12-WEEKS to a MULTI-DAY Adventure or RACE

It’s 12-weeks before you start a multi-day, be that a race or a personal challenge, one thing is for sure, NOW is the time to focus and fine-tune training to be at the start in the best shape possible.

First and foremost, have a complete understanding of the task ahead. This is key not only in the physical adaptations that are required, but also the mental adaptations. There is a huge difference in doing something supported and in doing something self-sufficient. Marathon des Sables a prime example, understand the nature of the event…

MDS is an extreme event that takes place in the Sahara. The nature of the event is self-management both physically and mentally to endure the challenge, survive and reach the finish line. The weather (heat) is one of those challenges and surviving the weather is integral to the nature of the event. As is the ‘self-sufficient’ nature. Other than rationed water and a bivouac, be prepared to endure and complete this event with no outside assistance. Of course, help is at hand, but that help is and should be a safety element that is required in emergency. Equally, if undertaking a solo multi-day experience, do the research, plan routes, look at back-up options, can you re-supply with food, is water available?

Plan and prepare.

TRAINING

We are all unique and individual. Some of us are faster, some are mentally tough, some have a capacity to go for hours and hours and even days and yes, some runners combine all those elements.

Therefore, a multi-day training plan must be used as a template and framework to provide a structure for you, the individual, to achieve your personal goals and targets.

Be sensible and adjust training plans so that they fit your ability, goals, aspirations, training history and time available.

Think about when you place rest days, when you do long runs and when you work on hills and faster running. A training plan is like a jigsaw puzzle and managing the pieces and adding them together sensibly is how you make a successful and complete picture.

Any training plan is designed to progressively build strength, endurance, and confidence with gradual load increases. Rest is an important element of any training plan, so, rest with the same intensity that you train. Ultimately, you have decided to undertake this adventure, so, enjoy the process and make it fun.

Be specific. Make sure the training terrain, as much as possible, simulates your target event.

Always focus on the goal. Training plans for me start with the goal date and I then count back in time to a start point. That start point for you may well be before the 12-weeks but once you start the plan, focus on the target, and always make every session is as specific to the goal as possible.

For example, if participating in Marathon des Sables, you already know some key and important information:

  1. It will be hot.
  2. You will need to deal with hard and rocky plateaus, but you will also need to deal
    with soft sand and dunes.
  3. You will be on rationed food/ calories.
  4. You will only be supplied water to drink, and this is *rationed. In extreme weather such as the October 2021 edition, water rations were increased.
  5. Everything (not the tent) will be carried in a pack, on day 1 this will be at a minimum weight of *8kg. (*Minimum pack weight is 6.5kg but you must carry 1.5 liters of water which equates to 1.5kg.)
  6. You will sleep in an open tent, on the floor using a mat and sleeping bag.
  7. The long day comes on day 4 after approximately 90-100km of running, so, you
    need to be able to run for consecutive days and manage your pace and effort.
  8. The long day is (typically) between 70 and 90km and you have one full day, one night and most of the next day to complete it.
  9. After the ‘rest day’ is a marathon.
  10. You can complete the race by covering just 3km’s per hour.
  11. In 2019, the MDS was won by Rachid El Morabity and Ragna Debats in 18:31:24 and 22:33:36 respectively. The last runner was Ka Chun Chan from China in 69:29:16. For perspective, Rachid could have run the race nearly four times in 69:29! We are all individual.
     

Key elements each runner needs for a multi-day like MDS.

  1. You need to be mentally tough.
  2. Physically strong to endure multiple days of back-to-back exercise.
  3. Strong enough to carry a loaded pack and still move at a good pace.
  4. Adapted to function on restricted calories and food choices.
  5. Able to drink only water.
  6. Adapted to perform and function in heat.
  7. You need to be able to walk.
  8. You need to be able to handle un-planned situations.
  9. Have A, B and C goals.
  10. Be self-sufficient.

Multi-day racing and multi-day adventures are unique and particularly self-sufficient ones when you must carry all you need for the duration of the event. In a race, you will carry clothing, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, essential items and food for the duration of the event. At MDS minimum weight is 6.5kg plus water. Just as you prepare physically and mentally, also be meticulous with equipment and food preparation. You ideally need your pack to be 6.5kg and no more… Additional weight is additional stress.

If fastpacking, you may possibly be as above, but you will need to carry your own tent and you will need to re-supply with water en-route either using natural water supplies or utilizing retail outlets.

Be specific and understand the demands of the event you are undertaking and plan accordingly.
 

WHAT SHOULD A TRAINING PLAN LOOK LIKE?

All plans need to be progressive and geared towards the end goal of a multi- day like Marathon des Sables or a fast-packing adventure.

Remember, we are all individual, so while a generic plan may provide a guide and structure from which to work from, it’s important to adapt and tweak to individual needs. For example, the training plan for someone who is trying to be top 100 at a race will vary greatly to someone who hopes to complete and not compete.

