When Russell isn’t running he has an Urban farm setup where he supplies organic produce from a roadside stall and
It’s no secret that my running footwear of choice is usually barefoot running sandals from US brand Gladsoles. I have now run in Gladsoles for almost five years now and for the past 2 – 3 years they have been on my feet more than any other. Whenever I am due for more barefoot running sandals I email Rich at Gladsoles and ask if he has anything new coming out. The purchase of these sandals came because my Trail 2.0 sandals had reached their decline after 1400km over all surfaces. This time around Rich let me know he had a new Vibram rubber that I may be interested in.
Enter the Gladsoles 10mm Super trail. These sandals are built on 10mm thick Vibram Nuflex rubber, the Trail 2.0 sandal was built on a 8mm thick Vibram Gumlite rubber. It was explained to me that the Nuflex rubber would be slightly less dense and slightly more flexible than the Gumlite rubber. If there was any criticism of the 8mm Gumlite rubber it would be that it was slightly too dense and didn’t have a lot of give.
What is missing from barefoot running sandals compared with most running shoes is mid sole foam. The mid sole foam is there to provide cushioning. When you run without mid sole foam your feet and ankles take more impact. There is no doubt this puts more stress on this area however in time the feet and ankles strengthen to the point where mid sole foam becomes irrelevant to your running. The effect of not having cushioning is mainly evident on longer runs as fatigue impacts running economy and running form. This has stopped me wearing sandals in road marathons to this point until my feet and ankles become even stronger. What I’ve been looking for in a barefoot running sandal is exactly what the 10mm Super Trail sounded like.
Immediately after running in the 10mm Super trail it was noticeable that the Nuflex rubber reacts slightly differently. It is quite a bit more flexible than the Gumlite rubber and slightly less dense. The benefit to this is a very small amount of give or cushion effect, that may be enough to help the feet, ankles and legs fatigue less through long runs and be able to run better for longer periods. The Nuflex rubber has been tested multiple times already on long runs of up to 3 hours 30 minute and this is evident.
Having a more flexible sandal means you still get fantastic feel from the ground whether you choose to run on road, trail or other surfaces. These have so far been tested on road, trail and beach conditions and passed each test comfortably. Initially this was a concern moving from a 8mm sandal to a 10mm rubber and whether this would affect the feedback you receive back from the ground. The 10mm sandal does give slightly less feedback however the benefits for longer runs outweigh this ever so slight negative.
The possible downside to a less dense rubber is longevity. The 8mm Gumlite have run 1400km and counting, I am unsure whether the 10mm Nuflex sandals will give this type of mileage. So far though they have run 150km and have virtually no visible signs of wear to the sole of the sandal. These sandals most certainly give 1200km+ meaning they are giving double what most running shoes twice their price return.
Gladsoles sandals are custom made to a tracing of both feet which you email when ordering. This is a huge benefit from any other product on the market. They are hand crafted and customised to your feet making sure that every sandal is a perfect fit for the individual runner.
So far the running experience in the Gladsoles 10mm Super Trail has been excellent. These are the fifth sandal I’ve owned from Gladsoles and for running long distances they are the best yet. Running in this sandal so far and testing it over marathon specific long runs in training, I am confident this sandal can get me through a road marathon (or a race on any other surface) in my best shape.
If you are looking for a barefoot running sandal for your running give Gladsoles some consideration. While they may not be the most recognised name in the barefoot sandal arena they make up for it by working hard to make a mighty good running sandal. The customisation can’t be understated as every sandal will fit perfectly and the customer service is superb.
The Gladsoles 10mm Super Trails are great choice of barefoot running sandal. #freethefeet
The last few weeks of this marathon preparation have been slightly disjointed but things are finally falling into place now. At the end of week 12 I started to get a sore throat and head cold which meant I didn’t complete the week as planned and delayed my final long run.
Week 13 therefore had a different structure to most weeks of this preparation. I was planning a two week taper but missed my last long run and wanted to get this done before switching off and tapering. Week 13 went as follows;
Monday – Rest (Still sick)
Tuesday – Aerobic 45 min
Wednesday – Long Run including 4 x 5km at 4 min/km with 2 km aerobic rest between – Total 28km
Thursday – Aerobic 45 min
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Tempo run – 3 x 2km – first two 2km efforts at 3:55-4min/km, third at 3:30min/km – 1km recovery between.
The head cold I suffered returned at the end of the week and I decided to take Friday and Saturday off. The two major workouts this week were the final long run with 4 x 5km race pace or thereabouts efforts and the 3 x 2km tempo. Both these runs felt comfortable and leave me confident going into race week. Head cold is now 95% gone and I feel good about race week.
