Shoe Review: Saucony Freedom ISO

During the summer I learned that Saucony would be releasing a brand new running shoe sometime in winter 2016/2017. As a Saucony fan and shoe nerd I was beyond excited to learn this. Partially because this is a completely new shoe not just an upgraded model, but mostly because I heard the shoe would have a full-length Everun midsole. In case you don’t know, Everun is a newer innovation from Saucony. It is their form of cushioning which boasts energy return, durability and it’s closer to the foot than other performance brands place their cushion. In the past, the Everun has been used solely in the heel insert or top sole. 

The specs on theses shoes are:

Weight: 8.1 oz

Heel drop: 4 mm

Price: $ 199.99 CAD

I had been eagerly awaiting the arrival of these shoes since I found out Saucony was sending me a pair and again supporting my running! Plus, like I mentioned earlier, I first heard about these shoes in the summer, so I was waiting for them to launch and the shoe nerd in me created a lot of hype around this product. When I heard they had arrived I abandoned the idea of running home and instead took transit so I could get the Freedom ISO’s on my feet and running in them ASAP. I ran in them for the first time on Monday night, it was my 7th day in a row running. I had already covered about 80km for the week, not my highest mileage ever, but right now I’m building back up so let’s just say my legs are feeling it. Anyway, I headed out in the dark with no real route planned with the sole purpose of testing the shoes during a 45 minute run. There ended up being quite a few hills in there. No problem, I felt like I was flying! 

The Freedom ISO hugs your foot nicely, and feels super light, I almost forgot I was wearing shoes, seriously! Saucony certainly delivered on their promise of energy return. I felt like I was spending more time on my forefoot, barely working , while still running far too fast for an easy run. Normally I try to keep it slow, but I just couldn’t, the shoes felt great, I felt great and the runners’ high followed. 

The next day I took them out again for a 75 minute run, again they were amazing. The way they feel on your feet is incomparable to anything else I have tried. It is evident Saucony put a lot of reasearch and effort into the creation of the Freedom ISO and it was well worth it. 

I have decided to compete in The Island Race Series in 2017, so I think I’m going to reserve these for speed work and racing. The Freedom ISO’s slogan is “starts amazing, stays amazing” and from what I have seen that’s certainly the case.

Rating: 5/5

Training Recap December 12-18

I felt great this week, my pacing during this weeks’ workouts surprised me in a good way! I am getting excited to start officially training for marathon #2 after the holidays. I think it I am going to be pushed harder than my previous marathon, but I’m up for it!

Monday: Off. I did the essential strength training for runners program from Runners World. 

Tuesday: 45 minutes easy, this was  run home from work in the dark.

Wednesday: Group workout, I ran to the workout for some extra mileage or moreso an effective means of transportation. We did 20 minutes warm-up and then 5 x 1km repeats, it was supposed to be 4, but my RPE was too low so I got another one added on. 

Thursday: 70 minutes easy, I was home from work waiting for my new couch to arrive, so this run was needed to get me out of the house! I went along the Galloping Goose Trail to Vic West and was so hungry I had to stop at a bakery for a pain au chocolate, so worth it. I also did an NTC core workout. 

Friday: 30 minutes easy, I ran home from work directly, this is how long it takes without adding mileage. I then got ready for our run groups’ holiday party.

Saturday: Post-Holiday party group workout, we did the regular 20 minute warm-up and then 3 double sets (10 mins each) of: 4 minutes tempo, 1 minute @ 10km pace and then our regular 20 minute cool down. It was hard work, but very good, the snow was falling, a perfect morning. After I rested a while, I did the Runners World strength training session.

Sunday: Long(ish) Run Day: it was 19.25 km today, got me right where I needed to be, Dallas Rd with a bright mountain view, can’t ask for more than that.

Total Weekly Mileage: 78.5km

This upcoming week I will be doing my training in Toronto. I am going home on Tuesday for the holidays! It will be great to switch to my routes and have my old running buddy back for a few days (my dad)! Happy Holidays!! 

