Trail running training advice

The training for the trail is of course available according to each distance objective: short, long, ultra; taking into account the terrain of the intended race: we do not prepare quite the same way for a trail in the forest, in mid-mountain or in the Alps. But some main lines remain valid for the whole discipline: the development of the qualities of runners, the adaptation to the varied grounds, the endurance and the drop. Let’s see here the main sessions that make progress!

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First, work on the basic qualities of the runner


The trail, beyond its specificities, is still running. There is certainly a difference in altitude, we walk there often, we encounter terrain that is sometimes difficult to negotiate, but the basis is still running. We must therefore work on the basic qualities of the long-distance runner, like what the specialists of the marathon do or shorter or longer distances on the road.

The MAS, the threshold, the classic runner sessions therefore also apply to the trail runner. Depending on the level of the athlete and the distance of the target trail, the work of his specific gaits will be more or less important, but this basic background should not be totally left out anyway.

The 30 “/ 30” type sessions (30 seconds run at 90/100% of your VO2 max altenated with 30 “nits), 1 ‘/ 1” are of course to be favored at the start of preparation, to build your “displacement” of runner, whatever distance you are aiming for.

The aerobic “threshold” type sessions, run at a pace close to what you are able to hold in a half marathon, will be alternated with these “MAS” sessions during the initial preparation period. They will be maintained throughout the preparation.

In short, like all runners, trail runners will have an interest in running fast and working on these specific training gaits: the gains will be significant. You will be more comfortable with a high pace, will be more comfortable when it comes to relaunching on the flat and it will also help you to go up more easily in the uphill laps, and to unroll in the descent.

To bring a specific “trail” to these sessions, try at least once a week to perform this type of outings on natural terrain. Find a course that is sufficiently rolling to run without major technical constraints and on rather soft ground.

In the second part of this magazine, you will find a list of original ideas for splitting that can perfectly apply to trail runners!

Adaptation to varied terrain


As we have seen in the first part of this file, technical learning and mastery of the different soils and slopes encountered in trail running is an essential aspect to be comfortable in this practice, especially when one evolves in Mountain.

Thus, in addition to the concern for the right gesture and its acquisition in specific sessions (uphill, downhill, especially on the interval sessions mentioned above), we will have the concern, in most of the training, to vary maximum surfaces to learn to adapt better and to read the terrain.

As we said above, it will be interesting to perform the fast sessions (VMA, Threshold) on natural surfaces and hilly courses rather than all the time on track or road, in order to have a better muscular adaptation and articular. The same goes for jogging and basic land training: try, even if you live in town, to run as often as possible in nature, and on terrain that is closest to those you will find during of your target race.

Of course, when you live in 19th-century Paris, it’s difficult to find trails that look like the Vanoise; but you can all the same vary the grounds, while running on the ground, and the unevenness: you can always find flights of stairs or some slopes near your home. Long weekend outings and “w-e shocks” will also be an opportunity to get used to these varied terrains.

Develop endurance


Endurance, being able to move for a long time, at a certain pace, is crucial for trail running, especially over long distances (ultra) but also, at each stage of practice, for all runners. The overall property, the dose of training is already fundamental to build a “frame” that will last for long hours on the trails. So of course, the sessions mentioned above, whether it be the interval training or jogging on varied terrain and the “active” height difference sessions, will of course be important bricks for building your endurance. But long outings, hike-races where the effort is longer will be almost essential to face the distances.

During a specific preparation period, one long outing per week is recommended. It will last roughly the target time of the race (not the distance) for events up to 40 kilometers and over a long period, less than the race pace, for longer distances. Of course, beyond a certain duration, these long outings will be rather “hike-races” where you will alternate depending on the terrain and the fatigue of the periods of running and walking. They will also be an opportunity to test your equipment, your bag and your supplies.

To improve your endurance, two complementary methods can be incorporated into your training.

The Shock Weekend: a key step for specific endurance
Theorized and popularized by Guillaume Millet, tested by many runners like Sébastien Chaigneau, the shock weekend has become an often essential element in the preparation of a trail, especially for the Ultra-Trail. From one to three “WECs” can fit into a race preparation. They should be well quantified and placed judiciously in the programming calendar.

What is it about ?
This involves placing 5 to 8 hour outings at low speed over 2 or 3 days (hiking-running). Go with the race gear prepared, it will be necessary to know enough or study the place where we intend to do it. It will obviously have to be as similar as possible to the target race, whether on the nature of the terrain or the difference in height. The mind ? you manage the situation, you listen to yourself.

How to distribute the outputs?
One of the interests of WEC is to generate fatigue without falling into too much exhaustion which will hamper the rest of the preparation. Therefore, it may be wise to organize your shock weekend with little recovery between outings. For example, you can start your WEC with an outing starting at 6:00 PM with 2 hours daylight and 2 hours night time. The next morning you will start early enough around 6 a.m. / 7 a.m. so as not to leave too much rest between sessions and you will leave for a six to eight hour outing. On the last day, for example, you can leave for six or eight hours or by splitting into two parts with four in the morning and four in the afternoon.

How to organize the WEC?
Since you are not on a race, there are obviously no supplies, so it’s up to you to plan and organize your water and food supplies.

The easiest way to take it with you is to take your food rations and identify water points beforehand either by passing through the city or the village, or to spot a fountain on the course or even for the lucky ones. a good soul who would come to supply you during your training.

