Showing posts with label Grid Tangent 4. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grid Tangent 4. Show all posts

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Another windy day run

Today's run (street): 4.4 miles

Any hopes I had for calm conditions this morning were dashed when I looked outside to see the lid of a trash can go skittering by the house. The blowing air was chilly, but at least the sun was out. The winds weren't as strong as they were on Saturday, but they were still substantial. I headed off prepared to face another windy challenge.

When the wind wasn't blowing I actually felt comfortable. I wore a light jersey under a heavier quarter zip along with my favorite track pants that were insulated with my Zensah calf sleeves. I also wore my Grid Tangents that I like as much as the Mirages, if not more.

It was my last run of this vacation and I hoped to end it on a high note. I had great energy from the start, even when managing inclines with the wind at my face. Near the end I encountered a jolting crosswind that made me feel like it was 15 degrees outside, but happily realized that the wind would be to my back for the rest of my route.

I finished today's run feeling like I could have gone a few more miles without much trouble. I'd pushed my pace when I could to make up for the resistance from headwinds. I was pleased with my mid-9:00 overall pace and I'm happy to report that I hit a total of 25 miles for the week. It's back to work tomorrow and the challenge of covering that many miles will be greater next week. I really need to maintain my plan for distance runs on the weekends.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Negative splits on a chilly morning

Today's run (street): 2.65 miles

All week we've been hearing forecasts calling for warm weather with predictions that temperatures would reach 70ยบ by Friday. I must be missing something because it has been chilly most days this week and this morning was no different. I listened to the weather report and dressed in single layers for today's run. Fortunately I thought to wear running gloves and I was happy to have them. The winds brought the temperature down into the mid 30's and I found myself wishing for an extra shirt.

Saucony Grid Tangent 4
 I wore my Saucony Grid Tangents this morning for a change of pace but my pace didn't change much. My stride felt encumbered for the first mile but I loosened up soon after that. The second half of my run was 6% faster than my first and though my recent paces have not been extraordinary I've been achieving negative splits on almost every run. I'm hoping to get out for 10 miles on one of the days this weekend. Speed will not be my goal but that doesn't mean it won't be on my mind.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A good taper run (despite a sore toe)

Today's run (treadmill): 2.5 miles

With less than a week before Saturday's race I'm thinking a lot about expectations. This will be my first race in 2011 and like last year's first race, snow may be a factor. The course this weekend is probably similar to last November's Long Beach Turkey Trot that was held in the same town. That was a 10K (6.2 mile) race with 1/3 of the course run along the boardwalk. The Snowflake run is a shorter distance and I'm unsure how they will map out the route. I'm hoping that it includes plenty of boardwalk because the wooden surface is preferable to pavement and the ocean views provide a nice counterpoint to the hard effort of racing. I don't know how fast I'll go or if I have a chance at a 4 mile PR. We'll see.

I would have liked to skip this morning's run and just drink coffee and watch the news under a warm blanket. I managed to change my mindset and get on the treadmill before I rethought my decision. There isn't that much to talk about when describing a treadmill run but today's was easier than Sunday's. I am still dealing with a friction burn on my small toe that I don't want to aggravate any further. I switched from my Brooks to my Saucony Grid Tangents hoping that the different fit would minimize the contact. That helped. My toe is still sore but I wrapped it in a bandage that I wet with Castile soap infused with peppermint and it's coming around. Despite the foot issue my run today was excellent. I was strong throughout the workout and never once did I look wistfully at the clock and wish that time would pass more quickly.

