The inov 8 X-TALON range for 2018 has had a reworking. Always a tricky subject, especially with such a classic shoe in the inov 8 line-up. But as history shows, this shoe is 10-years old and has had many incarnations.
So, what is different for 2018?
Well, first and foremost, STICKY GRIP. This new outsole compound is inov 8’s new secret weapon for holding a runner on the ground when conditions are challenging, in particular, wet and slippery rocks.
The second key aspect is the reworking of the shoes upper. Now depending which X-TALON you have, the upper will be different. For example, I have just reviewed the X-TALON 230 HERE and the upper on the 230 is a world away from the upper on the 210.
So, here goes!
Orange! Whoa, yep, you are going to be seen coming in these babies on your first outing. I strongly suggest, going in the garden and rubbing them in the soil before venturing out. I wore sunglasses for the first day of testing. I joke obviously, but the 210 is a bright shoe, one could easily be put off by the colour, but let’s face it, if you are using the shoe in the place it is intended for, they are only bright for one outing!
In comparison to the X-TALON 230 (here) the 210 appears super light and airy – funny as there is only 20g difference between the shoes. The upper is light, very breathable and has the now traditional inov 8 overlays that gives the upper its structure. They are light and fast and gladly they have a gusseted tongue to give a slipper like feel. They feel very different to the 230’s – I would go as far to say that they are not comparable. They are completely two different shoes. So, whereas in the past you may have two pairs of X-Talon’s with different drops and have a similar feel between the two, now that is not the case. So, if you fancy 230’s with more cushioning, 6mm drop and a tough upper, make sure you try them first.
The 210 is 1 arrow, so, 3mm drop. Fit is scaled as 2, so, they are at the narrow end of inov 8’s fit gauge but not as narrow as the 230’s which scale as 1. Have to say, I prefer the fit of the 2.
The outsole, like the 230’s, is STICKY GRIP with classic 8mm lugs – a winning combo!
Cushioning is pretty minimal with 6mm at the front and 9mm at the rear.
This is a shoe that has racing written all over it.
The fit is slipper like and the 2-grade fit is pretty sweet allowing a little room for toe splay but not at the loss of control or precision when running. Of course, fit is all relative and based on an individual’s foot. However, I keep saying this, if you want a shoe for fast and technical running, it can’t be sloppy. It must fit and hold the foot – the 210’s does this perfectly.
The upper is very soft and flexible. The fit and security all comes from the overlays and in particular the 5 that lead to the lace eyelets.
The overlay extends round to the front of the shoe and the outsole extends up to provide a little toe protection. Toe protection is minimal, especially when one compares to the 230’s!
The upper is very breathable and there is method to this! inov 8 are recommending this shoe for the obvious fell, mountain, trail, obstacle course running but with the new addition of swim/run – a fast growing sport! Cleverly, the upper does not absorb or retain water and it has been Designed to actively encourage water (or sweat even) to escape. Obviously, this is key for swim/run but I can also see this being a great feature for any races or courses where one may be in and out of water. For example, the 210 would be a great shoe for the multi-stage race in Costa Rica, The Coastal Challenge – here participants on certain stages are in and out of water all the time. The heal box is snug, comfortable, holds the foot perfectly and caused no issues .
The outsole is a key feature of the 210 just as in the 230. STICKY GRIP is the new secret weapon. Basically, it’s a new compound of outsole that is softer and stickier than previous inov 8 outsoles. In mud, on trails, on fells etc there is little noticeable difference as the 8mm lugs do the job they have all done. What is noticeable is the additional grip on rock, particularly when wet. This is a great USP and maybe even more so for this shoe with a possible swim/run audience.
Unlike the 230, I slipped the 210 on and they immediately felt great – slipper like and definitely no breaking in required. I wore them around my home and soon didn’t notice them.
The 2 fit is as mentioned is narrow/ precision but not super narrow and I really liked the feel – this was helped by the soft upper and the gusseted tongue. The shoes upper combination works really well and once I adjusted the laces to personal feel and preference, I just knew that I was going to be happy in them.
With minimal cushioning and 3mm drop, this is not a shoe for everyone, or maybe I should clarify and say, that for some people, it is a shoe they should use sparingly. It’s a fast and light shoe designed for an efficient runner. The shoe is very flexible and just urges you to push on with the META FLEX on the outsole really helping with the propulsive phase.
