A slightly different running insole

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“Feet are like the foundation of a house, when they are misaligned they can affect everything from the ground floor to the chimney.”

GEAR REVIEW: Arch Mobility insole

I was a running shoe geek working at a small running shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Aerobics First) many moons ago, made a go at a career in Pedorthics (foot evaluation and orthotics) and have been a runner for over 27-years now. I have some knowledge of feet, running shoes and thibnk I am fairly in tune with my body and feet.

I used to wear orthotics but now run without (after slow, gradual move to less and less support and less shoe).

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An insole a wee bit different

The insoles that sell for around $40 are called Arch Mobility insoles and on first glance do not look a whole lot different than many others on the market. But they are.

Orthotics when made by a professional are supportive devices for short-term help or for long term problems and are made to fit your foot through a number of means (slipper casting, foam box, scanning…). But not everyone may need this type of custom help – someone who makes orthotics (Pedorthist) can still give you good advice, but all you may need is an over-the-counter solution.

I saw Arch Mobility one day on social media and wanted to find out what they were about. My feet have been okay, but there are occasional days when one or both feet feel like they could use some mild support (in my running shoes).

Arch Mobility – what they claim:

On their website – the company claims that most other brands of insoles concentrate solely on arch support, while they and their products focus on proper alignment. Arch Mobility insoles are supposed to help orient the ankle in a more neutral position — 32% more — decrease pronation 27% — and move the tibia (shin) into a neutral position — 40% more — than other leading shoe brands’ insoles. This neutrality of the ankle and tibia is said to provide the key to increasing performance and reducing pain and fatigue because the foot is better aligned with the entire body. Arch “Mobility insoles increase mobility while controlling pronation, promoting better posture and alignment within the kinetic chain, which results in overall well-being.”

My review, experience and recommendation

My feet are pretty tough. I slipped the insoles into my running shoes I walk around in as soon as they arrived. I walked around at work and outside – then I popped them into my running shoes.

And…..comfortable with no rubbing of the arch (like many other insoles do) and (for me) no real adjustment period.

The insoles are fairly soft but do have some stiffness with no arch area support like others but a raised lip around the inside (medial area). When running or walking I felt some support – whether placebo or real I liked the feel and felt better than insoles that came with shoes.

Although whether the insoles can provide support under the pounding (3Xtimes body weight with every foot-strike) that happens during running – I like them.

Recommend: For runners who do not need a custom orthotic, have tried other off the shelf options or find the arch support in most (non-custom) insoles either rubs or never fits properly – but feel they could use some support.

A less rigid feel that many hard plastic options, comfortable, mild support and something different.

*I intend to use the insoles in my running shoes.

Find the Arch Mobility website click here and find them on Twitter at  @AlignFootwear

See you on the roads my running friends!

Have a comment, product I should test or a great running story? Email me at: runningwriter@hotmail.com

More updates from me and reviews coming soon!

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Guest Blog – Running book review (Eat & Run – Scott Jurek)

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“Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish. It can be running a mile, or a 10K race, or 100 miles. It can be changing a career, losing 5 pounds, or telling someone you love her (or him).”
― Scott Jurek, Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness

Its another day. Another day another run and another chance to blog and share with other runners. This time I will be allowing someone else the chance to talk.

If you want to hear about my ole skinny bones I will add a short update at the bottom of this blog.

Now my running friend Sam Voss’s running book review.

Eat & Run – Scott Jurek

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Eat & Run – that seems pretty straighforward. This book is about two things: eating and running.

Wrong.

I sat down to read this autobiography by Scott Jurek thinking that I knew what I was getting into. I thought it would be a good story, but I doubted that it was anything beyond that.

Well, it is as true now as it always has been: don’t judge a book by its cover. Although I worried that Eat & Run wouldn’t be special, I realized that it was more than what it appeared to be on the surface, and I wanted to share my opinion on it.

Sam’s full review – click here.

The ole wobbly bastard

I had a tough spring where I was hoping to get in shape for a fast 10k. I got sick and pretty depressed after training went to hell – and rebuilding now. The current goal is to regain pre-illness (weird mix of exhaustion and cold?) and build base before starting training plan for October marathon. Biggest challenge will be surviving the arrival of first daughter and becoming a dad very soon (next few weeks!).

In terms of running gear reviews etc – I am wearing and testing some cool insoles from Arch Mobility, waiting to get a piece to finish review of Wahoo Fitness’s cool running tool call Tickr Run and after seeing friend Leanne Richardson and competitive runner Erin Burret talk about Sundog eyewear – well be testing them soon too!