I'm hoping that I can carry that energy into the weekend. I'm planning to run again tomorrow and then complete my taper with light cross-training or rest on Thursday and Friday. Along the way I may get a bonus upper body workout if the ice storm we're expecting amounts to anything.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Resisting Paragon's bargains

Running shoes 4 cheap at Paragon Sports
 Today's run (street): 2.6 miles at 9:22

Yesterday afternoon I paid a visit to Paragon Sports in Union Square. They are having a warehouse sale all week long and I thought a trip there would be a nice break from a busy day. I first checked out the running section to see what they had and was surprised to see some brands of running clothing that were new to me. Paragon had some 20% off deals on good stuff from Brooks, ASICS, Adidas, Craft, New Balance and Saucony but I didn't see anything that I really needed. They also had big displays of Nike and UA clothes but I can find that stuff anywhere. The warehouse sale was predominantly about shoes. Bins of shoes separated by gender and size filled up most of the room. The clothing choices were sparse for running although I did see a nice, long sleeved Adidas jersey at a genuine bargain price but I didn't need it. I tried on a pair of Brooks Cascadia 4 trail shoes that were priced low. They fit well except for my left foot where it was snug in the toe box. I knew this would be a problem on the courses I'd run with them so I took a pass. The place was mobbed with people looking for quality stuff at 50% off. Amazing how price drives demand.

This morning I wanted to run fast but I didn't. I felt like I was doing everything right -- urgent pace, good form, mid foot landing, but in the end the numbers told a different story. I read an article in Running Times about recruiting your intermediate fast-twitch muscles to gain aerobic speed but I clearly didn't learn enough. I'll admit I was disappointed today considering I ran with my Saucony Grid Tangent 4's that used to provide some speed advantage. Maybe it was the early morning hour or mid-week fatigue. Tomorrow I'll take on the elliptical and Friday I'll try again for some speed. This weekend will be about distance and hills. My legs are still feeling the effects of the James Street incline from last Sunday.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dirty shoes planned for the Dirty Sock 10K

My GTS 9's in pre-muddy form
Today's run (street) 2.5 miles at 8:44

I own three pairs of trail shoes but I'm thinking of running the Dirty Sock race in regular shoes this Sunday. The trail at Belmont Lake is mostly flat and well tended and there isn't a lot of surface that requires the extra traction of more purpose-built shoes. The reason I'm thinking this way is that I'm concerned that my feet may take a beating after six miles. Last year I ran this event in my New Balance 460's that are great but are a half size too small. I can get away with 3 or 4 miles on the 460's but I ended up with a black toenail after last year's race.

My Adidas Response 15's have been my MVP running shoes, serving well on both streets and trails and filling in as casual shoes when I travel. However, they also lose appeal after five miles of hard running. My feet took a beating the last time I used them for a long trail run. I have a pair of Helly Hansen Trail Lizards that impressively tear up the rough terrain at Stillwell Woods but they may be overkill for Sunday's race. I'm inclined to pull my old Brooks GTS 9's back into service instead. These shoes do very well over long distances and, even after 600 miles, they look and feel almost like new. My only concern relates to vanity as I'm reluctant to get them muddy. I suppose I can always hose them off after I run.

This morning I continued to run with a focus on speed and cadence and achieved 8:44 per mile overall, despite very high humidity. It's still a little challenging to maintain enough concentration at 4:00 AM to keep with a consistently brisk pace. I have been running in my Saucony Grid Tangent 4's over the last week but I've switched to my Kinvaras for this week's taper. I'll probably do my last training runs in my Brooks GTS 10's to get used to a little heavier shoe. My biggest concern at the moment is how the rain predicted for Saturday might affect conditions on Sunday morning. If it's muddy course on race day I may need to run in trail shoes after all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Running technology report from the MIT Media Lab

Interior of the new MIT Media Lab building
 Today's run (street): 4.5 miles at 8:52 per mile

My recent visit to the MIT Media Lab was fascinating (as usual) and I was happy to see friends and faculty again after so many months away. I've written a couple of posts about my great runs along the Charles River this week but today I'm going to focus on noteworthy technologies that relate to athletics. Besides hearing from the architect of the beautifully designed new Media Lab building and from visionaries such as Stewart Brand and Nicholas Negroponte (who said the Media Lab's goal was to create solutions looking for problems) there was the usual "Open House" where students show off their latest research projects. It's essentially the coolest science fair in the world.