  • Similarly, plan what is necessary so as not to abrogate your session for a trifle. For example plan to bandage or other nok so you don’t have to stop along the way for so little which would be discouraging and a real shame.

When to expect it?


It is possible to plan several, however the last one should not be placed less than three weeks before the objective.

La Sportiva Kaptiva 2021 vs La Sportiva Mutant

La Sportiva Mutant

Dynamism Heel height

The model, with its very notched sole, is clearly intended for muddy, technical, mountainous and “off trail” terrain. It has a very efficient and innovative lacing system, the fit is very comfortable and precise.

The shoe is very dynamic in the relaunch even on hard ground despite a very high sole due to these huge studs.

The only downside is that you lose a little precision in the downforce due to a slightly high heel, with a drop of 10 mm. However, it remains very efficient on technical terrain.

The most technical
Spyral Tongue: integrated gaiter, protection. Fusion Gate: hold. Asymmetric, crossed tongue: reduces pressure on the top of the foot.

Injected EVA coupled with Stabilizer insert: stability at the moment of impact with the ground. FriXion XF: grip. Impact Break System: traction. Crampons, heel tab, drop: 10 mm.

Preferred distance
Long distance and ultra-trail trail

Preferred land
Mountain paths

Technical sheet

  • Weight in gr. (per shoe): 320
  • Tightening: Laces
  • Membrane: NC
  • Stem: Low stem
  • Cushioning: MEMLEX EVA
  • Outsole: Ultra-grippy FriXion XF mesh
  • Midsole: OrtholiteMountainRunning Ergonomic 4mm
  • Sizes available: 36 to 47.5

La Sportiva Kaptiva 2021

Very protective model / high mountain style / excellent support. Price / Rigid support / difficult rebound.

Fans of brawling Sportiva, what if you gave this cute Italian innovation a try? A slight step aside for the manufacturer, which filled lovers of robustness – sometimes downright, hard. Surprisingly at first glance, one wonders about its DNA: lightweight design, seductive drop and less than 290g, the crampon is indeed that of a “Sport”, but a certain heaviness in less. Response to the test? The Kaptiva is a very interesting synthesis, ideal on formats less than 80K.

Strong protective, on this point the Italian follows its common thread, as well as its grip which makes one think of an approach shoe. But if thin feet are favored by the size of the footwear, the propulsion of the whole would make the most reluctant want to go … trot. At this point, we say bravo. The Kaptiva thus confirms its punchy look by the pleasure it provides.

In terms of the upper, La Sportiva offers here a feeling of relief which, again, is seductive for those who balk at heavily bodied shoes. Let’s face it, this Kaptiva is still a Sportiva, and if the nervousness on the hills is as satisfying as it is lasting, you will have to get used to a still rigid chassis. The crampon remains firm, moderately adherent and packs fairly quickly. However, the model is an excellent surprise on the false flat portions (+/-!), By deploying very pleasantly.

Once again, this Sportiva will require qualities of the foot, and a certain habit, as its cushioning is firm.

But on that condition, or that of being a real fan, the shoe then becomes very playful downhill, with a responsiveness that feels good. Relaunch downhill? and why not ! Beware of slips on wet rock, and enjoyment.If you decide to buy this model, try to do it before the start of the Chinese New Year 2021. Prices will rise.

Technical sheet

  • Weight in g (per shoe): 284 in 42
  • Tightening: Laces
  • Membrane / Material treatment: NC
  • Stem: Low stem
  • Cushioning: TPU / EVA
  • Midsole: NC
  • Outsole: Frixion White
  • Sizes available: 38 to 47 1/2
  • Technology / Other infos: Upper: wraparound and elastic knit fabric tongue + anti-deformation stabilizing mesh front part + No-Sew reinforcements (without seams) in protective TPU Lining: breathable anti-slip mesh Midsole: compression EVA and stabilizing and anti-torsion TPU inserts + rock guard insert in bi-density EVA Sole: FriXion® White with Impact Brake System with predisposed crampons for AT Grip Spike Spike Plantar: Ortholite® Ergonomic 4mm
  • Drop: 6 mm

best trail running gear

Today I tell you about how to invest smartly when buying mountaineering gear. Choosing one type or another of equipment can become expensive, which will make you put your hand deep in your pocket or under the mattress.

First of all I must admit that I have a theory: you can run on the mountain with what you already have in the house but that does not mean it will be the most pleasant experience.

When I run I like to feel comfortable and that I cannot be taken by surprise by nature. I take my equipment suitable and appropriate to the weather conditions.

So, not to complain when I get wet and it gets cold. That I am a delicate. Of course you can run through the mud with asphalt equipment but the experience is much more fun with equipment designed for mountain running.

In addition to the clear difference in the construction of the sneakers, mountain running also requires other specific pieces of equipment.

The questions to ask when looking for the right equipment are:

How can I run that distance (21km / 42km) on my own? What options do I have for my food and water? How do I protect myself from the unpredictable?

I made a list of 11 pieces of mountain running equipment to add to your trail-macho wardrobe.

The good news is that most of the equipment has a secondary purpose. You can use it for running on asphalt, hiking and other sports.

FOOD (GELS, JEWELS, CONFIDED FRUITS, BUTTONS, SANVISH-URI, ALUES)

Mountain running is the perfect example of eating on the run and running to eat. If you still carry a backpack with you, why not have everything you need to satisfy your cravings? Take with you easily digestible foods and easy to chew.