Each week will typically have one or two rest days.

A simple strength training structure that can be done at home or in a gym.

Hill sessions and speed sessions (tempo/ intervals/ fartlek) have a place in any training plan, but the quantity and duration will depend on what type of runner you are and what your aspirations are.

Long sessions are essential and most certainly, an element of back-to-back sessions will help adapt the mind and body for the challenge ahead. However, injury risk goes up with any block like this, so, it needs to be placed carefully with adequate rest and recovery.

Learn to walk. There is a huge difference walking with purpose and pace to ‘just’ walking. Except for the top runners, walking is an integral element to a successful completion of a multi-day race or adventure. Many only realise during the event. Get walking dialed in training.

Do some specific work with a pack and weight BUT be careful as it is easy to get injured.

Think of training as blocks of 4-weeks, build for 3-weeks and then rest/ take it easier on the 4th. An example could be as below.

The final phase of a training plan should taper to allow you to be strong and fresh when the start comes, typically this 2 or 3-weeks long. This a perfect time to add specific race adaptations such as heat training, preparing for humidity, preparing for a cold environment and of course fine-tuning equipment and packing.

CONCLUSION

Multi-day racing is exciting and adds many more elements to think about than ‘just’ running. Taking time to plan training and work to a goal is worthwhile and of course, any 12-week plan would assume that you already well training and adapted so that you can start a specific phase like this. If not, your training plan may need to be 24-weeks or even longer.

Further reading:

  • MDS 2021 Summary HERE
    The Ultimate Guide to Desert Multi-Day HERE
  • Fuelling for a Multi-Day HERE
  • How to find your Running Shoe size and fit HERE
  • Sleeping Bag for an Adventure HERE
    Ten Top Tips for Multi-Day HERE
  • Top Tips to better Multi-Day Running HERE
  • Multi-Day Running in a Rainforest HERE
  • Fastpacking – A Guide HERE
  • Fastpacking Light – HERE
  • Fastpacking and Camping in Winter HERE
  • Fastpacking in Nepal HERE
  • Poles for Running and Walking HERE


Recommended Races:

  • Marathon des Sables, Morocco (self-sufficient)
  • The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica (supported)
  • Everest Trail Race, Nepal (semi self-sufficient)

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Episode 221 – Speedgoat Karl Meltzer

Episode 221 of Talk Ultra is with Speedgoat Karl who recently won his 45th 100-mile race and maintained a 20-year streak of winning at lest one 100-mile race every year!

NEWS

Check FKT website for latest updates HERE

Hypothermia – Be Prepared HERE

Mandatory Kit HERE

LATEST REVIEWS

inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G300 Max Review HERE

VJ Sport ULTRA shoe review HERE

La Sportiva CYKLON shoe review HERE 

INSTINCT XX20L Pack review HERE

Asics Winter Shoe Review HERE

The BEST and WORST shoes of 2021 HERE

Julien Chorier at MDS

NEED A TRAINING PLAN?

12 – 24 Week Multi-Day Training Plans now available HERE

100-Mile Training Plan now available HERE

Pyrenees Stage Run

Read about the Pyrenees Stage Run HERE – Entries are now open for the 2022 edition, go to HERE

adidas Tech Pro

adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro Review HERE

See who is joining The Coastal Challenge 2022 HERE

Listen to Episode 221 below:

Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB HERE  

Tweet us on Twitter – Talk Ultra on Twitter HERE  

Instagram – HERE  

And use good old word mouth.  

Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein. We are also on Spotify too.   Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.   Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patreon at www.patreon.com/talkultra 

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE  

Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE

Android HERE 

or via a web player HERE  

Website – talkultra.com

The Best and Worst Trail Shoes of 2021

adidas Speed Ultra

I get to review and test a great deal of shoes and 2021 has been no different. Some shoes really stand out and get used all the time and others fade to a dark and lonely place in my shoe cupboard.

So, what has been the highlights and low points of 2021?

First and foremost, I need to clarify that I haven’t tested ‘every’ shoe that is out there to be tested, so, this is very much an opinion post. Importantly, what I have done is tested shoes from zero drop to 10mm drop and shoes with minimal to maximal cushioning.

For perspective, I am happy to run in shoes with varying drop as I really believe that not only is it good for the body, but I also believe that certain drops and better for certain distances and terrain. A good example being, if I were to be running longer, I’d prefer a higher drop, say 8mm. But if running shorter and faster, I’d be more than happy to be in a lower drop, say 4mm. The same applies for cushioning, I am happy with les cushioning for shorter distances and a little more cushioning for longer distances.

Outsole varies considerably and therefore when considering ‘the best’ one must caveat that the shoe is the best for a typical type of terrain and conditions. However, some shoes can be a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ and manage to do a little bit of everything.