Only a week left now till Canberra marathon and time to move into that final week taper phase. Not looking to much out there this week other then to keep the legs moving and be ready to race on Sunday. One short, fast session on Tuesday before taking it easy for the rest of the week.
Monday – Aerobic 35-40 min
Tuesday – Tempo – 3 x 1500 at race pace with 500m recovery with a warm up and cool down.
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Aerobic 30 min
Friday – Aerobic 30 min
Saturday – Rest
Sunday – Race Day
Overall happy with my preparation for this marathon. Fitness is as good as it could be and feeling motivated to give my best effort next Sunday. In some past races I have been relieved to get to the start line because the body needed a break from the training. This marathon I don’t feel that way and feel ready to race.
My goal for this marathon I to better my marathon personal best of 2 hour 57 min. The body and mind feel ready to get me there, but the marathon can be a troublesome beast and always throws a curveball your way. Looking forward to race day now.
The footwear choice for my upcoming marathon has been a decision I have thought about throughout this marathon preparation. Should I run this marathon in shoes or sandals?
Gladsoles sandals have been my number one footwear choice for the past 18 months, I do probably 60% of my running in them. I have completed a marathon in them before albeit the Beach to Brother trail marathon. They are a great sandal to run in. I completed my recent half marathon in these sandals in a new personal best time. I haven’t run a road marathon in these sandals yet though. My most recent road marathon was Seoul marathon last year which I ran in shoes, in particular the Salming Race 3.
While I do a lot of running in sandals, when I run long in them they are harder on my lower legs and feet. Naturally with less or zero cushioning they slightly tougher on the body. While this feeling is minimised by running a lot in sandals there is still a factor in the legs getting conditioned to running for long periods without cushioning.
Running in sandals has helped me be a better runner, my legs and feet are stronger and my technique is better. I have changed my foot strike from a heel striking runner to a forefoot runner. However when I run longer distances my form deteriorates as I fatigue. During my recent half marathon my form gradually deteriorated over the last 5km as I became fatigued.
For this reason I have chosen to run my marathon in three weeks time in shoes. Whilst I can run just as fast in sandals as shoes, when I fatigue in the final third of the marathon I don’t believe I can manage a running form that will allow me to run my best race in sandals yet. This is a weakness in the runner not the sandal, in time I will develop the strength needed to complete a marathon in sandals
The Salming Race 5 is the latest edition of racing flats from Salming and these will be my marathon race day shoes. They are fast, flexible and responsive. They are slightly narrower then the previous edition I wore in Seoul, which I would rather was not be the case but this is a small negative. The racing flat with only a small amount of cushioning will compensate for my drop off running form when I fatigue and allow me to run longer at my goal pace then the sandals on a road surface.
This is somewhat disappointing as it indicates that my barefoot running technique has still not developed to a point where I can run a road marathon and remain running with sound technique. I would prefer to run this marathon in sandals, however I am mindful that I want to run my best race and my weakness when fatigued will be better suited in shoes. I will continue to work hard on improving my foot and lower leg strength that will help me achieve this possibly for my next marathon, but this time it’ll be shoes in the marathon.
A disappointing week of marathon training this week. After putting together a few very solid weeks I started the week motivated to continue in this fashion but the week went south fairly quickly. This week I only managed to run three sessions and took four unplanned days off in a row during the week for a couple of reasons.
Monday started as planned with an aerobic run of about 40 min. Tuesday, completed my planned tempo session with 3 x 3km with 3 min recovery between each tempo effort. I averaged 4:15 min/km for this set including the recovery and the session went as planned. Wednesday morning I felt very tired and fatigued for some reason and with a wet morning decided to move my rest day forward. Thursday I was ready to run however there was torrential rain and I decided against it. I don’t mind running in rain however this was extremely heavy rain and not the weather to run an interval session in. On both Friday and Saturday I woke with illness and a slight gastro bug and decided not to run. Saturday I probably could have run but decided not to and save myself for the long run on Sunday.
My Sunday long was a planned 3 x 14km race pace effort with a 30 min rest between. It’s a session I like to do for my confidence and building mental capacity before a marathon. I was still not feeling 100% and decided against completing this session as planned. I decided on a 1 hour 45 min aerobic run followed by a race pace 60 min to finish the session. I was able to complete this session and felt really good for most of the final hour run. Part 1 of this long run was 22km followed by 13km at an average pace of 4:01 min/km or a bit faster then my marathon goal pace.
