Jun 25, 2014

I decided to do some sit ups the other day because I had a funny feeling my stomach muscles were very weak, possibly leading to inefficient running. I used to be able to do a hundred sit ups easily. I was horrified to find, however, that I could only do about ten before my stomach muscles fatigued so badly I could hardly get back up. They are now “as sore as”. I’m going to embark on a concerted effort to strengthen these muscles, as such an asymmetric weakness must surely be reducing my ability to run freely.

On an entirely different matter – I don’t advertise anything on this blog. I prefer to keep it pure. However, I have no problems mentioning a product I feel is worthwhile mentioning – good or bad. I was recently sent a pair of running shoes from a new company, Airia, based in Sweden. They asked me to evaluate the shoes. The claim is these shoes improve speed by 1 to 2 per cent and, in some cases, by much more. The shoes are quite different, with a curved and uneven sole. It is stated they are not for walking or standing, just for running, and that it takes a while to get used to the shoes.

I agreed to trial the shoes and have now run more than 200 km in them. As predicted, it took several runs to get used to these shoes. While I couldn’t detect any increase in speed in my case, I am not refuting that this may happen with many runners. Anyhow, the claim is the speed benefit occurs most when fatigued.

Overall, however, I feel there are some other positives besides the speed claim. While my running style (forefoot) doesn’t overly lend itself to the innovations inherent in these new shoes, heel strikers may notice a major difference. The curved sole mimics the foot much more closely than most running shoes, and this results in far less over-pronation than usual (I reverted to my old heel striking style to test this). If you’re a heel striker, and particularly if you have pronation problems, you may find the Airia shoes very beneficial. No promises, but it may be worth a try. I’m sure you can find out more on the internet. Although my style doesn’t facilitate as much benefit from the shoes (in my opinion), I am still doing about one third of my running in them – a little variety is good.

In summary, the shoes are very innovative, and I believe more innovation in running shoes is a good thing, so I’m pleased to mention them. I would add, though, that I have no monetary or other interest in the shoes or the company at all. I’m just mentioning them in the hope they may lead to better running for some. Whether that’s the case will be up to the individual to decide.

Tomorrow’s time trial will be a lap of Centennial Park again. The time to beat on this occasion is the 14:45 from three weeks ago.


On This Day


Jun 25, 2012

Distance today = 50.23 km; Total distance = 8322.59 km; Location = White Bear Lake, Minnesota – 45 05.439′ N, 93 00.379′ W; Start time = 0904, Finish time = 1741


Not a great day overall. I am having shoe problems. Right from the start of the day I could feel trouble. I am wearing brand new shoes for the first time since March (more recently I’ve been alternating old pairs that I’ve worn over the past year or so). This is often a difficult time, as the wear pattern suddenly changes.

The new shoes aren’t worn on the outside, so I tend to pronate more than I have been. This has caused the inside of my right ankle to become sore again (same issue from several weeks ago). I tried orthotics this morning, but that didn’t work. I even ran without an inner sole for a short while. I finally used toilet paper, folded into an appropriate shape, to build up the inner side of my right shoe. I also took out the laces from both shoes, as these are totally superfluous. Things improved, so hopefully I’m on to a solution.

The problem with the right ankle started when I accidentally trod on a rock and rolled my ankle inwards (the opposite to a normal ankle roll). I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it slowly began to give me trouble. I have treated it over the past few weeks and the problem had virtually disappeared, until now. One option is to go back to the worn shoes, but that’s not a sustainable solution.

Anyhow, I got through the day – a beautiful day weatherwise – with another 50 km. I’m now on the outskirts of Minneapolis-St Paul. And we’re staying in a great hotel tonight, at White Bear Lake – a really nice location.


Jun 25, 2013

Distance today = 52.26 km; Total distance = 22,102.67 km; Location = Norseman, WA (26 km east of) – 32 05.109’ S, 122 01.056′ E; Start time = 0750, Finish time = 1607


And so begins the Nullarbor. At lunch time I reached the Eyre Highway in Norseman, which is widely considered as the beginning of the Nullarbor. At this stage, however, there are still plenty of trees, and hills.

The day was quite warm for winter, reaching 21C. But once again, the day did not reach any great heights. The highlight was a dry lake I crossed, just before Norseman. It is going to be an interesting psychological challenge, with little variation from day to day over the coming months.

However, the evenings may be a different matter. Last night, for example, was a case in point. At dinner, we met former Ol’ 55 front man and current day actor and TV presenter, Frankie J Holden, along with the TV crew he is travelling with. They’re filming an episode of What’s Up Down Under, travelling the Nullarbor in the opposite direction to my run. We had a good chat about my run, along with some nice red wine. It was definitely a change from the scenery of the day’s running.