Sufferfest Review–Run WO “The Machine”

…<slow clap>…Well played SufferFest…Well played….

 

I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pre-sale copy of the new Sufferfest Running Training video so I could review it.

For those that are not familiar with the Sufferfest collection, you’re missing out. Up until now, they have been primarily focused on stationary cycle training videos. To put it mildly, those are simply awesome..how could this not be?

Hint 1 – They are called the Sufferfest

Hint 2 – Their motto is IWBMATTKYT or “ I will beat my ass today to kick yours tomorrow”

Their videos have a great mix. Wicked workout, excellent music and pretty neat video footage. Their angle is to put you right into the middle of the various races or events with a bit of a story line and objective. Directions and objectives are easy to follow .

This is their first jump into running, and all I can say is it’s about time!! This is going to make some of those Treadmill runs much more enjoyable!

Err…maybe enjoyable is not the right word.

The premise of this video “The Machine” is this.

You’re from the land Sufferlandria and you’re on a world tour of marathons. They are sending you out because you are so “advanced”. To keep it fair, they have created a special machine for you that will make you run up hill the entire time while racing against others. The grades will vary!!

(NOTE: Going into this, it’s handy to know your actual paces from Marathon to 5K. because you’re going to be using those as a measure for effort, and then translate that to treadmill pace. For that, you can use this handy chart.)

effort

The screen while running will look something like this so you’ll need to keep an eye on it…but it’s a great distraction from the effort and easy to figure out.

 

Screen1 In this case, the 6.0 is your effort ( Marathon Pace) , the 3% is the grade/incline of the treadmill and the red counter beside appears when you’re getting close to a change up of effort. Easy right?

The video starts off with a great warm-up, then brings you into the workout before carefully blowing your lungs apart at the end. Think I’m joking? Think again…below is my Heart Rate profile from this workout…182 used to be my top end…I just found a new MAX at 185. I won’t get into all the details, I mean that is part of the fun right? But I will say the following…

Think running your 5K flat pace but at an 8% grade!!!

OK? get it? This is the real deal and it delivers everything the cycling videos do and more.

HR

Screen2

 

On a serious note, many people could be intimidated..don’t be. This is meant to deliver a serious package while keeping it fun and light.

Running an 8% grade at a 5K pace is not easy, and it caused me to buck a little bit. Most of us train for the journey, and if at first you don’t succeed…try again. But the workout is varied and offers a few different things and I guarantee you can probably do most of it. You will come away proud that you tried and wanting more!

 

You an check some more of the video right here. https://vimeo.com/100966026

Some neat facts:

  • The videos feature Officially Licensed footage from Diamond League Track & Field and prestigious marathons from around the world –
  • Workouts were designed by elite coach Neal Henderson of Apex Coaching. He also designed several of the most popular cycling workouts.
  • These videos will be released on 31st July 2014 at TheSufferfest.com
  • The Machine will cost $10.99. The other two videos are Steamroller (45 minutes and $11.99) and Revolver (30 minutes and $9.99). They will be available as a bundle for $28 for a limited time. It’s a great deal and I cannot wait to get my hands on the other two!

 

So..to wrap this up.

Did I suffer? Yep…

Did it beat me down? Did I break?…..okay okay..I jumped off the belt once!!

C’mon..8% grade at a 5K pace!!  I told them to bring it….they told me it would be brought…and I’m pretty damn impressed. I love it and have a new objective.

Keep it coming Sufferfest!!!! You’re not scaring me!

 

Cheers and enjoy the day!

Corey

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Triathlon VS Duathlon

 

There is a certain misconception that running a Duathlon is “less” a multisport than racing a Triathlon. This despite the fact, the run is considered the hardest part. With this in mind…logic would say, that putting together two legs of a good run in between a solid bike, is twice as hard. But who ever heard of logic in “Sport”

I’ve raced both, and my perspective is that both races are very unique. Both require a different strategy and neither should be compared superior to the other.

Duathlon – the proper international recognized format for Duathlon is having the longer run first, followed by the bike and finished with the shorter of the two runs. You will find some events placing the shorter distance in the front of the bike.

The challenge with the Duathlon, is trying to determine how hard to go on the first run, keeping in mind that blowing your quads, hammies and hip flexors apart to get a PB time will have an immediate impact on the bike that is coming up, which will then further degrade your last run. There really is no option for recovery as most people find out. Your legs are 100% engaged the entire time in one form or another.

A couple of reasons to compete in Duathlon

– Excellent way to learn and practice proper pacing in a race

– Great way to teach the body to switch up leg muscle groups fast.