Lots of adventures, gear, ideas etc to come – stay in touch.

Run on friends!

*If you ever have a story to tell, a suggestion, something you want me to review – gimme a shout!

runningwriter@Hotmail.com

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A book from a Canadian who ran across Canada for kids

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“Running often makes you feel so good – so I love it when someone makes others feel good through running.”

This blog is about an Ottawa and Canadian runner who ran across Canada with some friends to try and raise awareness and funds for children living in poverty. Then he wrote a book.

I met Bryce (the author) as he was planning his trip. A great guy who at one point served as a pastor (minus the stiff collar and bible in hand) and is someone who had seen something he wanted others to know about and try and change.

I gave Bryce some advice, tried to help promote his run and then gave some feedback on his book – and of course pre-ordered a book! I was impressed by Bryce’s drive, positivity and need to do something to make a difference.

This is his book – and my review.

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Glorious and Free – by Bryce Dymond

Friesen Press – 128 pages.

The book is about what caused Bryce to think of even running across Canada and the story of how it played out. The run (May – September 2011) was called One Nation Run and involved 3 runners – one who would become Bryce’s wife.

Bryce (left) at his wedding with his friends, cross-Canada teammates and wife.

Bryce (left) at his wedding with his friends and cross-Canada teammates.

It is about a young man who’s eyes are opened to the child poverty that exists in Canada, often in remote isolated communities – and is driven to try and change it.

The book will never be a best-seller but it tells a heartfelt story and reveals some things that people might find interesting. It is honestly written, easy to read and perhaps aimed more at a younger audience (young adults) (as Bryce often works as a youth pastor). Great guy, great story and worthwhile read.

Run on Bryce!

If you are intrigued enough to want to read as a book or e-book -here is the website link.

*For every book sold, $2 goes to World Vision Canada.

Run on Bryce and run on my running friends – see you out there!

Bryce kindly signed and thanked me in the copy of the book he sent me. I wish I could have done more.

Bryce kindly signed and thanked me in the copy of the book he sent me. I wish I could have done more.

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New Balance Review: Foam and No numbers?

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“Running is so much more fun with something fun under foot.”

I used to work in a running shop in Halifax, Nova Scotia many years ago. I did a lot of things many years ago – and one of them was stumble across a few New Balance shoes I really fell in love. I can see them now…the New Balance 878 and the NB 1023…great shoes.

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But my feet have changed and so have I.

I wandered away from NB for a few years but for the last few have been so very happy with the NB 1400 as my main training shoe – but have been looking for something with a bit more cushion for easy runs and long runs with a bit more cushion. I think it may have arrived.

Here is my review of the new NB Zante (No number)(yep kinda weird but I’m adjusting) – and a comparison to the 1400 and 890.

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NB Zante (Fresh Foam)
Weight: 214 grams (7.6 oz)
6 mm drop (aprox)
Molded sockliner
No-sew material application

I have been waiting for a shoe from New Balance that is light but not chunky and I think it arrived. I grabbed hold a neon-yellow-coloured one and went out for a run. Good fit but not as snug as a 1400 but with more toe room. The Zante also feels less chunky in the heel as the 980 or as deep through midfoot and has nice cushioned feel. Thinking this will be a good long run, tempo and easy run shoe. Seems to fit true to size.

Cushioned lighter training ride.

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NB 1400
Weight: 185 Grams (6.5 oz)
10 mm drop (aprox)
Blown rubber outsole
No-sew material application
Synthetic/mesh upper

This shoe I have loved all the versions of but V2 seems to have a wee bit more cushion in it (but both uber light). The shoe fits snug and really feel close the ground and is technically a racing flat for most people (I use for most runs and racing). The toe room in shoe is ok but with thicker sock can get too snug. Fit seems true but more room at toe in Zante and 980.

Fun, fast and light.

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NB 980 (Fresh Foam)
Weight: 249.5 grams (8.8 oz)
Aprox 4mm drop

Last year’s Fresh Foam 980v1 has now bisected into two Fresh Foam running shoes in 2015 – the Zante and the Boracay. The Zante (above review) is the lighter one and the Boracay offers more cushioning like the 980 did.

Something if the Zante is not enough cushion.

