Sunday, 25 August 2013

Salomon Trail Series - Silvan Dam - 2013 Race Three results

Not the trail...
Another race, has come and done, with this post I’ll share the fun!

The week before was wild and windy, cold and wet.
Yet at Sundays start the weather was clear,
So the Fish lined up, his mind all set. 

The gun went off and so did the Fish,
He had a plan, to go out hard and run near the lead,
How long would it last? To the end was his wish.

Now this is where the plan went astray...  

So much for easing the runners in as they hit the first hill,
The Fish ran with the pack, he would ease right in, let others lead the way.
The climb was gradual, the track was tight.
Shadowing those running on in front,
Quick, nimble steps, dodging trees and ferns, a turn to the left and then the right.

The famous saying, what goes up must come down 
(Now he pushed, gave it a crack),
So at the crest an additional burst, accelerate beyond the rise!
The descent began, then another hill, don’t drop back.

At 5ks in the Fish felt good,
All runners kept on moving, past tracks and tanks,
The climb ahead, he understood
Would make or break a runners heart.
His mind not to be deterred by those running ahead,
When the going gets the tough he’d make his move
To run this hill was the plan from the start.

As the ascent went up and the track became more brutal,
The pace now slowed from a race to a crawl.
Some racers pushed on, some held back or kept things in check.
The Fish made his move and gave it his all.
To master this climb you needed light steps and good form,
So the Fish picked up his cadence and attacked to the top.
Taking care with his feet, slippery tracks after the storm.

It was brutal, it was tough.
How long could he push it, picking up a few places,
The mind saying stop it, the legs screaming enough!
As the peak was then reached the Fish was relived.
But from here, the course was yet to ease,
To succeed you push on, was what the Fish firmly believed.

Just when you thought the ascent was done
And a fast descent let the legs get loose,
The killer climb had now begun.
The track was steep and made of mud
Below his feet the slipping, oh what fun,
Grabbing at branches to keep going forward and avoid a thud!

Two more climbs were to lie ahead,
So not to walk a hill was the plan. 
But the degree of difficulty would make you draw breath with dread.

Movement here was slow and steady,
Each new step closer to those in front and the peak.
Breathing relaxed, pushing on and ready.
Finally almost 10ks had gone by,
The depth of the run had be conquered.
Two runners ahead, now the Fish would try.

To reel them in k by k
As the track went down, the speed went up,
That long downhill stretch, the fastest of the day.
The last of the bush was entered with pace,
Another sign here, another turn there.
A runner only just ahead, it was time to race

The single track was was fun, it was epic
Twists and turns, still dodging more trees and ferns
At long last we burst onto the road, finally giving hills the flick.
Medium and long distances combined,
They all hit the road for the short stretch home.
Some passed the Fish, just one more burst could he find?

A final right and a short short track,
Past the car park and to the line.
The Fish dug deep, for one final crack!
Powering on past the longer runners,
Where would he finish?
The elation, no other finish had been any funner!

14kms and some epic hills,
Amazing scenery and a crazy track!
The Fish was lucky to avoid some spills,
To finish 17th and was a massive thrill.

This run was the most challenging of the Salomon three,
And almost more fun than last at Lower Plenty.

So now I sign off, to prepare for the last
Bring it on at Anglesea!

Get your inov-8s from, remember fish10 makes them cheaper :)

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Feeling goooooood

Good morning all, 

Nothing fancy to report today, other than I'm feeling good and pumped about the third of the Salomon Trail series runs on Sunday. 

It's 14km of undulating hills and with a couple of serious climbs. Best of all it's only 6km from my place. 

So this morning I took to the tready for a fast interval session:

800m x 2 @ 3:18km pace or 5:52 mile pace on 1% incline

600m x 2

400m x 2

200m x 2 at 1.5% and 3:00km pace to bring it home.

Each repeat was off 2 minutes full recovery. 

