I was lucky enough to try the new Inov-8 Trailroc 235 trainers at the recent Scottish Barefoot Run and was impressed with both the roomy fit and excellent grip of the shoe. I was surprised at just how sure footed I felt ascending and descending Salisbury Crag and wondered how the shoes would perform on longer runs.
The guys over at Ultra168 have answered that question. Testing the 245 and 255 versions of the new Trailrocs, the reviewers came to the conclusion that, “like much of the Inov-8 range, it serves one purpose and one purpose well, to go long”.
An excellent, highly informative day was had by all at the inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run and we even got a glimpse of what summer should have looked like, albeit a slightly windy version from our viewpoint over Edinburgh from the crags underneath Arthur’s Seat.
The event got underway at 11am with registration and the opportunity to view current and future product from the likes of Merrell, Vibram Five Fingers, Vivobarefoot, Inov8 and Pearl Izumi.
Vibram Five Fingers and inov8 offered participants the opportunity to try out some product while out on the run and I opted for a pair of the new Inov8 Trailroc 235 with a 0mm drop.
The run was from Bruntsfield Links down to Holyrood Park entering by the Commonwealth Pool, up on to Salisbury Crag and along the top, providing excellent views of the Castle and the rest of Edinburgh, then down to the Palace and on to the Royal Mile at The Scottish Parliament. The route then headed up to the Castle and dropped into the Grassmarket. From there, it was up some old town steps to Lauriston Place past the spectacular Heriots School, into Middle Meadow Walkway and back to Bruntsfield Links.
With a perfect mix of terrain, taking in the sights and sounds of Edinburgh (pipers on the royal mile for that traditional Scottish sound) and a distance of just over 5 miles (not including the slight ‘detour’ my wayward group took!) the run had something for all tastes and served to promote Edinburgh as a potential running destination. I think there were more than a few of us left wishing that we had somewhere as cool as the Crags to run on a daily basis, especially given the close proximity to the city.
I ended up running for a while with top Vibram Barefoot Coach Helen Hall and her partner, and benefited greatly from advice offered both directly to myself and to others. I immediately felt the benefit of some of the tips, including:
Adopt a similar zig-zag approach on descents as you would while skiing as this saves the legs and lets you better control your descent
Stand tall and push from the rear – avoid slouching forward
Rotate the upper body
Aim for a high cadence with lots of little steps. Your feet should land underneath your body rather than far in front of it which helps to avoid heel striking
After a leisurely lunch out on the Links, the group decanted to the Eric Liddell Centre for the afternoon’s events, the conference element of the day. The conference was excellent, with 2 great presentations, each with a slightly different focus. Both Ben le Vacant from Vivobarefoot and Matt Walden from Primal Lifestyle, official distributor of Vibram Five Fingers in the UK, delivered informative, engaging presentations that kept the audience interested and, more often than not, amused. I particularly liked the point that 3.6 million years worth of evolution can’t be wrong!
All participants received a pair of TEKO Socks and there were various other freebies on offer from buffs to keyrings.
The event finished with a Q&A session which, I am sure, could have run on a lot longer had time permitted.
This looks likely to be an annual event and a Facebook group has been set up to promote minimalist running in Scotland.
Thanks to event organisers Colin McPhail and Donnie Campbell for an excellent day, and also to all of the helpers on the day. Thanks also to all the companies who came along to instruct and to let participants see and use both current and future products.
The Scottish Barefoot Run High Speed
The following video, prepared by Colin McPhail, shows the route that was taken on the day.
The inaugural Scottish Barefoot Run will take place in Edinburgh on Saturday 15th September at 12.00. The event, incorporating not just barefooters but all minimalist runners, aims “to gather a bunch of like minded runners together and help promote the natural running movement”, and is based on the NYC barefoot run with no fees and no competition, making it very relaxed.
Starting at 12 with a run of approx 6.5 miles, the event will include a BYO BBQ (weather permitting) in the Links and the chance to try new products in the barefoot world, including Teko Natural Running Socks, before a conference element in the afternoon.
The route for the run is from Bruntsfield Links down to Holyrood Park entering by the Commonwealth Pool, up on to Salisbury Crag and along the top, providing excellent views of the Castle, then down to the Palace and on to the Royal Mile at The Scottish Parliament. The route then heads up to the Castle and drops into the Grassmarket. From there, it is up some old town steps to Lauriston Place past the spectacular Heriots School, into Middle Meadow Walkway and back to Bruntsfield Links.
Runners can do as many laps of the course as they want. Faster and more experienced runners will be encouraged to do a second lap with the aim of helping slower runners to achieve the goal when they catch them up.
The afternoon will include a presentation from Matt Walden of Primal Lifestyle, the UK distributor of Vibram Five Fingers. Heather Hall, one of the leading barefoot coaches in the country, will also be there to offer seasoned and newbie barefooters tips and advice from her wealth of practical experience. Inov-8 will be on hand to advise on their range of shoes. Vivobarefoot will hopefully be in attendance.
(Updated 23rd August 2012: Inov-8 will be bringing along some try on shoes from the new range of 3mm and zero drop to let you have a go on the day.)