I am a neutral runner, so, the shoes listed fit in that category. Regarding shoe width, I am fortunate that I can squeeze my feet in most shoes and I accept and am happy to have my toes a little cramped for a very specific shoe that needs to excel on technical terrain. I appreciate that for some people, that is not an option or a choice, so keep that in mind.

Read an in-depth article about How to Find Your Running Shoe Size and Fit.

Finally, you may well agree and disagree with my shoe choices below. Perfectly normal, gladly there are many, many shoes out in the marketplace with different drops, cushioning, fit, outsoles and so on.

THE BEST TRAIL SHOES

adidas Speed Ultra

This shoe has been a revelation in 2021. It has managed to encompass so many key elements that make a shoe stand out. They are light, responsive, fun to run in, offer a great fit, have a wider toe box and are cushioned. Designed in conjunction with Tom Evans, Adidas and Tom wanted a shoe that could excel at Western States. So, the shoe had to be good for 100-miles but did not require an aggressive outsole. The Continental outsole is almost road like and for some, potentially too minimal. However, the grip is superb and for trail running; superb. On dry and wet rock, the grip has never faltered, in mud grip is compromised. The Speed Ultra has been my ‘go-to’ shoe of 2021 and has been on many varied terrains and always provided a superb ride. They have even been an excellent road shoe. There are few downsides to the Speed Ultra, but the lack of a rock plate does mean that occasionally you can feel the ground beneath you a little more than desirable. Read the full review HERE.

Hoka One One Torrent 2

I was the first person to bring Hoka in to the uk, way back in 2009. I used them constantly for many years but in 2012 I defected. It has taken almost 10-years for me to lace up a pair of Hoka’s again and it was actually the adidas Speed Ultra that tempted me to try the Torrent 2. I was told by many that the Torrent 2 was the least cushioned and potentially most ‘normal’ type trail shoe that Hoka made. They were right. Out of the box the Torrent 2 has excelled, and they have been in a constant rotation with my Speed Ultra. The outsole is more aggressive than the Speed Ultra and therefore open a few more options when it comes to varied terrain. However, I will say that on wet rock the grip is bad. I wished Hoka had used Vibram MegaGrip instead of their own outsole. But if you stick with dry trail or even muddy trail, the Torrent 2 performs exceptionally well. Despite the stack height (still low for a Hoka) they give great ground feel and stability. The toe box has good space and the foot hold is superb. Read the full review HERE. I will make a note here that the Zinal was also a consideration. It has many Torrent 2 features but for me a firmer and harder ride. I preferred the Torrent 2 but you may well think the Zinal preferable.

THE BEST MOUNTAIN/ AGGRESSIVE SHOES

VJ Sport ULTRA

When you need grip, no other brand offers an outsole like VJ Sport. The soft and grippy butyl is just superb. Over the years I have constantly raved about their shoes, be them the iRock, XTRM or the MAXx. However, the one downside (for many) was a fit that was too narrow and not enough cushioning. Enter the Ultra. VJ listened and came up with a light mountain shoe that instantly felt like a VJ but with that wider toe box and additional cushioning. Many would never consider running UTMB or similar in a VJ MAXx but the Ultra now gives that option. You get the best of both worlds, cushioning and the best grip on the planet. I will say that the cushioning is not as plush as I would have maybe liked, however, they do bed in a become a little softer with use. Read the review HERE.

adidas Speed Pro SG

The soft-ground terrain that inov-8 excelled and dominated in has now been impacted upon by many brands offering their own incarnations of grippy and aggressive outsoles to tackle sloppy terrain. The VJ Sport iRock is without doubt a consideration when looking for an SG shoe. Constantly, one of the biggest complaints from many runners is that most SG shoes have narrow toe boxes. Step in the adidas Speed Pro SG. This shoe has a wide toe box, lightweight upper, cushioning and 7mm lugs for the muddiest and gnarliest terrain. The fit and feel is excellent and the grip superb. It’s not a shoe you’d want to spend all day in but if moving fast over technical, muddy and challenging terrain is your thing, this shoe is a great addition. Read the review HERE.

THE BEST RUNNING BOOTS

La Sportiva Cyklon

The La Sportiva Mutant has been a long-time favourite for many a trail runner and the Cyklon is very much a development of this shoe. It manages to combine many elements of classic La Sportiva and then push new ground with the addition of BOA. Designed to excel in mountain terrain, they are more than a shoe but not as much as boot. They fit this wonderful middle ground of combining shoe like feel and comfort but boot-like security. It has an aggressive outsole and some stability (not too much) to ensure mountain days pass without problem. The sock-liner fit, and the new BOA dynamic cage has provided me with arguably the greatest foot hold of any shoe I have ever tried. It is superb. All these plus points do come with a couple of downsides: A little extra weight and they retain warmth/ heat. The latter a good point in winter but less so in summer. Read the review HERE.

adidas Terrex Tech Pro

This is a late addition to my 2021 shoe line-up and what an addition! For many, this would just be too much and too specific, but for me with Norwegian winters, it’s a boot to put a smile on my face. It’s almost two shoes as there is an inner Agravic shoe inside the Tech Pro outer all fastened together by a zip and BOA fastening system. Comfort is superb, warmth is excellent, and the outsole has wonderful grip. There is a downside (for me) though… I really wish adidas had added winter studs to this boot so that they could handle ice. Had they done this, it would be the perfect winter boot. However, I do understand why they haven’t, usage becomes very restrictive with studs. As it stands, you have a boot that you can use all year and if required, add a micro crampon to tackle ice. Read the review HERE.

