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PearlIzumiN2

Review: Pearl Izumi Road N2

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Intro

As the general rule states a shoe can only go for 800-1000km (500-620mi) I’m constantly looking for nice promotions of my regular shoes.
On Facebook however I saw suddenly that Pearl Izumi provided some free shoes if you were willing to evaluate them after a couple of months.
A local sports store was looking for people via Facebook and had an overwhelming response, among them myself 🙂
I did not “win” the free shoes, but due to popular demand all those who had applied could get a 50% discount on the shoes.
This was more than a fair discount and seeing that the fitting proved promising I bought them.

Specs

  • Weight: 258g gram (=9.1 oz)
  • Drop from heel to forefoot: Dynamic Offset: 4mm at initial contact to 7.5mm at mid-stance
  • Price: I bought it at €70, so that would bring it at €140

Full specs here.

Personal experience

First off, note that is a neutral shoe, which may differ with your own feet. Over- or underpronation require different shoes!

Ever since the first fitting at the store the shoe slid on my feet like a glove. So in very general terms, it’s a very comfortable shoe.
It felt like coming home and putting on my slippers.
This automatically made me sceptical for long runs, but more on that below.

The shoe, as you can see in the specs has ‘dynamic offset’, which means the drop differs from stance to stance and energy input.
At a 4-7.5mm drop, this is lower than the average running shoe, which makes it nice shoe if you’re trying to go towards minimalism running.

Automatically this means less cushioning than the average shoe. I have a decent mid-heel landing, which doesn’t make this an all to big problem for me, but if you’re a full-blown heel lander I wouldn’t immediately recommend it, unless you’re coming from another shoe with less cushioning and are happy with it.
The site says it’s a 1:1 Shock Absorption, but my Brooks for example absorb more than these.

The sole’s stiffness seems below average. It’s rather bendable, Pearl Izumi says it’s a 1:1 Energy input-output which I’m inclined to believe.

They are not waterproof at all, but this means it is a very breathable shoe.
Especially during hot summer days this is my go-to shoe. The air flows through them in a way that seems to limit sweating.

The breathability along with the general comfortable feel makes it a nice shoe for the long runs. Bear in mind, yet again, that the drop is somewhat below average, so I would not be surprised that some people’s achilles heel would hurt after +16km (+10mi).
Depending on what week I had I take these out or my Brooks with some extra cushioning. I prefer my PI’s now, but sometimes you just need the cushioning…

With their low weight and nice breathability, they make a more than decent racing shoe. In very wet conditions the sole can get somewhat slippery, so try to check your terrain beforehand.

In terms of durability I’m somewhat dissapointed. I’m at about 800km (500miles) with these shoes and I feel that it’s time for a new pair. Shorter runs no problem, but with the long run I start to feel it more in my knees than usual.

 

In summary:

I recommend this shoe for every runner who wants a smaller drop and has at least 1-2years experience in running. They need some experience when you go and fit them to know if this is the shoe for you. They really fit like a glove from day one, so this will be a standard pair in my closet from now on!

Rating

  • Weight: 4.5/5
  • Cushioning: 3.5/5
  • Stiffness: 4/5
  • General feeling: 4.5/5
  • Short run (sub 15k) rating: 4/5
  • Long run rating: 4/5
My Pearl Izumi's
My Pearl Izumi’s in current condition. Not bad after this mileage eh? 🙂
myfitnesspal

MyFitnessPal Retrospect

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Somewhere in December I wrote a post about constantly monitoring my weight and I found an app/site helping me with this.

Seeing this as a ‘game’ it really helped me monitor everything I put in my mouth in an enjoyable way.
The only downside is that my urge to win the game got too strong.
I wanted to have as much calories left as possible at the end of the day.

Although this had a good impact on my weight, it had a negative impact on my running and daily life. I felt tired and weak.
So after a good 2 months, I decided to park it for a while. I have a greater knowledge concerning everything I eat on a daily basis so I should be able to keep my weight at a desired point just like that.