ALSO CHECK OUT
Another New Balance shoe that has been added to the line-up and may be worth checking out is the new 1500. I heard about this shoe from a rep back in the fall of 2014 and glad to see it arrive. The 1500 is lightly posted, 60 durometer foam, 6mm drop with a T-beam arch wedge. My New Balance contact says he sees neutral runners wearing this shoe as well for longer races or for just something a bit more stable —–I may go search one out!

NB GEEKS
*And for us shoe geeks and those used to NB shoes with numbers… The Fresh Foam running shoe group are taking names and a new lightweight training NB line will also take names this Fall. NB is also considering names for more shoes but at this time plans to maintain numbers for the all-time NB favourites like 860, 880, 1080.

Always keep an eye out for a new running/training shoe that can work for you – good to have another option to throw on to change things up for give your feet a break.

Run on friends!

Running with a pamper-wrapped screaming kid

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How do you fit running into a life that has suddenly been jam-packed full of pampers, kids toys and already has you scrambling over blankets and playpens to find free time?

Are you a runner with kids, a runner about to become a parent or just curious what you will do if you suddenly are given one for Christmas? Well I am due to become a new dad in just over a month and I have some inkling of what I could do….but found other running parents for advice and to find out what they do. Read on.

Oh and I’ll introduce you to a cool running stroller that I hope to practicing with and strapping my new daughter into sometime soon!

THE ELITE RUNNING PARENT
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Nick Willis
Nick Willis is a New Zealand middle distance runner who is an Olympic and Commonwealth medalist with a personal best time of 3:49:83 for the mile. I reached out via Twitter and asked him a few questions about running and training as a parent. The day I contacted him, he had put in a 30-minute run with his Sub4 running stroller.

On the subject of trying to train and balance the family/parenting, Nick advised, “Put your kid first. Running/sleep is no excuse for doing daddy duty. My 3.49 mile in Oslo (Norway) was after my son’s worst ever night of interrupted sleep (up every 30mins).”

On the issue of being a parent of a young runner he said, “Be supporters, not pushers. My dad never once encouraged me to train, just supported my own drive.”

Twitter: @NickWillis

THE SPEEDY WORKING PARENT
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Tyler Chacara
Tyler is a 28-year-old shoe guy, the national accounts manager for Hoka One One. Tyler is a runner, married and is awaiting his second child in August. Tyler trains hard and is hoping to run 2:30 for the marathon before he reaches 30.

How do you fit running into family life with kids?

“It’s definitely a lot more challenging once you add a kid to the mix…I can only imagine how difficult it will be when my second comes in August! For me, it’s all about time management and not wasting time on things that aren’t productive. I have essentially removed TV from my life. I run, work, eat, sleep and spend time with my family. I have also become an early riser hitting the road most mornings by 5:30 for my run. My daily schedule has become very structured. This is the only way I manage to maintain the balance in my life and enjoy all aspects of it.”

How do you find having to run with a stroller affect your running and training?

“Only done this a few times when the wife leaves me for a weekend and I have no other alternative. Honestly, I am not a fan…maybe it’s because I haven’t found the right machine…hopeful that I can join the Kid Runner team for 2016!”

What do you like and not like about running with a stroller?

“I find it changes my stride, my arms get tired and sometimes my son starts fussing and I start to worry if he is uncomfortable.”

Any advice for new running parents?

“Family is your first priority but know that both you and you wife need time to yourselves. You must be selfish at times in order to get your runs in and maintain your happiness. Make sure to support your wife with the things she enjoys and you will get the same back. It’s all about balance!”

Twitter: @T_Chacra

A DAD AND RUNNING COACH
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Ryan Saunders
Ryan or (Ryanheart) is a Canadian runner, coach and dad with lots of advice for new running parents.
What Ryan looks for in a running stroller:

“I need something that will not only hold up at that speed, but also protect my precious children.”

• A pod style allows it to be pushed or towed … love the Chariot, and MEC Pod.

• Being able to fold down the pod, remove the wheels, handle, etc makes transporting the equipment much easier.

• Safety is key (child should be able to support head), 5-point harness is a must, especially if you are moving at a good clip; a helmet may be overkill, but why take a chance (protect your child’s head).• Barrier from the elements (canopy, sun shield, blanket, dressing your child in warmer clothing than yourself … they are not the ones working out); sunscreen always.

• making sure to stop every so often to check that kiddo is doing well – ensure they are appropriately hydrated & fueled, especially on those long runs in the summer months.