Avoid sticks that chew hard. They will make your breath harder and you will feel suffocated.

TEST! That’s the key word before you take part in a competition. The food should be tested at training, at the long runs you have in the training plan for the respective contest.

The closer they are to their natural state, the better the food will make you.

MEDICAL KIT

– The piece of equipment for mountain running that is missing from many backpacks

It depends a lot on your spirit of adventure and how far you want to venture. The medical kit is necessary in the equipment for the mountain run, you just put in it only the basic things. Some leucoplast, wipes, gauze, sunscreen, lip balm are always useful. Here you can also add the survival foil you can use in extreme conditions to warm yourself up or make a shelter.

BUFF

Give up the old cotton bandana and choose a technical fabric buff. Can be used as headband, cap, face cover. It protects you from the sun, sweating, wind, cold. It’s a very versatile piece of mountain running gear.

Choose a model that will stand out to you. Be bold in your choice!

Trekking polls.

Mountain running with sticks is highly dependent on your terrain and technique. For contests with low level difference (eg Semimaraton Intersport) are only extra weight. But if you have to deal with a “monster” race where you climb the altitude of an Everest, the sticks can help you keep your balance on the descents and can also propel you up, using the power of your arms. It’s a piece of mountain running gear that I think is quite optional.

Because if you don’t have the right technique, I don’t recommend using them. You will feel more confused. The trekking sticks are slightly different from the ski ones but not very different. There are fixed sticks and folding sticks. With removable socket and normal socket.

Test before taking them on the run and see if they are comfortable with or without them.

Running socks

Running Socks (or without compression) are a part of mountain running equipment that will surely increase your comfort and prevent your bladder. They will protect you when your mud / sand gets into adidas.

And believe me you will have plenty. I recommend dark-colored wool and merino socks.

bleachers

Did you know that the main reason for abandoning an ultramarathon is bleachers?

Mud, sand, snow are some of the main factors that can cause this and get you out of the race. Therefore, at an ultra I think that gaiters are mandatory as part of mountain running equipment.

Choose a model that suits you best. The little ones are good so you don’t overheat on a hot day.

HYDRATION SYSTEM

The human body has 3 priority functions.

Thermogenesis – that is, the regulation of a constant temperature, relative to the external environment; Hydration – keeping a high osmolarity of the blood; Food – the supply of nutrients to the organs for energy supply;

These functions are interconnected. If function no. 1 will not work either functions 2 and 3.

Here is a key decision. Try to have a backpack with many pockets to give you the opportunity to have everything at hand (eg food, cans).

I personally prefer camelback hydration backpacks in my mountain running gear. This type of backpack gives me the opportunity to access the water can very quickly (but not to be placed in front, as it seems to me as a balancer).

Water HAND BOTTLE

I recommend it only when the running distances are shorter, the route is very well known and you will return from where you left in maximum 2 hours. You can only get one can to attach to a treadmill.

But be careful, you can easily be caught on the mountain by surprise.

GLOVES

Even in the hot weather, the mountain can be so bad that you need gloves.

It helps you to get a better grip on cold rocks, and maintain your body heat. 40% of body heat is lost through the extremities. If you have gloves, a hat, good quality socks you can get rid of the cold and even frost.

Rain jacket

Weather conditions can change instantly in the mountains. From here and the saying “You are changing as the weather”.

However, there is still a saying “There is no bad weather but bad equipment”. The wind and rain jacket is a mandatory piece of equipment at almost all mountain running competitions. Choose a waterproof one, in which the skin can breathe and which blocks the wind. The hood should be a kind of bonus.

trail running shoes

Oh, God, how much can we debate on this topic! I tell you from experience that there are no perfect sneakers. But you can adapt the sneakers according to your needs and the nature of the existing terrain. For example, there are very running competitions with 0 technical sections. And contests with almost 0 runs and extraordinarily many technical sections.

For technical contests you need very reactive sneakers. Which allows you to walk very fast, change your center of gravity from one leg to another very quickly. I recommend something with a low sole but still with some cushioning. Salomon S-lab are matched, Mutant and Bushido from La Sportiva.

The sole depends a lot on the nature of the terrain. On the muddy and snowy terrain choose something with greater grip and on the running terrain, choose something that gives you more protection (soft sole).

All pairs. Yes all. Choose them with a larger number. That way you will avoid blackening your nails.

Seven things I’ve learnt training for Karkloof100

Ultra running is no joke, but it’s the training that really shows you what you are made of. When I set myself the goal of running 100 miles (160km) I knew it was going to be tough as nails, I thought yeah I will learn so much running it (and I am sure I still will when we toe the line in September at the legendary Karkloof100) but it is the training that has been something of a revelation for me.

Don’t let the vert hurt

Depending on the type of terrain your goal race is you will naturally train accordingly. If your race is over smooth jeep track and clean forest trails spending hours in the rocky technical mountains every single run won’t necessarily benefit you as much as flat dirt road running will. I’ve had to force myself to walk the hills, and hey it’s OK! No one is going to be laughing at your Strava laps because you walked the hills. Saving energy on the ups means you run the flat and downhills when others are forced to walk later in the race.