Fueling for Distance Runners: Advice from a Registered Dietician

On Wednesday night I ended up running 18km, but when I was done I failed to re-fuel properly due to nausea. This continued to the following morning when I was still unable to eat enough. I headed out for my 70 minute run and became so hungry I couldn’t think about anything else. There happens to be a really good bakery on route also incidentally the only food on the route (lucky me), so after 7km I stopped, ate a pain au chocolat and proceeded to finish my run. I have never done anything like this before, but sometimes things happen and well, it was a freaking tasty stop.

During 2XU Camp we had a presentation about nutrition by one of the resident dieticians at CSIO. This inspired me to make my own appointment with a dietician and see what she had to say about my specific fuelling needs for distance running. In January I will start training for the Eugene Marathon in May and in preparation for that I want to make sure I am eating as optimally as I can be. Before our appointment I was asked to fill in a 3 day food diary including the time of each intake and the amount of each item as precisely as possible, I also filled out an exercise diary to give her an idea of how much training I do. Going into this I felt that my eating habits were above average. I try and eat something every 3 hours, make sure to balance protein, carbs and fat, and drink lots and lots of water throughout the day. I am also very conscious of the types of foods I choose to eat and prefer natural foods to those with a long list of complicated ingredients.

I met up with the dietician last Friday and she said on a bigger training day my caloric need would be about 2700 calories, I am by no means planning to count calories, this is just one guideline. It should be adjusted to be more or less depending on how much training I am doing. When I submitted my exercise calendar the longest run was 18km, so with marathon training that will increase to be much longer as will my fuelling needs. In terms of distribution, I am recommended to have 20 servings of carbohydrates, 12 of which should be grain, 5 fruit/sweet vegetables (squash for example), 3 milk alternatives (1/2 cup of chocolate milk is 1 serving). For protein, the target is 9 servings, an example of a serving is 1 large egg . For fats it is 3 servings per day, examples include: 1/6 of an avocado, or 1 tsp olive oil. I normally eat half an avocado at a time, which would be the total fat allowance for the day (oops). There are also “free foods” and the target is “as tolerated”, but aiming for 5 servings of free vegetables. Free vegetables include: cauliflower, kale, peppers, tomato, though there are many more. In addition, there are 2 “other foods” included in the day and those are higher-fat carbohydrate foods and one fat choice, for example a chocolate chip cookie or a glass of wine. This is all ideally divided between 3 meals and 2 snacks throughout the day, and there is a suggested distribution of these servings among those 5 eating times, but I won’t bore you with that.

A few tips…

1) Combining carbs with lean protein, and healthy fats will help keep blood sugar from rising too high AND keep you full longer.

2) Eat 3 meals a day about 4-6 hours apart.

3) If meals are more than 4 hours apart, have a snack between them.

4) Aim for variety and choose at least 3 out of the 4 food groups at each meal and at least 2 food groups at snacks.

5) 1-4 hours before exercise, consume at least 60 g of carbohydrates (4 servings), for example a nut butter sandwich and a piece of fruit. And hydrate!

6) During exercise lasting longer than 1 hour, aim for 30-60 g of carbohydrate per hour (I generally don’t fuel until the run is 90 minutes or longer).

7) During exercise lasting longer than 2.5 hours, you may benefit from up to 90 g of carbohydrates per hour.

8) Post exercise, aim for 1 g per kg of bodyweight in carbohydrates over the next 4-6 hours, 15-25 g of protein and fluid to re-hydrate.

9) If planning to be active the next day, have a snack within 30 minutes after your activity.

10) Improve iron intake by including at least one iron-rich food and one food rich in Vitamin C at each meal (it helps your body absorb more iron).

