Thursday, 31 January 2013

Hands for your feet!

Hey guys and girls I thought I would kick off today's post with my first review!

I have owned the Vibram Five Fingers "Sprint" model for a while now and thought I would do a little review on how they are after you give them darn good thrashing! :)

Everyone shows you them straight out of the box but we all know what they are going to look like!

Beautifully strange, like having hands for your feet!

I loved the look and the concept of these and they really helped me on the road (forgive the pun) to minimal running. 


So without further delay here are a few pictures of my VFF Sprints after around 150 or so miles.

The general condition is still pretty good but I did find that bits have started to come unstuck around the toes and the side of the foot.

I was a little surprised at this as that is not really a lot of miles for a running shoe. 

I loved running in these when I first started out but you have to start slow and short or they will bite you! Try and stray from this very thin line and you will know about it, forgiveness is not the way of the Five Fingers.

Run hard and its going to hurt! Run too far and its going to hurt! In fact you have to be very patient for it to all make sense! 

The great thing about them is they are fantastic at stopping you from heel striking because guess what?

It hurts!

Only 3.5mm separates you from the ground and this can be the most wonderful feeling as it wakes you up to a whole new world.
You can feel the difference in surfaces, the difference in the pavement to the road.
The subtle change in the compound of the concrete with its different mixture of stones.

It feels like your feet are now awake, free to play and experience the world!

Then amongst these wonderful sensations are the not so wonderful. 

The razor sharp stone your didn't see but will remember by the throbbing in the bottom of your foot for at least the next 2 miles. 
The twig that has somehow made a home for itself in that nice squishy bit between your toes......sideways!
That adorable handful of grit and sand that has, oh so lovingly, snuggled up in your arch in the hope to be united with the ball of your foot.
My personal favourite is the blisters, ah the blisters! 
It must be noted at this point that Vibram may have never before come across feet like mine.

I do not exactly have "standard" feet. 

You know how you would draw a foot? Big toe heading down in size order until you reach the little guy on the end? Well mine do not.

My "big toe" isn't, the second one is boss and my little guy on the end I think was adopted from a family of hobbits.

My toes, with the exception of said little guy, are long. Very long, ironically like fingers.

"Surely a product like Five Fingers would be spot on"? 

Both you and I unfortunately are wrong!

I love them but my feet beg to differ.

I just could not seem to stop the blisters, I have tried Injinji socks, (I will come back to these on another post) powder and all sorts of wacky stuff but nothing!
I know many people who adore these and run crazy miles in them but my feet for some reason just don't like them.
Walking in them is wonderful though and I keep them purely for this reason now.
Its a great way to build up your miles in them but again, start slow with short walks as your feet will get tired quickly.
My final point on my little funky feet as I like to call them is the smell.
They smell. Bad. At times, really bad! As soon as the friction of the floor starts to warm up the rubber you better be outside as anyone around you will start asking "what is that smell?!"

Now I have tried desperately to combat this with the washing machine, baby powder, soap, lemon, bicarbonate of soda, you name it!!

The only thing that I have not tried that I think may work is fire.
The stench would be overwhelming at first but at least you could feel pretty sure that after this treatment the smell would stop!
I have to store mine in a tied plastic bag to make sure that this wonderful odour does not creep around the house unsupervised!

Lets have a little rating or something shall we?

Hmm lets see?

Build quality - I would give this model 2 smiley faces out of 5 as I think glue should not be needed after only 150 miles of use and the finish on the inside isn't really great :) :)

Value for money - 2 smileys again for this mainly due to the build quality, with that said the actual sole itself is really good but it must be remembered that this is what Vibram do. :) :)

Fun value - 3 big cheesy grins for fun! I had loads of great runs in these and they really opened up a whole new world of feeling for my feet. :) :) :) 

Would I buy them again? - In a nutshell, no. What with the shape of my feet, the price and the smell its all a little to much for me to splash the cash on another pair.

So there you have it! My alternative review of the Vibram Five Fingers "Sprint".

Ciao for now!



Monday, 28 January 2013

A training plan for people who hate training plans!

Lets face it training plans are boring, tedious and uninspiring, well at least I think so.

I find it really hard to keep to a training plan, work and social life tend to get in the way.
Before you know it that wonderful plan seems impossible and BAM! You find yourself on the sofa watching some rubbish on t.v covered in crisps and sweet wrappers.

While a training plan can be a fantastic thing for a lot of people, with its structure and regimented miles, time, heart rate, etc...for me, not so much.

Training plans I believe should be taken as a guide instead of some kind of holy book, everybody is different.
We all heal at different rates, run at different speeds, cope better on different terrain, run at different times of the get my point.

We are all different so why should everyone follow the same plan?
Try this instead, take your plan for your chosen distance and simply regard it as a guidebook.
Listen to your body, if you are tired, rest!
If you feel like running an extra mile or one less, do it!
Feeling quick today? Start slow then leg it!
Feeling slow? Plod!
Relax and enjoy it! Remember why you are running, its fun, SMILE! :)
Once again, listen to your body and get to know yourself, it is your best training tool of all!

