New Balance RC1400 v5 Review

I hadn’t run in any of the RC1400 predecessors, but I had seen and heard great reviews and had even seen them on the trails at various 50K’s, 50 Milers and 100 Mile races. Well, spoiler alert: They look so sick, I think they need a vaccine, and I loved the v5 ride so much that I purchased purchased the v4 for comparison.

Available in April, the New Balance RC1400v5 is a Nuetral, 7.2oz racer (daily trainer for some) with a 10mm drop (25/15) and an MSRP of $100.

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Built on NB’s popular 1400 Last, the upper features engineered “Phantom Fit” mesh. The synthetic overlays found on previous iterations are replaced with 3D printed overlays to create light, targeted support. This makes the upper much more flexible than previous models, which is why the interior of the upper features a “support bar” on the later side of the shoe; a denser strip of mesh fastened to the midsole intended to keep the foot from sliding off the platform at top speed.

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The v5 has the same midsole material as it’s predecessor: REVlite. The ride remains snappy and responsive, however the update features a cored out heel to add a little more compression underfoot which gives the runner a bouncier feel, especially for heel strikers.

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Inspired by the Hanzo S racing flat and athlete data, the outsole on the RC1400 v5 has been improved with more lateral rubber coverage and different lugging in the forefoot. You’ll find some exposed EVA to reduce weight, but that doesn’t seem to impact wear. The rubber compound gripped well in wet Washington conditions, which is a must for me, especially during the winters.

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How did I test them? I put 150 miles on these kicks so far, including a few speed work sessions and a single 50 Mile run around a track to raise money for a friend. During that run I didn’t have one single blister or hot spot (even when wet) and the midsole kept feeling fresh mile after mile. You can see some wear on the outsole on lateral side of the heel, but that’s to be expected at 150 miles on any shoe. The upper really shines on the 1400v5; the Phantom Fit coupled with the 3D printed overlays really gives the runner a custom, natural fit. That, coupled with the REVlite ride and cored out heel, makes this ride damn near perfect in my opinion.

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The Author at mile 40 of his 50 Mile run PC: David Detrick

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Update: I’ve since put a total of 450 miles on these shoes and they’ve held up great! No tearing in the upper and only expected wear on the outsole. The midsole doesn’t feel as sprngy anymore, but still feels nice and fluid. I’ll be retiring them (soon) as a precaution, but damn! They still feel so good. If you’re on the fence about these kicks, they’re 100% worth the $100. 

Training Around Family Life

When I tell people, especially non-runners, that my wife and I plan on adding another little Konga to the family soon, one of the most common responses is “Well… I guess you won’t have time for running anymore.” And while Marathon and UItramarathon training certainly does take a lot of time and a ton of dedication, that statement couldn’t be further from the truth. I could point to Calum NeffMike WardianTommy Rivers Puzey or the countless other athletes who miraculously balance raising a family, being a good spouse, working a full time job and training at an elite level, but that doesn’t give you any insight into how to do it. So lets talk a little bit about how we keep a healthy balance in life while training for Marathons and Ultramarathons.

First off, be kind and thoughtful. As Relationship Psychologist John Gottman says “The secret to love is kindness.” And that means caring for, loving, and respecting your spouse and what’s important to them. While training to compete at a high level can be, and sometimes is, inherently selfish, it doesn’t have to be. Be a family man (or woman) first, a runner second. If you have to choose between 20 miles in the mountains on a Sunday or taking your daughter to brunch after church like you promised, go to brunch. If your spouse wants to see that movie she’s been talking about and it’s playing when you had planned to do your threshold workout, move your workout and go to the movie. If you respect your spouse and family this way, they will also respect your need for the occasional Saturday that you get out into the mountains to recharge and reset.

You should also try sharing the joy of running with your family. Bring them along to your next race and make an adventure out of it. Get them involved. When you have a race away from home, take an extra couple days and do family oriented things. This provides a great opportunity to balance things out. One day is dedicated to you and your dreams and goals while exposing your family to the fun and supportive community we have volunteering at aid stations and finish lines, while the rest of the time is spent making family memories. Take a tour, go to lunch, go to dinner, go on a family hike, or rent some kayaks. Whatever you do, remember that this vacation isn’t just about you; make sure your spouse and kids can feel that.

You should also keep in mind that you may have to occasionally sacrifice sleep. This is contrary to what I generally tell my athletes, but it happens to be a fact of life that we cannot always fit everything that we want and need to do into a 24 hour day if we sleep half of it away. I often tell my athletes to aim for 8-10 hours of sleep per night to enhance recovery, if they’re able, but is that realistic? Not so much when you work 40+ hours per week, commute to work, have a couple kids at home and still need to find time to keep your partnership with your spouse fun and exciting. Would we all be better off to sleep more? Yes. If you can manage to go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night, I guarantee it will be one of the best adjustments you’ve made for your running and you will immediately feel the benefits, but it isn’t always realistic.