Although cushioning is relatively minimal, the EVA FUSION works really well and providing excellent comfort. The shoes are so low to the ground, they are a little like taking a F1 car out for a drive. Hoka One One shoes for example would be a double decker bus.
A mile of road had me clipping along, right on my toes and then I suddenly realized I didn’t have the fitness for the pace the shoes made me want to run. So, racers out there are going to love this feel! On a muddy tow path, the 8mm studs gripped as they have always done and I had 100% confidence, the low-drop adding to that secure feel.
The 210 certainly gets you on your toes. I purposely tried to run slower and heal strike to get a feel of how the shoe would respond – it just felt all wrong. So, I speeded back up and got back on my toes.
On a wet grassy bank, the outsole gripped away and in the really thick mud that followed, I was over my ankles with soft, wet, brown stuff. Here I noticed two things, the 8mm lugs were trying to gain purchase in the harder ground below, at times they did, at times they didn’t – that is the nature of thick mud. One thing is for sure, in most other shoes I would have hit the deck! The second thing I noticed was how the shoes filled with mud but noticeably on the harder trail that followed, the shoes squelched and squelched, and I could see the mud escape from the uppers! I normally miss a small river on my run, yes, to avoid getting my feet wet, but I had to test the swim/ run capability. Apart from the water being bloody freezing, the shoes and uppers worked a treat. I was really impressed to see the water escape as I ran down the follow-on trails.
Wet rocks have been a hit and miss affair with inov 8 in the past but I can confirm, just as I found in the 230’s (here) that the new STICKY GRIP is a huge step forward for the inov 8 outsole. It is definitely getting more purchase and thus providing more security which in turn allows one the confidence to run at speed.
Most of my runs in the 210 have been between 5-12 miles. I haven’t gone past 100 minutes in any one run and in all honesty, for me, I would probably say 2-hours would be the max I would want to run in such a light, minimal and low-drop shoe. But that is me! My preferred drop is 6 or 8mm and most scenarios I prefer a little more cushioning. A light, fast and efficient runner I am sure could run longer in them!
Nearly all my runs have 1 mile of road at the start and end. With 108 miles in the 210 I can see the impact of the road sections, but it is not worrying. In all honesty, the 210 should only be used off-road and if I could, that is what I would do. The reality for most of us though is that a little road will always appear in our runs, so it is good to get a feel of the durability of the new STICKY GRIP. It’s still too early to say what that life is.
With extensive experience in Skyrunning races, I see the 210 being a perfect match for VK’s and SKY races (typically 20-30km) – in particular, the STICKY GRIP outsole would be most welcome on the technical, rocky and often wet ridges that can be encountered say in the Dolomites or the Alps.
The 210 is a winning shoe for efficient runners who want to be low to the ground feeling the terrain as though running barefoot without the discomfort. The combination of the light upper, precision fit and new sticky outsole makes them really stand out as a shoe distance racing shoe for fell, mountain and OC races. The upper certainly works really well at expelling water, so, if swim/run is your thing, they will be worth a look.
At 3mm drop and minimal cushioning, the 210 is definitely not for everyone. Certainly, I could not run in a shoe like this every day, but I think it’s fair to say that inov 8 don’t intent that to be the case. By way of clarity, the 210’s are a 2-seater car that sits in the garage, only to be used every now and again, whereas normally every day you drive around, say in a Ford Focus. Maybe the X-Talon 230’s are the Ford Focus and the X-Talon 210 is the Porsche 911?
The Cape Wrath Ultra™ brought to you by Ourea Events, the team who revived the Dragon’s Back Race are in the countdown days to a once in a lifetime multi-day journey that will test mind and body over 8-days weaving a 400km journey through the Highlands of Scotland.
Starting at Fort William on May 22nd, the race will take runners on an incredible journey in a magnificent and remote part of the world that will culminate in the most northwesterly point of the British Isles, Cape Wrath on May 29th.
Cape Wrath Ultra website HERE
Stunning scenery, remote wilderness, beautiful lochs, glens, towering mountains and the crashing ocean, the Cape Wrath Ultra™ is arguably one of the most stunning multi-day journeys in the world.
A supported expedition, equipment for the competitor’s will be transported day-by-day, tented accommodation and meals will be provided.