I would recommend it to people who have no idea how much calories certain food contain and want to gain weight without a real diet. Just watch out if you’re a number freak like me 😉

Forerunner_310xt_review

Review Garmin Forerunner 310xt

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My GPS watch is a Garmin Forerunner 310xt.
DC Rainmaker does an awesome job of reviewing everything in-depth and I find it always to be exact.

Just as my small review of Endomondo I’d like to share my own best and worst experiences with the watch, so hopefully you can get a good feel of what it means to actually use the watch.

Mind that this is written from a runner’s point of view, I purchased it with the cycling in the back of my mind, but all in all I only used it three times over the past 18 months for cycling…

Worst 5

  • Heart rate strap wore down fast
    I had to replace mine after a year. That’s just too fast… Luckily  the support was great and I got a new one for free, but still … it’s a lot of hassle not desired.
  • Altitude is wonky
    I live at the coast line, which implies at sea level. I think the altitude varies between -10 and +10m, that’s just too big a threshold..
    I ran some trails with it and it is persistent in its error, you’ll end up with the right ascent meters at the end, it’s just possible you won’t have gone as high as everyone else 😉
  • Big heavy thing on your wrist.
    Being ‘of age’ it is not the most slim, prettiest watch and it is quite big. Wearing long sleeves I always wear it on top of the sleeve. It’s handy for quick glances, but putting it underneath usually resorts in a sleeve too tight at the wrist.
  • Remembering GPS? Not always it seems… (also: turn it on OUTSIDE!)
    It advertises it remembers your GPS location, which means it’ll find your GPS quickly if your start point is always the same.
    I may be a bit harsh here, because that seems correct about 80% of the time, but the other 20% means you need to wait a LOOONG time before it’s ready.
    It’s better to turn it on outside as well, because from my experience, if it is hard to find GPS from the start, most of the time it will persevere although you’re standing outside. This usually means turning it off and on again.
  • Battery indicator
    The battery indicator could be better. It has a decent battery (see below), but if you fail to check it regularly you might end up with a notification at startup (almost empty) and that basically means no running with watch today. After max. 30min it will switch off and that’s just too tight for a first notification…

Best 5

  • Once locked, no ‘GPS lost signal’ until indoors
    Seeing that it is a GPS watch, it’s not surprisingly it ends up in the worst and the best 5.
    It may be difficult to lock or it may require a reboot, but I have never had signal loss once running.
    Not in tunnels, not on hills, not in forests, not in “desolate” areas.
    Only indoor it goes away quickly, but I think that’s normal.
  • Clear, to the point, customizable screens
    The screens are just awesome.
    It has a large viewing angle, is sharp to look at and is highly customizable.
    Per sport you have 3 screens (+ a Virtual Partner) with 4 fields where you can assign just anything imaginable (heart rate, distance, time, …).
    When you run intervals it adds another screen that shows only your goal for the interval (time, heart rate, …), distance and current heart rate.
forerunner_310xt
Customizable fields!
  • Very good bang for the buck
    I purchased mine at Amazon.co.uk and as far as I can tell it’s still the cheapest over there.
    In total I paid less than €200 which is nice for a GPS watch including a Heart Rate strap.
  • Bug free
    I have doubted to buy a Garmin Fenix 2 a while back and the more I read about the newest watches from Garmin, the more it seemed every product had a certain maturing period.
    I went digging the internet and the same was true for the 310xt, there had been a bunch of firmware upgrades before it was stable.
    So by buying a slightly older model, you don’t only save money, but save frustration as well…
  • Very decent battery
    It’s advertised at 20h, actual duration depends off course on usage, GPS interval, backlight etc.
    I can say I charge roughly every 3 weeks when I go running for about 5h a week.
    It’s just handy you don’t need to charge after every long run.

Do you own a 310xt? Does it work as well for you as for me?
Doubts about the model or Garmin in general?
Be sure to sure a review of your own watch if you have one…

Tribesports

Clothing Review: Tribesports

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DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT GET SPONSORED IN ANY WAY, FELT IT WAS NECESSARY TO TELL THIS AS I SEE A LOT OF DISCUSSIONS GOING ON AT BLOGS ABOUT THIS TOPIC

Today I’d like to tell you about some gear I discovered about a year ago.
Kickstarter is a site I like to browse looking for innovative gadgets and I stumbled on the Tribesports clothing.