Here are a couple more suggestions to get a little extra mileage out of your busy day:

  1. Work Commute: If you live close enough, this is a great option to get your mileage in and to split up your volume with minimal impact on family time. It’s a plus if your place of work has a shower available as well.
  2. Runch, as my wife calls it: If you don’t have a shower at work, get yourself some unscented, biodegradable wipes and get a quick 2-5 miles in on your lunch break, Depending on your weekly volume, this could be sufficient for your days run or could act as the cap to a two-a-day.
  3.  Dinner Timer: Pop dinner in the oven and hop on the treadmill. Your family can join you wherever the treadmill is located and tell you all about their day and vice versa. Once dinner is done, so are you. Time to enjoy some hot food at the dinner table!
  4.  Family Outing: Put the little ones on bikes, grab the dog, lace up the shoes and be on your way. This may be slower with a little more stopping than you’re used to, but it’s a great time for a true recovery run after a hard week or workout as well as some quality time with your family.

Just as prescribing the proper amount of speed, strength, and recovery volume is important to keep runners healthy and progressing forward at a steady pace, life itself can be a delicate balancing act. But if you love something, you will find a way to make time for it. That applies to everything, and yes, it’s as simple as that.

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The Author on a Family Outing

Do you have any tips, tricks or words of wisdom we didn’t cover here? Please comment or shoot me an e-mail. I would love to hear your thoughts.

Don’t Dread the Treadmill

You’re probably reading this title thinking “pfff… treadmill… more like DREADmill!” My wife even looked at me as if I’d just eaten a slug when I told her that the weekly ULDT post would be about treadmills. But the treadmill can be a beneficial and useful tool for your training, especially in extremely adverse weather conditions, less than ideal training locations, and at times when you want to specifically control every aspect of your workout. So let’s talk about when the treadmill comes in handy, how to make the best use of it, and some of our favorite workouts.

When

Traveling – I always choose exploration over a gym when it’s possible, but that’s not always the best idea. If you find yourself in an area that offers no safe place to run, then the treadmill can be your friend. I would much rather spend an hour on a treadmill at the gym than risk running on a high traffic road with no shoulder or running through South Park after the sun sets.

Constraints – If you’ve got a total of 1.5 hours to get up, get a run in, make breakfast, make the kids lunch, shower and look presentable for work, then the treadmill can be a great option, especially if it’s in your home; it eliminates a commute and gives you the ability to stop the workout when you need to without being far from home.

Flatland – Is your goal race a hilly half, but you have no hills in your town? No problem! You can get some great hill work in on the treadmill with up to 12% grade at whatever length and speed you want.

Pacing – If you have trouble pacing yourself for interval workouts, then the treadmill is a great option. You can control the pace with the push of button and keep an eye on the distance simultaneously. One word of caution is to be careful not to overreach; it can be difficult to focus on pushing the button to slow the pace down when you’ve exhausted yourself.

Heat Training – The ambient room temperature in most US homes range from 68 to 74 degrees, which is pretty warm when you’re running. The higher temperature coupled with the lack of headwind are the perfect cocktail to raise your core temperature and studies have shown it only takes about 10 days for your body to acclimate to exercise in warmer climates. Some of those positive adaptations include more efficient sweating (cooling), better cardiovascular function and increased endurance in both warm and cool conditions. So next time you’re training for a warm race in a cool climate, give the treadmill some thought.

How

The 1% Rule – When you run outside you create headwind, but when you’re on the treadmill you’re not moving forward, so this doesn’t happen. In order to make up for the lack of wind resistance, you need to always set your treadmill to an incline of 1%

Get headphones – Music or a podcast are key to me when using the treadmill. If I’m not doing a specific workout, I find it mind numbing and I really need something to keep me engaged. You can find free podcasts all over the web and free music through services like Pandora or Spotify and you can get a pair of earbuds for as little as $5. 

Cover the screen – My wife loves this trick. After you’ve set the speed to a comfortable pace, cover the screen with a jacket or towel so that you can’t see the distance you’ve travelled or the time you’ve been there. Put on some tunes, space out, and before you know you’ll have knocked out that 6 mile run.

Practice the bail – Whether you’re doing speed intervals or hill reps on the treadmill, you need to know how to dismount safely in the event that you can’t sustain your pace. Practice this by gradually increasing the speed until you’re at your Tempo or Steady State pace and work on dismounting. The last thing you need is a face plant at the end of 12 800’s.

Workouts

Hills – A fartlek style hill workout is one of my favorites on the treadmill. You can play around with the speed and incline and make it is challenging and as long as you want. Warm up 15 to 20 minutes and then start playing with the speed and incline. Do hard bouts of 1 to 10 minutes (depending on the intensity, goal of the workout, your fitness level and training volume) with rests in between followed by a 10 to 15 minute cool down.

Intervals – Warm up 15 to 20 minutes at an easy pace. Then do 6 to 12 X 800M repeats at your 5K race pace (depending on your current fitness and training volume) with 2 minute jogs in between followed by a 10 to 15 minute cool down.

Tempo Intervals –  Warm up 15 to 20 minutes and then do 3 to 6 X  5 to 10 minutes (depending on your current fitness and training volume) at your tempo pace with 1 to 2 minute jogs in between followed by a 10 to 15 minute cool down.