Many, many, many people don't listen to their bodies enough and end up hurting themselves.
On the contrary to popular belief, running is not meant to hurt, if it hurts, why?
Is it form? Running too hard? Stone in your foot?

Learn to listen to your body and your training will become play time not time to dread!

Good luck with your "guides" ;)

Miles of smiles


Thursday, 24 January 2013

You are never too old!

How many times have you heard or said "I am far too old for a marathon!"?

I for one have heard it too many times and I am now going to pop that bubble with a single name, Fauja Singh.

Fauja Singh, otherwise known as the 'Turbaned Tornado' started running at....wait for it.....89!!!!

Born on April 1st, 1911 he is regarded as the oldest marathon runner at 101 mighty years of age!
This man is a true inspiration and I urge you to dig further into his story and let it take root in your heart. 

I just read that he is about to retire from marathon running after he completes the Hong Kong marathon in February just before his 102nd birthday but he will continue to run for at least 4 hours DAILY after that! :O

I hope that you find this man as inspiring as I do and maybe, just maybe, if your not currently a runner or you are having any doubts that they have now packed their bags and left!

One of my aims with this blog is to bring information and inspiration to as many as I can in my own words, no giant blocks of copy and paste and most of all, honesty.

With this in mind I will hold my hands up and say there are far more eloquent and informed blogs out there, instead of just repeating the same information I shall leave you to your studies and the beauty of his own words... 

"I take happiness in biggest proportions though my actual diet is very small"

"Running is my life. I will keep running to inspire the masses."

The "Turbaned Tornado" Fauja Singh

Have fun with your homework! ;)


Monday, 21 January 2013

100 already?!

Hey guys just thought I would do a very brief thank you to all that have viewed this so far. This blog has only been going since Friday and today it hit 100 views!
Thank you all so much for the support already and I shall do my up most to keep things ticking along!

OK let me try and tie in 100 into something interesting......Got it!

How about some great books that all revolve around Ultra marathon running right up guessed it! 100 mile marathons!? (Did you see what I did there?!)

As mentioned before Born to Run by Christopher McDougall is a must! I wont spoil it by giving you any more information other than it is responsible for my change of thought on running! Deep huh?!

Ultramarathon Man by Dean Karnazes is also on your homework list, I really enjoyed this book and it gave me and still gives me a lot of inspiration when I feel like giving up on those long runs

Finally, for today at least, we come to Eat and Run by Scott Jurek.
This book and Scott himself fascinate me as Scott is an Ultra running VEGAN!
The whole concept is pretty mind blowing when you consider the information that is thrown around regarding nutrition. Scott also provides recipes throughout this book which I have given some a go myself and while tasty, you will have to keep and open mind and just give them a try as they may push your boundaries somewhat!

I don't wont to spoil any of the books or try to sway you in any direction so please check them out and let me know what you think.
Also have a Google around and read about all 3 of the guys themselves as they all have their own blogs and sites with a mountain of information!

Happy hunting and thank you all so much again its really made my day! :)

Cardiosaurus out!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

I get by with a little help from my friends

So its January, the holidays are over and you are feeling maybe a little guilty about that extra 300th serving of cake and decide....enough is enough! I'm going to start running!

Let me be the first to say good on you! It takes a lot to break the comfortable habit of the holidays and many people never get there.
There is however an abundance of people, (myself included in the past) who have fallen off of there newly found wagon by the 2nd month. The reasons for this can be split into a small group of creatures....

  • Boredom - A tough little beast that creeps up on the unprepared and is absolutely riddled with 2nd month-itis, the most common cause for the replacement of sofas 
  • Frustration - This little guy makes sure you set your goals so high that you work yourself into a frenzy trying to impress him only to feel like you have failed. Beware this evil genius as this only makes him stronger
  • Lack of support - Similar to the lesser known "no-one seems to care so why should I bother?" the "Lack of support" can bring down the biggest of prey without them even realising why. 
  • Injury - One of the most studied of all time! The Injury is the most mischievous of all of the creatures, pouncing at any given chance! The Injury is also prone to changing shape and size so it can be very hard to spot
Fortunately for you your friendly neighbourhood Cardiosaurus is on hand with a quick guide on how to be best prepared for said beasties!