Don’t waste tired legs

For years I have tried my best to make sure I am as rested as possible before the weekend long run, but a few weeks back when I was slogging through a 4 hour run feeling like death warmed up all I wanted to do was stop. Then it suddenly hit me, I worked hard to get this tired and I am not injured, so just keep running. Running your long run on tired legs is a great way to simulate a possible race day environment when you start to feel tired towards the end of the race. This can be applied to any run distance training. It not only teaches you to run on tired legs but builds some serious mental fortitude because we are never as tired as our brain tries to tell us we are. You can always go more!

Train at goal race pace

This has been by far the toughest part of my training. Not counting the very little speed work I do, most of my runs have tried to be at goal race pace for the karkloof100, which happens to be almost 3 minutes per km slower than the average I am most comfortable at. Training slow takes proper discipline, having people pass you while you are walking is not good for the ego but training at 4min/km will have zero benefit when you are running for 24 hours plus at 7mins/km. Training the slow twitch muscle fibres and building endurance is a patience game. One that you will reap serious benefits from if you can get right.

The hunger is real

It’s true what they say, training for an ultra puts a fire in your belly. The proverbial fire of passion and zeal to go further than ever before, but more importantly a literal fire that burns up anything you eat in 30 seconds flat. The fight for clocking as many miles as you can without getting injured before race day is only surpassed by the fight to consume as many calories as humanly possible, and hope it’s enough.

Make sure you like being with yourself

For the most part running is a selfish sport, especially ultra running. You will be spending hours out there, mostly by yourself. If you don’t like your own company you will have to quickly learn to like yourself. Ultra running for me is about self-discovery (among other things), if you feel like you don’t know yourself very well just enter an ultra. You will get acquainted very quickly. Getting comfortable being uncomfortable and still being patient with yourself when things don’t go according to plan is a skill that is learnt and one that can benefit in all spheres of life.

Spotify will change your life

If you still don’t like yourself after training for an ultra just register on Spotify. Podcasts and playlists for days that will keep you entertained. I try not run with music mostly but there are some days when you are just so flat and can’t bring yourself to have to process any thoughts while running. It’s days like these when a Spotify “Lazy Weekend” playlist serenading you through your long run makes you feel like you are running on cotton wool.

Find an understanding spouse

I should have lead with this because it is probably the most important part of training for an ultra, especially if you would still like to be married when you cross the finish line. Don’t forget to put that quality time into your spouse / partner / significant other on top of all the hours you are hogging to clock the miles. Making them feel special and that they are still the most important goal of your life goes a long way to helping them support you in your goal to reach that finish line. You might be so focused on the sacrifices you as the runner make in your pursuit of your goal, that you haven’t seen the sacrifices the love of your life is making.

P.S. Loni if I hadn’t said it enough thank you for letting me train for this. Thank you for having yummy suppers ready when I get home late in the week from long runs. Thank you for understanding and support me in this. I couldn’t have / can’t do it without you

Kelly Wolf to Race at 2018 Karkloof100

KwaZulu-Natal’s premier hundred mile footrace, Karkloof 100, taking place for the second time in September this year, is excited to welcome international elite ultra-trail runner, Kelly Wolf, to it’s field. The event will also be hosting a 50-miler which starts from the turn around point of the 100-miler route.

At just 23 years old, Wolf has taken the ultra-running world by storm since turning professional in 2017. In just over a year, Wolf has dominated in her field, with podium finishes in major trail running events around the world. This year alone, Wolf was the first female home at the Tarawera ultra-marathon, a 102km race based in Rotorua, New Zealand. And more recently, won the Lavarado 120km ultra-trail marathon in Italy over the weekend. Both races are part of the Ultra-Trail World Tour, a collection of the most established and difficult trail races across the globe – something the Karkloof100 aspires to become part of.

Based in Telluride, Colorado in the USA, a town which lies at 8750ft in the San Juan Mountains, with a population of just 2300, Wolf’s backyard is literally her training ground. By day, she is a gymnastics coach but spends every spare minute exploring the mountains that she calls home.

As excitement for the Karkloof100, which is now just three months away, builds, co-race directors, Andrew Booth of KZN Trail Running and Jack Davis of the Trail Lab, are thrilled to have Wolf on the line-up for the 50-mile event.

The Westfalia Farm on the karkloof100 route

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to show Kelly not just the international standard of our event but also the beauty of our province and the hospitality of our country,” said Booth, adding that bringing Wolf to South Africa to take part in the race would not have been possible without international hydration pack brand Ultimate Direction – a joint sponsor of both Wolf and the Karkloof100 event.

“Although the race is still in its infancy, it has already drawn an incredibly talented field of local athletes. And now will welcome its first international runners, and first elite female runner. This is a great sign, a proud moment, and testament to the fact that South Africa is becoming a serious destination for ultra-marathon trail runners to visit and compete,” he added.

“We hope our future Karkloof100 events will entice more international runners to make this South Africa’s ultimate 100-mile trail event. Watch this space!” said Davis.

Wolf will be running alongside a mixed bag of national elite athletes as well as novices taking on the run of their life.

Greyt Run 2018

South Africa has some legendary places in terms of trail running with endless views and miles and miles of prestine trails. If there was ever a place that could be considered a top example of this, the small town of Greyton would be it. There simply is just too much to explore in 1 day of running so imagine our excitement when we heard of a 2 day stage race taking place over the weekend of 18/18 March 2018. The GreytRun promises to be a weekend of mountain stoke and family fun.

Runners crossing one of the many rivers in the area.

