Shoe Review: Saucony Breakthru 4

I have worn many models of Saucony shoes over the years, The Ride, The Hurricane, The Fastwitch, The Triumph, The Freedom and of course the Kinvara. I had never tried the Breakthru previous to receiving a pair a couple of weeks ago. Initially, it was the aesthetic of the shoe that caught my attention, the pair I saw on IG were a striking red colour and they looked similar to my go to shoe, The Kinvara. Naturally, this piqued my interest.

In spite of having a go to shoe, I like to rotate my shoes depending on what type of run I am doing ie. long-run vs. speed work vs. track etc. Some days you just want a bit more cushion, especially for a long run, and I was typically using The Triumph for this purpose. The Triumph and The Breakthru both have an 8mm offset, whereas The Kinvara is only a 4mm offset. For reference: the offset is the difference between the heel stack height of the shoe and the forefoot stack height of the shoe. There are different theories on why offset is important (or not), but basically it is said to change your gait. A higher offset might encourage you to land on your heel, whereas a lower offset might encourage you to land on your mid-foot or forefoot, running in a way that is more bio-mechanically efficient.

My point is: The Triumph and The Breakthru are fair to compare as they are both neutral shoes with the same offset and are both suitable for road and track surfaces. The most shocking difference I felt when wearing The Breakthru was how light it felt (and is!). Some shoes with an 8mm drop feel clunky and bulky, not The Breakthru! They only weigh 7.4 oz, almost 2 oz lighter than the Triumph, and under 1 oz heavier than The Kinvara. At only 7.4 oz, you would be hard-pressed to find another similar shoe so light.

Running in The Breakthru 4 feels like a shoe you already know. Like a relative of The Kinvara. It is comfortable, light and still feels natural. You feel connected to the surface beneath you, which isn’t always the case in shoes with an 8mm offset. The Breakthru 4 also feels much more responsive than other running shoes with the same offset. Needless to say, I was impressed with The Breakthru and happy to be introduced to it. They will definitely be a staple in my shoe rotation, and I recommend you try them too!

Training Recap March 26-April 1, 2018

This week marked the beginning of the taper for Boston. I had two days off running instead of the regular Monday off. My mileage will continue to decrease over the next two weeks. This Friday I am flying to Toronto to hang out for a week before heading to Boston the following Friday. I am looking forward to enjoying my taper and not working, but what will I do with all that free time!?

Monday: OFF. I did strength training.

Tuesday: 50′ easy, ran an out and back to the bog with my running buddy.

Wednesday: Group WO, ran 5km easy to the WO location and then, 3 sets of: 2x 3’@tempo, 1′ fast, then 5km home. I also did core.

Thursday: 45′ easy, did an out and back to the bog the other way with my running buddy. I also did core.

Friday: OFF. Nothing at all!

Saturday: Group WO, 20′ easy, 2×2′ tempo, 4x1km (4:04, 3:57, 4:02, 3:59), 20′ easy. Going into this and even during the 1km repeats I felt slow, but I was not! I was targeting 5km pace, but those are all faster than my actual 5km pace. I would love to race a 5km right now to see how it would be! I also did core.

Sunday: “Long run”, 80′ minutes for a mix of trails and road, I had 4 bunnies join me for this Easter run. I also did core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 60.8 km

Training Recap Feb 19-25 2018

This week was a bigger one, but the upcoming week is even bigger! With only 7 weeks until Boston, that is to be expected. It has been cold on the island lately, which is fine. However, when the snow starts to come down and stay on the ground, it’s a different story. Fortunately, it is gone now, and fingers crossed that’s it for the year.

Here is what I did this week:

Monday: OFF. I did strength training and core.

Tuesday: 60′ easy, I did an out and back route along the ocean. I also did core.

Wednesday: Typically a group WO, but the snow started falling in the early afternoon and it didn’t stop. So no WO, but two of us ran 75′ easy instead.

Thursday: 75′ easy, ran big loop around the neighbourhood with my running buddy. It was great to try a new route. I also did strength-training.

Friday: 30′ easy, I did a little out and back on my lunch.

Saturday: Group WO, I was on my own for this one, but the others were doing some short faster stuff nearby. It was 40′ easy, 4km @marathon pace, 3km @marathon-half pace, 2km @half pace, 1km @10km pace, 10′ easy. During the 3km bit, there were some rolling hills (intentional) which made it challenging, but hopefully this will make me strong for Boston. I also did core.