How to run with the stroller
• Holding on to the stroller: some have brakes like a bike, others have a strap that can either be attached to your wrist or FlipBelt; the MEC Stroller has a wide handle bar, rounded at the sides (comfort, especially when you have 2 hands on pushing up a steep hill) … I like the handles in the Chariot, tapered like on a road/racing bike … it takes some getting used to, but you need to alternate hands every so often (allowing for arm swing counter to leg swing, thus maintaining natural running biomechanics … I like to change the arm that is holding the stroller every km or as necessary … find it challenging having both hands on the bar at all times … use only for more precise steering

• As the child gets older, and may no longer sleep through the run (amazing that kids actually fall asleep in a stroller moving at close to 4:00/km on a multitude of terrain), provide them with readily available snacks, fluids, books, toys to occupy them.

• Always have what you need for yourself and your children

• Avoid high traffic areas as much as possible

• Be in control of the stroller at all times

• Make sure you can be seen, and make sure there are no distractions when you are running with your children (don’t listen to music or spend too long looking at your Garmin)

• Don’t take chances (wait for the light to change / traffic to pass) common sense (protective parent)

Training with little ones
“Where there is a will, there is a way.”

• a home gym may be a good investment – the basics: foam roller, some resistance equipment, and a piece of cardio equipment, be it a treadmill, elliptical or stationary bike.

• If you schedule it, it will happen (keep your partner in the loop as to what your training plans are, including races).

• Taking the kids with you on your run/bike etc, not only gives your spouse a much needed break, but also gives you time to bond with your kids in a way that promotes living a healthy active lifestyle … a real valuable gift we can give our kids.

• Pre planning is a must but be flexible, don’t schedule too tightly.
View training with kids a blessing rather than a curse – the earlier you start, the more familiar it will be to them.

Website: http://sauryan.wix.com/rightfootrunning

THE COMPETITIVE DAD
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Patrick Girard
Patrick is a Canadian runner and parent with two young daughters. He tries to balance work, family and his goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
How do you fit running into family life with kids?

“Except during the winter, I plan at least one of my runs with one of my kids.”

How do you find having to run with a stroller affect your running and training?

“Running with a stroller has allowed me to fit in runs and mileage I otherwise would not have been able to. It also allowed me to run at better times of day.”

What do you like and not like about running with a stroller?

“What I like about running with a stroller is that it allows me to spend more time with my kids and share something I enjoy with the. What I don’t like is that it can make some runs tougher with the extra weight I am pushing around and the stroller takes up more room on the sidewalks.”

Any advice for new running parents?

“I would tell new running parents to snacks you will be glad you did if your kids get restless during your run. Another tip is to play tour guide for your kids. I plan out routes beforehand based on things I think would interest my kids. For example, I have taken my kids by Parliament Hill and Rideau Hall to see the Govenor General’s Footguards and for runs along the rivers so they can see the ducks and swans. It makes my long runs more enjoyeable by giving me fun adventures with my kids.”

Twitter: @PatRuns
Blog: The Courage of Lungs

Thanks so much for the advice from my running friends. Running can throw you curveballs and surprises but I think the ride I will be on with a new baby will be something completely different.
I am an ambassador for a new running stroller to hit the market in 2015 and hope this will make running and being a dad much easier! The running stroller is called a Kidrunner and is designed to meet the needs of a runner and be something that dad, mom and runner and take anywhere and all be active together. Very excited.

Run on friends and stay tuned for my running adventures and updates as I run into dad-hood!

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Comment courir avec les enfants?

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Une blogue pour les coureurs/parents ou comme moi – quel q’une qui va etre une nouveau parent bientot.

Parce je habite a Gatineau, Quebec et je parle Anglais et Francais – et…a une epouse Francohone-j’ai choisi de faire une blogue au sujet de la course, les enfants et les pouse-pouse dans les deux langues. Le premiere, ici en Francais et demain je vais publier une en Anglais!

Jimmy

Jimmy Gobeil est une coureur (assez vite) et propriétaire, avec sa copine, du Coureur Nordique au ville de Quebec. J’ai fait une entrevue avec Jimmy en 2014 et j’ai trouve lui d’etre une personne tellement interessante, passionné et gentil. Jimmy et aussi une parent–donc j’ai decide de lui poser quell que questions.

*Le photo en haut est de Jimmy (a droit) et son ami Hugo Simard au marathon des Deux Rives en 2014. Leurs temp etais 3:04!

Comment est ce que vous courez avec une famille et des enfants?
“Je vais porter les enfants à la garderie en babyjogger le matin et je reviens à la maison en courant le soir. Quand j’ai de grosses semaines de millage à faire, je retourne courir le soir quand ils sont couches.”