The run used to form part of the weekend festivities at the Greyt Escape Mountain Bike Race but now, for the first time, it will be it’s own stand alone race. Runners can expect to be blown away by not only the running as the hospitality of the communities in the surrounding Genadendal area are nothing short of legendary.

The two day event covers roughly 58km with a total elevation gain of around 1500m over the two stages. According to race director, Michael Viljoen, Saturday’s Stage 1 covering 30km “will take the runners in an easterly direction along the mountain range, traversing through fynbos, trails over farms, hidden valleys and secret kloofs, with stunning mountain proximity and great views over the valley. The second half will see the runners going back to Greyton via a more flat course along the valley floor and the banks of the river, towards the finish in town through bush trails that stir the senses and spur them on to be their best, before a well-deserved rest and recovery for Day 2.”

Day 1 Route and Profile

“Stage 2”, says Michael, “is 32 km with 717 metres of climbing. Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Try to conserve your energy as you stroll over rolling hills in the first half, before tackling two big climbs as well as the GC. The route features jeep track as well as single track, as it makes its way around the historic town of Genadendal.”

As with most Stage Races there are a number of accommodation and entry packages so check out which one suits you best here. You simply cannot beat the vibe in race village between the stages so if you can try stay over at the race venue.

For those looking for something a little less serious there will be a 21k, 10k and 5k taking place on the Sunday which will appeal to runners of all levels, so it really is a fantastic family weekend out.

Use the discount code “bbtr10” for a discount on your entry.

Registration will be at the Old Potter’s Inn in Main Road, Greyton.

Times: Friday- 17:00-19:00

Saturday- 06:30-07:30

Sunday- 06:00-08:15

PUMA IGNITE Speed 300 Review

We are back! The Bearded Brothers have been working long and hard testing some great gear and even greater shoes whilst we were away. We have even expanded and are super excited to have taken on a new, fairly hairless brother, Rory Scheffer.

Rory is an up and coming trail nutter that is mad about the mountains. You may have seen some of his previous posts on our blog. He will now be a more frequent writer and you can expect to see more reviews from him, so keep an eye out for some exciting posts!

He also placed 4th at this year’s legendary Otter trail run…. Machine!!

Last year Puma introduced the IGNITE foam to the world, the cushioning and propulsion of the IGNITE left us in a state of awe and left everyone else eating our dust. If you take a look at last years post on one the first ever Puma IGNITE shoe it is clear to see why the shoe has become so incredibly popular across the market. Since the release of the version 1 IGNITE the technology has slowly filtered down into the many other models.

The PUMA Speed 300 in it’s original colour way

Which bring us to the PUMA IGNITE Speed 300.

Outsole

The Outsole is made of EverTrack+ injection-blown rubber in the high wear areas for more durability and grip, resulting in a longer lifespan which gives you more mileage if using the shoe as an everyday trainer. PUMA have also included an engineered propulsion zone in the toe box for increased speed on the toe off.

This is basically a raised area that sits about 1mm off the rest of the sole at the centre of the forefoot, acting as a springboard to give you a little more energy return.

Interval training in the PUMA IGNITE Speed 300 is a dream as the added grip and propulsion zone give you a nice kick through the running gait.

Midsole

The midsole is made up of a dual layer foam infused with PUMA’s signature Ignite foam, which is great for energy return and is super responsive. The heel to toe drop is 8mm, not quite a racing flat, but the IGNITE foam in the heel portion of the shoe more than makes up for the fairly high drop.

The shoe, weighing in at 233g, gives any racing flat a good run for their money, pun intended. Unlike the pure IGNITE version 1, the IGNITE foam doesn’t run through the entire midsole. Instead, the IGNITE foam sits where it is needed most, in the heel.

Upper

The upper of the IGNITE Speed 300 is seamless yet very breathable, allowing your feet to stay cool during your run. With its snug fit, it hugs your foot comfortably without letting your foot slide around inside the shoe, especially when you need to change direction.

Its striking design is also a noteworthy feature and the white and red colour scheme will surely turn heads as you fly past.

😉

The Speed 300 is also the basis for PUMA’s Limited Edition IYC colour way which is not available for sale. To get a pair you need to know a guy who knows a guy

Limited Editon IGNITE Your City Speed 300 colour way

Conclusion

If it’s speed you’re after, you won’t be disappointed with these shoes. The Puma IGNITE Speed 300 are a great all-round shoe for both racing and long mileage training.

Coming in at around R1700 makes it an affordable shoe that will have you bolting around like the fastest man on earth, another pun intended. Our overall impression of the shoe is great and you definitely get your monies worth.

Available at Total Sports and Puma concept stores.

Adidas Response Trail Boost

“Nothing is impossible” – Muhammad Ali

It is this mindset that separates the hall of famers to everyone else. When Adolf “Adi” Dassler cooked up the idea of the brand with the three stripes, he literally cooked up the idea in his mother’s kitchen. He definitely had the idea to achieve greatness, and as a result Adidas was born and is now one of the leading brands in sports, making waves in the trail scene with the Response Trail Boost trail running shoe.

It is evident in the Response Trail Boost that Adidas have a unique way of thinking when it comes to creating shoes and one can clearly see that the “nothing is impossible” mindset has been applied in the creation of this shoe. At first glance we thought the shoe to be quite chunky looking and would probably be found in the ring up against other “Heavy-Weight” fighters. Don’t be fooled by this new kid on the block though, they may look a little heavy and awkward but we were pleasantly surprised once we put them to the test.