They already had a community build out and now wanted to start a clothing line.
Usually I spend as little as possible for my workout clothing, but now I was intrigued.
It looked well and the science behind it made sense.

The Kickstarter pack existed from a Longsleeve and a 5″ short.
It took a while untill it arrived (as it always goes with Kickstarter), but it arrived in time for the summer months.

That meant I used the short a lot. It’s a rather short short in which I run ‘commando’ and I must say it supports everything quite well and no shaving whatsoever.
The wicking is everything as you would expect and the little pocket is just big enough to hold my door key.
I’d give it a 4/5.

As far as the longsleeve goes, it’s an ideal in-between-seasons top layer and the go-to race shirt in winter.
This is a piece I couldn’t do without. If it wears out I’m sure to buy another.
It fits nicely around my chest, wicks the sweat extremely well, even when I’m wearing my camelbak and provides just enough warmth when the thermometer starts dropping.
I’m sure to give it a 5/5 and would recommend it to all.

Since the Kickstarter project they have a full-blown online shop (see link above) and I purchased 2 singlets and a T-shirt as well. All three are everything I expected from them and in the same line as the long sleeve.

For the Parkrun lovers: Tribesports partnered up with parkrun recently: read about it here.

Lastly I’d like to advice to wait, ‘Join The Tribe‘ or use my referral if you’re inclined to buy something. They do loads of actions, so paying the full price is really not necessary.

 

EndomondoLogo

App Review: Endomondo

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Disclaimer: i do not get sponsored in any way, felt it was necessary to tell this as i see a lot of discussions going on at blogs about this topic

When I started running I did not want to spend an awful lot of money on a GPS watch. Not sure if running was something I would keep on doing, I went looking for a cheap alternative and stumbled in the wonder world of running apps.

There’s a lot of choice in running apps now, but in my day it was pretty scarce. Endomondo got a lot of thumbs up then so I went for that one.

A lot has changed since the early version and I think that many bugs and irritations have evolved well down the road.
Important to say: I am an Android user and can only judge the app on this OS.
For screenshots and general features I point to The Play Store

I know this is somewhat lazy, but I figure there’s no point in showing a bunch of screenshots, I just will list the top 5 and the worst 3 parts IN MY OPINION.

Worst 5

5. Social Part IN THE APP

I honestly swear with Endomondo social wise. It’s a clean layout with a nice timeline and user-friendly way to add comments etc. In the app hower they force it and it’s rather slow going even on Wi-Fi

4. Random crashes 🙁 No notification when en route

I have a decent phone (LG Nexus 5), yet the app sometimes crashes for no apparent reason. Okay, it happens. Downside is that you (obviously) do not get a notification, which can result in logging loss.

3. Pages – Who uses those?

Section of Pages. Nice try Endomondo, only reason that’s used is for shoving ads up our face.

2. Sharing to Facebook

It’s either yes or no. You can activate or deactive it, you cannot choose to share some runs.
(Actually there is a way, to do it afterwards, but that’s just a nuisance)

1. GPS (Device dependent…)

This is very device dependent, but the GPS is picky. For example ‘Swarm‘ can get my location instantly, yet Endomondo keeeeeeeps on searching for GPS signal and can suddenly let you know that GPS signal is lost. Resulting in some weird GPS routes.

Boggy GPS Endomondo
Exhibit A: weird GPS results

Best 5

5. Easy pause & unpause

Because of the nice clean main page (see below) it’s very easy to pause and unpause your workout without delay.
You can even set autopause on if you’d like, just be sure you do not turn 180° to head back, because more often than not it will autopause on the spot.

