I thought it was time to provide an update on whats being going on in my world and talk about how things have been going ever since completing my first ever half-marathon just over 3 weeks ago. I’ll also share with you the latest review on my brand new racing shoes!
Literally the first thing after returning home from the half-marathon was have a much-needed bath! I’ve never felt my calves that tight before but the bath helped my recovery. After that I decided to take a week off from running to allow my body to recover and return to ‘training mode’.
I still went to the gym but focused on my upper body instead. When I finally returned to training it was the following Sunday (the 14th) in which I played an 8-a-side football match with some friends.
In the fitness world a week can make a big difference. The week before I felt super-fit, like I was capable of anything! Yet after that football match with many stop-starts, sprints and tackles, I felt ridiculously unfit and certainly not match-ready.
This was a big wake-up call.
I’ve made everyone around me well-aware of my goal to attempt to not only beat my half-marathon PB time, but basically smash it by 12 minutes, completing around the 1 hour 30 minute mark. In order to do that I needed to resume training as quickly as possible, in the smartest possible way.
It was around this time that I received an email from a representative at Excell Sports asking if I’d review their website and a particular product (of my choosing) from their store. In exchange for this I’d get the product for free.
The request couldn’t have come at a better time as my existing ‘Nike Luminance 7’ running shoes were starting to wear out.
So I went onto their website and was pleasantly surprised at the huge capacity of various sportswear stock that was available to choose from. I found the site very easy to navigate and as I was looking specifically for a certain type of running shoe, the filters made the search so much simpler.
Many of the products to choose from were well-discounted and even though the product I chose didn’t cost anything to me personally, I’d certainly return and buy sportswear through Excell Sports in the near future.
After a thorough and productive search I found exactly what I was looking for. They were ‘Nike’s Mens FlyKnit Racer’ shoes. A type of trainer that’s specifically designed for running long-distance and short bursts.
My first impression of them from the website was just how beautiful they were. They were striking with a prominent black and white design that included detailed fluorescent yellow stitching. I’d not come across them before but everything about them said they were made for running and I was really looking forward to them arriving!
Once they did I held the package and couldn’t believe how light it was. I thought there’d been a mix-up and perhaps they’d delivered a t-shirt instead! But no, the order was correct and the shoes were just as lovely as the imagery on the website displayed.
Wearing The Shoes
They were very light in comparison to my existing shoes so I thought perhaps they wouldn’t be as well cushioned, however once I tried them on I realised they were even more comfortable than what I was used to. Every step was cushioned and I knew that this would be crucial when it came to taking many quick steps during a real race, especially over a long distance.
Once I stepped outside I realised that the wind was getting to my feet which made them feel quite cold, which was due to the knitted construction of the shoe. They’re not for wearing casually but are specifically suited for racing, which is how I plan to use them.
My first proper test was to try them out on a treadmill to really examine the quality and impact they might have on my feet during a fast interval session.
I felt that due to the lightness of the shoes I was able to take more steps over a shorter period.
This alone would help me massively during a real race. You may think a small difference in weight isn’t really that important when you’re out running, but if you think about how many steps you actually take, especially when competing, these small differences can have an impact on your ankles and legs which are very helpful during a race!
Over the weekend it was pretty icy outside. Ever since the half-marathon finished I’d steered away from outdoor running but I wanted to test how the FlyKnit Racers would perform. After all it would be outside where I’d be using them, not on a treadmill.
Before I stepped outside I examined underneath the shoes. The grip was solid with many small ridges that gave me confidence they’d handle external conditions well.
I wasn’t disappointed after running 5 miles. They were a real pleasure to use without slipping once. Not only was this important but generally my grip of the road was solid which meant I could focus more on landing correctly without worrying about becoming unstable.
I read online a few other reviews before requesting these particular shoes. Some of which stated that small tears start to appear at the very front of the shoes after a while. As I’ve not had the shoes for very long it’s difficult to say if this is the case or not. Shoes will suffer from wear and tear after a certain time period but if you look after them and maybe don’t use them as a ‘trail shoe’ I can’t see why they wouldn’t last for a long period.
The price of them isn’t the cheapest. Excell-Sports have them on their sale price at £103.96 which is discounted from £129.95. In my opinion they are an investment worth taking if you take your outdoor running seriously. The detailed construction, striking design, lightness and durability of them make them stand out from any previous running shoe I’ve owned and I’m more than proud to use them in my coming races.
My next half-marathon is on March 25th in Liverpool and I’m looking for that edge over my competition. I strongly believe that these shoes will go towards that (as long as I also train extremely hard between now and then of course!).