Bio-sensitive stretchable fabric
Above is a picture of a woven sensor that appears to be a piece of stretchable fabric but acts like a sensor that can pick up information such as core temperature, blood pressure/flow, heart rate, pH, etc. Imagine if your HRM or foot pod could be sewn into your running clothes? 

SportSemble performance capture system
Portable variable light illumination device
Another interesting project was the use of the SportSemble (above, top) system to capture the most minute details of movement by major league baseball players. In this project, players from the Boston Red Sox are wired with multiple sensors that capture metrics such as the speed of a pitcher's waist relative to the speed of the wrist of his throwing hand. The data is captured and correlated and the goal is to determine how certain sympathetic actions, however minute, can result in higher performing athletes. Go Sox!

In a more running related project I was given a demonstration of a lighting system that constantly reads conditions and enables lights based on the users needs. I often run with a headlamp at 4:00 AM and on dark days with no moon I really need the maximum amount of illumination. On other days, with clear skies and a full moon, I really don't need any extra light. This device can deliver, to the lumen, the exact amount of light needed at every moment. This conserves battery life and ensures that the light you need is delivered exactly where it's needed. The research assistant pictured above told me I could make this device myself with a simple microprocessor. I may need her help, especially since I've proven I can't change the battery in a Garmin 50 without destroying it.

Hugh Herr talks about devices to augment human running performance
During the Wednesday morning session Dr. Hugh Herr, who runs the Biomechatronics group at the Media Lab, talked about human augmentation. This group has developed the most advanced prosthetic legs in use today with capabilities that allow single and double amputees to walk and run with the same (or better) energy efficiency as able bodied people. Much of the research done in this lab is focused on augmenting athletes, especially runners. Imagine running a five minute mile while expending no more energy than a stroll in the park. I know my Saucony Kinvaras and Grid Tangent 4's give me a boost but that takes it to whole new level!

I thought about the science of human augmentation and the small differences in form and stride that can make a big difference in running pace. This morning I set out with my Kinvaras for a 4.5 mile run around the neighborhood and finished with an overall pace under nine minutes that just felt too easy. I definitely run faster in these lightweight trainers. Does running a little faster provide a greater training benefit than running slower? Hard to know. I loved the feeling of moving along in 50 degree temperatures on a cool, clear late May morning. Yes, the shoes are great but this morning's run was about much more than that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saucony Tangent 4: Fast and comfortable

Saucony Grid Tangent 4

Today's run (street): 2.45 miles at 8:40 per mile

After two runs in the Saucony Kinvaras I'm starting to believe that a shoe can really make a difference in performance. The Kinvaras are extremely light and have very little drop-off between the heel and forefoot. This makes mid foot striking easier than when running in a shoe with a higher heel. I closely track my performance and although I'm a 9 minute miler in spirit I'm more of a 9:10-9:20 miler in practice. So what am I supposed to think when I put together two consecutive runs under 8:50 per mile? Could I have improved that quickly -- or is it the shoes?

That's the question I asked myself this morning when I set out for a morning run wearing my new Saucony Grid Tangent 4's. These are lightweight stability shoes that feel very good on the foot. Despite the light weight there was decent cushioning through both the heel and front foot. I took off and immediately noticed how quick they felt, my pace was more like a tempo run although I didn't feel as though I was working that hard. But at 4:00 AM things can be deceiving. I've done runs at that time that felt fast but weren't. I expected the same today but finished with an average pace of 8:40. That's 5K race pace for me and almost unheard of at that early hour.