Overall not the week I wanted, short on both time and distance running for 54km. But it is what it is and we move on to next week
Monday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Tuesday – Intervals (8 x 3 min at 3:30-3:35 min/km with 1 min recovery)
Wednesday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Long Run (5 x 5km at 4:05 – 4:10 min/km with 1km recovery)
Saturday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Sunday -Tempo (4 x 3km with 2 min recovery)
Hopefully back to another solid week of training. Moving my missed interval session nearer to the front of the week and will probably delay my taper by a few days to fit in another last session, either tempo or interval in week 13. This week I am planning another marathon specific long run with 5 x 5km efforts at race pace or very close to it with a one kilometre jog recovery between. This will give me 30-32km session that will be my last long run before the Canberra marathon.
While I missed a few training runs this week I didn’t dent my confidence. The soon part of my long felt quite good and this was pleasing as we are getting close to the race now.
Hope your training is progressing well.
This weeks training culminated in the Port Macquarie Half Marathon where I ran a new personal best for this distance. One of the pleasing aspects of this is it came at the end of a relatively large week of marathon training.
Overall 77km ran this week including the half marathon to finish the week. Monday I completed an aerobic 13km. Tuesday my usual hill session of 9km, Wednesday another aerobic run of 8km and Thursday intervals which were 10 x 2 min with 1 min rest. I ran these efforts without looking at the pace on the watch and these efforts were comfortably hard between 3:30-3:40 min/km. Friday was rest day and Saturday I ran an aerobic 14km before racing on Sunday.
This week I am giving myself a little bit of time to recover from the race before getting straight back into training. No time to rest as the next three weeks are key endurance and speed building for Canberra Marathon on April 15th. A successful half marathon result during a training block has given me a lot of confidence that I can keep working hard over the next few weeks and run a good marathon.
Monday – Aerobic recovery run (30-40 min)
Tuesday – Rest
Wednesday – Hills ( 60 min)
Thursday – Aerobic (45-60 min)
Friday – Long Run – Aerobic ( 2 hours 40 min)
Saturday – Aerobic – (45 min)
Sunday – Intervals (2km half marathon pace – 500m hard x 4 with warm up and cool down)
Trying a new interval session this Sunday. Over a 10km course doing 2km at my half marathon pace 3:45-3:50min/km and then hitting 500m hard (approx 3:20-3:30min/km). And doing four efforts of these over the 10km. This will be a really tough session but if I can hit these efforts for 10km will give me a real confidence boost. may also still be somewhat tired from Fridays long run so looking forward to seeing how this session goes.
Next three weeks are key marathon specific weeks. Over the next few weeks I am going to throw some marathon specific training into my sessions. Next week I aim to drop hill repeats and transition to some harder tempo runs over a flat course. I feel strong now, time to take some time to work on marathon specific speed.
Let me know if you have any queries or concerns.
Just a few weeks before I was in two minds whether to compete in this half marathon or train through to my goal marathon in April. Two weeks out from the event I decided to race and test my marathon training progress.
Port Macquarie half marathon is in my home town in NSW, Australia and a race I have competed in twice before. It’s a nice three lap course around the river and beach area of the town centre. A three lap race can however be tough mentally, particularly heading out for the third lap. My normal race strategy is to break my race into thirds and a three lap race gives me an easy way to transition through each phase of the race.
The race began under perfect conditions, very light wind, cool conditions for this time of year and overcast clouds. In the early stages of the race there were a number of guys that went out quite hard, with a couple of elite runners in the field they went out very fast and some of the other runners tried to stay with them. I decided to stick to my pre race plan of 3:50 min/km for the first two thirds on the race and then give my best effort. I went through the first kilometre in 3:45 and felt really comfortable, although slightly quicker than planned I felt I had found a nice rhythm and was with a small pack of guys running well and decided to stay at the back of this pack. Next two kilometres were also ticked off in 3:45’s and I decided to stay with these guys. I recognised one of the guys who had beaten me two years ago here and knew he was going to go close to my planned goal time and thought I’d stay in touch even though quicker than planned. First lap felt really good, I had averaged 3:45 min/km for that lap and we had started to overtake some of the guys that had gone too fast early.
Second lap was much the same. Some rain showers started to fall and this was nice to keep us cool. In the second third of the race I try and focus on discipline. And by that I mean staying disciplined to keep my pace even and not go too fast or too slow at any stage. The field had started to thin out now, the guy I mentioned earlier had just got away from me by 50-100m so I just aimed to keep him in sight and stay disciplined on my pacing. I went through 10km in 37:40 and was happy with this. At the 13km aid station I took my gel I had planned to take just before the aid station, it didn’t go down so easy and I almost coughed it up. Took some water at the aid station and then proceeded to cough and spit till the next aid station at 15km I was still running well although starting to fatigue but was able to keep my 3:45 min/km average pace to the end of lap 2.