Sunday: 2:20 easy for a 25km long-run. We ran out to Elk Lake, did a loop around the lake and then came back. This was a really enjoyable route offering a variety of trails and road, with some hills as well. I also did strength-training because it won’t fit into my day today.

Total Weekly Mileage: 88.8km

1st Half (marathon) Race Recap

This was my second time running the 1st Half in Vancouver. It would have been my third, but last year the race got cancelled due to inclement weather! Vancouver got a shocking amount of snow last year, normally not an issue. I kept my eye on the weather all week because this race is notorious for having crazy weather. The first time I did it, in 2016, it was a full-on monsoon. I remember a guy saying to me, “theres water in my shoes” around the 18km mark last time and thinking yeah man everyone’s in the same position.

In spite of all of this, we were very lucky with the weather this year. It was a crisp day for sure, but the sun was out, and the views were spectacular as ever. When it’s good it’s good. The race started at 8:30am, and our hotel was under 1km from the start, so we planned to run over at 8am. Breakfast was coffee, water and oats from Starbucks. The oats were very dry, so Jo and I poured an Endurance Tap on them, this made them so good!

Our warm-up was only 10 minutes, so we ran around Yaletown, ending up by the start to do our strides and then line-up in the corrals and take our pre-race gel. My focus was to stay on pace and in control to avoid burn-out later on in the race. The start of a race always feels amazing, especially when you have a full taper. The sun was shining, I was running alongside 1500 others in Vancouver and I never felt better. This was definitely reflected on my first 2 km, my pace was showing me running slow, I knew I wasn’t, but, I didn’t feel like I was going too fast.

The first 2km were 4:25 and 4:22, 10-13 seconds faster than my target pace. Km 3 and 4 were 4:50 and 4:30, there was an incline on km 3. Km 5 and 6 were both 4:38. My 5km split was 23:13 according to the race timing, a 4:38 average (this is 32 seconds faster than the sum of the 5km according to my watch). At some point early on the mileage on my watch stopped matching the km markers, and my current pace was never accurate for the duration of the race. I was essentially running on feel. Not what I wanted to do, but the only option. I knew there was a signal issue when I looked at my pace on the first km and it never got better.

Km 7 and 8 were both 4:45. I took my second gel at km 7. Km 9 and 10 were 4:43 and 4:29. My 10km split was 46:29, still a 4:38 pace. I was feeling great at this point. 11 and 12 were 4:40 and 4:32. 13 and 14 were 4:37 and 4:40 as per my Garmin. I knew the last few km of the race were hilly so I was mentally preparing for that.

At the 15km mark I was planning to take my final gel. That was around the time a wave of fatigue hit. I decided not to focus on it and power through. Having a wave of fatigue in a half with only 6km left is preferable to having it happen in a marathon because there is often double the distance left when the pain starts. Km 15 was 5:00! My 15km split was 1:09:56, average pace 4:39.

Km 16 and 17 were 4:41. 18 and 19 were apparently 5:20 and 5:17. This is the hilly portion. Just before the last climb between 19-20km, and as we began to climb a guy yelled, “I’m so excited!” As he picked up the pace, another guy beside me said, “wow, he’s got some pep”. I responded with, “yeah, let’s catch him”. He said, “you go for it”, so I began chasing him. Km 20 was the last bit of hill and 5:23? The last km is flat and then turns into downhill. I zeroed I’m on the peppy guy and caught him just before the finish. Due to the watch error km 21 shows up as only 560m and 2:48. My average pace for the last 6.1km was 4:32, so not quite the splits my watch said!

My finish time was 1:37:45, average pace 4:37.8/km. I was the 85th woman out of 777, and 21/80 for my category. I was happy with how this went, but I know I have more to give, sub 1:35 I’m coming for you!

Training Recap January 22-28, 2018

This week started out well and was supposed to be a larger week. Unfortunately that didn’t happen because I ended up with a wicked cold that prevented me from doing my Saturday workout. That being said, I am happy I got this cold out of the way now before training really ramps up.

Monday: OFF. I did strength training and core.

Tuesday: 50′ easy, got up early to get this done before work, it was very dark and raining, but I had company so that made it better. I also did core work.

Wednesday: Group WO, 7 Sisters (7 hills), this is always a solid workout and I was happy to do it.