  • The Boredom is a tricky guy but not unbeatable. If you are prone to attracting this most annoying of creatures try these simple tips...
  1. Change your routes and confuse him! If he can`t find you he can`t get you!
  2. Mix up your training, get off the road and lose the little guy in the woods!
  3. Join a running club and out number him! 
  4. Get yourself some books, blogs, or forums and get some inspiration, the Boredom hates knowledge!
  • Frustration is the scourge of runners, this little guy tries as hard as it can to make sure you feed him with  every piece of negative emotion and I say...make him starve!
  1. Have a good chat with Frustration and you will soon find that he isn't much of a talker and tends to leave pretty quickly! Find a positive in EVERY run to keep this guy at bay
  2. Try not to get so hung up on the data, times, splits and targets all the time. Frustration hates fun so when you see him peaking around the corner loose the watch and just run! Fast, slow, it makes no difference just smile and Frustration will leap in terror!
  3. Chat to others about this little beast and you will soon see that everyone has met one, you are not alone and he can be easily beaten
  • Lack of support likes to get you when you are on you own, a selfish little thing that makes you want to give it all up and spend more time with it
  1. My biggest suggestion to combat this terror is to do exactly what you are doing already, reading things like this! I have been part of a running forum now for just over a year and the support and advice that I have received over that time has been amazing and has certainly eradicated any signs of the Lack of support within my running world.
  2. Running clubs are also a great idea as the Lack of support is a shy creature and gets very nervous around advice and groups
  • Last but by no means least is the Injury. We all have or will at some point be confronted by the most aggressive of all the creatures listed above. The following are a few tips to try and help but this is one beast that is very hard to tame.
  1. Assess your form, the Injury likes to start there first. Poor bio-mechanics are the playground of this little devil so by working slowly and building up you should be able to keep him at bay.
  2. Read a lot, knowledge is power and can help you overcome and hopefully prevent the Injury from realising what you are doing!
  3. Build up slowly as Injury is very commonly found to team up with the other creatures in the hope to get a real hold on you for as long as it can!
  4. Never feel stupid for consulting a professional, this is the Injury's favourite trick to play to try and keep you grounded for as long as it can.
So there we have it, a very brief guide on how to combat some of the main reasons for stopping running!
There are many many more but these are just some off of the top of my head.
Hope you found this information useful or at least, made you smile!

Happy running peeps!


Saturday, 19 January 2013

Snow stops play!

Well the UK has been hit with snow and while the kiddies and adults alike may enjoy such a pretty blanket from the Gods, to many a runner this is game over.

I am a sandal runner, that's right you read it correctly, I run in sandals.
Sandals and snow, hmm not really feeling that today so instead I shall move onto where I got said footwear from and why!

The sandals themselves come courtesy of the wonderful Luna Sandals, created by Barefoot Ted.
"Barefoot Ted?" I hear some of you say, if you have to ask it means that you have not yet read Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, this in my humble opinion is a must and it will also give you a much better understanding of why I chose the sandal route for my own running.

Go grab yourself a copy right now and when your finished come back and read on! :)

.............. OK finished? Brilliant wasn't it?!

That book single handedly changed my view on running and opened up my world to the crazy world of Ultra running as well as the limits of human endurance.
It also got me into thinking a lot more about footwear in general and to not take everything at face value and just buy a new training shoe because someone in a sports shop tells you too!
Nutrition is something else that is touched on a little with the mention of Chia seeds and Pinole but I think I shall come back to both of these in different blogs or im going to get carried away again!

Right lets get back on subject shall we?! Sandals!

To have a slightly better understanding here is little history of my own running....
I started around 4 years ago and now know that I used to heel strike.
A year later after remembering that I had forgotten to keep it up I took part in my first 10k, followed in 2010 by my first Hell Runner.
I hurt a lot after that and my shins, hips, ankles and everything else in my legs hurt!
Continued to run over the next year getting ready for Hell Runner 2011 by basically doing a year of hill training! Come the event I felt great and got round it comparatively easy but my feet were abit of a mess from the shoes crushing my toes, black toe nails and my first blood blister! EEEW!
2011 started with shin splints and I thought really hard about just hanging the shoes up and calling it a day.
Kept up the small distances of around 5k but still my shins hurt.
This is when the reading and my obsession started! Born to Run was handed to me like some flaming Olympic torch and it ignited something in me!
Read a lot (I will come back to books in another post) and got some Vibram Five Fingers and started the long road to minimal running.
I spent around a year stripping my style down and completely changed to a forefoot style.
Tried a lot of footwear, Vibram Five Fingers, Merrell Trail Gloves, home made sandals and then finally my much coveted Luna Sandals!
I shall come back to individual blogs about my footwear as they all deserve there own time (becoming a bit of a theme already eh?!)
November 2012 saw me complete my first marathon not only ever but in sandals! Very nearly cried from the sheer joy of the finish as this had been a personal goal for a very very long time!

WOW! Phew! Ok we are pretty much up to date and hopefully you are still reading what is rapidly becoming more like a book than a simple post!

So why sandals?

Running in sandals for me has bought back a joy to running that I hadn't experienced since being a kid, zipping along at what felt like a million miles an hour for ever and ever!

The connection with the ground, the feel of the wind rushing past your toes, the blade of grass that brushes the side of your foot, the refreshing puddle, the sticky mud, the world quite literately at your feet. All of these things and many many more is why I am a sandal runner.

Hope you enjoyed this post and hope you will join me again for more!

Please feel free to leave comments and questions and I shall do my best to answer them! :)

Thanks for reading

Miles of smiles


Friday, 18 January 2013

My first post!!

Hi everyone and welcome to my first post! (Exciting eh?!)

Running for me has become a huge part of my life, I think, eat, sleep and breathe it!

My aim with this blog is to try and help people in the wonderful world of running with advice, reviews and links to the best of my ability!

There is so much to explore that it can all get a little overwhelming when you first start out so I shall try my best to stick to one subject at a time but please remember this is my first blog and I tend to get carried away!

For now I shall just leave you all with a few little words..... don't forget to smile! :)