Most of what the dietician mentioned were things I already knew. Like I said, I consider myself to be above average with my nutrition and that proved to be true. Upon her analysis of my eating habits, I am successful at meeting the needs she outlined. I do need to increase my iron intake which is not something to take lightly. I often eat oatmeal for breakfast because of the iron content, however I have a coffee with it which is not ideal for absorption. It is hard to imagine waking up and not having a coffee, especially at 5am, but I might have to switch to tea and have the coffee later in pursuit of increasing iron absorption!




Training Recap December 5-11

This week another element was added into the mix, SNOW! It was cold, inconvenient and super slippery, I almost forgot I wasn’t in Toronto, almost! In any case, I still completed my scheduled runs. 

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 40 minutes easy, I ran home from work in the dark.

Wednesday: Typically a group workout day but, due to unfortunate work circumstances I had to miss this! I do not like any disruption to my run schedule, so I was not too happy about this. I ended up switching my rest day from Thursday to today because I worked for 12 hours and it was freaking freezing when I was finally done working.

Thursday: 45 minutes easy, another run home from work run in the dark, this was super icy making it even more of an adventure, no bails yet though!

Friday: 60 minutes easy, the snow had turned to slush on my route so my feet were nice and wet the whole time. Also, when I stopped for a mid-run photo it was so cold my phone decided to turn off. No photo and no music for the second half of the run. FAIL. Is iPhone 7 more receptive to cold temperature? 😂

Saturday: Group workout, it was super icy on our route, I ran there for an extra warm-up and because I was too scared to bike on the ice. Our workout was: 3 sets of 8 minutes with 2 sets of 3 minutes @tempo, 1 minute @10k pace making up those 8 minute sets. I took an extra cooldown to get back home so this ended up being a lot longer than planned, but it was nice to be out.

Sunday: I met up with one of the other girls from my running group and we went along the Colquitz River Trail looking for her friends lost dog. Unfortunately, we didn’t find the dog, but it was a milder day and I really enjoyed the company. 

Total Weekly Mileage: 59.3km

I also did 3 NTC workouts. In researching strength training for runners, I came across a workout from Runners World that was quite good and only requires minimal equipment I already had. I will be adding this into my weekly program for sure and doing it 2 times per week.

I am hoping the snow stays away from now on, us West Coast runners are used to milder temperatures and predictable footing, the ice is no ones friend! 

Friday 5: Winter Running Edition

This has been the first actual “winter” I have had in 3 years, and it’s just beginning! It isn’t winter if there isn’t snow (obviously). Last night there was a lot of hype about a large snowstorm. To be honest, I didn’t really believe it, but I did wake up to snow this morning. Since snow isn’t the norm here even the little bit that did fall is a big deal! 

Here are my 5 favourite things good about winter running:

1) Tea, specifically Silk Road Sour Cherry Tea, this is so good and a great way to warm up on a cold winters day! Pre-run, post-run or both! 

2) There are less people out: dodging and weaving through people while running can be quite challenging. Certain routes are so popular that they need be avoided during the warmer season, not the case in the winter! 

3) Winter Running Gear, since I am from Toronto, I was used to wearing winter running clothes and layers. While running in moderate temperatures is preferable, at least I can get some use out of my winter running coat and other cold weather gear. I haven’t had to wear any of it since I’ve been in BC! 

4) Soup Season: if you’re going to run in the cold and snow, you definitely need something to warm you up once you’re done. Food is always the right choice and soup is the perfect option! There are a couple great soup recipes in Run Fast. Eat Slow. I’m going to work my way through. This week I made chili and corn muffins, so good and so warming. 

5) Snow: the snow is really pretty, and makes for some really nice photos. Especially because snow is rare here, if it snowed all the time it wouldn’t have made this list! 

Winter running can be a challenge, but it’s all about finding the little things that make it a bit better. Happy Friday!

Training Recap November 28- December 4

I can’t believe Christmas is only 3 weeks away, this year has flown by, in a good way though! I am excited to see what 2017 brings and am looking forward to another year of progress with running. This week was a bit easier than last week, I believe because I only had 1 solo run in the dark! 

