Naked Runner Sol Invictus Range Review

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I got to try out the new Naked Runner sunglasses the Sol Invictus range, where Naked have kindly allowed me to test and try out, so here is my review.

They come in a nice box and with a glass pouch. However I was a little disappointing the glasses didn’t come with a hard case. I am a big fan of hard cases but its not a problem and of course I am reviewing the glasses not a case.

First impressions that they were a little bulky but I like that, where they only weigh 5 grams. So this makes them feel really light. The next thing I notice were the nose pads. I have problems with sunglasses as I find that a lot of sunglasses do not fit me right or they just look wonky on me. The nose pads are adjustable, which allows them to move and adjust so they become a perfect fit on your nose. This makes them a perfect fit for me.

With the glasses being bulky I felt they made them very robust and not only did they feel great, they felt great on. I tested these on my speed sessions and my long runs which was to a max of 14 miles and I had no problems at all. In the past I had glasses start to hurt my head and dig in but I didn’t have this problem with these. I do believe these glasses will last a long time.

Next looking at the overall design and the design does make them look pretty cool while wearing them. You can also put your own prescription lenses on them too as this is a new feature that allows you to do this. Which I think is a very important feature and I am sure there is a high demand for this.

Another feature I notice when looking at their website is that the frames come in 5 different colours and there is 9 different lens shades which Is good if you like to make your own choice and not stick to a standard pair.

My only suggestion would be if you do use these for very long runs it might be better to have a rubber option around the ears. Overall I am pretty happy with these sunglasses and I think they are worth the investment.

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CEP Ultralight Calf Sleeve and 2.0 Socks review

 

I had the privileged to test some products from CEP recently. I am a big fan of CEP compression socks. I first came across this brand in 2016 when competing at the National Aquathlon Championships in Leeds, where they had a stand at the race. I was first put off by the price as I was like what is the difference between a £3 Pair of Socks compared to these, but after trying the sleeves on, which I still use now, I was surprised by how comfy they were; so here is my review.

A bit about CEP – unlike other compression companies, CEP markets its products around its medical history and supplying the medical industry around the world.  It is owned by a leading healthcare manufacturer. When researching their products I noted that they were of high quality compared to other brands; the compression in CEP products is medically graded and incredibly safe and effective as a result. There products are all focused on recovery. Recovery is very important as lots of people don’t rest up enough so people turn to recovery socks to aid in recovery and of course help with performance.

 

Ultralight Calf Sleeve

I started with the Ultralight Calf Sleeve.  I was intrigued to see the difference from my old pair. They where very comfy, and what I like about CEP is that the end of the sleeves do not leave marks on your legs and stop the blood circulation. I mainly use the sleeves in training and they feel so light. I also feel more comfortable with them on because of my history with calf injuries. What I did feel is that the next day my legs were very fresh and not as tired after a hard session. I also found that the new calf sleeves felt lighter and better then the ones I had before.

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2.0 Socks

Next up were the 2.0 Socks; they also felt very comfy. I prefer to wear these after my training as a recovery sock and for day to day life. I found the colour quite funky and a nice design. I also found there were no marks left on the leg wearing them at the top of the calf.  I find that if I wear a cheap pair of compression socks it really hurt the top of my calf after a few hours where the socks dig into the skin; these socks don’t do that so you wouldn’t get an injury from that. I used them a lot around the house and I also wore them in bed. My legs felt good the following morning, so I defiantly felt better wearing them.  What I do like about the socks is that they fit perfectly and that the cushion on the feet are in the right place.

I found that after a hard weekend of training/racing, from wearing these socks the whole day, I had no discomfort and my legs felt very good the following day.

I do really like CEP products and would recommend them. I have had other compression brands in the past and they would hurt my legs and leave marks. These come at a reasonable price but I feel are an important accessory in recovery and staying injury free and I feel they are the best on the market.

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Wetsuit protection…..

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I am excited to announce my partnership with The Dry Bag Company who will be supporting me throughout the winter and into the 2018 season. Dry is a new company whose vision is to make your life easier by designing and manufacturing equipment to store, protect and dry your wetsuit. The product they have launched with is called The Dry Bag.

My wetsuits degrade quickly and do not last a full season, which is annoying as they are very expensive. After a race or training session I would normally leave my wetsuit in a bag soaked and covered with sand. Sometimes, and (only sometimes!) I would wash it and let it dry in the bathroom over the shower door, resulting in an unhappy wife and a puddle on the floor!

When I saw The Dry Bag in a triathlon magazine I got in touch with them – I thought the idea was great and a product I could do with to help protect my wetsuit and get more use out of it. Let’s face it you don’t want to be paying £300 plus a every year for a new wetsuit.

The Dry bag is based around 3 key areas:

Storage

2Drying

Protection

Storage: Store your wetsuit in a ventilated environment and avoid using ordinary hangers which puts stress on the shoulders of your wetsuit and will lead to it stretching over time. The Dry Bag lets you hang your wetsuit in a wardrobe whilst avoiding getting l’odeur neoprene on all your clothes. The Dry Hanger takes 25kg in drop weight and the arm of the hanger has been specially designed so you can fold your wetsuit in half and easily store it in the recommended way. The design of the hanger means you can also fit up to 2 wetsuit on the hanger – be efficient and store all your wetsuits in one place.