In a nutshell, 400km (250-miles) over and through the Scottish Highlands will be the ultimate test for the runners as they navigate via map and compass (GPS are allowed with GPX routes provided by Ourea Events) over 8-days over multiple distances with a variety of terrain and elevation gain.
Today, 95 runners arrived in Fort William to register, collect numbers and leave drop bags in preparation of the race to start tomorrow, Sunday 22nd May at 1000 hours.
Over the coming days, you will be able to follow these 95 runners via live tracking as they weave their way north. We thought it only appropriate that you can put a face to the name. Here are the 95!
Cape Wrath Ultra Website HERE
In recent articles, we’ve discussed the 2 main fuel sources for endurance exercise (fat and carbohydrate) and how you should optimise your body to burn fat, thereby allowing you to save precious carbohydrate stores. When it comes to race day then the game and the rules change completely. As a recap, when training you should:
1. Ride or run at the correct intensity or follow a specific protocol such as Maffetone
2. Avoid fluctuations in intensity, remember that average heart rate or power output are NOT the critical figures, it’s TIME IN ZONE that counts
3. Eat foods which are balanced with low GI carbohydrates and fats to encourage fat usage and avoid sugar spikes
4. Avoid gels and sugar products based on point 3 above
If you follow the above guidance, over a 12-16 week training period, you can teach your body to utilise a greater amount of fat as fuel and also to use less calories overall, making you more economical. The important thing to remember is that ‘training’ and ‘racing’ are 2 separate things and your fuelling approach should reflect this.
What happens during the race?
Okay, let’s presume that you have trained correctly and maximised your fat burning potential and fuel economy. You reach the first event of the year and when riding or running at race pace you are using 700kcal per hour, 50% of which comes from carbohydrate and 50% of which comes from fat. You only need to worry about the carbohydrate loss as that’s the one which is critical, so let’s focus on the 350kcal of carbohydrate which equates to 88 grams of carbohydrate (4 kcal per gram).
The limitation of carbohydrate intake
Here’s the big problem, you can only absorb approximately 60g of carbohydrate per hour. Imagine that there are small boats, which ‘ferry’ carbohydrate across the intestine wall into your blood stream. Unfortunately you only have so many ‘ferry boats’ so no matter how much carbohydrate you throw in there, the amount which can be ferried is limited to a pretty standard 60g. For our example above, that means that you’re going to fall short. You’re using 88 grams per hour and you can only replace 60 grams per hour. That’s a 28 gram / 112 kcal per hour deficit.
So I can’t just eat more?
Unfortunately not. If you eat more, it’s unlikely to be digested and will simply sit in your stomach or intestines without providing energy. There are a lot of people who suffer from gastric problems during long distance events and this is generally caused by eating too much food which they are unable to digest. It’s really important that you understand, eating more food doesn’t mean you’ll have more energy and it may well mean that you’ll face stomach upsets. I stress this point knowing how obsessed Ironman athletes in particular become with regards to feeding on the bike.
A deficit of 112 Kcal per hour doesn’t sound too bad
No, it doesn’t. But that is based on the presumption that you are only using 700kcal per hour, bigger people and less efficient people may be using more. It’s also based on the assumption that 50% is coming from fat and that may not be the case at all, in fact, as much as 80-100% may be coming from carbohydrate. What makes this worse is that bigger people can’t necessarily take on board more fuel, the 60g limit still pretty much applies. It’s a gut issue, it’s not about how big your muscles are and how much you can store in there.
So the 3 things you might want to know are:
1. How many calories do I burn per hour?
2. How many of them come from fat and carbohydrate?
3. How much should I be taking in as a consequence?
As a start point, you can probably work out your calorie usage by using a heart rate monitor or power meter. Run or ride at race pace and it’ll do the calculation for you, although the power meter is a lot more accurate than the heart rate monitor, it’s still a start point. Warm up, then do an hour at your ‘race pace’ and work out the figures. It’s amazing how many people who consider their training and racing to be ‘serious’, still have no clue how many kcal they use when racing. How can you have any grasp of nutrition requirements without knowing this figure? Once you’ve calculated that figure, apply the following rule:
80/20: If you are struggling to ride 50 miles / run 15 miles even when fuelling yourself throughout, then apply the 80/20 rule. That means 80% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 20% is fat.
