper it!  But willingness to train, determination and a will to succeed in what seems like the most impossible personal challenge I have set myself, will not be lacking.

One thing I have started to think about is logistics for the event weekend;

Travel, support, aid stations and crew support.  I’ve thought about it, but right now I have no plan.

Another thing I’m throwing in to all my long runs is structured fuelling.  I used to be a ‘fuel when I felt like it’ runner on all my runs.  Following the Quarantine Backyard Ultra in July I realised that for me fuelling when I feel I need to is just too late.  I need to plan fuelling; I know my calorie burn rate was about 100 calories a mile-ish.  So, I know by 5 miles I’m down 500 calories.  By 10 miles I’m down 1000 calories.  So, I have started to plan fuelling during my long runs regardless of feel.  I’m probably way of getting the balance right at the minute, but it’s work in progress.

The other thing I’m thinking about is what do I want to achieve.  Now in reality I want to start and then finish a 100-mile race.  But no matter how much I try to convince myself that this is my goal, the real goal will be to run it as fast as I can.  I have a real problem running faster than I should, and then hitting a wall that I have spent a good chunk of a run building in my own way, brick by brick.  I know I do it, but I’m yet to really overcome it.  That said the training plan from Krissy Moehl is helping me build more diligence in keeping pace down.  I’ve done more runs in the past few weeks averaging over 8:30 mins/mile than the last 18 months I suspect.  This is good.  But I also need to work on it.  I would like to be able to predict my timings for the 100 miler.  I did it with the Run to The Sea in October.  I predicted my times at each 5-mile point and at the time I would meet my wife around mile 26.  I was a minute out!!  I like to be able to judge my progress and at a fairly untechnical 50 Km rave on trails and roads I got it pretty spot on.  100 miles is different, but I hope to get to the point where I feel able to build a plan.

So, looking ahead, December is a speed block.  4 weeks starting 7 December.  I like speed blocks.  They are the workouts I find the most exhausting, but the most exhilarating.  Also, I found my Heart Rate Monitor chest strap last week, so I’ll have that for gathering some accurate HR data over those hard effort sessions.

this updates gallery:

As I write this there are 286 days to race day, and 8 days to my next event (a great local 10-mile mud race – with lockdown changing in a few days the race is back on – Woohoo!!).

Here’s to the next training block, the next 286 days and the biggest challenge I have set myself.

Whatever happens at the end of this journey I know I will have done my best to rise to the challenge and overcome the physical and mental obstacles that litter the route ahead.  Strength comes not only from within but from the support, belief and love that surrounds you. 

I will take this challenge on with just one body, 2 feet but the strength of countless hearts and minds from those all around me.

Click here for the start of this blog!

Click here to know more about the Robin Hood 100.

Nike React Infinity Run

Another shoe in the armoury is the Nike React Infinity Run. A super cushioned shoe for those easy runs.

With the first 120 miles now logged, what are my thoughts?

So first thing first, they are the flyknit upper from Nike. not the usual tongue and upper.

Firstly I thought this wouldn’t work for me. I like a shoe to have a tongue.

Having thrashed a few miles in them though I would say that I really have gotten to like them.

The tongue is really comfy. The upper hugs the foot but doesn’t create friction and the dreaded blisters. There is also good ventilation, so feet don’t overheat.

The sole has a decent amount of rubber but only very minor tread patterning. This means they are terrible in muddy or wet grass conditions. But they are firm and stable on road, gravel etc. I found the issue on mud through experience – not a fun way to finish a 10 mile run!!

The big selling point of these shoes is the React foam in the sole of the shoe. It’s the shoe with the most foam, and therefore the most cushioning. And I would say you really notice it. I normally run Nike Pegasus and they are great shoes, but these feel like slippers in comparison. For some they might feel too soft and spongy. For me, they are great for those slow, easy recovery runs. After long runs when the legs might ache a little, these shoes do a great job of minimising the impact on those recovery runs.

Width – Well the shoe is wide, not in the fit, but its got a wide sole. For me this doesn’t cause a problem but for others there’s the risk that feet might clip ankles etc. Depends on technique and running form maybe, but if you struggle with wide shoes these might cause you trouble.

Price – Wow! these aren’t cheap. one of the most expensive shoes in the nike running range that don’t have a carbon plate in them! The shoes are good but at around an RRP of £135 the price point is damned steep. You also tend to find they rarely get given discounted prices. Of course Nike sometimes do offer discounts across all their range, a great time to pick these shoes up – if you can find your size – I was lucky!!!

Style – Mine are pretty understated – it was the only size 10 I could find! But generally the styles are pretty understated and modest. They have a rigid plastic wring around the heel (just on the join with the sole) and this gives a shiny feature around the rear. The rest of the shoe is a good modern style shoe, not too ‘in your face’ and not too retro. My kind of shoe.

Would I recommend – Yes absolutely. For the right run these are perfect. As I said, these are my sloe.recovery running shoe. They sit alongside my other Nike Peg’s which I use on my more up tempo runs, and also my Inov8 shoes I thrash around on the trails in. They are now a key part of my running kit. And I would say they are here to stay!