THE BEST WINTER SHOE

Asics Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX

I have tested a great deal of winter studded shoes in the last couple of years and VJ and Icebug have provided me with many great runs with excellent grip. However, there was always a compromise to be made until I got hold of the Asics Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX. This shoe has been a revelation… A Gore-Tex upper, wider toe box, cushioning and 14 studs in aggressive outsole to handle snow and more importantly ice with aplomb. They have been superb over short distance runs and recently a 6-hour outing in -10. Read the review HERE.

MY WORST SHOE OF 2021

inov-8 Trailfly G300 Max

Normally I would find it hard to pick a shoe to go here as today, shoe technology and development means that most brands make good shoes. It’s fair to say that me adding the Trailfly as the worst shoe will cause controversy as for some it has been hailed a revelation…! Not so for me. It’s a Frankenstein shoe that is a pure horror. They are heavy (mine over 380g!), lifeless, clumsy, and well, just plain awful. There are some positives which I tried to give credit to in my initial review, but the more I have used them, the more I dislike them. This shoe had the potential to be a more cushioned G270 with a higher drop. They are not even close! Even the Graphene outsole doesn’t feel as good? But one of my coaching clients uses them and loves them. I said in my review they would be a Marmite shoe and I don’t like Marmite. In fairness, if you are a bigger and heavier runner, the Trailfly may well offer a level of protection not found before. Read the review HERE.

CONCLUSION

The best and the worst? Fully accept that they are ‘my’ best and worst and you may well agree and completely disagree with my thoughts. Ultimately though, it may well introduce you to a potential new favourite shoe that you hadn’t considered before.

I have seen some brands stand still in the most recent 12-18 months, arguably over 2+ years when you consider how long it takes to develop a shoe. But adidas (never a leader in the trail world) has grabbed trail and mountain running by the horns and pushed forward with some great development and shoes with their Terrex brand.

Scarpa Spin 2

Another stand out has been Scarpa, a well-established mountain brand who with the influence of Marco De Gasperi has started to make some excellent trail/ mountain shoes, the Spin 2 almost making this list. I need to test the Ribelle!

Hoka One One have diversified from the max cushioning and while the Zinal didn’t make my list, it very nearly did and for those who do prefer more ‘cush’ between them and the ground, the Speedgoat (now 4) always gets rave reviews.

But what about Altra, Brooks, Salomon, Nike, Topo and more…

Well, the Nike Pegasus has been a favourite of mine in past years and it’s still a great shoe with a plethora of great features, especially comfort for long trail days. However, my choice was always the Wildhorse. But Nike always had to tweak and change it, we are now on version 7 I think?

Altra unfortunately just don’t do it for me. I know, I know… Some of you will be holding your head in your hands. But the zero drop and super-wide toe box is a no for me. However, I have many friends telling me I need to try the Olympus 4 or the Lone Peak 5.

Salomon have not been on my radar in 2021, I very much feel that as brand they stood still. They released a Speedcross 5 but it’s a Marmite shoe (for me) and the grip although aggressive has always been horrendous on wet rock. The previous incarnations also had arch support which I didn’t like. The Sense Ride 4 with 8mm drop is maybe worth a look?

All shoes were provided for free as test samples. The exception being Asics which were purchased. In addition, many shoes in 2021 were provided for testing that do not appear here.

adidas Terrex Speed Ultra

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX Winter Shoe with Studs Review

In the last 2-years I have tested many pairs of winter running shoes. By ‘winter’ shoes I mean specific shoes that are designed to handle snow and more particularly, ice. A winter shoe for me must have studs.

Read about Running on Ice Here


Key brands are VJ Sport and Icebug. The duo have very much paved the way for shoes that are designed, not surprisingly, for Scandinavian winter. There are multiple shoe reviews on this website, two stand outs are the VJ Xero and the Icebug Route. Ironically, the Route was a very much entry level shoe (which I believe they do not make anymore) and despite some flaws it was my ‘go-to’ shoe in the winter of 2020 and early 2021 and the VJ Xero my shoe for shorter runs.
I had constantly been enticed by the ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX but a very good friend advised me against using them, they didn’t like them… Turns out they had used a previous version and not the third incarnation of the shoe.


Cut to the chase, they are superb!