At any trail race, look around and you will see that not too many feet are inside a pair of Adidas trail shoes. We feel this won’t be the case for long as it is evident that Adidas are coming in hot with a a great range of trail shoes that will rival the greats of the trail running scene. The Adidas Response Trail Boost being one of them! Weighing in at around 326 grams, maybe these shoes will be classified in the heavy weight division. However with the unique and responsive Boost technology from Adidas, the energy return on the Response Boost Trail more than makes up for the extra bit of weight. At no point did we ever have the impression that we were running in a heavy shoe, as the boost foam technology makes these shoes feel super light.

Adidas Response Trail Boost Review

Outsole

With it’s mountain bike tyre like grip, the outsole of the Response Trail Boost is a rugged looking, rock gripping machine. Adidas have identified that multidirectional lugs are the way forward in terms of grip. Yes, the outsole looks gnarly, with the big lugs on the single compound rubber. The soft compound means the grip on the Response Boost Trail is sensational. The soft compound gives the runner a great ground feel and allows you to traverse over rocks like the mountain goat most trail runner’s aspire to be. At first we thought that the larger lugs would mean the shoe would only be suited to loose, rocky terrain, but not only do the Response Trail Boost transition from rocky terrain to smooth dry terrain effortlessly, the grip also gives you the confidence to bomb hills like its child’s play. The secret behind this success, from what we can gather, is that the lugs on the perimeter of the shoe are rotated sideways to give the shoe better traction on all surfaces.

The rubber on the outsole is made by Continental, which is no wonder why the grip is so durable. There is a reason continental are one of the leading tyre manufactures, GRIP! So it was clear why adidas joined forces with Continental to create the rubber for their soles, purely to provide the best grip as possible, a successful relationship in our eyes. With the company spending millions on R&D to help some of the fastest cars on the planet perform at their best  you can be sure some of that technology will filter down to the outsoles they manufacture for adidas.

Midsole

Unlike most road models by Adidas the Boost Foam technology doesn’t run across the whole length of the shoe, it is only added to the heel portion and a small section of the forefoot on the Response Trail Boost. This is done to provide stability over rocky, loose terrain while still providing the shoe with sufficient responsiveness. The Response Trail Boost has a broad toe-box and allows your toes to splay, giving you added stability. The Boost technology is a technology unique to Adidas and is a cushioning that is designed not to lose any of it’s density over time. It is a technology that has a higher energy return than any other type of EVA cushioning, according to Adidas.

We definitely found that the Boost technology was noticeably soft and allowed the sole to mould around rocks, in combination with the Continental outsole, this gave the shoe plenty of traction. The stack height of the Response Trail Boost is at 31.6mm at the heel and has a 10mm heel to toe drop. The shoe provides great cushioning for longer training and racing mileage.

Upper

This is where the shoe gets interesting, with its ‘bootie’ like exterior and high tongue, the Response Trail Boost will definitely be a conversation starter. To secure the shoe to your foot, Adidas have added a seatbelt-like webbing to the shoe, yet another unique characteristic. An issue we found with this unique upper is the overlapping panels on the inside of the shoe, while really comfortable, if dirt gets in there while you’re running in sandy or muddy conditions it can become a nuisance. The laces on the upper are textured to prevent them from coming undone easily, a great feature. The top part of the upper is made of neoprene, which is really comfortable and means one can run barefoot in them without the risk of blisters, if you’re into running without socks, that is. The mesh on the toe-box is very breathable and keeps your feet cool, both in looks and temperature. The design of the Upper does really well to give you a snug complete fit around the foot. There is very little slippage inside the shoe as the heel cup and front section work very well together.

Overall, the Response Boost Trail are great shoes for big mileage and gnarly conditions. This is just the beginning of what Adidas has to offer and we foresee some great things from them. Coming in at around R1600 you get way more than you pay for with these shoes. If you’re looking for a stable shoe that looks great, performs well and will be a huge talking point at any run with friends, then this is the shoe for you. Your wallet will thank you too. It’s safe to say that Adidas are going to be huge contenders in the trail scene internationally in the near future, it is evident that Adidas live by what they say,

“Nothing is impossible.”

ASICS Gel-Fuji Attack 5

A review of the ASICS Gel-Fuji Attack 5 Trail Shoe

The People’s Champ. A title many strive for but few ever receive. The People’s Champ is someone who always remembers their roots, they always remember those who helped them get to the pinnacle of their sport. The People’s Champ gives back to their people. Whether it is family, friends or a complete stranger the People’s Champ remembers their humble beginnings and helps out wherever they can. Take for example Manny Pacquiao, he came from the slums of the Philippines to the pinnacle of professional boxing. Instead of hiding behind his mansions and fancy cars he remembers where he comes from, he proved this when he built over 1000 homes for poor Phillipinos in his home town. That is a true People’s Champion.