Finding my first 100 miler

Updates: June 2021 May 2021 April 2021 March 2021 February 2021 January 2021 December 2020 November 2020

Focus articles: Nutrition Hydration

If I think back to 2017 the year started with nothing of note when I think activity/fitness or health. New year came and passed, 40th birthday drifted by with minimal note and that was that. March saw my youngest born – the cheekiest most wonderful little cheeky chap you could imagine. And then the summer approached. 

I’ve mentioned more in my running story. But if I look back now I don’t think I could ever have thought back then that I was ever going to reach the day when I say ‘I think it’s time to sign up to a 100 mile race’!!  Seems so unlikely reflecting back. But roll on the somewhat peculiar year of 2020 and that’s where I find myself. 

In Summer 2020 the thoughts that I had reached that milestone started to occur.  I did some looking around, asked for some ideas online and decided to settle on the Robin Hood 100. I also did some research for books and found a book I thought would help. 

So before I signed up I got ‘How to run your first Ultra’ by Krissy Moehl.

Reading the training programs in that book was inspiring. Reading the hints, tips and advice cemented in my mind that this was the right choice. So October rolls along and I eventually decide that this is the time. I’m ready for this.  I can do a 100 miler. So I sign up, pay my money and the confirmation email comes through. 

I can do this. 

Can’t I?

?

What Have I Done?

I like running long distances. Having done the 62 mile Race To The Stones in 13 hours in 2019  I can surely extend to 100 miles. I’m not really sure that makes sense, or that this is enough reason to sign up. But I kind of think that with the right training that basis is enough to build from. 

The Krissy Moehl book provides training programs and for me that is a god send. I need structure to train and I need advice as to what sort of running to do, what to build up, when to rest and recover, the right sort of balance between miles/workouts/full efforts etc.

I’m going to follow the 48 week plan. 

I’m going to build my blog on this page with monthly training and prep updates. I’m not sure I know what I’m doing. And I’m not sure I can be any useful source of inspiration or advice myself. But maybe there are others who  have similar dreams or thoughts and this might just be a blog that rings true. 

Wish me well. I may be some time. 

Running with anxiety or depression

It’s not new but it really is a life saver for many people. Running can be a really effect way to manage mental health conditions. This is worth a read. 👍

www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a18807336/running-anxiety-depression/

Inov8 TerraUltra G270 – The first 100 miles

TerraUltra G270

Firstly, these are one of the first times I’ve bought ‘new’. This was bought on the day of release and I paid the full price. Not my normal way, I’ll normally go for a previous model at a cheaper price. But with these the improvements were really key for me and I felt if I was going to go for the TerraUltra, it would need to be the G270.

So 100 miles (well 96) done and what do I think?

Well they are simply stunning. I cannot say enough about how highly I rate these.

They are designed for long run, properly long ultra length runs.

I’ve worn them (apart from the first 10 mile taster) on 20 miles and up.

I’ll start at the top, and work down.

The laces are good, simple but good. they stay tight, grip when being sone up and help anchor the shoe nicely.

The upper is very flexible and comfortable. The material doesn’t always clean well but it is a very comfortable upper.

The heal and sides of the foot around the ankle get a good deal of support in this shoe and you feel really well supported.

The shoe is wide, the widest width Inov8 do (level 5 out of 5). This was a reservation on my part as I’m an. average width foot person and was worried this would slip around all over the place. In reality there is nothing of this. With a bit of adjustment, the placing and the upper really anchor the foot into the shoe and the width of the toe box is generous and really comfortable. The width is intended to steal with expanding feet over long runs, and I can see this would be a fantastic feature as runs stretch on. The rubbing fear came to nothing and the idea the foot would move about, simply was unfounded. My foot feels at home in these shoes.

The insole is a piece of magic, with cushioning beads fo foam to provide a more comfy run to the predecessor (according to Inov8). the shoe certainly has good comfort over long runs and feet don’t feel tired.

Drop. This shoe is a zero drop shoe. I’ve never run in zero drop shoes and feared the change would give discomfort in the calf and thighs. But nothing. These just feel quick and easy and I don’t find they have had any negative impact given the zero drop. Of course some people are more suited to the zero drop than others, and maybe I’m just one of those that it suits.

Sole and grip. The ‘G’ relates to graphene which is integrated in the sole to give durable grip. In my experience the grip is great. On the South West Coastal Path in Cornwall I found the grip was great on damp rocks, gravel, paths and grass. really giving me a confident run, including running the path in the rain. It also seems pretty durable. 100 miles has certainly given it some wear but not much and hopefully the shoes will be good for a whole many more miles.

Overall I think these could be quite possibly the best Trail shoes you could want. (yes I know I have only tried a few – so make of that as you wish). I will be using them on trail miles of 20 and above and my ultra’s I have in the plan over the coming months (sadly less than I would have hoped but hey 2020 is what it is !

As I said at the start, the idea of paying full price for a shoe is often reason enough to look back at old versions. In this case I couldn’t be convinced to part with these and am very pleased I took the decision to. enter the Inov8 fold.

These sit proudly and happily alongside my Roclite 300’s.