Thursday: I did my strength training in the morning before work. I ran 75′ easy, along the ocean after work before heading over to Frontrunners to help out with the Saucony Winter Warrior event.

Friday: 40′ easy, woke up with a sore throat and thought it was just dry, but as the day progressed it became evident that it was in fact a cold.

Saturday: OFF. Sick, so no running for me. Instead I ran a Netflix marathon.

Sunday: 20km easy

Total Weekly Mileage: 60.5 km

10 Signs You’re Training for a Marathon

In just 3 months, I will be toeing the start line of the Boston Marathon. I feel like even if you didn’t know I was training for a marathon, after quick look through my room (and my Strava) it would become pretty obvious. Here are 7 signs you’re training for a marathon:

1. You’re super stocked up on run fuel.

Can’t train for a long-distance event without fuel, so I have a bunch on hand for all the long runs I’ll be doing leading up to race day.

2. This is the view from your bed.

These are the medals I have received since living in BC, and my acceptance card for Boston 2018. #motivation

3. Your hydration game is on point.

Hydration is obviously very important in life as well as in endurance training and I like to replenish electrolytes by using Nuun.

4. Your training journal lives next to your bed.

Though my training schedule is kept on an excel doc, I also like to have it written in a training journal. I write down what the run is, any notes about how it went, what shoes I wore as well as when I do strength training.

5. The answer to have you seen…on Netflix is almost always YES! Recovery is a major part of training and admittedly, I spend a lot of my recovery time watching Netflix. Always accepting recommendations! Just started Black Mirror.

6. You have a stock-pile of running shoes ready to wear.

Saucony is my preferred brand of running shoes, especially Kinvara’s and the Freedom ISO’s. I have run in Saucony’s for all 3 of the marathons I have done and plan to run in them in Boston as well.

7. You have pre-scheduled your sports massages for the entire training cycle. What can I say, runners tend to like structure, routine and planning oh and massages, duh.

8. Reading for pleasure is mostly made up of running content.

Other reading I have done recently includes a 46 page power point presentation on nutrition for marathon running. I plan to print out some of the key slides and post them on the fridge.

9. You use running as a means of transportation. I am a big fan of the run commute. Instead of spending the time and money to get home and then run, I run home instead. It allows me to run while there’s still daylight, and saves time. No brainer. I also “ran” an errand the other day during my run commute home.

10. When people ask what you’re doing this weekend, you send them this meme:

Or this one:

10.

Training Recap December 11-17

Taking the new team gear (and new shoes) our for a spin because I was too excited not to! We got lululemon kits this year in 3 options: tank, t-shirt and long sleeve. I went for a tank and long-sleeve, so both seasons are covered. I am extra excited about this gear because I designed the logo!

This week was half in Victoria and half in Vancouver. Here is what I did last week:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 60′ easy, departed from home which is a rarity on weekdays. Sometime shortly after my out-and-back turn-around, my GPS went wild and my paces began to “triple”. This was odd and continued for the rest of the run, fortunately I knew exactly how long it was. I also did an arm workout.

Wednesday: WO for 1, at the track: 20′ easy, 5’@4:14 (supposed to be 4:35-4:40), 3’@4:45, strides and ABC’s, then: 3 x 400 m, 4 x 100m, 3 x 400m, 20′ easy. This was tough! It’s definitely much more motivating and FUN to do track workouts in a group.

Thursday: 80′ easy, ran from east van to the sea wall and along beach drive, it was so dark I was freaked out by the sea walk at sunset beach, so I went up to the sidewalk. I also did a core workout.

Friday: OFF. Woke up sicker than ever. Food poisoning, enough said. Luckily no run home as scheduled.

Saturday: Supposed to have been a hill workout at Mt. Doug but on account of the previous days’ stomach trouble and inability to eat at all I missed the WO. I did go for a slow walk to say hi to everyone and grab my new team gear!

Sunday: Supposed to be 90′ but I did 60′ just to be safe. Fortunately by the end of the day I was feeling pretty well back to 100%. My running buddy and I also stopped by the Lululemon Victoria grand reopening later on. There were cookies from the cookie guy and 25% off the whole store, which looks great by the way. Now that’s a solid Sunday.

Total Weekly Mileage: 47.1km

This week I have 3 runs in Victoria before heading home to Toronto for the holidays! Time to dig out my winter running layers I guess.

Training Recap November 20-26

This week involved a lot of climbing, in part from a hill workout, but mostly due to a last minute XC race at Thetis Lake Park. My legs are definitely tired, but switching up the routine was a lot of fun.

