Disclosure: I was gifted the Hoka Clifton 8s by Sportsshoes.com to test out. However, my opinion on the shoes is my own and in no way swayed by the partnership or promotion.
I've had the Hoka Clifton 8s for about a week now and done 3 runs of various types in them. This post if to share my first impressions and initial opinion.
The Design & Build
I love the look of the new Hoka Clifton 8s. The colour is great and they aren't too jazzy. The have a good size heal without looking ridiculous and they aren't "over branded". The certainly stand out but for me, having pretty much always run in black shoes, that's a good thing.
Initial Tests (3 runs)
I'm still getting used to the Clifton's having never worn a pair before but so far, I'm loving what I see (or more importantly, feel). They are light, springy and fit pretty well. I took them out for an easy 5km on day one to get a general overview. They felt responsive to changes in speed and hugged my foot nicely. On my second run (a 10km at MP) they felt great. My feet felt supported throughout and there was no rubbing of discomfort. Final run was a interval session, and although the session felt awful, the shoes felt great.
I plan on giving it a few weeks before updating my review and giving my final thoughts. Obviously I can't currently comment on durability or longevity but they do seem well made (as you'd expect from a pair of running shoes in the price bracket)
Yesterday I met with Steph for a 10 mile long run in Milton Keynes. It was great fun and having a running buddy made it so much easier.
I find running with someone else really helps with pace. If I'm tempted to slow down, I can't. If I want to speed up, I can't. Not only that but Steph took on route planning duties and has run in MK for years, so when we came across flooded sections of our route, she knew the perfect way round without adding anything to the distance. In fact, somehow she managed to get us back to our start point on exactly 10 miles!
Now to get sorted with next week's training. Here's my schedule:
Monday - Easy 5km
Tuesday - Swim
Wednesday - Strength & Easy 8km
Thursday - Swim & Easy 5km
Friday - Rest
Saturday - 26km
Sunday - SLEEP!
I suppose the title of this kind of gives away the punchline. I recently ran a 5km PB and 10km PB. In fact, I beat my 5km PB time only to bring it down further still a few weeks later.
Were these things I’ve been training for? No, not really. In fact, my first 5km PB was purely because a good friend of mine told me I’d been running slowly recently. I set out that week with the intention of picking up the pace a little. At 1km I look down at my watch, realised I was flying and felt pretty fresh so thought I’d hold on and see what I could do. I was delighted at the end of the run to see I had brought my 5km PB down by 28 seconds to 25:37. However, it didn’t end there. When I reported back to my friend, he said “I’m sure you could go faster!” and proceeded to volunteer to pace me to an even faster PB.
Bright and early on 1st April I set off to Bushy Park in Teddington to see how fast I could run. For those of your not familiar with the significance of running at Bushy Park, it is the birthplace of Park Run, or the Bushy Park Time Trail as it was first called, and a regular training destination for Olympians and the national treasure that is Mo Farah.
Setting out with the aim of smashing out a sub 25min 5km we ran an anti-clockwise loop around the outskirts of the park. It’s safe to say, it wasn’t the warmest run, the headwind was freezing and took an awful lot of effort.
Despite not quite reaching my sub 25min goal, I was happy to have set a new personal best less than 10 days after bringing down my time. Now to chip off the final 14 seconds.
Still chuffed with my achievements considering a distinct lack of speed work and not training specifically for beating them.
Now it’s time to knuckle down and see what I can do.
As I sit here writing this I’m at another cross roads. Albeit one where I’ve already decided the route I’m taking. I have decided I’m not going to complete my marathon training in preparation for a spring marathon. Am I upset? No. Quite frankly I’m not. With everything going on in my life at the moment, it’s not the way to go. However, I’m in need of motivation so I have a plan!
Virtual Marathon Series
I was delighted to be approached to give the Virtual Marathon Series about taking part in one of their events (My event registration was kindly gifted). If you haven’t ever heard of them, here is a breakdown:
Run Athens Virtual
Run just over 1 mile per day for 25 days at your own pace or take on the full marathon distance in one to complete the Run Athens Virtual Challenge!
Run Berlin Virtual
Run TWO half marathons in a month, find a team mate and run a half marathon each on the same day or take on the full marathon distance in one to complete the Run Berlin Virtual Challenge.