Drying: The Dry Bag will help you dry your wetsuit, with an estimated drying time of 4-6 hours (depending on the environment) your wetsuit will be ready for the next adventure. The water reservoir at the base collects dripping water so you won’t bring the mess indoors with you, and with a capacity of 5 litres it will easily take the residual water. Released by a plug at the base you can be assured of no mess indoors.

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Protection: Offering 3 x more protection than without, The Dry Bag will help you get more life from your wetsuit. Slinging it over garden fences to bake in the sun will damage the seams and degrade neoprene. Hanging your wetsuit in a Dry Bag will mean you can still hang it in the sun to dry quickly safe in the knowledge it will be protected from UV rays and will stay flexible for when you need it next. It will also be protected during travelling whether in a car, train or on foot – you’ll no longer have to worry about snagging your wetsuit and having those dreaded holes that let water in and lead to inefficiency when in the water.

 

My Dry bag arrived and I put it to the test. I realised I hadn’t done anything with my wetsuit since my last race a few months back and it was still sandy and damp from my last race. I’ve come to realise how important it is to protect your wetsuit to avoid shelling out more money not to mention putting on a damp smelly suit every session. The Dry Bag retails at £60 so if I can prolong the lifespan of my wetsuit and it saves me money in the long run then it’s money well spent.

I washed my wetsuit and put it in the bag, I came back the following day and it was bone dry. I then opened the water reservoir, released the plug and let the water run out. I then left my wetsuit in the bag and put it in the cupboard which is perfect as before I would crumble it into a bag (which again isn’t great for a wetsuit!). A great product for protection and storage, the hanger design stops your wetsuit from stretching at the shoulders. There are many uses for the bag and I reckon it will come in handy for cross-country racing this winter to contain and soggy clothes after the race so I don’t get mud all over my car!

My conclusion is that this product is worth every penny and is a must for athletes keen to protect and prolong the life of their wetsuit. It’s compact when not in use, and when in use, it can fit in your wardrobe easily as well as being easy to transport. Now is the time to invest in a Dry Bag to protect your wetsuit while not using it over the winter, and come spring you’ll be ready to dive in the open water.

And I can confirm, although born in the surfing world it’s definitely not just for surfers, it is for athletes doing aquathlons, triathlons, aquabike and outdoor swimmers alike.

Have a look yourself on their website DRY

 

 

 

Givaudan Ashford 10k running with a different experience

img_5255As some of you may be aware I am currently nursing an Achilles injury.  I had signed up a few months ago to the Givaudan Ashford 10k on Sunday 9th October as it was my running club (Canterbury Harriers) Club Championships and I was sorting this out for the club. Due to my minor problem I was advised by my phsyio not to race Sunday and run round with my wife. At first I was a bit disappointed but I knew that was best for me as I have only been doing easy training. My wife liked the idea of me running with her and pace her to a PB.  We never run together so I thought it would be nice.

It was the 30 year anniversary of this race with record numbers; this is the biggest 10k in Kent and attracts around one thousand runners. I do recommend this race as it is all on closed roads and you get a nice finish inside the Julia Rose Stadium.

The day came for the race and I was very tempted to race because I had a chance to place highly in the club championships. Despite the wet conditions there was a record turnout of 48  Harriers – the biggest number of Harriers in any race since the club`s formation in 1993. That felt good as I really tried to get a lot of Harriers to do it. I decided to wear my GB tracksuit to the race and make use of it. I did feel a little uncomfortable when I first got there as quite a few people were staring and pointing at me. I also found it weird turning up to a race at the Julia Rose Stadium because that is where I train on a weekly basis after work.

So I warmed up on with a couple of Harriers and I knew that it would be a different experience running a race at a much slower pace. It was chucking it down, so I stood at the start line with my wife and when it was time to start I let my wife go in front and I tucked in just behind her as I didn’t want to put her off.  Due to where I was running I heard lots of people talking to themselves. For example one lady stressed she had gone out too fast to herself. I suddenly found myself in the way of other runners so I moved to the right to allow people to pass me. I let my wife run the first mile without any advice and after one mile I started to tell her what to do and what pace to stick to.  It was nice to see lots of runners I knew and this time I was able to cheer them on.

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The rain kept coming down and I was freezing; I thanked some of the marshals on the route. I was still tempted to run fast and it was just a weird feeling to be where I was but it was also fun. At certain parts of the course I was helping my wife by encouraging and telling her what to do; when we came up to inclines I would say to her attack the hill you can recover in the down hill section. When we came down to the last 400m I said to her its up to you what you want to do and she sprinted for 200m then eased off then sprinted again the last 100m, overtaking people at the end. I know she likes a sprint!  Well she left me behind in the sprint and she finished in 47:22, taking a huge chunk off her last PB in May 2016. I was very proud and happy for her, I really enjoyed running a race with a different point of view.