65/35: If you can ride 50 miles / run 15 miles comfortably using fuel, then apply the 65/35 rule. That means 65% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 20% is fat.
50/50: If you can ride 50 miles / run 15 miles comfortably without using any fuel whatsoever, then apply the 50/50 rule. That means 50% of your fuel is carbohydrate and 50% is fat.
Are those figures accurate?
Absolutely not, I just made them up. They are by no means 100% accurate but they will give you a good start point and will allow you to calculate an approximate figure. The running figures are less ‘straight forwards’ than the cycling, as the impact of running can really fatigue your legs, so you may find 15 miles difficult, even if your fat burning and fuel economy is good. for cycling, the impact is low, so it’s more likely governed by metabolism and fuel.
Ok, so what’s the next step?
Here’s what we’re going to do. Prior to next week you are going to do a 1 hour ride or run at your ‘race pace’ and then using your cycle power meter, GPS or heart rate monitor, calculate how many calories per hour you are using when exercising at that intensity. I feel this is a pretty important thing for you to understand if you are to race successfully. It’s easy with a power meter for cycling, it does the maths for you. Most heart rate monitors will use your age and weight to work out kcal per hour. There are some tools on the internet such as: http://www.braydenwm.com/calburn.htm which can help to give you a basic idea.
Go forwards my endurance friends and do the maths, next week, we will be looking at planning your intake.
Until then, stay healthy.
– Marc Laithwaite
Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.
2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.
In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.
In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.
In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.
Check out the endurance store HERE
Misty skies, gale force winds, relentless climbing, technical terrain and an incredible field of runners made the inaugural Mourne Skyline MTR a day to remember.
Congratulations to Stevie Kremer and Kim Collison on two great performances.
Stevie said post race, ‘that is the hardest race I have ever done! Harder than Zegama Aizkorri it was just brutal. Relentless climbing, technical and with the wind it was just soooo hard. Kilian Jornet would love it!’
A full race report will follow.
The 2014 Skyrunning Trofeo Kima took place recently. It is quite an incredible race. I wrote an article and provided images for RUN ULTRA.
You can check out the article HERE
Jo Meek has illuminated the ultra world in the past 18-months placing 2nd at the 28th edition of Marathon des Sables, winning The Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica, setting a new course record and an outright win at Iznik Ultra and then placed 5th at the iconic Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa. But it didn’t end…
I caught up with Jo and wrote an article for RUNULTRA on this rising star of our sport.
Please check it out HERE
December 11th is International Mountain Day
The theme for 2013? “Mountains: Key to a Sustainable Future”
Covering around 27 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 720 million mountain people around the world, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.
In particular, mountains provide freshwater, energy and food – resources that will be increasingly scarce in coming decades. However, mountains also have a high incidence of poverty and are extremely vulnerable to climate change, deforestation, land degradation and natural disasters.
The challenge is to identify new and sustainable opportunities that can bring benefits to both highland and lowland communities and help to eradicate poverty without contributing to the degradation of fragile mountain ecosystems .
Commitment and will to advance this cause were strengthened during the International Year of Mountains in 2002, and mountains have gained an increasingly high profile on agendas at all levels.
The Year also led to the adoption of resolution 57/245, in which the General Assembly designated 11 December as International Mountain Day, and encouraged the international community to organize events at all levels on that day to highlight the importance of sustainable mountain development. Content ©un.org link here
In the words of Marino Giacometti, president of the ISF, “today the World celebrates the International Mountain Day, but we all know that everyday must be the day of the mountains, the wonderful arena for our sport that we love and respect.”
It is a pleasure for me to go back to one day last in August on the Matterhorn, the place of the first skyrunning competitions and of the first World Championship in 1998. That day, August 21, 2013 Kilian Jornet united 20 years of our history by challenging the mythical record for the ascent and descent of Matterhorn established by Bruno Brunod in 1995 with the time of 3.14.44. With an extraordinary time of 2.52.02 Kilian celebrated the mountain and to our first skyrunning world championship title.
On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.
Episode 44 of Talk Ultra and on this weeks show we have a long distance theme. We have an interview with Nickademus Hollon who just recently placed 7th overall at Tor des Geants. We also have an in-depth chat with Ian Sharman about his incredible summer running the Grand Slam. We also speak to Nick Clark in his regular Grand Slam slot, Clarky’s Corner. We speak to Brit, Emma Clayton about her silver medal in the WMRA worlds in Poland. The news, Talk Training, a blog, up and coming races and of course, Speedgoat Karl.