4. Ending the workout

As easy as you pause the workout you can end it. At that point it’s very easy to add some text about how the workout went and pictures if wanted.
Everything with a hashtag gets tidily stored in your workouts so you can search on them later (I use it to track mileage with my different pair of shoes)

Endomondo - End Of workout
Sorry for the dutch interface 🙂

3. A LOT of sports are available

The list is actually waaay too big, but I suppose that some kite surfers would actually take their phone on the water 😀

Endomondo - list of sports
Part of the list of sports

2. Startup interface

One thing that hasn’t changed all that much between versions is the startup screen. It’s clear and easy to use. Very user-friendly, very to the point and very customisable (3 fields that you change to anything)
Endomondo app main screen

1. Audio coach

What I really like the most about the app is the audio coach. You can customize it in a lot of ways so you can get all the feedback you want at any time you want. Very handy to just plug-in some headphones and no need to bother to look at your phone during your run.
Even during intervals it works great, but that’s a PRO feature.

Endomondo audio coach 1
Endomondo audio coach 2
Endomondo audio coach 3

For totality:

Main site
Endomondo blog
My Endomondo account – Feel free to add me!

Review of the website and advantages of the premium may follow later.

Do YOU like Endomondo?
Do you KNOW Endomondo?
Would you consider using it after reading this?

BrooksAdrenalineGTS12

Review: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12

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Intro

I’ve decided to review all of my gear starting with my oldest stuff.
This way I hope to help people should they need pro’s and cons for running gear.

First up: Shoes – Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12

This purchase dates from some years ago (Christmas gift :-)) and the shoes aren’t for sale anymore in the common stores.

Specs

  • Weight: 323 gram (=11.4 oz)
  • Profile (Heel): 35.7 mm
  • Profile (Forefoot): 22.9 mm
  • Drop from heel to forefoot: 12.8 mm
  • Price: Not relevant anymore, but I spent about €130 back in the days

Personal experience

First off, note that is a neutral shoe, which may differ with your own feet. Over- or underpronation require different shoes!

The shoes, as you can see in the specs, have a fairly big drop, which means your heel will be higher than your toes. When you are into minimal running, stay away from it, as this is nothing for you.
Plus side of this big drop is the cushioning in the heel, which is great for paving the asphalt.
Biggest downside however is that this makes it harder to land on the middle of your foot or in the front. You will easily be pushed towards a heel landing.
The cushioning catches this, so all-in-all it’s not that of a problem, but if you’re working on your running form and foot landing, I’d suggest a shoe with a smaller drop.
Last for the sole, it has a medium stiffness. Nothing much more to say there…

unfortunately, I have sweaty feet. So breathability always is an issue for me. This is not something you can test by wearing the shoes in a store for a test run, so it’s always waiting for my first long run before I can judge.
The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 does a good job about it. I never completed a run where I could wring out my socks. And when running into the wind I could sometimes even feel the flow going through my shoes.Sadly, this automatically means it is not waterproof. Not even one bit. Running in the rain? Wet feet.
Running early in the morning through the grass? Wet feet.Not noticing a puddle? Wet feet.Good socks help you with this and I don’t mind wet feet, rather wet feet from the rain than from the sweat 🙂

Aside from sweaty feet, I have wide (fore)feet as well. This often means choosing another shoe simply because I would rip the fabric in the front.
GTS 12 is wide enough for me, so no issues there.

For racing I would advice against them. They are too bloated. A shoe with less weight, smaller drop, less cushioning would improve your race.

In term of months, I wore them for a long time, as running was only a ‘when-I-Have-the-time’ thing back then. But I think I wore them for about 1200km (750 miles).
Which is a nice average for a running shoe I’d say.

In summary:

I would definitely advice this shoe for a starting runner as it is a nice basic shoe with a lot of support in the right places.
Once you get more experienced you automatically will feel if a lighter shoe or more/less drop or … would serve you better.
Brooks is an established brand that is widely available, so finding a similar shoe shouldn’t be all that difficult.

Rating

  • Weight: 3.5/5 (4/5 only for training)
  • Cushioning: 4/5
  • Stiffness: 3.5/5
  • General feeling: 4.5/5
  • Short run (sub 15k) rating: 4/5
  • Long run rating: 4.5/5
myBrooksAdrenalineGts12
My Brooks Adrenaline GTS 12 at the end of their life cycle