Monday, January 24, 2011

Hill Repeats 10 : Shoes 0

I posted last year about the longevity of a pair of my running shoes, and another giving tips for running hill repeats. This weekend I brought both together, with an intense hill session wearing the said shoes.

The hill session is a 5km warm up run to the base of the hill, and then 10 repeats up a steep trail covered in loose rocks, tree roots, and fallen branches which runs for 1km with 100m vertical gain. The slope is quite consistent, with a levelling off for about 50m in the mid section.  Then I finish off with a 5-6km run home, so a total of about 31kms.
Really happy with how quickly the HR drops on the flatter section

I adopt the ideas I mentioned in the previous blog, although I do vary the mind distracting techniques. I’ve found it quite amusing the way your body and brain are constantly playing tricks on you in a tug of war between continuing and stopping. I’ve done this session a few times recently, but on those occasions had only planned on doing 3 or 5 reps, and have really struggled to even complete the session after 2 reps. This I put down to the stifling humidity we’ve had recently.

So why is it that on a day when you go out with the intention of doing twice as much as you have previously struggled with, and get through it?

I believe it all comes down to what you mentally are prepared for at a sub-conscious level. You actually manage yourself better to complete the task.

The lesson then in an ultra is to learn to handle the unexpected. When running ultra marathon distances it is normal to get a few surprises, and how you deal with these will determine you results.

So what of the shoes? Well they had clocked 1500km in the previous post, now they have completed 2330kms (about 1450miles), but sadly they will do no more. They haven’t fallen apart, but are literally hanging by a thread, and I don’t want to be 20kms from home in the bush, having to finish with only one shoe. It is amazing what they have put up with, and what is more impressive is that I have experienced no injuries as a result of running in them in a well loved state. It just goes to show that if they are comfortable and you are running well in them, then keep running in them. The number of kilometres (or miles) they have done is just a number.

The sole has become delaminated from the shoe giving nice slapping sounds when running!

These scientifically designed holes let sand and grit in, but not out.

You can see the upper is barely attached along it's full length
These shoes aren't made anymore, and although I have 3 other identical pairs, I will soon need to look for a replacement. Perhaps if I contact North Face they’d give me a free pair to help me get over the sad loss of a loyal friend!

Run Happy!

***Please check out and support my 33 Marathons Challenge***

“Enjoy when you can and endure when you must” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


  1. The uppers still look good on mine but the soles always wear out first. Have to learn to tread more lightly.

  2. Ha! Those poor shoes! :) Great work on the hills! :)

  3. That's amazing distance you get out of your shoes. I'm lucky if I get 1500km. Average is 1200km, then I need to replace to get more front foot support. The heels show no wear still.

  4. It's amazing that you have gotten that much distance from your shoes! I haven't come that close to wearing out a pair of shoes yet...I think I like the look of a shiny new pair of shoes! HAHA In reality, I still haven't found my right pair because I keep going down in cushioning levels because it feels better and makes my stride more efficient.

  5. Nice post Andy on hill repeats (we call it "hell" repeats here:)

    Those are the most worn out shoes I have ever seen and I am suprised you allowed them to survive that long.

    Jon (Clark, Philippines)

  6. Gulp.... those shoes are scary looking!!! While you're at it, maybe put in a good word for me with North Face ;-)

  7. Thanks Guys ,
    There's obviously some emotional attachment to those shoes as I can't bring myself to throw them out. Perhaps it's the countless gallons of sweat and hundreds of thousands of calories that have been shed through them! It's taken a lot of effort to get them into that sorry state ;-)

    Stacey, I'll try for you with North Face, but don't hold your breath, it's tough enough to get a pair of their shoes at anything less than full price. Although as an Ultraprincess it is important for you to have the right slippers to be seen in, I'll try that line!

    Joking aside it is a testament to the quality of their product that those shoes have withstood such a pounding. No doubt the cushioning isn't what it was (!) but I was getting no problems, so couldn't see a reason to retire them. I have 3 other similar pairs, but all around the 900km mark and still going strong (except for the odd lace replacement)

  8. hill repeats rock. I'm addicted now. thanks for reminding me of the pleasure.