You don’t have to dread the treadmill! It’s a useful tool that can be an integral part of your training. The next time you’re traveling, training for a warm race or caught in adverse weather conditions when you need to nail a specific workout; keep your friend, the treadmill, in mind.

If you have any questions about training or if you’re looking for a qualified coach, shoot me a message. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Instagram @upperleftDT Thanks for reading!

Adidas Adizero Boston 6 Review

I hadn’t tried Adidas until last year when I won a pair of Boston Boost 5 at a local 5K. Since then I put over 600 miles on them and they became my favorite shoe. I vacillated for months about buying another pair or the Adizero 6 and recently pulled trigger at backcountry.com.

The Adidas Adizero Boost 6 weighs 8.6 ounces for a Men’s size 9 with a 10mm drop (16/26).

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The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Adidas from runners is their out-of-date uppers. I was one of those people, at least talking about the previous iteration of this shoe, but that problem seems to be resolved in this update. The upper is mesh knit, seamless and breatheable, like most shoes on the market today. I wouldn’t say that the upper is anything special, but compared to the Boston Boost 5, it’s strides in the right direction and at least matches other shoes in it’s category. The fit is snug and narrow, but the stretch mesh lets your foot move just enough and doesn’t cause any pressure points. They run true to size, just expect a locked down, performance oriented fit.

 

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The midsole is what really shines here. I have never run in a road shoe that feels this good. When you’re running slow, it feels soft, when you pick of the speed, it feels responsive. It almost seems to adapt to the specific work you’re doing. I wanted to know why and I really geeked out when I was reading about the development of Boost Foam.

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Boost was developed by BASF, one of the largest chemical engineering companies out there, who has had a 30+ year relationship with Adidas. The idea for boost, actually called infinergy, came up during a coffee break. A chemist at BASF, Frank Prissok,  had the idea to “foam”  traditional TPU. He expanded it and increased its volume to make it lighter, softer and more resilient. What resulted was Infinergy, or “Boost” Foam. Each midsole is comprised of 2,500+ individual Infinergy beads which are then heated and steam molded together. This creates a bouncy, resilient and responsive ride. Immediately after impact the midsole springs back to it’s original shape; this rebound experience is noticeable underfoot and feels like it propels you forward. Here is a little video from BASF.

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In labs tests of resilience and elasticity, Boost Foam has a rebound of 55%, compared to traditional EVA with a rebound of 37%. And unlike EVA, Boost Foam has shown not to lose resiliency under continuous loading. Boost Foam has also shown not to be adversely effected by high (104 degrees F) or low (- 4 degrees F)  temperatures, so it won’t lose it’s elasticity and cushioning properties in adverse weather conditions. [Infinergy Profile].

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All of this translates into an innovative midsole material with a phenomenal ride. Techno babble aside, the ride in the Boston Boost 6 is unmatched. It’s that blend of softness and responsiveness that every runner wishes they had in a shoe. The longevity of the material is also far superior to other shoes on the market. I got over 600 miles out of my Boston Boost 5 (I usually get 300 – 400 out of traditional EVA based midsoles) and the only reason I retired them is because the rubber had worn off in the right heel due to my heavy right heel strike.

 

This is a neutral shoe, but the midsole also features thermoplastic midfoot torsion system unit for added support at the midfoot while allowing the forefoot and rearfoot to move freely. I’m not sure if this adds anything to the ride or integrity of the shoe or if it’s beneficial for foot health; I’m one to think that these types of things are marketing gimmicks, but it’s there.

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The outsole contains the same award winning, performance rubber compound that keeps you safe when driving your sports car on slick roads: Continental Rubber. Continental has perfected the rubber compound for optimal braking in sports cars, so it only makes sense that the same company would make a comparable compound that would perform well in running shoes. And I have to say:  It’s pretty ridiculous (in a good way). You can feel the shoes sticking to the road underneath your feet. It really allows you to dig in and toe off without slipping, even in wet conditions. I never really took much notice of the outsole of a road shoe until I ran in these. You will immediately feel a noticeable improvement in grip on your runs. Here is a little video about the relationship between Coninental and Adidas.

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I think there should, and most likely will be, some improvements made to the uppers of Adidas shoes in general, but this package is pretty spot on, albeit a little snug. I can’t think of a road shoe that rides better than the Adidas Adizero Boston 6 right now and I encourage you to give them a try if you haven’t. I took them from box to 26.2 and found myself thinking about how great my feet felt at my 24 for the first time ever. That’s saying something.

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The price of these shoes, especially the Boost Ultra, are a little higher compared to other shoes in their category, but this is one of those instances where you get what you pay for. With an MSRP of $120, you’re paying for proven materials from reputable companies and a life expectancy of 600-1000 miles in a performance oriented design. I’ll pay a little extra for that.

Thanks for reading! Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @ upperleftDT and let us know what you think. As always, if we can be of any assistance with your running or racing goals, let us know via our contact page.

-Coach Korey