It may be too early to say for sure but these lightweight shoes from Saucony really deliver speed. I like the Kinvaras for the mid foot landing and the Grid Tangents seem sturdy enough to be a regular trainer for people like me who have a lighter build. So what's to become of my beloved Brooks GTS 10's? No worries, there will always be room for them in the rotation. They just may need to wait a little longer for their turn.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Saucony Kinvaras make a great first impression

Saucony Kinvaras ready for their first run
Today's run (Central Park): 3.2 miles at 8:47/mile

My shipment from Saucony arrived yesterday and I'm very excited to put these two pairs of lightweight trainers to the test. Lightweight is the word, the Kinvaras practically floated out of the box when I opened it. The pictures promised a different looking shoe and the Saucony Kinvara is certainly different. The outer layer on the upper is translucent and it looks like it was air brushed. My kids thought they looked amazing and my daughter asked me if they came in kid sizes. But looks are one thing, fit and feel are another and I put them to the test today at noon in Central Park.

The Kinvara is a minimalist shoe that can be used for racing. It's more flexible on the forefoot than the other running shoes that I own with an extremely small drop off from heel to toe that encourages mid foot landing. When I put them on I had the same reaction that I had when I tried on a pair of Nike Frees - it felt more like a slipper than a running shoe. Once I began to walk in them and got a sense of how they worked with the foot I realized they were nicely responsive. I started my run at the bottom of the lower loop and was happy to note that the ride was no harder than the Brooks Adrenalin's although the feel was different. I moved along well and passed some runners, even on the hills. The sun was out and it was very humid so the run was already feeling like hard work by mile 2. However, I maintained a decent pace throughout the entire distance and was pleased to average 8:47 per mile. I have to give credit to the shoes for helping me attain that pace since I can't think of another factor that would explain it.

Over this weekend I hope to test the other pair of shoes I got from Saucony, the ProGrid Tangent 4's. Like the Kinvaras, these shoes are extremely light and have some stability control for those, like me, who pronate. The fit, like every Saucony I've ever put on my foot, feels natural and correct. As much as I'm excited about the Kinvaras I'm thinking that the Tangents may be competition for the Brooks as a daily trainer. I'll be testing both pairs in the coming weeks. I'm still not sure whether I'll race on Sunday but if I do I plan to wear the Kinvaras. Since it's just a 5K on Sunday I'm not too concerned about racing with new shoes. Today's running experience seems to validate that decision.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Will Saucony's performance shoes make me faster?

Saucony's new Kinvera minimalist performance shoe
Men's (left), Woman's (right)
Today's run (street): 2.4 miles at 9:07/mile

Saucony Grid Tangent 4
I've always been interested in Saucony shoes but have never owned a pair. Saucony has always seemed like a quality brand and I know a few people who swear by them and won't run in anything else. I'm well equipped in terms of regular trainers with my Brooks Adrenaline 9's and 10's but I've often wondered what it would be like to run in a lightweight trainer or even a racing shoe. Could a few ounces really make a difference in terms of performance? Is the trade-off of weight worth the loss of cushioning? Would running in performance shoes, with their closer heel-to-forefoot height ratio, help me become more of a mid foot striker? The answer to these questions will come after I receive a couple of pairs of performance shoes to test. The Saucony folks are sending me pairs of the new Kinvera and Grid Tangent 4 this week and I'm really looking forward to putting them through their paces, so to speak.

It's almost the middle of May but morning temperatures continue to feel quite chilly. I headed out at 4:00 AM this morning and needed long sleeves to feel comfortable throughout my run. I didn't wear gloves and I regretted that but it was fine for a two mile workout. I felt strong, as I usually do after a rest day, and considered running three or four miles instead of the 2.25 to 2.5 miles I usually run in my short window of time. I knew that if I did that my morning schedule would be disrupted so I settled for 2.4 that I covered in just under 22 minutes. Despite feeling strong and running with good energy I only averaged 9:07 per mile. Good for early morning but slower than I'd felt I'd run. No matter, it was a really pleasant workout and with my performance shoes on their way I can worry about my pace another time.

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