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 45′ easy, I ran to meet a friend and we did a little out and back. I did an arm workout.

Wednesday: Group WO, as soon as we arrived it started pouring! We did 20′ easy, 3 sets of 2 x 1 min, 2 x 30 sec hill sprints, 20′ easy. I did a core workout too.

Thursday: OFF. I did a core workout.

Friday: 60′ easy, I ran down to the ocean on Dallas rd and then looped back.

Saturday: I made a last minute decision to register for an XC race to switch it up. It featured lots of mud, and deep water, but it was really fun.

Sunday: 100′ easy, met up with 2 friends and we headed downtown and then west along the ocean. I also a did an arm workout.

Total Weekly Mileage: 58.3 km

Training Recap Nov 6-12

This week was pretty light because of the Rock’n’roll half. I was happy about that because last Sunday, I made a mistake on my 10km easy run. For some reason, I decided to run on my forefoot for the entire time, which felt good at the time. However, shortly after the run, my calves felt terrible. They were super tight and painful, and that continued through the week. Lesson learned!

Monday: OFF.

Tuesday: 40’ easy, I met up with my friend and we ran on Lochside. I also did a Core workout.

Wednesday: Met the group and they did a WO, I just ran easy with coach. I also did an arm workout.

Thursday: OFF.

Friday: 30’ easy, nice, little pre-flight run. I also did a core workout.

Saturday: 20’ minutes easy, I ran the strip while most people were still asleep, I always make a point to do this in Vegas even when I’m not there to run the strip at night. It is fun and challenging due to lots of stairs and escalators.

Sunday: Rock’n’roll Las Vegas, run the strip at night, my first “night race” and Sky’s first half-marathon. It was a lot of fun!

Total Weekly Mileage: 44.3km

I will post a full recap of my time in Vegas and the race later this week!

STWM Weekend Part 1

It’s Friday, I wake up at 3am to get ready to go to the airport, just enough time to have some toast with peanut butter and a coffee. I arrive at the airport too early, Air Canada staff haven’t even arrived yet, so I cannot check my bag. After about 15 minutes they arrive and I proceed to security which is similarly empty, quickly passing through. I start listening to the podcast “My Dad Wrote a Porno” and try not to succumb to laughter in public as I am alone. A short flight later, I arrive at YVR with some time to spend before my next flight. I join the line at Starbucks for another coffee since it’s already been 3 hours since my first one, and a bagel for later. I find the gate for my next flight and continue listening to the podcast.

Before long I arrive in Toronto, grab my bag and head downtown to the race expo. It is much bigger than most expos in BC, but still small compared to an American one. We wander around for a while. I am not tempted by anything, and instead, take a few pictures with one of the photos of Ed Whitlock. We decide to head down to Ossington as we have a dinner reservation there later, and stop in at my favourite brewery, Bellwoods. I always stop here when in Toronto to fill my suitcase with beer to bring back to BC. For dinner, we go to La Banane, a french bistro. They start by bringing a warm pretzel instead of bread (I like this place already). I order fish, the meal is very good, and I would definitely return.

Saturday I wake up early, already adjusted to the time change after a week of waking up at between 3-4am Pacific time. I have coffee and breakfast, and head out for my short shake-out run. I run down to the beach, just a block from where I grew up, where I began my journey as a runner. There are lots of other runners and cyclists out, I feel overdressed in my shorts and t-shirt, it is way too hot for late October. I head home, and shower before heading downtown. My mom has an appointment to get her hair done, so I have time to spend, and end up getting my nails done, so I don’t walk too much, having a bagel for lunch and a mint tea. We head home and I lay down for a bit.

After a while, we head downtown to visit my brother at work. I have a kombucha and some pita and dips for a pre-dinner snack. We don’t stay long as I have dinner plans. Saucony had invited me to a pre-race dinner at Terroni. It was a fairly small group made up of a few Saucony employees, influencers, athletes (Krista Duchene!) and friends from Blacktoe Running. I had bread, pizza, salad and eggplant parmesan, Terroni is always a good idea. We had some great conversations about…all things running (surprise, surprise), my kind of night for sure! I almost forgot I had a marathon to run the next day, almost.  It was especially good to meet some people I have had only IG relationships with in real life finally! This group and the running community in Toronto is top notch and really made me think about moving back.