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The more we are running in the latest edition of the ASICS Gel-Fuji Attack the more we are realising that this shoe is The People’s Champion, of the running shoe industry. A shoe that has come from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of its sport. All throughout its ascent up the popularity polls it has remembered its fans, improved what needed to be improved but essentially staying consistent. Consistently brilliant. The ASICS Gel-Fuji Attack 5 is The People’s Champ. There is no doubt about it. Go to any trail event and at least half of the shoes you see will be ASICS. Why is this? Why is one brand so popular? We believe it is because the brand, ASICS, is not afraid to keep giving back to its fans. If you compare how much the average pair of ASICS retails for compared to its competitors you will see what we mean. The Gel-Fuji Attack 5 is available for R1599 at RUN Specialist Store, that is atleast R400 – R600 cheaper than the competitors we would stack this shoe up against. We haven’t called this shoe ‘The People’s Champion’ on price and popularity alone, and we don’t believe it is only popular amongst consumers because of its price. To be the Champ you have to be able to go toe-to-toe with the best. Let’s see how The People’s Champ stacks up against the rest.

ASICS Gel-Fuji Attack 5

Outsole

ASICS seem to be one of the only brands who have figured out that multi-directional lugs on the forefoot (and not only on the heel) is a massive advantage on the descents. Not every runner brakes with their heel on a steep descent. Having some lugs facing the other way on the descent gives the shoe a lot more stability than we initially thought it would. Especially landing on rocky surfaces while running downhill, the added grip did wonders for our confidence. The outsole is built for speed, there is no doubt about it. The lugs are built for ‘full ground contact’ meaning the whole outsole is designed so that you have the maximum amount of outsole in contact with as much ground as possible in every stride. This makes the shoe stable on loose rocky terrain, muddy terrain, hard pack and even tar. Granted the lugs aren’t aggressive enough to be an out and out mud slinging machine but it will still keep you upright in the wet stuff. The shoe handled incredibly well for us across various terrain. One of the BBTR testers used the shoe at a recent 3 Day Stage Race, the Cell C AfricanX. There was rain on Day 1, intense heat on Day 2 and more rain on Day 3. On each stage the shoe performed excellently.

Day 2 was a rocky and technical 34km route with around 1100m elevation. The added Rock Protection Plate gave enough protection from sharper rocks popping through the midsole. ASICS have gone with their High Abrasion Rubber in the outsole which we have found to be very durable. Doing a fair bit of running on tar and hard cement sections on the trails has not excessively worn down the shoes. Although these high abrasion materials in the industry are good for durability we sometimes find this negatively affects the grip of the shoe. Thankfully this has not been the case in the Gel-Fuji Attack 5. The rubber compound is hard but still has decent grip. It won’t grip like a Speedcross or something with a softer compound so if total grip is what you are looking for, you might look for something softer. If durability with enough grip to feel confident on the technical stuff is what you are after this shoe is right up there with the best.

Midsole

The midsole is built around a neutral platform and is split up into two sections, in the forefoot is a molded and contoured compound which does well to keep the shoe stable. It does this by preventing excessive ‘side-ways’ flexing of the shoe which keeps the ankle and the foot straight. This added stability is great on technical terrain but if you prefer a flexible and loose midsole you might find the shoe a little stiff. It is always a fine line between flexibility and stability on the trail but seeing that many first-time trail runners will head out in the Attack models they have done well to ensure the shoe remains stable. As mentioned earlier our tester used the Attack 5 at the Cell C AfricanX 3 Day Stage Race which covers 94km of trail running over 3 days. Before the event he had only run 10km in the shoe so going into the event we were all very interested to see how the shoe treated him after so short a run-in. The amount of cushioning was perfect for the high mileage covered over the 3 days. After covering 36km on Day 1, going into a 34km on Day 2 the shoe remained comfortable and didn’t give any blisters. That in itself is a win! The 10mm heel-to-toe drop is a little high for us but it didn’t pose any problems throughout the event.

The second part of the midsole is a Gel Pod in the heel which is one of the reason the shoe is so comfortable, the Gel Pod did wonders in absorbing some of the impact over the 3 days. This is another feature that makes this shoe so good across varying terrain as it is comfortable not only on the trail but also on tar and harder running surfaces. The midsole is also made up of what ASICS calls its SOLYTE material which is lighter than their standard EVA and SpEVA + materials. The shoe isn’t incredibly light so the lighter midsole material does well to keep the weight down. At 294g (Mens UK9) it isn’t the lightest shoe available so it does fall in the ‘All Round Racer’ category for us. A perfect high mileage trainer for logging those high miles leading up to an event.

Upper

We sometimes find a stable midsole is often accompanied by a loose fitting Upper which for us defeats the point of trying to build a stable shoe. This is not the case with the Attack 5. In fact the Upper might be a little too built up as it is not the most breathable shoe we have come across. On Day 2 in some serious heat a more breathable Upper would have been a welcome relief. Having said that the thick Upper does have it’s advantages, most noticeably the shoe stays dry inside. Running through puddles and wet grass socks stay dry which for us is fantastic, especially if you prefer running with dry feet. We thought blisters could be an issue because the thick upper would trap moisture in the shoe but the ‘ComforDRY Sockliner’ works incredibly well to wick sweat off the foot, keeping friction to a minimum. Admittedly it isn’t a shoe we would run through a desert with but training in winter is going to be a whole lot more pleasant with a shoe like this. One of our favourite features of the Upper is the pocket on the tongue that holds the laces securely inside. The possibility of branches pulling your laces loose while running along the trail is no longer a problem as they are tucked away securely.

At almost R600 cheaper than its competitors the Attack 5 is in a league of its own. A R1600 shoe that performs like a R2200 shoe is one of the reasons we have dubbed this shoe, The People’s Champion. The People’s Champion just keeps giving back to its fans. Not only in affordability but also in performance. We have a feeling this shoe will be around for a very, very long time and it most certainly can hold its own against its more expensive competitors. If you are a road runner looking at getting into trail running or even a seasoned trail runner looking for a stable, nuetral high mileage training shoe then the ASICS Gel-Fuji Attack 5 is for you.