Every winter shoe I have used, and in particular the ones I have liked have always been about 80/85% perfect. The VJ Xero not cushioned enough and a touch narrow, the Icebug route great comfort, grip and feel but a cold shoe.

Read How to Find your Running Shoe Size and Fit Here


The ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX has hit my 100% mark. It really has been a revelation and surprisingly, for me, Asics have produced a really incredible winter shoe.


The shoe is cushioned and has great comfort with front and rear cushioning that provides the right amount of ground feel in either soft snow or hard ice. I have struggled to find the exact measurement of front/ rear cushioning but have been informed (tbc) it is 18mm front and 28mm rear. FlyteFoam and layered GEL offer the protection and it works great.


A 10mm drop is high these days and just like the VJ Xante (same drop) I had concerns it was too high. Not so. The drop has not even been a consideration. On a recent 23-mile run in fresh snow and hard ice, the ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX performed perfectly with great comfort.


The upper is Gore-Tex and yes, I am am well aware of the downsides of Gore-Tex in a run shoe. But 6-hours of running in -10 in thick snow and I had warm feet all-day. Just make sure you use excellent socks such as Merino. In addition, I also use a barrier sock such as SealSkinz. Getting socks right is personal, the above works for me.


The outsole is the star of the shoe with 14 studs placed strategically from front to rear. There is no missing grip despite run style. I have had top-notch grip on every run and complete confidence the shoe will do its job. In snow and ice, there is definitely a gait change when running and most certainly, the flatter you can place your foot, the more grip you will have as you will engage more studs. But, running uphill, when just the forefoot is engaged, and the 8/9 front studs really provide incredible traction.

The 5 rear studs work exceptionally well for heal strikers with an emphasis on the outer of the shoe, 3 studs on the edge, 1 in the middle and the other to the inside middle.


The tongue has a sock-like fit and and is well padded adding the overall comfort of the shoe. It also has a lace garage at the top to stowaway the lace after fastening. Five sets of eyelets and good laces allow the shoes to be pulled tight with really excellent foot-hold, added to with a plush and comfortable heal area that gave me no slipping. There is no option to lock-lace or similar.
The toe box is wider, definitely a 3 and edging to a 4 on a 1-5 scale, 5 being wide. Importantly there are no seams or stitching in this area so comfort is top-notch, especially in the propulsive phase. A good toe bumper adds to the protection.


Weight is on the heavier side, this is typical on a winter shoe as they need to be more robust, plus you have the addition of the studs and a more substantial outsole to hold them, my EU45 were 338g. A note on sizing, I am always EU44 but for the Asics I chose EU45. The shoe does size a little smaller BUT I also knew I would be using Merino and SealSkin socks. The EU45 is perfect.


The shoe is neutral.


Colour-way is black and red which works really well, it’s a nice looking shoe.


Conclusion

Designed to enjoy running in the dead of winter, the ASICS Gel Fujisetsu 3 G-TX is equipped with several technical components that enhance the running experience in complex and demanding terrains. I have waited sometime to find a shoe that ticks all my winter boxes and this pair of Asics does that. There are no more excuses, it may have taken 3 versions to get it right but the features all combine to make this a stunning shoe: outsole studs, optimal grip, protection, comfort and great feel for the ground. Highly recommended.

Read about Winter Running Here

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

DIY Winter Run Shoes – Spikes for Snow and Ice

Hoka One One Torrent 2 with 10 Best Grip studs

Winter running can be challenging for many reasons, but for most, conditions underfoot are a deciding factor if running outdoors is viable.

In all honesty, running outdoors is always viable, you just need the correct equipment.

For me, winter is arguable one of my favourite running seasons. I like the cold, brisk and dry air, I love running in the snow and YES, I love running on ice.

First and foremost, a specific winter run shoe with studs is always the best option. You can read an article, Running on Ice for more specifics.

Asics GEL-FujiSetsu 3 G-TX

However, for many, spending money on a winter run shoe can be prohibitively expensive. Don’t worry, a solution is at hand.

You can DIY your own winter run shoe.

TOP TIPS

  • Pick a shoe that is coming towards the end of its normal day-to-day run life.
  • Ideally, a shoe with a little more cushioning is a good idea as you will be screwing winter studs through the outsole and in to the cushioning of the shoe.
  • Check wear marks on the outsole. This will provide you invaluable information about you and your run style, importantly, it will tell you where you strike the ground. The is the place for the studs to go.
  • Plan on the outsole where you will add the studs in advance.
  • Take your time.

HOW TO?

I use a specific winter stud from Best Grip (code BG3040) which comes with 20 studs and the tool  for easy and convenient placement. The tool is made of two parts, the handle BG5000 and the BG4000 attachment which holds the stud when applying.

BG5000 Handle
BG4000 tool

If you already have the tool, you can purchase just the studs, the BG1000 has a thickness of 6mm and 6.2mm mounting depth which is ideal for most shoes.