It felt good. I could have pushed it out to the full km but that wasn't the purpose of this session. 

I focused on my quick cadence and breathing and it all came together. 

Bring on Sunday!!!

Cheers, the Fish

Monday, 19 August 2013

My inov-8 f-lite 252 review - the perfect running shoe?

Hello again fans of trail running and inov-8 shoes. 

I think I've found the perfect running shoe - the inov-8 f-lite 252. (following the link will support this blog) put them out there on sale and I couldn't resist.

I've gone for the black and lime f-lite 252 - a perfect amalgamation of my black inov-8 Road lite 155s and my lime green inov-8 trailroc 235s! There's even a hint of the red from the blue bare x-lite 150s and the Road X 233s. 

Thought I'd give the shoes a wash while I waited for the f-lites...
Like magic - the f-lite 252 appears to have taken the best of the former three!

I say I think they're perfect as they are a 3mm drop trail bred shoe that looks to be easily transferable to the road, as well as in the gym. The stack height is about 14mm.

They are also built on inov-8s natural last - meaning that they are wider in the fore and mid foot sections than the classic f-lite range. 

Having worn them for a few runs and couple of weekends, I can so far say that I love them. 

When I read a review I want to know how a shoe fits. Will it be true to size if I'm ordering off the net? Firstly the color is awesome and for walking around in they fit beautifully. The laces are the flat type and tie easily - I always double knot and have never had a pair come untied. For the first time ever I have noticed the 'heel' in them. I never noticed it before in my x-lite 155s but when wearing these casually I have an awareness of the 3mm heel drop.

I actually sized up with the inov-8 size chart and ended up with a 1/2 size smaller than my other inov-8s. I admit that I really like the feeling of having a shoe wrapped around my foot again. Saying that, there is plenty of wriggle room for my toes and forefoot. So, using the inov-8 size chart, for me the fit was perfect.

I now realise my other pairs are perhaps a 1/2 size too big. 

For something different, I've posted this review in three sections, as the inov-8 website touts this shoe as a cross-fit/gym shoe that is also developed for someone with an established natural running style. - 

1) The f-lite 252 as a trail and off trail shoe.

So, I was amped to be able to get out in the 'nongs' and do my first night run. I had the head torch charged, the rain jacket on the ready and the f-lite 252s all laced up. 

I ran one of my favourite loops, roughly 12-13kms on some rough 4WD tracks, walking trails and through the bush on single tracks. The elevation levels varied from flat and fast or rose to 7-15% inclines and descents over varying sections. To add to the excitement it had rained the previous couple of days and was raining during my run. Score! This was going to be a make or break for the 252s.

So this was almost a literal 'blind test' for the f-lites, as I had good but limited vision of what lay beneath me. 

On the 4WD tracks I really enjoyed running with these shoes. I was able to run at a good 5:00 min kilometer pace and not have to be too concerned about my grip. I got great feedback on the trail but enjoyed the added protection of the Dynamic Fascia band that is embedded in the sole. I've never been too worried about how much I feel rocks and stones through the trailroc 235s, but these made running a pleasure. I could tell the surface was rocky and uneven but there was minimal to no discomfort. 

When I had to tackle the hills and climb the shoes gripped really well. I've spoken of running with a quick tempo before and again, this really proved to be the key to running with these shoes. Running over a mix of stone and clay based surfaces, I never felt like I was going to slip. The few times I got sloppy, the f-lite 252s grip was strong and steadying. In the single trail sections I could plant my feet where I needed to and use the track to my advantage. Need to place your foot on a 45 degree slope to avoid a fallen tree, no problem. Need to leap onto a fallen log to push off, grip is ample and secure.  

At one stage I hit a sharp descent down Camilia Track and got caught out by the change to a clay surface and started to slide down the hill. Once I was able to reassign my weight and regain control it was just a matter of shortening my stride and using more of the Pose 'lift' and place technique. Once I did this I felt in full control and was able to rely on the grip of the f-lite sole to halt any further slides, or was able to safely ride out the slide. At the end of the descent they were almost mud free on the soles - no extra weight! 