– Excellent way to push high end VO2

– Can provide a quality workout for most types of racing but with lower mileage. Quality VS Quantity

– Do not need to worry about extra gear. ( example: wetsuit, goggles )

Triathlon – Triathlon is a standard with a Swim, Bike and Run. The swim can be intense, as you push your way through a crowd of people, but the fact you’re using a different muscle group does mean you are saving your legs for the Bike and Run. While most people proclaim to hate the swim, in North America Triathlon remains the primary multisport.

Triathlon is an interesting mix, because being good at any one of the three legs does not guarantee you a strong finish. Many arguments go back and forth over which core sport offers the best advantage. In my mind it is about consistency and leveraging your strongest point correctly, Off season should be about developing your weaker links to build a more consistent foundation.

There is a simple test on what to work on. List the three sports in what you view as strongest to weakest –> 1, 2 and 3. In the off season, work number 3 the hardest, 2 middle and then 1.

A couple of reasons to compete in Triathlon

– Variation in a race, three types of activity VS two

– Wide selection of races available

– Great cross training, with three activities being worked it can lead to better balance and recovery.

– Excellent way to learn how to deal with stressful situations. ie: swim starts

– Multiple options for distances

– Strategy and pacing become as much a part of a race as activity itself.

No matter what race you choose, both offer unique advantages and can be combined to provide an excellent training and racing schedule. For the Triathlete who has never raced a proper Olympic distance Duathlon, I challenge you to try one…just once! Find a sanctioned ITU qualifier and try it out just for fun. I bet you’ll get a whole new appreciation for the race.

Cheers and Keep running!

Youth….Maybe it’s not them…

There are times when I  am embarrassed to be an adult. More then once, I have stood in line in a retail chain, or food outlet and listened to so called “Adults” berate the people trying desperately to serve them.

We live in a society that seems desperate to be a victim and equally as desperate to prove they won the fight when being victimized.

The trouble is, telling a 16 year old student they don’t have a clue is not winning a fight, it’s being a bully. You’re right, those 16 year olds don’t have a clue. Those 16 year olds don’t make the rules and they are trying very hard to function in the world WE created..not  them.

As we stand in line, complaining, whining and arguing about 10 cents…we are teaching a generation how to interact with people.

So, my request is this, before any one of us so called Adults complain about the Youth and their attitude…lets take a serious look in the mirror.

The world doesn’t need more victims, but we do need our youth more than ever. We sure as hell haven’t done a good job making things better but maybe they can.

Cheers.

Saucony A6–Real time Review # 3

 

Please note: I am not getting paid for this review, nor have I received any compensation including free gear from Saucony. I’m just a runner.

10/13/14 – Third review – 291KM

Well, I am a little further along from where I said would review again. I continue to rotate through my various shoes, but the last 3 weeks has seen a volume increase on these as the other ones have worn down respectively with one of the other pairs being fully retired. This means, these shoes have seen more long runs closer together.

It is becoming very obvious that they are starting to reach the end of their life cycle.

Specifically;

– The support along the upper is now starting to fold slightly and I have had to adjust the laces at least twice to snug the shoe back up.

– The foam is starting to give way, and the cushioning is not quite as energetic. Certainly, I am feeling the impact more on the long runs then I did.

– The fabric on the inside of the (heel) back of the shoe  has rubbed away and I have had to place duct tape. This caused some blisters while running one day.

However, this shoe is considered a minimal shoe and a racing flat. So, in my humble opinion, at almost 300KM this is still pretty good. I have now purchased another pair of these and I intend to start phasing this pair out and limit the runs to shorter, intensity runs 15K or under.

My primary concern about this shoe when I started out, was whether or not the foam/rubber bottom would hold up against the rural roads. I am very happy to say it has. An unexpected benefit was not having to pick rocks out the soles as I did with the A5s. ( remember those little holes in the soles? )

Overall, I like this shoe a lot and I will continue to purchase. But – I would have liked to see it hold up a little longer and this is why I knocked the durability down to a 4. Tied to that, I knocked performance down too since it impacted my training slightly as the shoe has degraded, especially in the last three weeks. The 2 pairs of A5’s I have been rotating through are at ( or just over )400KM and I am hoping to see this shoe hit that as well.

Here is my rating. I’ll put one more review out at 400K or earlier if the shoe goes out of commission before that.

Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 4

Durability – 4

IMG_20141013_145129IMG_20141013_145143IMG_20141013_145151IMG_20141013_145157

 

 

08/24/14 – Second review – 136KM

 

I’ll be honest, at this point, I am very..VERY happy with this shoe. The sole is standing up to the pounding of rural life so far and the upper is much better than the last pair.

I honestly would say, that so far, these shoes are definitely an improvement over the A5.

I am still rotating my two older pairs of A5 and this pair, but at 136K I have enough miles on them to get a feel. I also raced once in them, and they came through with flying colours.

As you’ll recall from my post below, I was concerned mainly about the sole of shoe holding up to the “chip and tar”, dirt road surfaces. There is some sign of wear, however nothing I would not expect with a minimal shoe. ( see pics )

The Upper has been through a few bouts ‘o sweat and water, including one Triathlon so a little collapse is normal. However putting the shoe on, it still fits nicely and there has been no need to adjust laces.

Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 5

Durability – 5

I’ll review again around 200K..Stay Tuned

IMG_20140824_143356IMG_20140824_143402IMG_20140824_143407IMG_20140824_143430

Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 5

Durability – 5

 

Previous Post

I’ve decided to do a real time, ongoing review of the Saucony A6. Every 50K or so, I’ll  provide an update on the shoe and how it is holding up.

Why? I loved the A5, and I came to the A5 out of necessity.  I want to love the A6, but I am concerned about the wear of the sole as it appears to have reduced for the most part to blown rubber that many companies are using to reduce weight. If you’ve read my review on the Mizuno Evo’s, you’ll understand my concern.

Conditions around my house – Rural Canada, Eastern Ontario. It’s a mix of dirt roads, chip and tar pavement and real pavement.

Purpose – Training and Racing

Number of Pairs – I rotate through 2-3 pairs of road shoes and right now my last couple of pairs of A5’s are reaching the end of their life being around 370K. That is why I brought the A6 into the mix. I also trail run, so some of my longer distance runs are in trail shoes. ( this means reports will probably happen monthly, but accelerate as I move through shoes and flip flop back forth between road and trail )

07/09/14 –  Initial Run

IMG_20140717_074817Initial Impression – shoe feels more durable and a little stiffer. It’s very light and the Upper certainly gives the impression it will last longer. This is line with the current communications going out.

This was a Taper week for me heading into an Trail Ultra on the weekend, so I had a single low mileage run to do on the 9th. I slid these on for the 8K run.

The feel of the shoe was very nice, and actually seemed to fit my foot a little better than the A5. The upper seemed much more in tune with how my foot curves and this meant it relied less on me playing with laces to get the fit correct. The stiffness of the sole made itself known, but it was a good mix and did not take away from the purpose of the minimal feel.

The run, although only 8K, was very comfortable and the ride smooth. Now…all shoes are smooth at the start right? That’s why I am reviewing every 50K.

 

IMG_20140717_074840

 

 

On completion, I took them off and inspected. They were a little dirty..but all was well.

I am hopeful that nothing was lost and that the A6 will be as good a shoe as the A5.

 

 

 

 

 

So, here is my review. Please understand that this could change as we go along

Scale 1 – 5. 1 being horrible, 5 being simply awesome

Fit – 5

Performance – 5

Durability – 5

See ya soon!! Stay Tuned!

North Face EC Ontario 50 Miler

Wow, what a race! Incredible course, incredible scenery! I am still a bit awestruck.

On Saturday, I competed in and completed the North Face 50 miler Endurance Challenge in Collingwood. Knowing little about the course, but enough about the Blue Mountains, I have been spending A lot of time training in Gatineau and Frontenac. This race was my “A” race for the year and I knew it was not going to come easy . Running anything over 35K can have unique circumstances so running 80K up down a ski hill and on the Bruce Trail was going to be something else.  I learned that this is what North Face is famous for, tough vertical challenges. I love it.

For each serious race I do, there always seems to be a song that sticks with me. For this race it “Bleed it Out” by Linkin Park

Race Distance – 80K ( Garmin is reading 83.5)

Total Time – 10 hours 7 mins

Elevation Gain – 2233 meters

Total Calories Burned – 5876

Standings – 13th/95 overall, 3rd/6 age group and 11/61 men

image

….Yeah here we go for the hundredth time
Hand grenade pins in every line
Throw ’em up and let something shine…

Training and Strategy Going In

I won’t bore you with all the details of my training. Suffice to say, I feel my coach Neil and I prepared a solid plan and execution strategy.

