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Up & Running Blog

  • Retro run #1,000 miles

    WHAT could be more fun than a Sunday morning splashing through muddy puddles, and well trodden footpaths, chasing checkpoints, up to your knees in mud and goodness knows what else. Add to that a group of 30 or so friends dressed in 1980s running gear and you have THE RETRO RUN 2017 – whoever said running isn't fun, hasn't tried to mix it up and do something a bit different.

    Hosted by a family (albeit a family of enviable fell running and orienteering pedigree) and with children encouraged to join in, it really didn't matter what the weather was doing, the atmosphere was warm, bright and great fun to be part of.

    So with a time allowance of an hour and a half, generously cut short from 2 hours because of the appalling weather, a map and a score sheet we head off in teams into the Yorkshire countryside. Using clues already on the landscape, such as: “what kind of tree overhangs the stile at checkpoint F” and “according to the sign which animals are kept in this field”, you chose which direction you wanted to go , with the task of reaching as many checkpoints and be back at the start point within the given time. The hardest to reach checkpoints got the most points, so it was up to you where you went. In fact the winning team was a group of youngsters, who using their initiative split up and went in different directions – this was no ordinary group of youngsters though – they had been brought up with an outdoors lifestyle, knew how to use a map and compass confidently, were happy to be out there on their own running around the countryside, having a laugh with their friends, and their parents all knew that they would be back in time and most likely with the most points!

    So another 5 miles in the bank #run1000miles, more shoes to clean, bacon butties, cake and prizegiving afterwards – the perfect Sunday morning.


  • Lucie's running blog - WEEK 18

    So, it has been a while since I wrote my last blog. Unfortunately I was ill for around 5 weeks with one thing after another. I'm extremely disappointed as this is a set back for me.

    week 18

    My plan now for the next couple of weeks is to slowly get back into it and hopefully I wont find it too difficult. I am still aiming to do the Fountains 10k in April so I am really going to try my hardest to get back on track quickly.


  • Road testing Asics Dynaflyte

    Just before Christmas 2016 Up and Running ,Leeds, took delivery of the Asics Dynaflytes. As I was working that day Adam and myself tried them on knowing next to nothing about the shoe at that time. We could tell they were lighter but were both surprised by how cushioned and comfortable they felt. Later, when a request for someone to road test the shoe came along I put my name forward thinking that if they felt so comfortable in the shop, how would they perform on the tarmac. I also reasoned that I could give an opinion as a 50-55 min 10k person rather than a 30-36 min 10k er which most of the other shoe testers could be.



    28th Dec – put my Brooks Glycerins aside and donned the Dynaflytes, they would have a lot to live up to in my mind. Had to go for hard packed trail as the pavements were lethal with black ice. Planned a 5k mostly flat with the route giving options to do more if I wanted. I had read up the technical spec on the shoes but how would they feel. First impressions were good, I felt I could feel the ground a bit more than with the Brooks but the cushioning still seemed to be there, was the Flytefoam  living up to the hype. In the end I felt good enough to stick another 2k on the run.


    29th Dec- normally I would be very careful with a completely new shoe but my dodgy right heel seemed OK from the previous days run, a good sign, so I decided to do the same course as the pavements were still icy. On the run I couldn’t help comparing the Dynaflyte to the Glycerin, the drop is 8mm as opposed to 10mm, I could certainly feel that I had a lighter shoe on my feet but did it feel as well cushioned, I wasn’t sure yet, It needed some tarmac.


    Ist Jan 2017- first tarmac run with Dynaflytes. Still feeling good but let my thoughts drift to the rest of the shoe. The mesh uppers felt really comfortable and after a bit of trial and error I had got the lacing just where I like it. Flytefoam still doing its job, it does seem to give a good return on impact although I know it can be quite subjective assessing this.


    Jan 4th- gave the Dynaflytes a 30 min blast on the gym treadmill. Was I making myself believe the technical spec or could I really feel my feet being guided to toe off more than anything I had worn for some time.

    Jan9th- after a couple of jogs back with Glycerins I was back in the Dynaflyes for a hill session. After a warm up I decided to do 5x 150 metres uphill and 5 down knowing this would be a stern test for the shoes. On my toes for the uphills and could still feel the cushioning, on the downhills the gel in the heel was working and the IGS (impact guidance system) gave a secure feel. Feeling more and more confident in the shoes.