In summation, everything I encountered out on the wet trails was handled with ease. Drainage in the 252s is also excellent. At the runs end my socks were damp but not wet. After about a 1/2 hour in the sun the next morning the shoes were again dry. 

The inov-8 f-lite 252s were so jealous of all the shoes getting a run at the third Salomon trail race! At race four these bad boys will be getting the run. 

2) The f-lite 252 as a road shoe for my weekly tempo and easy sessions around the streets and:

After a few good 45 - 60 minute runs I can report back that I really like the fit. 

The f-lite 252s feel quite firm underfoot and you do become more aware of your foot strike, but with a developed natural running style they're not uncomfortable. You just get a sound awareness of the pavement or road that you are running on and good feedback of your form.  A big positive is that they really grip into corners and you feel like you are turning on rails. So on concrete and asphalt they have great levels of grip. They also rewarded a higher cadence and true mid foot strike. 

As each run run progressed I could feel them molding to my feet, especially under my right foot. The Dynamic Fascia band also works really well in this shoe. I could feel it rebounding with each step, almost pushing me to run faster. I was worried about the smaller than previous sizing I had chosen and how it would go in a longer run, but at the runs end my feet feel really good. 

3) The f-lite 252 as a gym shoe. 

I'm not into crossfit or any really dedicated program. I enjoy my spin session, leg workouts and I also do a light weights routine. 

For me a gym shoe needs to be comfortable on the bike, provide great stability for my core routines and have the right stability grip when I'm doing the leg workouts. 

So, the f-lite 252 are great on the bike. They lock into place nicely in the cage and the dynamic fascia band gives you a little bit of flex and lift when you 
push down through your calves. Previously my New Balance 890 V2 were a little stiff and using my Road X-lite 155s lacked structure in the sole and caused a little discomfort on the pedals. 

The wide surface area of the natural last provides great stability when I'm doing my squats and core exercises. Previously I did them barefoot, but the f-lite sole helps grip into the carpet and stops me sliding around and losing form. 

The Meta-flex in the fore foot does give great flexibility to the shoe and allows you to do lifts and raises easily. It also works in your favor when your stretching out the legs. 

Finally, I couldn't resist a rope climb to test out the new rope-tec in the mid foot section. I don't do it a lot but I could really lock the feet in place and 'hang out' for the photo shoot. 

Big thanks to Leigh from Refine Training in Kew for the pics. 

So, do I recommend the inov-8 f-lite 252? 


In fact, I ordered the blue and red pair to keep for the roads, and I'll dedicate the black and lime pair for the trails and tracks.

If you like the sound of them, I'm part of the affiliate program with wiggle, so I recommend looking there as your first stop.

Cheers, Lachie - Australias leading inov-8 store

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Pose running - Does Pose running work or is it great coaching?

Ok, so you’re probably thinking that this fish is a bit of a poser. We’ll, your right :)

About a month ago I had a one on one training session with Sally Lynch from

As you know I’ve been searching for those little 5 and 10% changes that can improve my form and performance and training so that I can keep running injury free.

I’ve tried Heart Rate training (Hit the link to check it outif you want), I’ve been enjoying weekly sessions on the Watt Bike (see what that entails!) and I’ve focused on my breathing and balance in an effort to get faster and stronger (My finding fast post).

The next logical step was to have someone professionally assess my form and see where I can make little tweaks for those extra few seconds per kilometre and additional injury free training. I had heard of Sally through and met her in Melbourne for an hour session. What would that entail? Would it be any good? Could I apply it out there in training and the real world? I was about to find out that running is not running, it’s SCIENCE!