The event has been put together by Colin from local Edinburgh shop www.footworks-uk.com, a specialist running store with a large range of barefoot and minimalist gear and a commitment to the natural barefoot running cause.
It is hoped that this may become a regular event so please do attend and support the event if you can. Final details including times etc. will be revealed closer to the event, and will be dependant upon total numbers attending, so get your acceptance in early so that all the arrangements can be made in advance.
I am just back from a 5 day break in Edinburgh. I managed to keep up my Marcothon commitments thanks to 6 a.m. runs, taking me up to 50 consecutive days of running and up to Marcothon day 20.
On the plus side, I am chuffed to have made it this far and I am sure that I will manage the remaining 11 days that will take me up to 61 days of consecutive running. At this point I have to admit that the runs are definitely getting more difficult. However, I am a man on a mission and, I have to say, it is a good feeling and also a world apart from where I was this time last year when I let anything and everything get in the way of my running.
My early morning runs in Edinburgh saw me take in everything from Calton Hill, to the Scottish Parliament, the Royal Mile, The Castle, Princess Street and assorted surrounding streets. Given that I ran so early, I perhaps didn’t get the best views of the aforementioned attractions.
However, I was back and ready for breakfast before the rest of the family got up and, as such, my running commitments did not impact on the holiday as far as they were concerned (unless, of course, you count my nodding off midway through whatever we were watching on TV).
I can, at this point, safely say that I am training on battered legs – tight, tense and with a few niggles creeping in. As daft as this might sound, I hope that it will help me to better prepare for my planned ultras. With no days off, there is little or no opportunity for recovery and, as such, I am effectively recreating that feeling towards the later stages of an ultra when the legs would do anything not to keep going.
I do plan to take the 1st January off before resuming a slightly more normal training regime. Looking ahead, I don’t want to take too much time off as this impact negatively on next year’s mileage total!
With 7 ultras in total planned for 2012, including the 95 mile West Highland Way Race, I know that I need to get things just right this year!
I am back at work now but only for 3.5 days and I am already planning some longer runs to take advantage of the Christmas break. I think I will have to take a leaf out of RunDeeMC’s book and try an ice-bath or two to try and aid recovery, especially once I start pushing the mileage again.
I have also taken delivery of a Hope Vision 1 head torch, an early Christmas present, and am looking forward to getting out into the forest for a run tonight to test it. With 240 lumens on max power I sincerely hope the improved field of vision will result in a smoother run and greater avoidance of obstacles!
My time in Edinburgh reminded me of my participation in the Edinburgh Marathon and, also, of what can only be classed as a cautionary tale about becoming an ‘accidental tourist’.
I was no stranger to Edinburgh, having frequently spent summers there visiting relatives as a child. I had ‘done’ the Castle, the Gardens, the Royal Mile and so forth on so many occasions previously.
However, given the gloriously sunny weather, I became an ‘accidental tourist’. I was accompanied down to Edinburgh by my girlfriend (now wife) and her brother and together we spent approximately 10 hours wandering around Edinburgh, visiting the various attractions on offer.
At the time, I didn’t think twice about spending so long trudging around Edinburgh in the beating sun. The fact that this was the day before my first marathon did not set off any alarm bells.
It was not until a race post mortem back at work that it dawned on me that this was perhaps far from the best preparation for running my first marathon. However, this was but the first of my pre race faux pas that weekend!
Arthur’s Seat, at 823 feet (Thanks Wikipedia!) offers an excellent panoramic view of Edinburgh. Having explored the royal mile and Scottish Parliament, we set off up Arthur’s Seat, taking the longest of the various options to reach the peak. With its close proximity to the centre of Edinburgh and popularity with both locals and tourists alike, Arthur’s Seat has been ‘polished’ by the footsteps of all those who have climbed it and, particularly around the peak area, the rocks exhibit an unusual sheen. I correctly anticipated that this would prove slippery underfoot and, mindful of the impending marathon, placed every foot with precision. Having taken in the view, we then set off down the slopes above Dunsapie Loch. At this point, with my guard now down, I slipped on loose gravel and over extended my leg in my efforts to avoid falling completely.
I did not think too much of this at the time and we continued on our travels, walking back in to Edinburgh to spend some time in the gardens.
It was not until the next day once the marathon got moving and I started the motion of running that I realised the damage that I had done. My first marathon and I had only gone and added to the hurdles that I needed to overcome for a successful finish!
The 22C heat would have tested me sufficiently but the addition of a knee injury made for a painful first marathon experience and, by mile 20, I was reduced to a slow run/walk strategy.
I finally crossed the line in a time of 04:49:23.
Looking back, I should have had the sense to rest up rather than walk around the city. Had I not done this then I might also have avoided my unfortunate accident on the way down from Arthur’s Seat which, of all things, likely impacted most on my race day performance. However, given the beauty of Edinburgh and the gorgeous sunny weather it seemed like the right thing to do.
Wherever I go, I always like to explore it with a run. However, these days, any running I do is tempered by whatever events lie in store as I don’t want to repeat the mistake of becoming an ‘accidental tourist’ again!