By lap 3 the race had begun and it’s now time to give my best effort. The field had thinned out considerably and my calculations had me 12th at the start of the third lap. At this moment I focus on giving my best effort. My pace was slightly erratic over this lap and slightly slower than the 3:45’s. Still felt relatively good up until 4km to go and then I had to dig deep. It’s always pleasing to be able to give your best in that moment, when you need to dig deep and are able to find something to stay at goal pace. I was able to do that and finish the race off fairly strong. Over these kilometres I was able to overtake three runners and finish in 79:30. Overall 8th place and 1st in my age group.
Overall happy with where this race puts me in relation to marathon training. 79:30 is my second half marathon under 80 minutes and a new personal best. My last time under 80 minutes was 2001 a few months before my first marathon.
I ran this race in my Gladsoles Trail sandals. They were great to run in again, really light and flexible and allow me to run free. My 5km and now half marathon PB is in Galdsoles so they certainly are as fast as any shoes I’ve worn. Still undecided whether I’ll wear them at Canberra marathon, I’m leaning towards shoes although I’ll explain in a future post why, when i make that decision.
Port Macquarie running festival continues to get better. Much bigger numbers then my race here two years ago and a great atmosphere on course and from the spectators. Always nice to race in your home town too. Look forward to next years event already.
The last week of marathon training went through without me running the amount of kilometres I’ve planned but managing to hit all my key sessions. Only managed 66km of running this week and mainly because I just didn’t feel great in many of the sessions.
The key session of the week were Tuesday’s hill efforts, Friday’s aerobic long run and Sunday’s interval session. I completed an aerobic run on both Monday and Thursday with both runs not feeling great and only completing between 7-8km during each. Tuesday hills went fine, although I still didn’t feel great throughout the run but managed to completed the desired efforts.
Long run on Friday was planned for 2 hours 40 min of aerobic running and I completed this although felt poor throughout the run. From the first kilometre to the last I felt ordinary. Stomach issues made me need to stop for a bathroom break mid run which is something that rarely happens to me. Managed to get the job done but it was a struggle. Felt very tired and depleted after this run. I over slept on Saturday and missed my run before needing to go to work and therefore took an unscheduled rest day.
Sunday I finally felt good for the week and completed my interval session in very hot and humid conditions. Managed to hit all my efforts as planned and felt good through out the run. 12 x 2 min at faster then half marathon pace with a float/recovery of 1 min between efforts at between 4:30-5 min/km. Very happy to end a toughish week feeling and running better then it started.
Week 9 and now just six more weeks of training and tapering till marathon race day. Feeling like I’m on target but need to push hard the next 4-5 weeks to get ready to run fast on race day. This week I’m running a half marathon on Sunday and want to use this race to test my fitness and racing mind. Aiming to run consistent pace throughout and try and finish the last 5km hard. Will also continue to build mileage this week, no time or need to taper at all for this half marathon.
Monday – Aerobic (60 -90 min)
Tuesday – Hills (60 min)
Wednesday – Aerobic (60 min)
Thursday – Intervals (12 x 2 min)
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Aerobic medium long run( 90-120 min)
Sunday – Race – Half Marathon
Looking forward to another testing week, hoping to build my kilometres to around 80-90km. Saturday medium long run will be run depending on feel, if I feel like it feels harder than it should I’ll stop at 90 min or potentially less so I am ready to race Sunday.
The half marathon on Sunday I’ll be running in Galdsoles Trail 8mm sandals. These are my favourite Gladsoles model and at their best over races up to this distance. I’m still undecided whether I’ll run canberra Marathon in these or shoes yet. That decision is a few weeks away.
Later in the week I will have a review of a product I’ve been testing/using from Coolcore. They are an Australian based company that manufacture a range of products from a fabric which provides a cooling effect. I’ve been using the ‘multi chill’ for a couple of weeks now. I’ll post a review later in the week.
Reach out for any questions, queries or concerns
Running a half marathon during a marathon preparation is both a common and a logical stepping stone to the marathon. But will it help improve your running if running the marathon is your true goal?
Personally, I am running a half marathon in ten days which will feature in week 9 of my 14 week marathon preparation. Do I believe running the half marathon will help me run a better marathon? No and yes.
The reason I don’t believe the half marathon helps improve the marathon is because the marathon doesn’t really start to well after half way. When you run through halfway in a marathon you’ll need to be feeling pretty fresh if you plan to run a solid second half. This won’t be the case when you race a half marathon, as the pace should be faster and you’ll give your best effort over the half marathon distance. You shouldn’t get to the end of the half marathon and feel like you can run it again.