The fish running as he thinks he should!
The session started with Sally videoing my ‘natural’ running style and slowing it down to analyse my landing and push off, drag and how I moved my arms. While it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t pretty either. The pic shows that I am ‘dragging’ my back leg, running too upright and have my arms returning too far behind my body. When you drag that back foot you use up a large amount of energy when it plays catch up with the body. I also had a leg turn over speed that was far too slow.

Here is Sally’s summary of good running form and what I was aiming for:
Summary of Running Form:
1. Body Position- upright, slight lean from ground. Head and face relaxed.
2. Feet- As soon as knee comes through, put the foot down underneath you. Land mid or forefoot underneath knee, close to centre of the body.
3. Arm stroke- controls rhythm, forward and backwards from the shoulder without side to side rotation
4. Hip extension- extend the hip and then leave it alone.
5. Rhythm- Control rhythm and speed through arm stroke and hip extension.
After finding this out we started on the drills.

Drill 1 was to listen to a metronome set to 180BPM, the minimum speed for good cadence. I learnt how to jog on the spot to this speed. Try it, it’s quick! I also had to focus on short uplifts, barely taking my feet off the ground.

Drill 2 was working on my lift. In Pose running, you want your trailing leg to be near vertical, no feet hanging out the back like me. To do this I had to jog on the spot and pull up through the hammies to pull the lead leg up, and place it on the ground in front of me. This entails a quick uplift, like a snap up. The strength comes from your hammies and calves. Think of driving your knee straight up, not the traditional forwards motion. You also want to land midfoot and have your heel just kiss the ground as you move to lift again.
Got it so far? Quick cadence and lifting to the front of your body.

Drill 3 was learning how to lean. The Pose lean (The ‘pose’) is what gives you your effortless speed. Try jogging on the spot again, then fall forward to the ground. What happens? You can do nothing but move forward and start to run. Why, your body wants to stop you falling down and hitting the ground. That quick cadence of your legs and near vertical lift stops you falling and actually propels you forwards. I won’t explain why or how, does it much more efficiently than me.

We put this into practice by jogging forward then leaning forwards. As you felt the lean you moved more quickly. Pull up vertical and you slow down again. Sally also had a great variation on the old Aerobics grapevine that puts you in the lean position.

From here we moved into some great skipping drills, designed to make you
The fish running with the Pose style
light on your feet with that quick cadence and also to teach you to lift up and place the feet down without a long drag. So, here’s the next pic of this poser:
At the end of the session I had developed a more active lean, better lift and pull and less drag of the back foot. Those of you with a good eye and pose experience will see that there is a lot of work to go, but I left feeling confident and ready to give it all a try.

So, what does it all look like? Sally has very kindly let me share the videos she took, before her hard work and at the end of the session. Click on the link to see what I was like and how I had improved. 

Now, what does this all mean in the real world? Has it made an impact on my running? Without giving too much away, I came 34th in the first of the Salomon Series races, roughly 1 minute per km behind the top 2/3 runners.

In the second Salomon race and after two weeks of self ‘pose’ training through Sally’s drills and dedicated practice I finished 13th, only 20 seconds per km behind the winners. You might say it was the course and the field, but finding 30 seconds + per km is no mean feat. Perhaps the tight tracks and constant, rolling hills meant that the lead runners couldn't open the taps and pull their usual speed. Maybe this technical running suited me. Just maybe I have actually improved…

I ‘ve also gone out and taken 1:45 off my best 5km time on my time trial course, breaking the magic sub 20 minute mark.

Is it the Pose running that I have been working on? I don’t know yet, but I owe an enormous thanks to Sally of 

Perhaps its how I have been able to tap into certain elements of Pose: I run with a higher cadence, lean into the hills and try to work with gravity on the flats. I needed to know about my leg motion and have started to try and drive forward and up more to eliminate as much drag as possible. 

As I sign off my questions are:
Have you tried pose running and did it work for you?
What has been the most influential change you’ve made to your technique and why?
As always, I’d love to hear from you.

Cheers, Lachie