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 60 minutes “easy” I got to start my run earlier than usual since work ended earlier than usual and embraced the fact that there was still daylight!

Wednesday: Group workout at the track, we did a 20 minute warm-up followed by 2 sets of: 1 mile @tempo and 3 x 400m @faster than tempo and a cooldown. We pushed the pace and it was good and hard.

Thursday: 30 minutes “easy” my only run in the dark and it was short and sweet  commute home from work.

Friday: 45 minutes “easy” I went out to Mount Doug and ventured into the trails just a little, the timeline didn’t permit too much more but it was still nice.

Saturday: Group workout, we went to these trails surrounding a golf course, the terrain is a mix of dirt and chip trails and there are a couple decent hills thrown in there. It has an amazing mountain view though. Our workout was: our regular 20 minute warm-up and then 2 sets of: 3 x 30 second hill sprints, 1.5 miles @ tempo, and then a 20 minute cooldown. This was also a good challenging workout, the hills really worked our legs which was the point because it was a lactate threshold workout.

Sunday: Long-ish run day: it was 16km this week and I departed from work out to Dallas Rd, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day.

Total Weekly Mileage: 61.1 km

I also did 3 NTC workouts, I found one called Runners Strength and Balance which I really like!

Since it is December that means holiday party season and while I do enjoy indulging in good food and drinks, there’s always that voice lingering in the back of my mind saying “but you have to run tomorrow..” Yes, I might be a bit obsessive, I did run on Christmas Day last year after all. Maybe I can do both or maybe my run will suffer a little bit, but it’s not race season yet, so it’s time to enjoy the festivities.

How do you balance the holiday season and training?

5 Simple Snacks for Runners 

During the 2XU Camp, the sports dietician mentioned the importance of eating every few hours. The reasoning for this is to keep blood sugar and energy levels consistent rather than peaking and dipping like they do when you only eat 3 times a day. It can also prevent over-eating. The answer to eating more frequently is…SNACKS. Now don’t get too excited, I don’t mean chips and cookies (though they are tasty and allowed in moderation). I’m talking healthy, wholesome, ingredients-you-can-pronounce snacks. I have eaten more than 3 times a day for as long as I can remember, I get hungry every 3 or so hours, so I use that as a cue to eat something. I have been snapping photos of some of my favourite snacks, they are all fast, easy to make, and super satisfying. 

1) Crunchy Chickpeas: this is as easy as it gets, all you do is drain and wash the chickpeas, coat them in a bit of olive oil, and season with your preferred spices. I did cumin and tumeric. Then bake in oven at 350 until crunchy, about 20 mins. You can eat them alone or use them in salads which I’ll get to..

2) Soft Pretzels: I freakin’ love soft pretzels and these are so easy to make. I used whole wheat flour, but you can use another kind if you prefer. The recipe I used can be found here:

3) Cottage Cheese Toast: we all know runners need carbs, but another tip from the sports dietician was to pair carbs with protein if possible, rather than having them alone to have a more satiating effect. Bonus, protein is necessary for muscle repair and micro-tears are common after a hard workout. Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein and low in fat. All you do is toast your bread of choice, I recommend toasting it a bit longer than normal, then spoon cottage cheese on top. I like to add spices for an extra zing. I used black pepper and chilli flakes. 

4) Mini Salads: this is where you can use your extra crunchy chickpeas, I used cherry tomatoes, half and avocado and a little bit of Greek yogurt dressing. Good and satisfying and takes 2 minutes to make. 

5) Guilt-Free Scones: growing up I would bike alongside my dad keeping him company during training runs and we would end the run at Starbucks where he would have a coffee and we would share a scone. I can’t tell you the last time either one of us had a scone because in most cases coffee shop pastries are pretty unhealthy. So, when I saw the scone recipe in Run Fast. Eat Slow. I knew I had to try it. Each scone has less than 1 tbsp of butter, much more suitable than your coffee shop version. 

What are your favourite snacks to keep you going through the day?