BG1000 stud

20 studs provide 10 per shoe. I consider 10 to be a minimum and personally, I often prefer 14 or 16 depending on the shoe. My current specific shoe of choice for winter is the Asics GEL-FujiSetsu 3 G-TX (review to follow) which has 14 studs in a specific winter shoe with Gore-Tex upper.

Asics GEL-FujiSetsu 3 G-TX

I used a Hoka One One Torrent 2 for the purposes of this demo. This is a shoe that has served me well recently with 600km of use. It’s about ready to be shelved BUT it does have life left in it for winter.

The Hoka Torrent 2 is one of Hoka’s least cushioned shoes (why I like it) but it still has plenty of cushion to take studs.

You can see on the outsole how I am very much a forefoot runner with some supination. This makes it easy for me to decide where to place the studs. Of course, run style and technique does change in snow and ice, so, always make sure you have good distribution for added comfort and security.

Apply the screws one at a time. Ideally choose larger lugs that can host the screw better. Some outsoles will just not work, so think ahead.

Place the studs with at least 6 at the front and 4 at the rear. Typically, 3 rows of 2 works at the front and 2 rows of 2 at the rear, but one advantage of applying the studs yourself is that you can be specific to run style as tho where to place the stud of optimum grip.

ON THE CHEAP

If purchasing a specific winter stud such as the Best Grip is still a little more than you want to pay, you can purchase self drilling Hex Head screws (ideally slotted) ⅜ inch size #8 or #10 usually works.

I recommend pre-drilling pilot holes with a drill bit, maybe 1/16th in size. Make sure the shoe is held secure either by another person or ideally in a workmate or similar.

Drill the pilot hole slowly and obviously, make sure you go straight.

Once you have made pilot holes, you can then add the screws.

SUMMARY

A specific winter run shoe is the best option, without doubt. They are specific for the job and provide a great run feel and experience. However, spending upwards of £120 for another pair of shoes with a very specific use, is just too much for many. Therefore, adapting a used shoe for winter makes sense. It puts additional life in to a shoe and provides an option for winter running that would not have existed before.

Using a specific stud like the Best Grip (or similar) provides the next best thing to a specific winter shoe, with the added advantage that you ca actually apply the studs where you want them.

If spending money on a specific stud is still too much, Hex Head screws have been used for adapting shoes for a considerable time, they are tried and tested and while not as good as studs, they can do the job.

Of course, the final option is to use any run shoe and add a micro spike such as Nortec. A micro crampon has uses but they provide a less than desirable running experience.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Episode 220 – Pyrenees Stage Run and Therese Falk

Episode 220 of Talk Ultra is co-hosted by Karl Meltzer and we talk with Tomas and Jordi from Pyrenees Stage Run and woman of the moment, Therese Falk from Norway.

00:21:30 Pyrenees Stage run

01:35:19 Therese Falk

NEWS

Check FKT website for latest updates HERE

Hypothermia – Be Prepared HERE

Mandatory Kit HERE

Latest Reviews

inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G300 Max Review HERE

VJ Sport ULTRA shoe review HERE

La Sportiva CYKLON shoe review HERE listen to Episode 208 of Talk Ultra is a special show with DANIEL FEENEY and Jonathan Wyatt discussing the collaboration between BOA and La Sportiva for the new, Cyklon shoe.

INSTINCT XX20L Pack review HERE

NEED A TRAINING PLAN?

12 – 24 Week Multi-Day Training Plans now available HERE

100-Mile Training Plan now available HERE

Read about the Pyrenees Stage Run HERE Entries are now open for the 2022 edition, go to HERE

adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro Review HERE

See who is joining The Coastal Challenge 2022 HERE

Listen to Episode 220 below:


Share us on Facebook – Talk Ultra FB HERE  

Tweet us on Twitter – Talk Ultra on Twitter HERE  

Instagram – HERE  

And use good old word mouth.  

Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein. We are also on Spotify too.   Our web page at www.iancorless.com has all our links and back catalogue.   Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patreon at www.patreon.com/talkultra 

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE  

Stitcher You can listen on iOS HERE

Android HERE 

or via a web player HERE  

Website – talkultra.com

adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro with BOA Winter Shoe Review

2021 has been the year of adidas for me. The three stripe brand with the distinctive TERREX logo has made great progress in the trail, mountain and ultra world with some stand out shoes.

Early in the year, I called out the Speed Ultra as not only my favourite shoe but arguably, one of the best shoes I have ever used. Three pairs on and I still think the same. Without doubt one of ‘the’ shoes of 2021.

Recently, I received a pair of the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro with BOA.

Now I have to say, I was initially frustrated, here in Norway we still had ‘decent’ weather and this boot would have just been way too much for the conditions… Gladly though, winter arrived in November and we have plenty of snow, ice and temperatures well below -10. A perfect testing ground.

The adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is distinctive! The shoe does come in a more sedate and classy looking black with hints of red, I received the ‘stand out’ look at me colour way of black, Mesa and Halo Blue.

Let’s be clear, this is a shoe for very specific use and that I love! Far too often when it comes to winter, I am compromising trying to make the best os shoes that are not specific for the task. Here in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro you have shoe that is designed for harsh, rough, wet and cold conditions. And trust me, when it is -20 snow and ice, warm feet make a very happy runner.

The adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro has some really incredible design and engineering. Inside the boot is a Terrex Agravic shoe with the usual adidas comfort, continental outsole and Boost cushioning. The shoe is wrapped in a water repellent envelope with durable front closure zipper and on the outside the BOA dial to provide tension and security.

The BOA brings a welcome development. Often winter boots like this incarnation by adidas have a laced shoe inside. Therefore, you put the boot on, lace up the shoe inside and then zipper the enclosure. The downside of this, is that when out on the trail, should you need to adjust the lacing, you must unzip the boot and then do the lace… Maybe no big deal you think? Trust me, if it is below zero, freezing cold and your hands are already feeling somewhat numb, the last thing you want to do is take gloves off and tie laces. Here in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro

That problem is solved as the whole shoe, inner and outer is tightened and released by the BOA on the outside of the shoe. It’s push in/ twist and pull out/ twist for less or more tension is just perfect even with gloves on. It may well be one of the most practical and logical reasons to use a BOA adjustment. It really is spot on! Using the L6 platform, with a L6 dial and TX4 lace, this is a perfect winter shoe fastening system as it protects against dirt contamination. You may well wonder about durability and strength, but the L6 uses a bayonet and cartridge system which is designed to release without breaking. If it releases, you can insert the cartridge back into the bayonet. The TX4 lace is also flexible and light weight with low friction. It’s the best BOA system I have used thus far.

As the number on the side suggests, ‘420’ this refers to weight in a standard UK8 size, 489g for my UK9.5/EU44 . This is not a lightweight running shoe, but what it is is a durable beast to offer support, warmth and protection in the harshest environment. Be that running in snow, climbing, running trail or even crossing a glacier (with the appropriate cramp on).

You may think it’s a boot and to an extent it is, however, because a running shoe is inside, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro has a completely different feel. It has the best of both worlds!

An 8mm drop sits perfectly in a shoe like this providing the potential for all-day comfort. Protection both at the fore and rear is excellent, there is some stability in the shoe but flex, particularly behind the metatarsals is great, important for when running and climbing.

Cushioning is Boost which is durable in could and challenging conditions, importantly it does not harden in the cold. There is an EVA frame for stability. Front rock protection is good and the outsole is grippy Continental with 4mm lugs.

The outsole does leave me perplexed. I am not complaining about the grip, BUT I would have liked to have seen winter spikes on a shoe like this. In soft snow the spikes cause no hindrance but if you hit ice, they are a life saver. I understand why adidas would choose NOT to add winter spikes: it basically narrows the market. So, this boot would require one of two options for me:

  1. Add a micro crampon that could be taken on and off as required.
  2. Add studs myself.

Currently I have used a micro crampon which provides the grip I need BUT the running experience is nowhere near as good as an outsole with studs. With a studded outsole you have the best of both worlds, the outsole grip and the stud. With a crampon, you have just the metal spikes which can provide a much harsher run.

IN USE

You need to invest a little more time putting this shoe on. Make sure you slide your foot in to the inner shoe correctly, adjust your socks and make sure the heal feels correct. On a sizing note, I use an EU44 and I would say these are arguably a little larger. This is a good thing! I have used these with Merino liner socks and Sealskinz over sock and the sizing has been great. So, keep this in mind.

Once the foot is inside and comfortable, zip up the outer. It has sock-like fit. This can be a little challenging to start but once closed, it already provides a snug fit. One thing to note, I wouldn’t want to be trying to zip up the shoe, outdoors in -10.

There is a velcro adjust collar which you tighten, this helps stop or reduce anything going in via the top of the boot. Now adjust the BOA. You do this by pushing in the dial and then rotating. The more you rotate, the tighter the hold. It hold really well and importantly this can be adjusted ‘on-the-go’ with just a quick turn. No messing with laces, just turn. A really important feature for cold conditions when hands are not functioning as normal.

On paper, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is a heavy run shoe BUT it feels and acts much lighter. It’s a pleasure to wear. It is agile, has bounce, feels extremely protected, is snug and warm. You really feel as though you have bullet proof protection.

The toe box has width and plenty of comfort. On a scale of 1-5 (5 being wide), I would say they are a 3/4.

One note on BOA, I always feel as though I need to over tighten to get a score feel. It’s no different here in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro BUT I advise getting tension ‘close’ to how you want it and then run for say 10-minutes or so. Then stop and adjust. Why? Quite simply, in winter and cold conditions, you don’t want to over restrict blood flow. Feet and hands get neglected to keep the core warm in winter, no need to add to the problem with over tightened shoes. BOA is great for this as you just turn to tighten, takes less than 1-second.