“Dès qu’ils atteignent l’âge de 5 ans, ils me suivent en vélo sur des distances de 5 à 10 kilomètres.”

Video: Jimmy avec son famille – Courir en famille (ICI Quebec)

Comment trouvez-vous avoir à courir avec une poussette affecter votre course et d’entraînement?

q“Pour ma part, j’ai toujours aimé courir avec le babyjogger puisque c’est un moment prévilégié avec mes enfants.  On fini par s’habituer et finalement, la technique ne change pas vraiment. Je pousse avec un bras, je lâche le babyjogger quelques foulées pour le reprendre avec l’autre bras et ainsi de suite.  Ainsi, je peux garder un bon rythme et travailler davantage le haut du corps. L’été dernier, j’ai réussi à courir 3:04 au marathon des Deux Rives avec mon garçon de 2 ans dans une température de 30 degré celcius. Il faut juste s’habituer.” 

“Si vous faites la qualité sans poussette, vous pouvez garder une superbe forme même si vous courez la plupart du temps avec le babyjogger.”

Qu’aimez-vous et ne aimez pas courir avec une poussette?

“J’aime courir avec le babyjogger pour le temps de qualité que je peux passer avec mes enfants, pour leur apprendre une tonne de choses. De plus, c’est plus musculaire et la foulée n’est pas tout à fait la même, donc ça change le mal de place.”

“l n’y a pas vraiment de choses que je n’aime pas dans le fait de courir avec le babyjogger. Il y a peut-être le fait d’être obligé de respecter les règles de conduite comme traverser aux lumières étant donné que le contraire est mal vu, haha!!!”

“Sinon le fait de ne pas pouvoir aller n’importe ou, mais plutôt de choisir des endroits plus sécuritaires.”

Avez-vouse les conseils pour les nouveaux parents?

“Choisir des petites boucles au début pour revenir rapidement à la maison au cas ou l’enfant n’est pas dans une bonne journée.
– voir les sorties en babyjogger comme un temps de qualité avec votre enfant et non un moment pour faire de la qualité à l’entraînement.”

“Persister et ne pas se fier à la première fois puisque l’on développe une technique avec le temps rendant les sorties plus faciles.”

“Ne pas se gêner de marcher dans les côtes.”

“Prendre le temps de bien magasiner sa poussette de course ( je suis en train de développer mon propre modèle de poussette de course ).”

“Amenez des gâteries pour vos enfants si vous pensez partir pour une longue sortie.”

Merci Jimmy!

J’espere que avec les conseils et mon nouveau Kidrunner cette l’ete (Je suis une ambassadeur pour le nouveau, tellement cool jogger).

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A running-crazy country to learn from

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“Books and often running let me escape into another world or my mind for a few minutes. Running books put two loves together.”

Today’s blog is about a book that I am highly recommending.

The Way of the Runner“-  by Adharanand Finn. – A journey into the fabled world of Japanese running.

The book may have the same style of cover art as Finn’s last book (about running in Kenya) but I found much more interesting – in fact I devoured it.

As a an ole fart of a runner (funny enough – about the same age and speed as Finn) I have been running for years and have heard and read about the Kenyans. The Kenyans have been hammering the rest of the world into the road, trail and track for decades now. Even many non-runners now have an idea of what Kenyan runners do. Japan….less so.

Details: “The Way of the Runner” -softcover/e-book, 326 pages – Faber and Faber

Author is a UK runner who writes for the newspaper The Guardian.

Check this out

In November 2013 in a small town Japanese half-marathon race, university students line up hoping to make a spot on a relay team the famous (in Japan) (Hakone Ekiden). The race is won in 1:02:36 with 5 sprinting for the finish line. 18 finish under 63 minutes! 100th place is 1:04:49!!

One of a number of thought-provoking and surprising tidbits of information and stats that Finn scatters throughout the book.

Finn's first book about running in Kenya.

Finn’s first book about running in Kenya.

My review and recommendation

This is a well-written, easy to read adventure into a closed culture and society that not many of us I think know about. This is not a training guide, not a dry factual read nor the usual type of running book. This is a refreshingly different tale spun by a fellow runner as he tried to peer into the culture, thinking and world of Japanese running.

“The nail that sticks out gets hammered down.” – a Japanese proverb that after reading book will make you think.

Highly recommend this for runners!

Run on friends.

These links might prove interesting now or after you read the book:

Blog: Japanese Ekiden

Japanese records in Athletics

Japan running news site.

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