Run Rabbit Run
- Jason Schlarb 17:15:20
- Karl Meltzer 18:32:07
- Jeff Browning 18:52:00
- Josh Arthur
- Timothy Olson
- Michele Yates 20:16:54
- Nikki Kimball 20:59:13
- Rhonda Claridge 21:45:05
- Becky Wheeler
- Pam Smith
- Nick Clark 20:24:26
- Ian Sharman 21:01:30
- Rod Bien 22:01:58
00:15:08 INTERVIEW Ian Sharman Grand Slam Interview
- Sarah Evan McCloskey 24:31:19
- Andrea Martinez 26:21:17
- Paulette J Zilmer 27:15:02
Tor des Geants
- Iker Karrera 70:04:15
- Oscar Perez 70:29:41
- Franco Colle 72:05:23
- Francesca Canepa 88:12:17
- Nerea Martinez 91:01:42
- Emanuela Tonetti 94:45:59
1. Geoffrey Gikuni Ndungu 2:50:28
2. Petro Mamo 2:52:49
3. Viktor Röthlin 2:53:21
4. Robert Krupicka 3:00:48
5. Hosea Tuei 3:02:12
1. Andrea Mayr 3:20:20
2. Aline Camboulives 3:25:08
3. Martina Strähl 3:25:23
4. Sabine Reiner 3:25:59
5. Stevie Kremer 3:27:09
The North Face Endurance Challenge (Wisconsin) 50mile and 50K
Nicholas Wied emailed in… The 50 Mile
1. Tyler Sigl (Green Bay, WI) 5:38:49;
2. Brian Condon (Madison, WI) 5:55:43;
3. Adam Condit 6:08:38.
This is crazy because Ian Sharman set the CR last year at 5:55.
This is Tyler’s 1st ultra, he is a 2:15 marathon guy who works a full time job and trains on the side. He lowered Ian’s record by almost 20 minutes, INSANE!
Another note, Brian Condon running his 3rd ultra and 2nd 50 miler (he also took 2nd behind David Riddle at Ice Age 50) ran the same time as Ian’s CR.
1.Molly Culver 7:51:12;
2.Wendy Lilly 8:20:03;
3. Holly Fearing 8:32:42.
1.Andy Nesheim 4:01, 2. Brian Udovich 4:08, 3. Andrew Hollatz 4:14.
1. Lorena Campos (Chile) 4:21, 2. rin Seffrood 4:38, 3. Bri Famera 4:40.
Kilian & Emelie – rescued
On a final note, in the Sun Newspaper (not that I read the Sun) a snippet said, “Rab Lee from Bowness and pal, Mark Howlett set a new World Record for running 68.2 miles – three legged, non stop in 24 hours at the Glenmore24 – BONKERS
Kilian Jornet – http://www.kilianjornet.cat/en/blog
“This is a warning that the mountain is a hard and dangerous place, even when precautions are taken. One must be humble in the mountains, because a high price can be paid for our failures, especially when travelling light. We must accept and be aware of the risks that we are prepared to take individually and with the people who accompany us, depending on our physical and technical skill and also our experience.”
01:31:14 15 MIN OF FAME with Brit Emma Clayton
01:43:09 TALK TRAINING – Marc Laithwaite
This week’s interview is with Nickademus Hollon. Nick is not your normal runner… he seeks out the tough and the extreme. We interviewed Nick earlier this year when he became the youngest and one of only 14 people to finish the Barkley. Just recently, he took on the Tor des Geants in Italy.
03:04:05 MELTZER MOMENT
and Ugly –
03:09:15 SMILESandMILES with Emelie Forsberg – firstname.lastname@example.org
03:34:42 CLARKY’S CORNER – discusses Wasatch and his summer on the trails going head-to-head with Ian Sharman
03:51:48 Up & Coming RACES for the next two weeks
Figeac – St-Cirq-Lapopie – Conques : du 20 au 24 septembre 2013 | 208 kilometers | September 20, 2013 | website
The North Face Endurance Challenge-Georgia Gore-Tex® 50 Mile | 50 miles | September 28, 2013 | website