While water resistant, they are not waterproof and therefore over prolonged use, partially if you submerge in water, you will get some seepage.

Warmth is good especially with merino socks. This is an active shoe and therefore is designed for the user to be moving at pace, either walking, running or climbing and therefore generating blood flow and warmth. Standing around in snow doing nothing, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro eventually allows the feet to feel chilly; any shoe/ boot would!

The midsole is firm and cushioned but not plush. As you would imagine, this shoe is trying to balance comfort and protection and it does it extremely well. They are stable and predictable and he Boost works exceptionally well, even in extreme cold with the EVA frame adding extra security. It’s not a fast and light shoe, to be honest I never expected that. The adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is all bout durability, protection and comfort in harsh conditions and it excels at this. The alternative would be a boot which would not have any of the unique characteristics of this shoe, especially for a runner.

Outsole is Continental and having used countless adidas shoes, I know is tried and tested. The 4mm lugs sit in that perfect middle ground providing traction on trail and work well on road if required. I did wonder if the outsole lugs should be more pronounced, say 6mm? This would certainly help in snow. I have already mentioned the omission of winter spikes which for me is a disappointment BUT I fully appreciate that I may have specific and selfish needs.

I have tried the shoe with Snowline Chaisen Trail (as photo) and also Camp Ice Master which is a more substantial  crampon, ideal for glacier and steeper travel. Please note, all micro crampon/ boot combinations have limitations, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is NOT a mountaineering boot.

CONCLUSION

If you have rough winter weather, be that wet, cold and muddy or snow, ice and freezing temperatures, the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro is a great addition to your run shoe collection. Only you can decide if the cost (£220) is worth it. For me, they are most definitely worth it and if they had studs, I would use them for every winter run.

The combination of a proper run shoe inside a protective gaiter is not new, but adidas have done a great job in making this a durable, warm and protected package. The BOA adds to the USP as it allows for constant adjustment ‘on-the-go’ with no need to remove gloves.

Versatility is a key feature. You can use them for winter hikes, running, add a micro crampon and you can handle ice and due to the build of the shoe, they will take snow shoes too. This is a great alpine shoe and here in Norway, it’s almost THE perfect shoe. You can mix hard and rock terrain, transition to snow and then add a cramp on to cross ice on with excellent comfort and security.

The comfort, secure hold and cushioning is all excellent and they feel considerably more lively and agile than the weight would suggest.

There is little not to like in the adidas Terrex Agravic Tech Pro. Weight will always be an issue BUT this is not a normal run shoe and there has to be a penalty for all the added comfort and protection. When you take that in to account, this is not a heavy shoe, especially when you consider the options. It certainly runs considerably lighter than you would expect.

adidas Terrex website 

BOA website

Options:

  • La Sportiva Crossover 2.0
  • Salomon X/Lab X Modular
  • Dynafit Sky Pro
  • La Sportiva Blizzard GTX – This boot has AT Grip Fixed Spikes

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Tomomi Bitoh joins The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica 2022

Tomomi winning the final stage of the 35th MDS.

A second-place finish at the 35th Marathon des Sables in October 2021 has set Japans Tomomi Bitoh up for  The Coastal Challenge that will take place in Costa Rica, February 2022.

A relatively unknown when standing on the start line of MDS in Morocco, it soon became apparent that Tomomi was ‘one-to-watch’ as the race unfolded. Her relentless smile, positive attitude shone through resulting not only in a victory of the final stage marathon distance but 2nd overall.

Tomomi is new to the sport, in 2018 she became a freelance professional trainer and in April that year ran her first marathon, she now has a PB 2:59:32. Winner of the Fuji Five Lakes Ultra Marathon and the Fuji Goko Ultra Marathon 118km, Tomomi also races at a competitive level in Spartan events. Spartan will provide Tomomi a great level of skill sets that she will be able to utilize at TCC, especially with the mixed and challenging terrain.

Marathon des Sables was a breakthrough performance and the multi-day format of TCC in Costa Rica will bring a new challenge.

The Race

Hugging the coastline of the tropical Pacific, The Coastal Challenge is the ultimate multi-day experience that weaves in and out of the Talamancas, a coastal mountain range in the Southwest corner of Central America. The terrain is ever-changing from wide, dusty and runnable fire trails to dense and muddy mountain trails. Runners will cross rivers, boulders, pass under waterfalls, survive long relentless beaches and finally finish in the incredible Corcovado National Park, a Unesco World Heritage site with a stunning final loop around Drake Bay.

With two races available, an Expedition Run of 230km and an Adventure Run of 155km – TCC is a race not to be missed!

230km and 10.000m+

Join the race in 2022, February 5th to 12th, registration HERE

Please note, TCC requires full vaccination and documented proof will be required.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com