Salomon S-Lab Sonic Review

What comes to mind when you think of Salomon? Is it the enormous mountains that tower over you as you traverse along the winding trails that take you to the summit, where only the brave dare to wander? Is it the numerous records broken by one Kilian Jornet as he summits yet another mountain, in speeds that leave you to believe that anything is possible? Whatever it may be, there is a reason as to why they are seen as the most iconic mountain running brand in the world. When we heard that Salomon, a brand that has dedicated itself to being the best in the business when it comes to mountain wear, was developing a road shoe we couldn’t wait to get our feet into them. Many were asking could the shoe perform well enough against Salomon’s seasoned competitors?

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Those questions the industry was asking were answered when Max King easily qualified for the US Olympic Trials in the shoe. Last year we saw the creation of the S-Lab X series which revolutionised the running game for die hard Salomon fans. The X series however was a hybrid shoe that was designed to handle road and light trails as Salomon launched their City Trail series of products. This year, a new racing stallion was born, the S-Lab sonic. Weighing in at 220grams, the Sonic are a bit heavier than most flat racers from other brands, but don’t be fooled, the comfort and glide of this shoe pack a punch that will leave your opponents in the dust.

This pure road racer is designed for speed. With technology taken from the soles of the X-series and a few improvements in the upper mean that this shoe is a strong contender on the battle field. They even have the laces to prove it. On any other Salomon shoe you will find the signature Quicklace system that a lot of us have grown accustomed to, however, these bad boys are sporting retro, traditional laces for those hardcore road racers. Salomon went with laces on these shoes to give runners more options when it comes to the fit and performance of the shoe.

Aesthetically the S-Lab sonic is definitely a head turner, to say the least. With it’s striking red all round, you won’t be missed as you fly past like “RoadRunner” being chased by the ever hungry coyote. With its 24mm stack height and 8mm heel to toe drop its far from minimalistic but ever closer to animalistic in terms of pure speed!

Salomon S-Lab Sonic

Outsole

The outsole on the Sonic Features Salomon’s highly robust CONTAGRIP rubber and their 3D Profeel Film. A technology that provides solid traction on any surface, wet or dry, while maintaining proper support leaving you with the energy needed to finish strong and fast. The 3D Profile Film is an X-shaped layer in the shoe that gives the shoe its smooth ride. Salomon don’t give much detail on the technology behind the 3D Film, but it is apparent that it is there to provide extra protection to the foot without compromising ground feel and flexibility.

The CONTAGRIP sole is made up of a dual density compound rubber to give you grip throughout the whole sole, wet or dry, smooth or rough. Trust me, you’ll feel like you could walk up the side of a building with the grip on these racing machines. In terms of durability, the grip is phenomenal, without compromising weight or flexibility.

Midsole

I have no doubt that the S-Lab Sonic is made for speed. The midsole is made up of Salomon’s unique EnergyCell+ foam with a layer of a denser EVA foam. A technology that gives the shoe superior absorption on impact without making it feel like you’re running on a goose down pillow. As we mentioned earlier, the stack height of the heel is at 24mm and 16mm at the forefoot (8mm drop), it does make one wonder if it really is a true racer. When one thinks of a traditional flat racer, one thinks of a flat minimal drop shoe. However, don’t be fooled by the 8mm offset, the midsole is designed in such a way that it makes the foot roll forward, giving you the propulsion of an F-16 fighter jet that would rival any other “traditional” flat racer. So hold on tight, and enjoy the ride!

Upper

It is evident in the S-Lab sonic that it is full of technology unique to Salomon. In the upper this is again the case. Inside the upper you will find the ENDOFIT technology. ENDOFIT is a neoprene layer inside the shoe to give your foot a snug feeling, as the shoe fits firmly around your foot. The upper of the S-Lab sonic has been completely upgraded since the birth of the X-series, as Salomon have introduced a single layer mesh to create the shoe. This saves precious weight and makes the shoe incredibly breathable, keeping moisture inside the shoe to an absolute minimum. All this, together with the seamless stitching in the Upper creates a super light-weight racing stallion of a shoe. If you have quite a wide forefoot, the fit may be a bit tight as the toe box and slim design of the shoe is geared more towards a slimmer foot. If you plan on purchasing online we would recommend fitting the shoe in a store first, just to be sure.

It is fair to say that this shoe will be rattling some cages in the road running industry. Not only is it a great racing shoe but with its great durability you can do some pretty heavy mileage in them. Cost wise, they are pricey (Approximately R2699) compared to other shoes in this range. Although you do get your money’s worth if you are looking for one of the best shoes in the business! If it’s colour you’re looking for, Salomon also have a variety of colours to choose from in the Sonic Pro, the ‘road trainer’ version of the Salomon S-lab Sonic. The Sonic Pro have a few differences in their make up, other than colour and are slightly heavier, but stay tuned for a review on them in the near future. For now the S-lab Sonic are only available in Salomon’s iconic racing red and are a unisex shoe. All in all, the Salomon S-Lab Sonic is a sensational shoe, with its fast and comfortable ride. It is clear as day that the once solely Mountain focused brand is making some serious waves in the road running department.