Run London Virtual
Run the marathon distance on your own or share the distance between a team to complete the Run London Virtual Challenge.
Run Sydney Virtual
Run just under 3 miles a day for 10 days or take on the full marathon distance in one to complete the Run Sydney Virtual Challenge.
Run New York Virtual
Complete 8 5k’s in a month, form a team of 8 and do 1 each or take on the full marathon distance in one to complete the Run New York Virtual Challenge.
Run Tokyo Virtual
Run just over 10k 4 times, split them with your friends or take on the full marathon distance in one to complete the Run Tokyo Virtual Challenge.
Each of the events can be completed as an individual or part of a team. I absolutely love the idea of these events as there really is something for everyone. I think they are perfectly positioned to motivate without being unattainable.
My Virtual Goal
I have decided that I’m going to aim for the Virtual New York Run. I think 8 lots of 5km is perfect to get me back running with a level of consistency which has been missing in my training for sometime. I can run 5km pretty comfortably, it’s more about getting back into running regularly and having something achievable to work towards.
I’ll also be aiming to update the blog weekly so I’d better get out running to have something to write about!
In December 2020, I decided that I would take part in Veganuary. Prompted partly by reading Rich Rolls book “Finding Ultra” and “The Game Changers” on Netflix was determined to prove to myself I could manage it and if it lived up to all the hype. After much research, and signing up to the official Veganuary website, I was excited to get going.
Before I start, it’s important to mention that I’m by no means a cook. I don’t enjoy it and I’m not particularly good at it. Alex explained that she had little to no interest in becoming vegan and that I would be “going it alone”. I started this journey as a through and through meat eater. I love burgers and partial to a cheeky Nandos and my Christmas dinner consisted of no less than 5 types of meat (I’m including pigs in blankets as 2)
Veganuary was fast becoming a bigger undertaking than I imagined and it hadn’t even reached January 1st.
Armed with the The No Meat Athlete Cookbook (a very welcome Christmas to present) and some government enforced spare time (thanks BoJo), I set about trying to remove all meat and animal derived foods from my diet.
This blogpost aims to explore the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ll let you know what I found easy and where the biggest challenges were.
Meal planning was step number one on my vegan journey. I set out with the ambition of not only going vegan but trying to eat whole foods. I quickly learned that this was a step too far for me, certainly as a first attempt, and I readjusted my goals.
I knew if I was going to make this work, I’d need to get better at meal planning, batch cooking and somehow finding the motivation to cook after a long day at work and a run.
The meals were surprisingly straightforward. From homemade vegan meatballs to plant-based lasagna, I explored the different dishes and made some successful meals. Of course, I also had my fair share of “that needed more spice” and “it didn’t taste of much” meals. Essentially, I managed to eat the things I would usually eat by replaced the meat for lentils or beans.
I have always had a sweet tooth. Something that is directly linked to my weight. Now before I get reminded about “calories in/out and no food is bad food”, I want t point out that I have always very much been a 3 chocolate bars for £1.50 at the petrol station and they have all gone before I pull off the forecourt. My relationship with sweets is a love/hate one. I love eating them but hate how it makes me feel
I was wary of vegan snacks at first. Would they be tasteless? Would they be readily available?
The answer is a mixed bag. Some vegan snacks are delicious. I’m a big fan of the Graze cocoa and vanilla flapjacks and Eat Natural vegan bars. However, I also tried my fair share of blant, stodgy snacks.
In the most part they are pretty easy to pick up. Sainsbury’s and large Tescos seem to be the best. Tesco express, budgens and coop all had a few but not real selection. It’s also worth noting that many are considerably more expensive than normal treats.
So, that’s the basics. Now for my summary. I’ve divide this section into the good, the bad and the ugly.
Top Good (Top 3)
The Bad (Bottom 3)
There are no two ways about it. Veganism, or at least the transition to veganism, is a real shock to the system. Without going into too much detail, the aroma is extremely unpleasant for the first couple of weeks. Be prepared!
I have found the transition to veganism far easier than I would every have imagined. It has been straight forward and I’ve enjoyed trying new foods and, dare I say it, doing all my own cooking.
Would I recommend veganism? Well let’s put it this way, as I write this review I’m currently on week 2 of Vegebuary (see what I did there). I won’t be going back to animal products in my diet anytime soon… although the summer BBQ season is definitely going to test my resolve.