    Jan 27th- after a few more sessions in the shoes through January I can say I believe the marketing. As stated earlier, this is the view of a steady runner but I had put them through different terrain and pushed them on interval work. The flytefoam  technology has moved the bar up a bit in my opinion, it gives the cushioning of its competitors but is so light in comparison.


    Strava, stats and challenges- whether you love them or hate them, Strava has this incredible knack of drawing you in, buoying you up and launching you into endless challenges.

    So Strava's 'Climb 2000 metres in January' challenge, if you live in a hilly place like Yorkshire, then is pretty achievable, but then it becomes not just about the challenge, but about achieving it sooner than your Strava buddies or just pushing on and doing as much as possible.Can you do half again, can you do double?

    The challenge may be over, but it's about getting you lacing up your running shoes when without the challenge, you may have opted for the comfort of the sofa, it's about maybe not having that extra glass of wine because of the long hilly run the next day - whatever it is that makes you do it, it's all good, positive stuff. Running is good.

    Trail Magazine's #run1000miles, is having the same impact on my eagerness to get out there. When I first saw the challenge, I thought "I can do that". With my average weekly mileage of 20-25 miles it wasn't going to be a problem. So I signed up, duly stuck my pledge certificate to my desk wall, and marked out a calendar every 5 weeks with 100 miles, 200 miles etc. It's like spending hours creating a revision timetable, and fooling yourself into thinking you've just done hours of revision.


    I missed the first week of the year, being away and only did a couple of short runs, so I was already behind the curve, by the 5th February the first 100 miles is due, so I am now completely focused on hitting that target, and slipping in extra runs on days which aren't my normal running days.

    Whatever gets you out there is good. Strava is brilliant at motivation, Social Running Groups are brilliant at motivation and your running friends with their subconsicous competitive streaks are brilliant at motivation.

    So even if you find a challenge that you think is easily doable, do it, keep it going and do it the best you can, better still find a challenge that would be harder to achieve, whether it's running your first 5K or your first Ultra. Personally I'm eagerly waiting for Strava's February challenges to come out, so I can sign up and go for it.

  • Birmingham XC League Droitwich Spa Saturday 14th January

    The Cross Country season is in full swing at the moment with events happening up and down the country on most Saturday afternoons. This meeting formed part of the Birmingham League Division 3 fixture list and was event 3 of 4 for 2016/17 series. It was held at a high school in the spa town of Droitwich and with a good amount of mid week rain falling we knew extra muddy conditions were to be expected!

    Club picture at the start line. Club picture at the start line.

    This was surprisingly only my second ever cross country race but it is something I have wanted to try for a while, joining a club last year (City of Birmingham Striders) then made it a real possibility. On arrival at the venue we completed registration and then headed over to set up our club gazebo. After that we went and took a look at the course and we could see that we were it for a tough afternoon! A warm up followed by a quick team photo and it was to the start for the 2:30pm set off. The course was around 6 miles and made up of 2 shorter laps to begin with then 3 longer ones.  It was a real cross country course including short sharp hills, narrow one person trails, wooded areas, bogs and of course a huge amount of mud! At times for myself going up the hills I was slipping even with XC shoes and 12mm spikes in.

    Shoes are nice and clean before the race.... Shoes are nice and clean before the race....

    Although it was hard running I was finding myself getting into the race and starting to enjoy the challenge. I was running well keeping my pace consistent, overtaking one or two and not having many go past me. The weather was cloudy but dry and there were good pockets of support out around the course. Half way into the final lap though and I was started to feel it with my right ankle being particularly sore. However I keep it going and even managed a sprint finish to ensure I kept my place of 95th out of 204 and in a time 45:03. Also, it was pleasing and surprising to be 3rd home in the club. Overall the local Paul Little from Droitwich AC took first place in 36:13 and  Black Pear Joggers were 1st in the team with an impressive 5 runners in the top 10 giving them a big margin over the next team.


    A great afternoon of running, I left feeling thoroughly exhausted and thoroughly covered in mud, which meant the pub was perfect next stop for a quick drink before getting the train back!

    Here’s to the next Cross Country race! Aidan

    Store Manager Up and Running Birmingham

    *The Birmingham store is currently closed for re-location, we will be back open in the city centre on Colmore Row in February. If you would like to keep up to date with the store news please like us on Facebook here  or sign up to the email updates here:


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