Having said that, racing a half marathon gives an opportunity to have a better then race pace effort and test your fitness. If you can run a hard half marathon and finish in good shape then training must be going well and confidence can be gained from this race performance.
On the flip side, running a hard half marathon may result in you needing to take a day or two off training post race that could be used to continue to train for the marathon. You could be better advised to skip the half marathon and put in a longer then half marathon distance long run on the weekend of the race.
Running a half marathon isn’t easy though and has it’s own set of challenges. It is not half as much effort or half as hard to run a half marathon to a marathon. Naturally you will run at a faster pace when running a half marathon and being able to hold this pace consistently becomes difficult. Arguably just as difficult as holding your pace at the end of a marathon. This is where the benefit of racing can help you improve for your next race.
Ultimately when holding your pace becomes difficult during the end of a race of any distance the mind is what needs the training. Running a half marathon and fighting off the mental thoughts to give up can certainly help you run better at the marathon. When self doubt creeps in it’s important to shut that door quickly and give your best effort. Really it’s only racing where you get to test this out, you can’t get this from training.
Whilst running a half marathon won’t physically improve you on the way to a marathon, racing gives the strength and confidence that you’ll need during a marathon. Racing gives a valuable experience in staying in the moment and not giving up, this is an ingredient that has to be present during a marathon.
In ten days time I’ll race a half marathon and while I’m not expecting to gain any physical benefit that will help in the marathon the practise of racing will help when the mental battles start in the marathon. And this is the reason why a race during a marathon preparation is valuable.
Let me know if you have any questions or feedback.
Another good week of marathon training. The run is going well with six runs this week and just over 80km covered. Unfortunately the swim and bike components have not gone well and today I have made the decision to not progress with training for the Ironman 70.3 in May. Whilst I am disappointed I haven’t been able to put it together and get my triathlon training on track it gives me time to focus purely on running a good marathon in Canberra. I may revisit my triathlon goals at a time in the near future when a marathon isn’t in the midst and requiring my focus.
Running this week started on Tuesday with my usual hill session. Hills went well and half way through this preparation I can feel the strength needed for a good marathon returning nicely. Wednesday was a 10km aerobic run that helped the legs recover and be ready for intervals on Thursday. I had a real purpose with intervals this week of 20 x 1 min with 1 min rest to keep every interval under 3:30 min/km. I failed on two of these intervals and stupidly one of them was the first, the other was the last which I can cop because I was spent after this session. All the other intervals were run between 3:20 and 3:30 min/km.
Friday was another aerobic run, this time only 7km. I knew I had a tough long run planned so ticking the legs over was the purpose of this run. Long run on Saturday had a purpose of 5km aerobic then 5km at my threshold pace of 4:10 min/km x 3. Meaning every 45 min contained a 5km effort with a 3km warm down afterwards to give me 2 hours 30 min overall. Really happy with this run, the efforts felt hard, particularly the 3rd but I was able to hold the pace and finish the session feeling confident. I rounded out the week with an 11km aerobic run on Sunday over grass. The grass was nice on the legs and a good way to finish my biggest week of the year so far.
Getting through my three key runs every week is a goal for every preparation of mine. I continue to believe that developing speed, strength and endurance is the best way to run best on race day. This week i was happy with all three of my key sessions and how my running has progressed in the seven weeks of this marathon preparation so far.
With triathlon off my mind it’s now purely focussing on running and this marathon. Working hard over the next 5-6 weeks before tearing for the race.
Monday – Aerobic – 1 Hour
Tuesday – Hills – 1 Hour
Wednesday – Aerobic – 1 Hour
Thursday – Rest Day
Friday – Long Run – 2 Hours 40 min (Aerobic)
Saturday – Aerobic – 45-60 min
Sunday – Intervals – 14 x 2 min with 1 min recovery
I have also decided to compete in the Port Macquarie Running Festival half marathon, March 11th, just two weeks away. Looking forward to a solid week of training before a race that will test my fitness. Aim of this race will be to stick to a consistent pace, quicker than marathon pace and try and hold this pace of the duration. There will be no taper for this race, it will be a good test of my current fitness deep into marathon training.
I’ll also run this race in Gladsoles sandals, most likely the trail 8mm model. Looking forward to testing my speed over 21.1km in sandals. I haven’t raced a pure half marathon for a while and I haven’t decided yet whether Canberra marathon will be in sandals or shoes. This half may make the decision for me.
Looking forward to another week of marathon training. Feeling like my fitness is coming together.