As featured on Triradar.com Yiannis Christodoulou Represents Team GB After Olympic Inspiration

Yiannis Christodoulou Represents Team GB After Olympic Inspiration

This year has been an amazing journey; my first year competing at a national and international level in Aquathlons. It all started back in June at the National Aquathlon Championships where I took home a bronze medal and two weeks later at the European Aquathlon Championships I came home with another bronze medal, this time during my debut competing for Great Britain. This led me to compete in the ITU World Aquathlon Championship in Mexico.

What inspired me to do this? Well it started four years ago, just after the 2012 London Olympic Games. I started swimming to keep fit and was a very slow swimmer with poor technique; I hadn’t run since my school days and just wanted to keep fit. Inspired by the Olympic Games, I joined my local running club, the Canterbury Harriers.

y3I slowly improved but started to get a lot of injuries.  The following summer, inspired by the Brownlee brothers, I entered a local Triathlon. Unfortunately this didn’t end well as I sustained a bad calf strain and had to jog back to the finish. I was out of action for 7 months on and off and nearly gave up running. By the time the following summer however, I had regained fitness and competed my 2nd triathlon. Sadly a few weeks later I had an Achilles injury and was out for another 3 months.

I remained positive and watched a lot of triathlon on the TV. Feeling inspired by this, I decided I wouldn’t quit and I kept trying to be the best I could be. The following year I decided to try Aquathlons and I finished 5th in my first race with 3 GB athletes in the top 5. That spurred me on and three months later I had taken minutes off my time which meant I had qualified to represent Great Britain. My greatest memory is the sprint home, 800m from the finish to pass two athletes and take home the bronze medal from the European race.

y2This spurred me on this season and I have achieved success I didn’t think was possible as I approach my mid-thirties. Looking back over the last four years, I am proud of what I have achieved with hard work and dedication. Of course, I wish I had taken up swimming and running much earlier, but it is never too late!

To read the article click here

V02 Testing – Is it worth it and can you benefit from it?

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In March 2015 I was approached by Phil Anthony from Christ Church University sports lab to be part of his research and test subject.  I jumped at the chance as Phil is an amazing runner and ran London in 02:16 a few years ago and was a national Ultra champion. I wasn’t sure if it would work and benefit me so I decided to try.

What is V02? Research shows that successful performance in endurance running is closely related to the level of aerobic metabolism that a runner is able to sustain throughout a race. This directly impacts on the runner’s ability to maintain their speed throughout the duration of a race. Aerobic metabolism refers to the body’s ability to convert oxygen, delivered to the working muscles, to usable energy. The maximal point at which each athlete is able to achieve this is referred to as their maximal oxygen uptake or their O2max.

The test consisted of a ramp test where you run on a treadmill in stages of four minutes with each stage going up a level in speed until you need to stop. The second test was a 5k time trial on the treadmill after running at 16kmph for 10 minutes.  The third test was that I had to run my long run on another day which was 1 hour and 30 minutes at 70% heart rate.

After this I was sent away for 6 weeks where I had to increase one long run by 6 minutes for 3 weeks and the other long run by 9 minutes for 3 weeks and then maintain it for a further 6 weeks.  I then went back into the lab and preformed the 3 tests like before. I was given my results and this showed my V02 max had gone down so could struggle a bit in my runs but my running economy had improved hugely and something I needed to work on more. So what is Running Economy?

A common method for assessing an athlete’s running economy is to look at the volume of oxygen ( O2) they are able to consume at a speed of 16km h-1. The average O2 in well trained runners at this speed is~52ml•kg-1•min-1. However, as an individual athlete’s running economy can differ according to their speed, and 16km•h-1 can be too fast for many athletes, it can be better to assess RE in terms of distance covered ml•kg-1•km-1. The average RE for well-trained runners, when expressed in this form, would be ~200ml•kg-1•km-1.

So mine had improved but was still poor so I was told to work on easy long runs at 70% heart rate through the winter. This was to purely make me more efficient and burn fat instead of carbs. I found I enjoyed the winter months as the training was easy and in a space of a year I had managed 15 PB in all different types of disciplines.

So I was asked to go back in August this year for another test but this time a test for the difference between running indoors and outdoors. This test consisted of a Ramp test on the treadmill, 5K time trial after running 15kmph for 10 minutes on treadmill then I had to do this on the track.

So what did I learn this time? That running on a treadmill is quicker as I was 20 seconds quicker on the treadmill. Does that help me? Probably not but the data I got from it does. I was told my V02 max was a lot higher than last year because I was purely training for 5k’s, however my running economy was still poor but much better than last year. So looking at the data the short running reps help for 5k’s but the longer distances help for the longer races. As I have decided not to do a marathon next year I will be focusing on speed in the winter but also targeting my running economy.

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Did I find the data useful and did I improve? Well I did, at first I didn’t think this would work but now I have the science behind me I can move my training forward. The first test last year did work hugely and now it’s time to put the August test in practice.