Since April, I have been spending almost every weekend running in Gatineau or Frontenac. I knew the NFEC was going to be hilly, and since hills have been my weakness I was not taking any chances. Waking up at 4:00 am sucks on a weekend, but this was my “A” race. I was not going to screw it up with lack of training and then wonder what happened.  Our plan was to stay around a 6:00 – 6:30 pace, picking up speed on the flats, but not the point where my heart rate picked up and started kicking me out of aerobic. I wanted my body to burn as much as fat as possible and use the limited Glycogen stores sparingly. My issue in the past has been bad judgment on pacing early on in races, and I was not going to deviate off plan!!

Specific areas of training:

Wolfe Trail off P13 in Gatineau.

Slide Lake, Big Salmon and Arkon Trails in Frontenac.

The Race

Up at 3:00 am. The race starts at 5:00 am, so I need to eat and prepare everything. Drop bags must be dropped before 4:30, so this left me only 1 hour and 15 minutes to leave the hotel. In typical fashion, the night before was a write off for sleep. I prepared my drop bag. Extra shoes, Extra shorts, Extra socks, Extra shirt, Extra gels and food. I left the hotel at about 4:05 am and drove out to the mountain. It was humid with a nice gentle breeze coming off Georgian Bay.

…Truth is you can stop and stare
Run myself out and no one cares…

GO!!!

If you check the elevation profile above, you’ll see that this is a very hilly course with a lot of up and down. It’s also a hilly course with some pretty steep vertical sections. If you had not prepared, it was going to be tough. This meant periods of walking when I knew I could run and letting people go by me. This was perhaps the greatest challenge , but Ultra running, as I have learned is about patience.I followed the race strategy closely and it meant saying goodbye to some people on the first lap. I knew instinctively that I would see some of them again, and I did. The course kept coming back for more and as the heat of the day built, new challenges presented themselves to go along with the hills. The course itself, was a 2 loop x 40K. I paid very close attention to the entire 1st loop so I could guess where some of the trouble spots would be on the 2nd loop. Believe it or not, some of the toughest sections were the ones you had to descend. In particular for me,  the last 1.8K down to restart the 2nd loop or come home. It was close to torture. Hard packed, loose shale rock with uneven, steep and loose stairs. Each step sent your ankles, knees and hip flexors into a scream fest. Slowing down prolonged it, speeding up made the impact that much harder. I loved it because these are the moments that define us.

I was very happy that Lap 1 was executed perfectly, most of Lap 2 also saw the plan, but the last 7K were tough. I started leaking time because I was not able to take advantage of the downhill sections like I should have.

My Mantra for this race : “I’m tired, I hurt but I’m not quitting!”

…this hurts, I won’t lie
Doesn’t matter how hard I try
Half the words don’t mean a thing
And I know that I wont be satisfied
So why try ignoring him
Make it a dirt dance floor again…

 

There is a little bit of everything on this course. Single Path Trails, Stairs, Dirt Roads, Pavement, Ski Runs and bush hogged paths through a forest. It really is a quick run from a perception as terrain moves fast and KM’s do tend to roll by.

 

image

Energy and Nutrition

Some of my training, was not just running. It was training my body to reduce the need to constantly takes gels or sport drink. I purposely pushed myself during my running  and cycling with only water. It was rough early on, but I found that it got much easier to go longer without starting to feel that heavy, bonk like feeling. Regardless, you still need some nutrition and I made sure I stayed on top of this. The aid stations were well stocked and I had no problems finding whatever I needed. This ranged from ice, water, M&M’s, skittles…you name it. At my last 50 miler in Haliburton, I hit a bonking wall at 60K. I was very happy to push through without seeing that monster this time. I was tired, but I was always able to draw on energy.

…I bleed it out digging deeper
Just to throw it away…

Physical

Ouch. My body was tired and sore but I’d be more concerned if I was not hurting. In particular, my feet felt like hell. I wore my compression socks, and I think that friction was causing some of the issues as the foot slides around in the shoe. I wore my Trailroc 245’s and I’ll look for something with a little bit more cushion on the long events. Inov8 now has an Ultra shoe  (Trailroc 295 ) and it’s on my list to explore. Climbing the last few hills, I could feel my calf muscles threatening me..they were quivering with each step up the hill but I managed to hold hem off.

Overall

I am happy!

This was my A race and I came away with no questions on whether I could have done anything different. The course is excellent ad the race organization was great. My training got me exactly where I was hoping it would have. Icing on the cake was where I placed overall. This was only my second 50 miler ever.

But don’t ask me about a 100 miler…I’m not considering that beast yet.

Time for Tri!